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Old 11-16-2009, 04:39 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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If they find it offensive I'll refrain even if I don't entirely get it.

I don't know if that's entirely PC. To a degree I think of "PC" as more about condescending liberal trying to make people "feel better." For example "Native American" was PC. So far as I can tell American Indians did not have much to do with that being popularized, it was just white people upset because gee they aren't from India so maybe it's insulting. However American Indians I think generally prefer "American Indian" or have no preference. I haven't seen many, maybe not any, that prefer "Native American." And there's a case to be made that Columbus called them Indians because he thought he was in "The Indies" which can be used as a vague catch-all term for "those islands way over there somewhere." The islands he actually discovered are still called "The West Indies."

Although "Native American" is useful when you need a blanket-term that includes the Inuit/Yupik/Eskimo. They don't deem themselves "American Indians", are ethnically/linguistically distinct from any American Indian people, and in the past anyway they actively disliked being called "American Indians." I think their people and the Alaskan Indians didn't always interact well when they did interact.

Anyway back to the Oriental thing. I think it's a useful term, but I think part of the offense might be "Orientalism." This at times meant emphasizing how "Oriental" cultures and people were strange or exotic. So possibly "Oriental", for some, seemed to fit into the stereotype that they are perpetually foreign and exotic and strange. That they don't think or feel the way we Occidentals do. That might seem laughable, but I've read stories from the 1940s or even later that treat Orientals almost like space aliens who have "ancient wisdom" or are inscrutable. So maybe the term had been linked to that kind of baggage. Similarly "***" is offensive, but "Brit" usually isn't because "***" has a good deal of baggage that "Brit" doesn't. The anti-Japanese slur is offensive enough it got blocked. Anyway California had Klansmen like organizations to "Swat the Japanese-slur" but I don't know if any place had "Beat the Brits" brigades.
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:12 AM
 
11,187 posts, read 22,411,839 times
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Originally Posted by Lycanmaster View Post
It's still probably used to varying degrees in middle America (meaning the MidWest and South). Even in Hawaii with its Asian majority, I've heard that Oriental is still used alot...

And in Europe the term is still used as well..
Why would the Midwest use the term "Oriental" to describe people more than the West or East??? That just seems kinda random.

I grew up in Iowa and never heard anyone use the term oriental to describe anything unless they were in the market for some specific rugs or furniture. My grandmother's friend in Des Moines and my parents friends in a very small town up north of where I grew up both traveled quite a bit around Japan and Hong Kong it the 1960's and 1970's - so I know I heard the term from them describing some of the things they had in their house and their origins.

As far as describing people - no one ever did it because it was rude. The only person I've ever heard use that term who wasn't doing it purely as sarcasm or making a stupid joke was a kid on our dorm floor in Iowa City who asked another kid about being "oriental". He was from Jersey for whatever that's worth - but I think it was more that he was just pretty stupid.

The kid he asked was Asian, but for all intents and purposes, he was as "white" as everyone else in his rural setting or the rest of us from Iowa. His parents adopted him from Vietnam in the late 1970's when he was a month old. The response was something like "what? do I look like a fu**ing rug dude?".
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