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Is it politically correct to refer to someone as Oriental?


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Old 04-07-2008, 14:55
TomFarrell
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Having lived in Australia, when I first arrived there, I noticed that people of eastern origin are referred to as Asian, and if the word Oriental is used, it is frowned upon.

It doesn't really bother me to be honest, but isn't Oriental a bit politically incorrect with Asian being the more accepted turn of phrase?

This is not an attack at Rex at all, I actually like him and hope he'll do well, I just noticed a difference in the language used here and in Australia and wondered what the opinion of the forum is......

Oriental or Asian....
Which one, you decide.
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:56
mooncup
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I have no problem with that word. If someone was using it to insult someone then that is a different matter.
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:57
bandylegs
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Sounds OK to me, but best check with New Labour first.
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:58
DaisyBumbleroot
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i always say east asian for japan, china, korea and south east asian for thailand, cambodia, malaysia etc

i wouldnt say oriental is bad, its just a tad old fashioned, a bit turn of the century (the last one, not this one)
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:58
MisoSoup
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I think the word 'Oriental' is also frowned upon in the United States, where the word 'Asian' is also prefered

But from what I gather 'Oriental' is still acceptable in Britain, presumably because here, the word 'Asian' is used to describe people from the Indian sub-continent
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:58
cassius
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Sounds OK to me, but best check with New Labour first.
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:59
lovecat86
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Asian to me means either from India or Pakistan. Oriental being countries in the orient. I thought it was the US who said Asian for Chinese, Japanese,etc... When I fill in my ethnicity I am Mixed White and Asian.
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:59
zankoku87
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I believe that in some countries, the word "Oriental" is considered offensive, but I don't think it's the case here. In those countries, "Asian" is preferred, but here "Asian" tends to mean people from the Indian sub-continent and thereabouts, so we need another term to refer to those people further East, and "Oriental" seems to be the accepted term, though "East Asian" is the term my department at University uses.
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:59
Rennie
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From Wikipedia (so it must be true )

To describe a person as Oriental is considered to be impolite and politically incorrect by some in the United States; the term Asian is now widely used. In the United States Oriental refers to objects and material good such as rugs and teapots. However, the term Oriental does not carry any such connotations in the United Kingdom, where the word Asian commonly refers to people of Indian/Bangladeshi/Pakistani/Sri Lankan descent. (These people are called South Asians in the United States.)
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Old 04-07-2008, 14:59
DaisyBumbleroot
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But from what I gather 'Oriental' is still acceptable in Britain, presumably because here, the word 'Asian' is used to describe people from the Indian sub-continent
and id say middle eastern
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:00
lovecat86
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However, the term Oriental does not carry any such connotations in the United Kingdom, where the word Asian commonly refers to people of Indian/Bangladeshi/Pakistani/Sri Lankan descent. (These people are called South Asians in the United States.)

That's my take on it.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:00
LaineyK
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I wouldn't have thought either were wrong or offensive tbh. I have used both as descriptions of people from that part of the world and never once thought or was told that I should not use either.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:00
shabutie
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I think the word 'Oriental' is also frowned upon in the United States, where the word 'Asian' is also prefered

But from what I gather 'Oriental' is still acceptable in Britain, presumably because here, the word 'Asian' is used to describe people from the Indian sub-continent
Yeah, this. I try and use South Asian/East Asian if I'm posting somewhere that has a mix of Yanks & Brits because they do find it really weird. I think oriental is supposed to be used for objects, not people.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:01
MaureenG
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Oriental = eastern
Occidental = western
Nothing PC or not PC about it.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:02
martenla
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I think it's fine, especially when describing the look of something or someone rather than their ethnicity.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:03
lollyish
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In the US it's frowned upon. Here..... well if it is, I've never heard it.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:03
Aleksis
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I think since Said wrote "Orientalism" Westerners have been scared of the word because it makes them look outdated and unfashionable - it's not particularly racist. I don't see how it carries any connotations that differ from "Asian" or "Far Eastern".
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:05
Mr Msyosles
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I'd say Oriental was fine in this country.

My OH (born and raised in the UK, but his parents are from HK) really doesn't like being called Asian, much prefers Oriental. He says to him Asian refers to Indian/Pakistani.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:05
MisoSoup
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Yeah, this. I try and use South Asian/East Asian if I'm posting somewhere that has a mix of Yanks & Brits because they do find it really weird. I think oriental is supposed to be used for objects, not people.
Yes, I think that's right
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:06
Baroness Bunkum
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When i hear 'asian' i think of indian/pakistani etc.
'oriental' to me is chinese/japanese/thai.

So yeah, it's fine imo - more specific than 'asian'
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:07
nomad2king
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Having lived in Australia, when I first arrived there, I noticed that people of eastern origin are referred to as Asian, and if the word Oriental is used, it is frowned upon.

It doesn't really bother me to be honest, but isn't Oriental a bit politically incorrect with Asian being the more accepted turn of phrase?

This is not an attack at Rex at all, I actually like him and hope he'll do well, I just noticed a difference in the language used here and in Australia and wondered what the opinion of the forum is......

Oriental or Asian....
Which one, you decide.
Surely it's just being more specific, as in Scandinavian
v European. Asia does cover a large area. If you refered to someone as oriental, people would think that you were refering to someone of Chinese or Japanese origins as opposed to Indian, Russian, Arabic and others(?).
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:13
tropicalparrot
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Good lord! Do people just go looking for it? Why is everyone terrified of speaking English? Yes Oriental is fine to say. There are no negative connotations to this word. It simply means from the Orient (an area covering East Asia). Do you not realise that this madness will only stop when you all stop being terrified of offending people? And who are you usually offending? White middle class do-gooders!!!

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Old 04-07-2008, 15:14
00tvaddict00
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It is not. Alot of asian people can get really offended if called oriental. A rug is oriental, food is oriental, people aren't.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:15
slipperydave
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I'm gonna get my Prince Philip book of Race Relations to see what he has to say on the matter.
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Old 04-07-2008, 15:17
Jack_Johnson
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Good lord! Do people just go looking for it? Why is everyone terrified of speaking English? Yes Oriental is fine to say. There are no negative connotations to this word. It simply means from the Orient (an area covering East Asia). Do you not realise that this madness will only stop when you all stop being terrified of offending people? And who are you usually offending? White middle class do-gooders!!!

I agree, who gives a monkey's whether its politically correct or not. There is nothing offensive about it whatsoever, if when describing someone the word oriental is the best adjective to use, then people should use it.
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