"Oriental" is illegal! (Thank God!)


#1

According to the July 1, Seattle Times:

Use of word ‘Oriental’ restricted by law

By Alex Fryer
Seattle Times staff reporter

Beginning today, state and local lawmakers are prohibited from using the term “Oriental” in statutes, codes, rules and regulations.

Instead, officials must use “Asian” to describe people of Asian descent.

(moderator’s note: the rest of the article is here.)


I wonder if “occidental” also be declared “verbotten”.


#2

Personally, I really don’t give a shit if people use oriental or not. It doesn’t offend me and never did. Is it offensive to refer to east Asia as the Orient too? Americans are getting waaaay too politically correct to the extent that it’s annoying.


#3

I think it shows the increased political power Asian-Americans have and an attempt to change the terms of racial dialog.
I agree PC can be too much at times, but these are people still trying to be accepted as Americans without the hyphen.

Who is the Governor of Washington?
http://www.governor.wa.gov/

I have seen similar protests from Chinese over the term “exotic Chinatown.”


#4
quote:
Originally posted by wwwright: I agree PC can be too much at times, but these are people still trying to be accepted as Americans without the hyphen.

So let them drop the hyphen…who the hell’s stopping them? Or any other “hyphenated” group?


#5

I think it shows the increased political power Asian-Americans have and an attempt to change the terms of racial dialog.

Or rather the fact that people have nothing better to do than to discuss and waste their time about those issues.

The “Orient” doesn’t have any bad meaning according to my knowledge, rather describes a mysterious and perhaps mystical area.

Oh well, some people are just too sensitive …


#6

“The “Orient” doesn’t have any bad meaning according to my knowledge, rather describes a mysterious and perhaps mystical area.”

I believe that’s the reason why.

How does “high thin nose” “atoga”? sound to you?

http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?article_id=143

I don’t hear German-American, Irish-American anymore. I was just thinking hypenation it is part of assimilation into the U.S. “melting pot.”
The immigrants from Asia are still working their way into society.

I think they would like to be accepted as Americans too but still remember past injustices.

This hyphenation can work both ways too. Some groups keep the Chinese- or Korean- or Taiwanese-to distinguish themselves.


#7

Agree with Thyrdrail…people with too much time on their hands making something out of nothing.

So how does this affect this site’s name?


#8
quote:
Originally posted by Rascal: The "Orient" doesn't have any bad meaning according to my knowledge, rather describes a mysterious and perhaps mystical area. [/QB]

That’s precisely why people don’t like the term. Why should Ellen Wang who grew up in Milwaukee watching the packers and eating Doritos be labeled with a term with all these unavoidable conotations of mysterious and mystical otherness. For that matter why should it be applied to Li Si who worked in a coal mine until he got xiagang-ed and now sits at home drinking baijiu and smoking cigarettes. There’s nothing “mysterious” or “mystical” Asians in Asia, still less in the US. Exoticizing Asians is subtly dehumanizing in the same exoticizing Westerners in here or in China.

I confess though I never understood why it ok for other things like groceries or medicine. I mean I get why it was objected to for people particullaly but why not just strike it down accross the board?


#9

According the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

http://www.m-w.com/

orient
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin orient-, oriens, from present participle of oriri to rise; akin to Sanskrit rnoti he moves, arises, Greek ornynai to rouse, oros mountain
Date: 14th century
1 archaic : EAST 1b
2 capitalized : EAST 2
3 a : a pearl of great luster b : the luster of a pearl

oriental
1 often capitalized : of, relating to, or situated in the Orient
2 a : of superior grade, luster, or value b : being corundum or sapphire but simulating another gem in color
3 often capitalized : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of Orientals
4 capitalized : of, relating to, or constituting the biogeographic region that includes Asia south and southeast of the Himalayas and the Malay Archipelago west of Wallace’s line


#10
quote:
Originally posted by wwwright: "The "Orient" doesn't have any bad meaning according to my knowledge, rather describes a mysterious and perhaps mystical area."

…I don’t hear German-American, Irish-American anymore. I was just thinking hypenation it is part of assimilation into the U.S. “melting pot.”
The immigrants from Asia are still working their way into society…


Well if the ‘Orient’ can still be used, I don’t see why we can’t call people from the Orient “Oriental”. I don’t mind if people may think I’m exotic and mystical. If that’s the way they think of me, then they’re entitled to their opinions as I am to mine.

I hear people using terms like Irish-Americans, African-Americans, Black-Americans, Italian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Jewish-American, etc., all the time. Since we know that we’re all Americans, many of us would still like to be identified by our ethnicity due to sheer pride.

I’ve already accepted the fact that America may never truly accept Asians as “real Americans”, whatever that may mean in the 21st century. But progress has been made, is being made, and will be made. In the meantime, I, and many other Americans Asian or non-, have short-term goals to accomplish in this lifetime such as making my first US$million, getting my own house, buying my first Mercedes and traveling the world!! Aaah, to live the American Dream. Now that’s what being a real American is all about!!

In conclusion, I think I would be more bothered if people called me a ‘foreigner’, especially if I had lived here all my life or wanted to. For me, it would be more difficult to try to assimilate with a title like that. For those of you who’ve stayed in Taiwan long-term, does being called, “wai guo-len” or “lao-wai” bother you?


#11
quote:
Originally posted by thyrdrail: For those of you who've stayed in Taiwan long-term, does being called, "wai guo-len" or "lao-wai" bother you?

Yes.


#12
quote:
Originally posted by O'Brian: According the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

http://www.m-w.com/

orient
3 a : a pearl of great luster b : the luster of a pearl

oriental

2 a : of superior grade, luster, or value b : being corundum or sapphire but simulating another gem in color


Why, by all means call me Oriental!!! That’s Mr. Oriental to you!!!

I think too many people are putting too much significance into a word. Grizzly Bear, if Ellen Wang is like me and doesn’t think she’s exotic, then being called Oriental shouldn’t bother her. (On a side note, if she’s bumming around on the couch like a lazy ass chugging down fatty Doritos, she really should be flattered that someone thinks she’s exotic!!)


#13

Thyrdrail,

I’ll call you personally “Mr. Hippopatamus” if it trips your trigger, but I still think that the connotations of the word make it inappropriate.

By the way, “Orient” is also considered a no no for being Eurocentric, but more importantly it just makes the user sound dated and silly.


#14
quote:
Originally posted by Grizzly: Thyrdrail,

I’ll call you personally “Mr. Hippopatamus” if it trips your trigger, but I still think that the connotations of the word make it inappropriate.

By the way, “Orient” is also considered a no no for being Eurocentric, but more importantly it just makes the user sound dated and silly.


That’s Mr. Oriental Hippopotamus to you, bucko!!

I think all the Asians should think of some term that would offend caucasians/Europeans in which they can later deem offensive and pass a law to banish its usage. I have some:

HonkyLand
the Eurient
Euriental
the Caukient
Caukiental
Bignosarama.

Well, it’s a start…


#15

In the UK at least, where there are very few immigrants from the Far East, Asian is a politically correct word for Paki, which is a politically incorrect word for immigrants from the Asian subcontinent, of which there are many (or, as some might argue , way too many).


#16

What WAS the intent of this site’s name?
Orient(ed) as in the East?
Oriented as in knowing where you are?
Oriented as in orientation?
(dis)Oriented as in thinking you were getting off the plane in Thailand and only discovering two months later where you really were?


#17

Many formerly acceptable, but now non-PC, terms were originally used to identify groups who were somehow entitled to a bigger share of the welfare cake, for various racial reasons.

Now these groups want the name changed - but still want the extra cake.


#18

Man, that is some stupid ass shit! This guy doesn’t have anything better to do than to outlaw a term which the vast majority of people DON’T view as offensive? What’s next, we outlaw “westerner” or “American”? C’mon. I don’t care if people think I’m exotic. And, hell, most locals here DO think I’m exotic. I’m more flattered by it than anything. So what’s the big deal? I’ll tell you what it is. Boredom. Complete, unadulterated boredom. Why are people wasting their tax money on fools like this?


#19

I see nothing much wrong with oriental as a word.

However, I have never made a habit of using the word to describe describe people (i.e. “he was an oriental guy”). That sounds kind of silly. Why not say he was Chinese/Japanese/Korean or whatever? Or why not just use ‘Asian’. As mentioned above, oriental does have exotic connotations of ‘otherness’. I don’t see how that makes it a bad word per se, but I do think it makes it slightly awkward when applied to people.

‘Asian’ seems to do fine to me for describing the ethnic group. But what if I was in Britain, where ‘an Asian’ is going to be taken to mean an individual from the Indian subcontinent. I guess saying ‘an oriental’ might then become useful, right? I would certainly use ‘oriental’ to clariy if ‘asian’ wasn’t working for the listener and talking in terms of individual countries wasn’t an option.

‘Oriental’ does describe a more precise geographic area and set of ethnic groupings than than ‘asian’, and thus has its uses. It does sound a little old fashioned though. Also, when you are talking to people with a reasonably good knowledge of Asia then it usually seems to make more sense to talk in terms of individual countries/cultures etc.

However, getting concerned about the word oriental seems overly sensitive to me . I only realized this word was becomming ‘politically incorrect’ last week when browsing an Asian American website. Oh well, if Americans want an issue to mobilize about then let them.

I’ve always been upset that ‘the occident’ never took off in the same way as ‘the orient’. I could quite enjoy being ‘an occidental’. ‘Occidental’ has a romantic ring to it which ‘westerner’ and ‘European’ totally lack.

I admit to a serious bias on this one though. The Occidental in Auckland used to be my favorite pub. Then one sad day the beer stained carpet and victorian urinals were stripped, the decrepit old men and women who had been furniture there since the place poured its first pint were turfed out, and probably buried, and The Occidental was turned into a trendy Belgian beer bar which was no longer called the Occidental, and that had four belgian beers on tap, four more in bottles, and the most amazing mussel pots with chips. Embarassingly, the place then once again became my favorite pub. Hell, pissing about with historic pubs is supposed to be bad! Never mind. . .


#20
quote:
Originally posted by kiwi: I've always been upset that 'the occident' never took off in the same way as 'the orient'.

Maybe it was just an occident of history??