Why Chick-Fil-A Is Being Accused Of Anti-Asian Racism

Attacks on people of Asian descent are rising dramatically in the U.S., according to a study conducted at California State University, San Bernardino. The attacks appear to be connected to the emergence of COVID-19 in the U.S., combined with provoking language by former president Donald Trump. He blamed China for the disease's appearance in America, referring to it as the "China virus" and the "kung flu" (via The New York Times). 

Just last month, a man was accused of murdering eight people at spas in the Atlanta area. Six of his victims were Asian women. The dramatic rise in violence against people of Asian descent has heightened fears among members of that group, which has experienced hatred and discrimination in America for generations (via Associated Press). This is the cultural context for a March 22 incident at a Chick-fil-A in Houston that led one customer to accuse the chain of anti-Asian racism.

When a customer named Tina drove up to the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, an employee came to her car to take her order. Tina told Business Insider she was careful to pronounce her name clearly, but when she got her food the name printed on the receipt was "China." Tina, who is Asian American, was convinced this wasn't a case of someone hearing her name wrong; rather, the employee was calling her "China."

Woman called 'China' at Chick-fil-A wants anti-racism training at the chain

Tina completed a Chick-fil-A feedback form after the receipt from her drive-thru dinner order had her name as "China." The chain's representatives have since apologized and tried to explain what happened. "We sincerely apologize for any harm caused by this incident," a spokesperson told Business Insider. The operator of the Houston location also formally apologized to Tina. The incident was nothing more than an employee hearing Tina's name wrong, Chick-fil-A said. "Please remember that most of our employees are young and do not recognize how something as simple as putting the wrong name can cause a catastrophe such as this and ultimately hurt the feelings of valued customers," the location's general manager told Tina in an email.

Chick-fil-A also offered Tina a free meal. But free food and apology weren't enough, she said. She wanted Chick-fil-A to provide anti-racism training to its employees. "Given the recent rise in Asian hate crimes, discrimination against the Asian community, and especially with CFA being headquartered in Atlanta where the recent shooting took place — I would hope that CFA would take this seriously," she wrote.