independent and unofficial
Prince fan community site
Mon 28th Jul 2014 7:34pm
Welcome! Sign up or enter username and password to remember me
Forum jump
Forums > Politics & Religion > "Oriental" vs. "Asian"... I work for bigots
« Previous topic  Next topic »
  New topic   Printable     (Log in to 'subscribe' to this topic)
Author

Tweet     Share

Message
Thread started 10/20/07 10:58am

purpleundergro
und

"Oriental" vs. "Asian"... I work for bigots

I have been in a battle over political correctness with my school district. A couple of days ago, I see on the morning news that they announce the school lunch menu, including a rice bowl with Oriental chicken.

I have been taught that the term "Oriental" is actually outdated and sensitive to Asian-Americans. I see how it can be offensive, but my school district does not. I promptly emailed the head of communications for the school district, as well as the head of the food services department. Neither one of them get what is wrong with their use of the word.

One reason for its perceived offensiveness has to do with the meaning of the root word, Orient. This term is derived from the Latin word oriens, referring to where the sun rises in the east. Since oriental is used to describe places (and people) that are to the East only in relation to Europe, the term is considered to be Eurocentric.

But more likely, the real issue is its connotations stemming from the times when Europeans viewed the Orient as exotic lands full of romance and intrigue, the home of despotic empires and inscrutable customs. At the least these associations can give "Oriental" a dated feel, and as a noun in contemporary contexts it is now widely taken to be offensive. It refers to the language Europeans used during European expansion and colonization. It made Asians feel as if we were conquests, not people.

They replied back to me that perhaps I would like to enlighten them about what's so offensive, considering "oriental" is used all the time in the food industry to describe restaurants, rice, and styles of cooking! After including some web links to support my concern, I ended my email back to them with this:

So, to sum up, the term Oriental, when referring to a person, region, or custom, is perceived as a derogatory relic of Imperialism by North Americans (and some other countries), but is seen as an acceptable descriptive term by Europeans and in many Asian countries. Considering we are not in Europe, and your chicken did not come from the Orient, perhaps describing your rice bowl with Asian chicken is more appropriate. Furthmore, as a graduate of the food service industry and professional chef, I can tell you that the term "Oriental" is NOT used to describe any vegetables, rice, restaurants, or styles of cooking these days (if so, it is being missused). They are considered either ASIAN, or directly named after the place of origin -- such as Korean, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, or Japanese, just as you would refer to Asian students, the Chinese teacher, or the Japanese doctor.

Is my argument good enough? I mean, as a teacher, they made us take all these diversity workshops and things on political correctness, avoiding stereotypes, and how to not be so Eurocentric in the classroom. Yet - it seems like what they are doing is a double-standard. Am I right? Does anyone else see why I am wanting to make a stand about this?

What are your thoughts?
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #1 posted 10/20/07 11:02am

2Jay

I think the whole argument is as stupid as calling us "African Americans" How would white people like it if we called them "European-Americans"?
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #2 posted 10/20/07 11:06am

vagabandit

I consider myself part oriental and eat asian food.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #3 posted 10/20/07 12:16pm

byronic

avatar

The problem lies in the fact that the word "oriental" is used in conjuction with food many times by people of asian origin themselves, i can name many examples of asain resturaunts with "oriental" in the name, as well as dishes on menus with "oriental" in the name.

when referring to people it's racist, but that doesn't seem to carry over to things like food, or furniture.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #4 posted 10/20/07 3:57pm

PANDURITO

avatar

I'm a European and maybe because of that I don't understand why anyone would find Oriental to be offensive. EVERY word has its origins. It's logical if the term was born in Europe that the term should fit the meaning.

Anyway, I think the World was happier when people didn't spend so much time to find new things to be offended by as to live their lives.

That said, I sincerely hope I didn't offend you smile
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #5 posted 10/20/07 5:13pm

PurpleJedi

avatar

2Jay said:

I think the whole argument is as stupid as calling us "African Americans" How would white people like it if we called them "European-Americans"?


confuse

Who came up with that term? I thought that it was the PC alternative to "black"?
By St. Boogar and all the saints at the backside door of Purgatory!
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #6 posted 10/20/07 5:15pm

PurpleJedi

avatar

byronic said:

The problem lies in the fact that the word "oriental" is used in conjuction with food many times by people of asian origin themselves, i can name many examples of asain resturaunts with "oriental" in the name, as well as dishes on menus with "oriental" in the name.

when referring to people it's racist, but that doesn't seem to carry over to things like food, or furniture.


I agree with you 99%. The 1% has to do with your use of the word "racist" as opposed to "insensitive" or "uncouth".
By St. Boogar and all the saints at the backside door of Purgatory!
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #7 posted 10/20/07 5:27pm

savoirfaire

avatar

purpleunderground said:


I can tell you that the term "Oriental" is NOT used to describe any vegetables, rice, restaurants, or styles of cooking these days (if so, it is being missused). They are considered either ASIAN, or directly named after the place of origin -- such as Korean, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, or Japanese, just as you would refer to Asian students, the Chinese teacher, or the Japanese doctor.

What are your thoughts?


The most popular vietnamese restaurant where I live is a franchise - a vietnamese owned franchise - called "Oriental Phoenix". I have seen numerous chinese fast food places called "Oriental House" or something similar. On Sapporo Ichiban noodles - a Japanese owned company - one of the noodle flavours they offer is "oriental" flavour.

I understand that it's not very appropriate to call Asians "oriental", and that they should be recognized from their individual countries, but the oriental label for food, I don't really see a problem with. Nor do many asians, it seems.
"Knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring faith. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal" - Carl Sagan

Check out my music podcast: http://adamj.podomatic.com/
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #8 posted 10/20/07 7:58pm

m3taverse

if you wanna scrap words cos they're "eurocentric", you won't have many left
"this especially prepared potato is called pomme de terre"
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #9 posted 10/20/07 9:23pm

lilgish

avatar

Oriental is "proper" when describing things, not people. "Oriental Rug, Oriental Food"....

You should have bigger fish to fry in that environment!
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #10 posted 10/21/07 9:49am

SpcMs

avatar

Maybe talking English is taking an eurocentric approach also confuse

Maybe talking about 'Asian chicken' is bigotery also, because you group the different cultures and cuisines of a whole continent under the same denominator confuse

Or maybe people who focus too much on political correctness are becoming a part of the problem confuse
"It's better 2 B hated 4 what U R than 2 B loved 4 what U R not."

My IQ is 139, what's yours?
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #11 posted 10/21/07 1:52pm

morningsong

Sounds like you need a community involvment in this fight. Right now it just sounds like a personal preference issue.
"Right now, NASA's annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. ...—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country ... , to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow." Tyson
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #12 posted 10/21/07 2:07pm

ehuffnsd

avatar

http://www.youtube.com/wa...LYHfxWqorc

This is not the salad of my people!
[Edited 10/21/07 14:09pm]
You CANNOT use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate- Madonna
authentic power is service- Pope Francis
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #13 posted 10/21/07 9:54pm

Imago

ehuffnsd said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLYHfxWqorc

This is not the salad of my people!
[Edited 10/21/07 14:09pm]



Oh hell yes!! falloff

One of my favorite skits from Ms Cho.


I totally understand what she's saying. I also sometimes completely forget that I'm Asian, which is really hard to explain. I guess, in general there are so few of us that we(second generations and beyond) tend to absorb into other groups (mostly white), and forget. I know it sounds insane, but it's true. I sometimes completely forget I'm a different race than my friends.

And when I am reminded, it's sometimes in the way Margaret is describing in that skit. lol



As far as being called Oriental, I don't have a preference either way, though the way Purple is describing the distinction above, I can see how some folks would be upset by it.

I personally have been called much much worse by all races, white, black, and latino, so being called Oriental doesn't really phase me all that much I guess.

I also don't like having a laundry list of things to hand to my friends that they can't call me--in the end I need to make an effort and see where they are coming from too--just cause they call me Oriental, Asian, or yellow, doesn't mean they seek to isolate or suppress me. Plus owning the words speaks volumes to diminishing some of its power sometimes, so long as you don't use it and refuse groups outside of yours not to. Sort of like gay folks using "Queer" which I always took as a derogatory term, but turning it into something they championed. I mean, now Queer identifies gays, but in general is understood not to mean something derogatory (in most cases shrug) though you'll always find someone who gets annoyed by it.

At any rate, I really appreciate other races being sensitive towards Asians, and standing up for us--it really does make me happy that there are people out there who are making as much of an attempt to be sensitive to me as I am in trying to relate to them--not a perfect process, but it's worth trying. lol
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #14 posted 10/21/07 10:48pm

guitarslinger4
4

avatar

SpcMs said:



Or maybe people who focus too much on political correctness are becoming a part of the problem confuse


thumbs up! I think you nailed it!
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #15 posted 10/22/07 12:31am

PANDURITO

avatar

Imago said:

I also sometimes completely forget that I'm Asian...

...As far as being called Oriental, I don't have a preference either way,,,


...I also don't like having a laundry list of things to hand to my friends that they can't call me--in the end I need to make an effort and see where they are coming from too--just cause they call me Oriental, Asian, or yellow, doesn't mean they seek to isolate or suppress me..

I love you again smile
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #16 posted 10/22/07 8:20pm

Imago

PANDURITO said:

Imago said:

I also sometimes completely forget that I'm Asian...

...As far as being called Oriental, I don't have a preference either way,,,


...I also don't like having a laundry list of things to hand to my friends that they can't call me--in the end I need to make an effort and see where they are coming from too--just cause they call me Oriental, Asian, or yellow, doesn't mean they seek to isolate or suppress me..

I love you again smile

I'm quite lovable if you give it me a chance. ky
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #17 posted 10/23/07 12:17am

vagabandit

lilgish said:

Oriental is "proper" when describing things, not people. "Oriental Rug, Oriental Food"....

You should have bigger fish to fry in that environment!



Ok, then did I just call myself a ham? wink





Personally, I'm not sure which is correct and haven't thought about it much although someone did explain it to me, but I'm not offended either way!



cool
[Edited 10/23/07 0:22am]
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #18 posted 10/23/07 8:46am

Raine

avatar

"Oriental chicken" is hardly an adequate description of the food anyway.

what is in this this mysterious chicken is there sauce on it I cant tell from that shake

whats wrong with putting the name of the actual dish on the menu it makes a lot more sense.
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #19 posted 10/23/07 11:10am

m3taverse

Raine said:

"Oriental chicken" is hardly an adequate description of the food anyway.

what is in this this mysterious chicken is there sauce on it I cant tell from that shake

whats wrong with putting the name of the actual dish on the menu it makes a lot more sense.


Now i don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of US-Asian food, but here in the Netherlands there is something we call Chinese food that has nothing to do with actual Chinese food.
What happened here is that many years ago, when the Dutch were sailing their little boats all over the place, they brought back recipes and ingredients from all over the place. The Dutch then created a series of meals they called "Chinese food". Then, when some time later actual Chinese people started opening restaurants, they cooked this Dutch version of Chinese food. If you want actual Chinese food, you go to the Kantonese etc restaurants.
I suspect that something similar is the case with "oriental chicken".
"this especially prepared potato is called pomme de terre"
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #20 posted 10/23/07 11:13am

lilgish

avatar

m3taverse said:

Raine said:

"Oriental chicken" is hardly an adequate description of the food anyway.

what is in this this mysterious chicken is there sauce on it I cant tell from that shake

whats wrong with putting the name of the actual dish on the menu it makes a lot more sense.


Now i don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of US-Asian food, but here in the Netherlands there is something we call Chinese food that has nothing to do with actual Chinese food.
What happened here is that many years ago, when the Dutch were sailing their little boats all over the place, they brought back recipes and ingredients from all over the place. The Dutch then created a series of meals they called "Chinese food". Then, when some time later actual Chinese people started opening restaurants, they cooked this Dutch version of Chinese food. If you want actual Chinese food, you go to the Kantonese etc restaurants.
I suspect that something similar is the case with "oriental chicken".


I experienced that first hand in Amsterdam. I ate at some big two level Chinese restaurant with red strewn all about. The food was awful, and certainly mot Chinese.

If I type oriental rugs , how much you wanna bet a link shows up under it. Anyway, it's better than saying Asian Rugs lol
[Edited 10/23/07 11:14am]
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #21 posted 10/23/07 11:27am

INSATIABLE

avatar

Imago said:

if you give it me a chance. ky

Oh shit, my hat done fell off
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #22 posted 10/23/07 12:07pm

Raine

avatar

lilgish said:

m3taverse said:



Now i don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of US-Asian food, but here in the Netherlands there is something we call Chinese food that has nothing to do with actual Chinese food.
What happened here is that many years ago, when the Dutch were sailing their little boats all over the place, they brought back recipes and ingredients from all over the place. The Dutch then created a series of meals they called "Chinese food". Then, when some time later actual Chinese people started opening restaurants, they cooked this Dutch version of Chinese food. If you want actual Chinese food, you go to the Kantonese etc restaurants.
I suspect that something similar is the case with "oriental chicken".


I experienced that first hand in Amsterdam. I ate at some big two level Chinese restaurant with red strewn all about. The food was awful, and certainly mot Chinese.

If I type oriental rugs , how much you wanna bet a link shows up under it. Anyway, it's better than saying Asian Rugs lol
[Edited 10/23/07 11:14am]


The restaurants that have been around a long time where I live are very good,
but there are some really awful takeaways they even smell funny when you walk past falloff
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #23 posted 10/23/07 6:42pm

ufoclub

avatar

oriental only began becoming offensive in the late 80's from my recollection.

It was funny to hear that it was offensive at first, but I interpreted it to be offensive to group a lot of ethnicities together, especially when these ethnicities have racism against each other (Chinese vs Vietnemese vs Japanese vs Philipino vs Cambodian...etc



lol
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #24 posted 10/23/07 6:45pm

paisleypark4

avatar

PurpleJedi said:

2Jay said:

I think the whole argument is as stupid as calling us "African Americans" How would white people like it if we called them "European-Americans"?


confuse

Who came up with that term? I thought that it was the PC alternative to "black"?


Hell..what else are we supposed to be?
Download all the shit hop that you can for your kids, neices, nephews, and their friends also. That will prevent them from going out and buying it and will prevent some shit hop sales. Every little bit helps - Andy
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemus
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #25 posted 10/24/07 1:56am

PANDURITO

avatar

paisleypark4 said:

PurpleJedi said:



confuse

Who came up with that term? I thought that it was the PC alternative to "black"?


Hell..what else are we supposed to be?

People? smile
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #26 posted 10/24/07 2:08am

rimmer

Sooner or later u wont even be able to say "chinese". im certain of it. confused
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #27 posted 10/24/07 2:28am

mdiver

PANDURITO said:

paisleypark4 said:



Hell..what else are we supposed to be?

People? smile


nod
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #28 posted 10/24/07 6:50pm

Alasseon

avatar

My wife is from Beijing.
I've been studying Chinese for several years.

And I have no idea why "Oriental" is considered offensive vs. "Asian".

I would say close to a billion Chinese in China don't give a flying leap about this "controversy". Perhaps millions of Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodians wouldn't even recognize it as a slight, having more pressing matters on their minds such as their unequal economies that favor the industrialized cities over the underdeveloped countrysides, poor health care, the pollution of their natural resources, rampant AIDS, the lawlessness of the sex and drug trades, as well as the repressiveness of some of their governments.

But in America, we have an issue with the labels used to identify a group.

Historically, I know of really bad, derogatory words used for people of Chinese and Japanese heritage. We paid garbage wages to the Chinese as they built our railroads in the 19th Century; we interred Japanese-Americans, while ignoring German and Italian Americans during World War II; we continually fetishized and commoditized Asian women; and in our popular culture portrayed Asians as silly caricatures of Western stereotypes rather than the heirs and inheritors of exquisitely complex and majestic cultures.

But "Oriental" as a term, to me, connotes not only a location, but a culture, a history, an entire milieu evoking legends of not only Sax Rohmer but also Marco Polo, as well as a set of languages and traditions that while "foreign" to the Westerner, it was grand, and rich, and worthy of study.

To insult an Asian person, the average westerner wouldn't think of "Oriental". They would use words ending in -ink or -ap or make a reference to a particular color on the spectrum.

"Asian" to me is simply a racial category that paradoxically invokes a genetic association common to many people who would not consider themselves at all to be from "the Far East". Many Eskimos, Central Americans, South Americans, and others can be considered "Asian", but they sure wouldn't think so.

In the grand scheme of things, "Oriental" vs. "Asian" are terms used in the West to denote people of a certain ethnic, racial, historical, cultural, and geographic background. I suspect the folks most disturbed by this are the second and third generation Asians who are living in the West.

While you wouldn't call a person an "Oriental", to my poor ears it still seems fine for objects.

But let's not get started on the term "mongoloid"...that's a whole kettle of worms right there!
batman guitar

Some people tell me I've got great legs...
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
Reply #29 posted 10/24/07 7:35pm

lilgish

avatar

Alasseon said:


But let's not get started on the term "mongoloid"...that's a whole kettle of worms right there!


So what happens when the DEVO song of the same title comes up? Do you play it in front of your wife? lol
  - E-mail - orgNote - Report post to moderator
  New topic   Printable     (Log in to 'subscribe' to this topic)
« Previous topic  Next topic »
Forums > Politics & Religion > "Oriental" vs. "Asian"... I work for bigots