[personal profile] forsyth
When did "Oriental" become "Asian"? Oriental wasn't derogatory or anything, either. But it seems to have basically gone away.

Anybody know why?

Date: 2006-03-20 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ericmonster.livejournal.com
I think it was a matter of precision -- "Oriental" meant anything from the Near to Middle to Far East. As such it was pretty meaningless.

Date: 2006-03-20 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] forsythferret.livejournal.com
Hmm, that's possible, but "Asian" isn't really much more precise. Asia's really big. I guess it's easier to say "southeast Asian" than "southeast Oriental" though.

Although, I might be wrong on the not-derogatory part, according to the notoriously reliable Urban Dictionary. "Oriental is associated with European colonialism in China. Especially a British image of China as once great race, but declined and vulnerable to colonization and subjugation. Negro, Coon, and Mic share similar connotations."

And Wikipedia has more, which says the only place people seem to worry about not using the word Oriental is here in the US. "Some people think the term "Oriental" is derogatory, largely because of its connection to imperial 19th century Europeans and Americans who are thought to have held a patronising attitude towards the region."

Yes, I could have done these quick searches before posting the question.

Date: 2006-03-20 10:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surlyben.livejournal.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oriental

Short version: Some people think it is offensive to varying degrees. Also it is sort of vague...

Date: 2006-03-20 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] leticia.livejournal.com
Oriental basically means 'eastern'. Of the Orient.
It is a relative term.
Something which is eastern is, by definition, east of something which is the fixed point of reference.
What with the whole 'globe' thing, it's a meaningless term, particularly in the US where it might be faster to go /west/. :p

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