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english speaking world vs. europe[edit]

just goes to show how ignorant english speaking people actually are. oriental in europe doesnt have anything to do with the chinese at all. in fact it refers to arabs. but of course there is no mention of this in the article and discussion.

Hmm. Where did you get this idea that oriental means the same thing everywhere in Europe ? To me "oriental" means "from orient" and "orient" means "extreme orient" (is it "far east" in English ?) and therefore includes China. As far as I can tell, it's the standard meaning of "oriental" in France. In any case it can't refer to Arabs (especially since many Arabs aren't to the east of Europe but to the south...). Since when does all of Europe have the same meanings for the same terms, anyway ? → SeeSchloß 02:39, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
At least in UK English, oriental can mean the middle east or the far east. LDHan 16:28, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
As I understand, in UK English asian refers to the middle east, while oriental is used for the far east. Kingadrock 05:11, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Not at all. It would be unusual (even if technically correct) to describe someone from the Middle East as Asian. Apart from that - anyone from Asia is Asian. However in the UK Asian is often a shorthand for people from the Indian sub-continant, due to the high levels of immigration from that region. --Michael Johnson 05:15, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
That's wrong. May I ask where you're from? As a Brit, I can assure you that (as used by the majority white popuation at least) the term "Asian" covers people from both the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.
And Oriental is a perfectly acceptable term in the UK. I don't think that it was ever originally used as a slur in the US either. "You Oriental!" ?? I understand that it became politically incorrect there only after some academic works argued that it was so. It seems very much like revisionary mischief -making to me. Probably driven by left-wing historical romantics in their little academic world, trying to push their anti-imperialist sentiment long after it had contemporary relevance--Farry (talk) 12:27, 9 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm from the U.S., and to me, "oriental" means China and its satellites, which are heavily influenced by the Chinese culture and writing system, such as Korea and Japan. "Asian", on the other hand, refers to anyone from the Philipines all the way to the Arab countries in the Middle East. There is no way to refer to people from the Chinese cultural realm, unless you use the word "oriental". "Oriental" is the adjective for a person from the "Far East", ie. China and countries strongly influenced by its culture and writing system. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jimhoward72 (talkcontribs) 05:49, 13 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm also from the US, and that's been my experience as well. The term refers basically to China, Japan, and Korea. Occasionally it's used in a wider sense to include Mongolia and the South-East (Vietnam, Myanmar, maybe as far West as Bangladesh) but generally not India. And regardless of what the heads-up-their-asses set (pardon my language) have to say about it being or not being Politically Correct, I hear the term used very frequently with no derogatory connotation in both formal and informal language. Furthermore, it's been my experience with what little I know of linguistics and etymology that the equivalent of the word Orient in other languages is generally used as contrasted with Occident. That is, it refers to the entire world excluding Europe, all of the Americas, South Africa, and Australia. Rather than being physically East and West, the terms describe the regions characterized by Eastern and Western culture. Try this map:

US people are wrong in using orient to mongoloid people. orient is the word to describe arab world or iran. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 23 December 2010 (UTC) (talk) 02:43, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Wow, who cares what non-english speaking people in europe use the word for? If interested, one might be inclined to check the wikipedia page in that language. H6a6t6e (talk) 13:58, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Protein Wisdom Bulletin Board[edit]

I've removed this link before--with it being replaced each time--as I believe because Wikipedia discourages the use of forums...due to the reader not knowing who is doing the posting. I've removed the link once again, however, it seems to not be working.

My question is: Does the link (if it is working) up to Wiki standards to remain in the article or not?--Joel Lindley 08:53, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Forums are not generally linked to, for the reasons you express. --Wetman 12:42, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

describing "pro-Oriental" as the "majority position"--obviously POV[edit]

Rather than reverting these recent edits wholesale, I attempted to go through and weed out phrases like "minority opinion" and "majority opinion" that are unsupported by any real evidence. Please discuss before putting them back.--Media anthro 13:15, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Sweeping changes?[edit]

I was curious to note that Media anthro completely re-wrote the article with sweeping changes to present his POV as if it was a fact. I attempted to edit his POV out, acknowledge the debate and then present the facts as objectively as possible. When I replaced his "sweeping changes", he reverted because of "sweeping changes"? Huh?

Please stick to the facts and leave the opinion aside. Anything other than a general discussion of the definition of the Orient is superfluous here. This is not the forum for either side to grind a political axe. The undeniable FACT is that some people think the term is derogatory, while some people disagree with that conclusion. It's important to acknowledge the debate. It's important to shed light on both opinions. But it's also important for Wikipedia to remain above and outside of the argument. Read Politically Correct, please. A thorough discussion about this type of topic is already throughly covered under that heading. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:08, 17 January 2007 (UTC).

Rewrote? I made no sweeping changes. I deleted recently inserted descriptions of criticisms of the term Oriental as "minority opinions," deleted some WP:OR and WP:POV text that I believed was recently added and left the other changes made by anon.
The debate was already acknowledged in the article without the addition of original research, particularly that chart.--Media anthro 23:14, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
PS: I think our dialogue will go more smoothly if we can refrain from assumptions of "political correctness" (not least because it's an intellectually lazy debate tactic and the phrase means nothing at all, really). I fully agree that the article should include at least two perspectives on using the term. I do not agree that it is in accordance with Wikipedia policy to tell readers things like
It's important to understand that the discussion about this term is a tiny battleground in a much larger debate about political correctness and the beneficial and/or detrimental consequences of political correctness on thought and speech.
or to make charts that attribute unsourced opinions to the "anti or pro-Oriental" crowds.--Media anthro 23:22, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

You removed POV and inserted this? "Despite any negative connotations the term may have in North America, oriental appears in many government documents. "

Where is the evidence that the term has negative connotations. That's not a fact. That's an opinion and that's the lead sentence. You rewrote the entire piece to reflect your opinion. I'm more than happy to concede that that some of the verbiage can be editted, softened or redirected, but I will stand firm in my belief that the Wiki-content remain outside the debate completely. (talk) 17 January 2007 (UTC).

Yes. I changed it to that from this: The evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of North Americans believe the term has no negative connotations, as evidenced by common usage as well as state and federal laws. Since when is a lack of legislation on a particular word equivalent to a public opinion poll on the offensiveness of that word? My version simply described the fact that some North Americans find the term Oriental offensive (we know that this is true from sources in the article, the Said ref, the Washington statement of preferred terminology, though we don't know how many) but noted that its presence in government documents is prevalent. Though really, come to think of it, we don't know whether that's true, do we?
Anyway, even if the word Oriental is commonly used with regard to food, placenames and gangs, that does not say anything about its general acceptability with regard to people. Cause if it does, I guess I'll go make some edits to colored, seeing as the NAACP uses that term in its name. If they do it, then colored must not offend anyone, right?
Some people find the term Oriental offensive. This is a documented fact. Other people hold this to be "political correctness." The article must reflect these things. That's where I stand on this.
You, however, have added text that simply asserts your opinion on political correctness.--Media anthro 23:49, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

We almost completely agree. I agree that "Some people find the term Oriental offensive." This statement is inaccurate "the text ... simply asserts your opinion on political correctness". I don't know have an opinion on political correctness. I just think that the article should not take a position on the debate. The article should be outside of all controversy. There is some controversy as to whether the term is derogatory or not. That is a fact.

Reverting to last stable version[edit]

I have reverted all recent changes, including my own, to the last more or less stable version on 01/16/07. Please don't reinsert these major edits until disputes are resolved here. First, I absolutely object to this table:

Viewpoint of those who believe the term has derogatory implications. Viewpoint of those who favor continued use of the term.
The term is an example of Eurocentrism. Eurocentrism is not bad
19th and 20th century Europeans and Americans who used the term held a patronizing attitude toward the Orient. The term's usage during that era therefore implies the insulting notion that Oriental nations and peoples are more backwards, while Occidental nations and peoples are more modern. It is hypocritical fight bias by stereotyping the intentions and implications of modern speakers based upon the percieved thoughts of long deceased speakers and writers.
Some works in "Oriental studies" were riddled with inaccurate information that was used to justify colonisation of these countries. This view was first, and most famously, put forward by Edward Said in his Orientalism. The sum of human knowledge continues to expand and has always expanded. It is not practical or desirable to introduce a new term for every word about which knowledge in the English-speaking ambit has expanded.
In Washington State it is illegal to use the word oriental in legislative and government-related documents because of the term's negative connotations[1]. The term has no such prohibition in 49 other states, the District of Columbia or any US Territories. The term is found more than two hundred eighty thousand of government and state websites and documents [2] and across in the USA describing place names [3], medicine[4][5], wildlife [6][7] plants[8], food[9][10] and people [11][12][13] or communities.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20] The term is even found on Equal Opportunity Employment[21] and Fair Housing [22] documents.
Some Asians are offended by the term or consider the term archaic. [citation needed] According to the FBI, some Asian gangs refer to themselves as oriental. [23][24]
The term has a derogatory connotation. Although the term is used in many business names it does not mean it is not offensive.[citation needed] Businesses such as Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, Mandarin Oriental, Oriental Financial Group, Inc.,Orient Thai Airlines, Orient Steam Navigation Company, Orient Watch Co., Neptune Orient Lines are just a few of many successful enterprises to share this term as a part of their name and the owners of these business evidently feel there is nothing derogatory about the term.
Many American Universities will no longer accept the official use of the term "Oriental"[citation needed]. The highly-regarded American Oriental Society and others continue to use the term in its publishings.
Some writers no longer use the term. [citation needed] Conservative commentators [25] and prominent Filipina Michelle Malkin regularly employ the term. [26] [27] [28][29].

This table posits exactly two poles on the term Oriental, and then attributes unsubstantiated positions to each. You, a Wikipedia editor cannot just declare that people find the term Oriental acceptable because the American Oriental Society uses the term in its name. Such assertions can only be made here if other reliable and notable sources make them. Same goes for the interpretation that since business names contain the term Oriental, they must not be offensive.

(The above, by the way, is a misstatement of the position that holds Oriental to be offensive when referring to people. This table is not only original research but an attempted beatdown on a straw man.)

Statements on the aspects of "political correctness" presumed to fuel the debate are similarly unacceptable, unless these views have been published somewhere else as verifiable facts and by a reliable and notable source.--Media anthro 13:13, 18 January 2007 (UTC)


The "stable version" was before you inserted your POV as a fact. Please stop trying to force your POV down the throats of others. Before eliminating the offending table please suggest a way to fairly show that there are opposing viewpoints. The FACT is the overwhelming and vast majority of North Americans agree with Europeans. They do not believe the term to be offensive. The majority opinion is supported by documented facts of usage in academia, business, criminal types. The minority position is supported by the one cited academic. If the truth be told the minority position has been give WAY too much latitude out of deference for the feelings of others. Either eliminate the debate altogether or quit snaking your POV into the article.

BTW, I recieved your message about the "reverting". I have not done any reverting. As far as I can tell you are the only one who has reverted. You continue to revert to your POV version. All I have done is added more references and edits. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:33, 18 January 2007 (UTC).

I reverted to the version before I made any major edits. Undoubtedly, there is POV in this version, but your table fails to address it.
You may believe that "the overwhelming and vast majority of North Americans" don't find Oriental offensive, but without a credible source, you cannot keep inserting that claim into the article.--Media anthro 13:38, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

There is no doubt that the term "Oriental" is in widespread usage. It is a fact that some people find the term offensive. It is also a fact that some people do not believe the term has any negative connoations. It is a fact that the connotations of this term are in dispute. That's the end of the facts.

What remains is opinion. The current article does not claim anything about the minority or majority, rather User claims the majority of North Americans in his posting above. I think the research supports that claim. I suggest that those who disagree provide proof to the contrary. At the very least he has proven that there is some question as to the terms connotations. If both sides of this issue are not fully presented, prejudicial readers won't have any idea why there are people who feel strongly one way or the other. Therefore, I agree with some stylistic set aside (whether that is in a table or in another format) which describes both sides of the debate without endorsing either side of the debate.

Can you suggest another way to present the debate without favoring one side of the debate?

I haven't made any claims regarding what a majority of North Americans thinks. There is no evidence in this article whatsoever to support a claim that an "verwhelming majority" of Americans are okay with the term. Maybe they are. I don't know. There is no evidence whatsoever to that effect, however.--Media anthro 17:54, 18 January 2007 (UTC)


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Media anthro vandalizing?[edit]

This article claims nothing about any "overwhelming majority" of anything. Media anthro should read the article before reverting to his POV piece. Heck, he even admits it's POV up above in the discussion! This isn't the forum to open a debate. Just stick to the facts. Meanwhile, what I see is a mountain of footnotes on one side of the table and a lot of "feeling" and opinion on the other side. Perhaps you should do some research to support your position instead of wiping out a well-documented article.

BTW, I find it very helpful to compare the two schools of thought side-by-side. Although I personally think the term Oriental sounds a bit archaic, I really thought the comparison to the word Jew was interesting. 20:37, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

My reversion was to the version of the article that existed prior to this first major edit by anon and before all of my major edits.
Seems to be a common misperception around here but just because you have footnoted something does not mean that you can make a novel interpretation of what the source says. In other words, you cannot claim that Oriental is acceptable because a gang uses the term in their name or because a government document makes reference to Oriental food.
It makes no difference whether you find the comparison to the term Jew "interesting"--unless a published author or other source has made that point and you can cite it.
The chart violates WP:OR and Wikipedia conventions hold that you should have consensus before making major changes like that. You did not have that consensus, and I suspect that all of the IPs are, in fact, the same user (you use the term "editting" quite a bit).--Media anthro 21:04, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The so-called novel interpretation is that Oriental is considered derogatory. That's simply an opinion.

The Table[edit]

First and foremost, that table is a glaring example of original research. Secondly, it is a glaring example of POV/bias, since it essentially presents straw man arguments and tears them down. However, even if the table were to be "evened out", so to speak, it would still be original research (and ugly, to boot). What's more, it is taking up a huge amount of space in the article to cover a debate that barely exists. A number of people find the term objectionable, most people have no objection to the term, the term is mostly archaic (probably because it is so poorly defined) and does not see frequent usage, outside of proper nouns, and very few people are even debating the matter. Jun-Dai 21:03, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

The table is gone. And I agree with nearly everything you stated, except of the the "straw man". If you look at the history of the article, the article long ago claimed as a fact certain that Oriental was a derogatory term. When that assertion was challenged, it was editted away because there were no facts to back up the opposing opinion. So now that facts are inserted to verify the claims of the opposing opinion, but now the work is labeled as "original research". Huh? This sounds like censorship because of vested-POV interests.

Either eliminate the debate entirely or allow both sides to present their views. I'm in perfect agreement with a statement that says something to the effect of: "A number of people find the term objectionable, most people have no objection to the term." As for "The term is mostly archaic." Prove it and I'll sign off on it. And as for "It does not see frequent usage, outside of proper nouns." I would disagree with that statement completely and I believe that statement is derived largely from your region of North America or perhaps your small circle of friends. On government sites alone the term is used on not less than 280,000 pages. The term is found on MILLIONS of pages across the Internet and is a common term in some parts of the country. I would agree that "very few people are even debating the matter." But I also think this statement supports the side who sees no problem with the term. Although few people are debating the term's usage, this debate does occur.

The trouble is how much of the argument is presented here and how is the argument presented?

Well, I'm glad the table is gone, and my opinion of the section in general is low enough that I'm not really going to argue about whether the subsection with the both-sides-of-the-debate lists should be there, particularly since it's no longer in such a clear point/counterpoint straw-man format.
About the rest of this discussion, which is no longer about the article itself as far as I'm concerned:
  • The status of the article way back when doesn't really concern me, since I'm pretty sure the article has never been a good one, so I'll leave that point alone.
  • As for the term's usage, I seriously doubt that the term exists on millions of pages across the Internet, but that's an unprovable point, at least with the resources available to us. Google search doesn't help us, because (1) its results are extremely inaccurate estimates and (2) it doesn't filter out proper nouns, which I claim to be the main reason the term finds usage, along with idiomatic or semi-idiomatic phrases such as "oriental rug" (persian), "oriental dancing" (middle-eastern), "oriental food" (south and east asian), or that sort of thing. I very rarely see other references to it in magazines, newspapers, Websites, etc. (and it usually sticks in my mind when I do). Of course it's also an unprovable point that the bulk of the usage of the term is as I describe, or at least I can't think of any effective way to prove/disprove it. I tried going through the first few pages of Google results--and they are pretty much all organizations or people that sell oriental rugs--but that's pretty inconclusive, since the first few pages on Asian produce almost exclusively names of organizations as well. Jun-Dai 22:29, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Original Research and Edward Said[edit]

Those who purport that "Oriental" is derogatory point to the work of Edward Said as proof to substantiate their claim. They refute the opposing viewpoint because there is virtually no scholarly reference directly refuting Mr. Said. Of course there is no direct refutation. Mr. Said was presenting a new and minority viewpoint which differed from the accepted and majority viewpoint. The majority and already-accepted position has no burden of proof. In other words, the term has been used, is being used and will be used. Therefore there is no other justification necessary other than the mountains and mountains of contemporary usage which are easily documented. No one EVER writes a book, thesis or document to prove that a term in general usage should remain in general usage. Rather ... it just keeps being used.

Additionally, almost the entirety of "oriental = bad" argument is founded upon the work of one scholar. This argument is already well-documented under Edward Said. I propose removing almost all of this debate and pointing those who are interested to the Edward Said page. I think it would be fair and safe to change Perceptions and Connotations to read:

  • Although oriental is generally considered a neutral term in the UK, other parts of the Commonwealth and most of Europe, there is some controversy regarding the connotations and implications of the term in North America. Edward Said is credited as being the first to describe and document the arguement against this term. However the term remains in widespread usage throughout the English speaking world and many people dispute Mr. Said's conclusion that the term has derogatory connotations. (Followed by a mountain of footnotes, gleaned from previous edits.)

The problem I have with this suggestion is that, it seems to give to much credence to what seems an minority position. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:09, 18 January 2007 (UTC).

Actually, the problem with that paragraph, though I don't have Orientalism at hand, is that I don't believe Edward Said is even arguing against the use of the term Oriental necessarily, but rather arguing against the way Westernern scholars misrepresent the (Middle) East as an exotic locale. He certainly didn't invent the notion that "Oriental" as applied to people is antiquated and offensive. At any rate, he was mostly concerned with the Middle East, not Asians.
I still disagree with including descriptions or implications that characterize taking offense at "Oriental" as a "minority opinion." We know that people are offended by the term. One state legislature has declared this so [1]. The American Heritage Book of English Usage notes the following:
Asian is now strongly preferred in place of Oriental for persons native to Asia or descended from an Asian people. Both terms are rooted in geography rather than ethnicity, but where Asian is neutral, Oriental sounds outdated and to many people even offensive.
We don't know the extent to which people are offended. Certainly I would never refer to any of the Asian-Americans of my acquaintance as Orientals (noun) because I know they would take offense. This anecdotal data of course is not a reliable source, but it makes me leery of these attempts to describe offense at Oriental as a minority opinion. And we don't know whether this is a major debate. We don't know any of this because no one can or will provide any sources to that effect. --Media anthro 23:43, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Additionally, almost the entirety of "oriental = bad" argument is founded upon the work of one scholar
    It might originate from that source (I find that very doubtful), but it is definitely not in any way logically founded on that source. There are plenty of reasons that people find the term appalling that have absolutely nothing to do with Said. What's more, I wouldn't agree with your assertion of the usage being widespread. Despite all of this, I think your proposed change would be a pretty big improvement on the section as it stands now. Jun-Dai 00:11, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Your clearinghouse for sources establishing the offensiveness of Oriental[edit]

I'll place sources here as I come across them.

Some words and phrases that refer to racial and ethnic groups are clearly offensive. Other words (e.g., Oriental, colored) are outdated or inaccurate.

This bill changes the terms "oriental medicine" and "oriental massage" in existing statutes to "Asian medicine" and "Asian massage... Current statutes make use of the term "oriental," which reflects a socio-political past that has been discredited, based upon ideologies that are no longer accepted. Many Americans today, and particularly Asian Americans, find the term "oriental" offensive and prefer the more neutral "Asian."

The term Asian is now strongly preferred to Oriental by persons native to Asia or descended from Asian people. Both terms are rooted in geography rather than ethnicity, but while Asian is considered neutral, Oriental sounds archaic and, to many Asian people, offensive. Why? The term Oriental was widely used in the past in the Western world to refer to foreign cultures and places that might have value for being "exotic," although not on a par with European civilization. It is also worth noting that the term Oriental is very nonspecific.

often capitalized, sometimes offensive : ASIAN

taboo term: a highly offensive term for somebody from East Asia

--Media anthro 00:13, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I welcome these and other sources which seem to back up your position. However, none of these sources will convince me that Oriental is a perjorative term. Just as I am quite sure that none of my arguments or references will convince you that there is nothing the matter with being an Oriental. However, I do think there is a place for these references in this article. I do not think this article should make espouse either opinion, as neither opinion can be established as a fact. Perceptions and connotations are nearly always subjective to some degree. So the problem is that this is an argument that can't be settled in this format. For every expert which is presented, an opposing viewpoint can be supplied.

BTW, neither your (nor my) anecdotal evidence has any value, but for what it is worth I know of many people (including myself) who self-identify as "oriental". I don't want to waste your time trying to explain something to you which you really don't care to know, so I'll remain as succinct as possible. No matter what prejudices are attached to the words "jew" or "white", jews and caucasians have no desire or intention of relabeling themselves. Perhaps this is because they feel comfortable being Jewish and/or white, no matter what those terms might mean or imply. I think it is the same with me as an Oriental. I think those who fight to change the term "Oriental" imply that there is something wrong with being Oriental. This strikes an emotional chord with me, because it's a direct insult at me and my Oriental heritage. I know that this emotion is completely non-academic and I can't back this up with footnotes, but at least it helps you understand my passion. I know that there are a good many who agree with me. I know there are a good many who agree with you. The overwhelming majority probably doesn't think about it at the usage of this term.

While there might be an academic resource which has already described my opinion, I don't know where it is or if it exists. What I know for a fact is that the term is in common usage. I also know that there is a movement to purge the term from usage. I and others disagree with this movement. Most people are completely unaware of this "struggle."

One distinction between jew and oriental is that jew is reasonably well-defined, at least in comparison. White is certainly trickier, as is black, but at least in the US, it refers to something that (a) needs referring to, (b) lacks a more appropriate term, and (c) by and large refers to a group of people that have a great deal in common culturally and politically, at least in relation to non-whites. There's no solution to the numerous problems with the term white that don't add complexity to talking about the situation, and so the term stays.
With oriental, there is no such need for the word, and in my experience it has mostly faded away. Now to get personal, as I feel your comment deserves a personal response. I don't generally get offended by the term, though I find it distasteful. More than anything, usage of the term causes me to feel that the person using it is essentially using it out of ignorance, not only ignorance to the fact that people are offended by it, but ignorance of whatever it is they are trying to refer to with the term. I don't know how true that is, but it is definitely a reaction that I have. It's not that it causes me to think less of them--I myself have more ignorance than I know what to do with--it's just that I think, basically, oh, this person probably doesn't know anything about Asia or Asian-Americans. Not that I do know a whole lot, it's just that I figure the other person knows even less.
For every sense of oriental, other than when one is trying to be sarcastic or evoke a sense of antiquity, there is a more meaningful term. Oriental is just a vague term that refers to various parts of Asia or the Middle East, at times including some and at times excluding others. I doubt any two people could run through a list of the countries of the world and come up with similar, much less the same results when trying classify them into "oriental" and "non-oriental"--that's how vague the term is. While Asia might not be the most culturally useful term, I think people tend not to object to it because it is tied to something much more specific (there may be some debate as to what countries are part of Asia and what countries are not, but there aren't many countries in the grey area). I've never even heard objections to Far East, and I think that's because it too is much less vague, just like South Asia, Southeast Asia, etc.
Another problem with oriental, which is certainly tied to its vagueness, is that the term has shifted around significantly. It's not that terms can't change meanings over time (white certainly has), it's just that the fact that the term has shifted as a convenient shorthand for the concept of "other" or "little understood". The term is in literature deeply tied to a sense of mysteriousness and exoticism associated with it. As the Far East becomes less exotic to a more global modern world, the term has--in my mind, at least--become somewhat archaic, and is relegated primarily to those situations where the mystery or exoticism is wanted, such as in travel advertisements (I had forgotten this point above. I do notice the term with some regularity in that context).
A point that I made much earlier on this talk page is that I feel it is primarily Asian Americans that get offended by the term, and that it is probably because they are inside the culture and language of the term. To someone for whom English is a foreign language, the term oriental is unlikely to carry any negative connotations, because they are an outsider and expect to be treated as such in the language and in other ways. On the other hand, to someone for whom English is their native tongue, there can be a feeling of offence at being excluded from your own culture by such a term. Obviously these are subtle effects, and it is after all just a word, but irritation can accumulate, and I think that is exactly what has happened for many people with that term. Jun-Dai 03:54, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

[N]one of these sources will convince me that Oriental is a perjorative term. I can live with that. I haven't been trying to establish that you're wrong in not seeing it as outdated or perjorative, but rather that is that it is documented that Oriental is broadly seen as outdated, pejorative or offensive in the US and that this is not a fringe opinion.

I think that there's plenty of room to include the view you present provided that you can find reliable sources (please consider reading that link) that document this.

Finally, you can sign your posts by doing this: ~~~~. Makes it easier to keep track of who's saying what.--Media anthro 10:27, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Prove Bigfoot doesn't exist. (And source it by your standards.)[edit]

I understand your opinion. You're entitled to your opinion. I've read the opposing viewpoint ad nauseum. However, I think that opinion is wrong and I fully appreciate you feel the same about my opinion. Repeating what I believe doesn't convince you of anything. Repeating what you believe doesn't convince me of anything. Furthermore, I understand sourcing and I don't appreciate being patronized. I hope that doesn't come off as too snide, but I'm just trying to establish our ground rules.

When I first read the Oriental article quite sometime ago, the article said that Washington State had "barred the term's usage, etc." This was made as an unverified claim to support the position that Oriental is somehow bad. First of all I found it preposterous that the term would be kept out of legal and governmental documents as I live in the Washington DC area, but travel to California and the Gulf Coast often. In all three places I have the opportunity to interact with government officials, so I doubted the veracity of this claim. (I already know that personal knowledge is not a basis for encyclopedic research.) So because I doubted this claim, I did the research to footnote the "preferred terminology statute" reference[1] found in this article. BTW, as an American who well remembers the Soviet Union, it's shocking to see words (and by default thought) regulated in the United States of America.

But this got me curious. I knew for a fact that I would not find a law anywhere that defines "oriental" as the preferred terminology. People don't make laws to endorse the legality of what doing what they have always done. Therefore, I knew it would be impossible to prove a negative. Of course, there are no laws against oriental, because it's a total non-issue for most of the country. This "controversy" is only an issue in one of the most left-leaning states in the Union. Thus, I can't find a law in any other state that says, "oriental = okay". However, I can verifiable prove that the word is in current usage in by governmental agencies across the country. How much more of an endorsement by the government can you get than to have the word on EOE and Fair Housing documents?!


Original Research, my ass[edit]

Pay dirt, baby. Read it and weep. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:14, 20 January 2007 (UTC).

By the same token, even in Washington state, one will not find a law that defines "European" as preferred over "white". It doesn't address these terms because they are non-issues. By the standard you are trying to impose, it would be impossible to prove that "Jew" is preferred over "kike" because there is no law in any state that specifically says "Jew" is preferred terminology over "kike." This law doesn't exist because NOBODY needs this law. So why do they feel they need this law in Washington State? Is it because Asians were persecuted in Washington prior to the law and now Orientals are free at last? Or is this law simply a tit for tat reaction in a state sensitive about political correctness? I can't definitively answer this question, but this is an interesting read for arriving at your own conclusions.

It is my opinion, an opinion you obviously disagree with, that the word oriental is pervasive and accepted and used all over the country. Given the limitations you are attempting to impose it would be equally impossible to prove that "white" is an accepted term. Certainly, one could point to usages of the term "white" everywhere, but it would be very difficult if not impossible for you to find an academic who has put together an essay, thesis or book describing why the term "white" is acceptable. While it might be nearly impossible to prove that "white" is preferred terminology over "European", it would be a simple matter to prove that lots of people use the word "white".

But how could one possibly disprove the strongly-held assertions of others that "white" is somehow perjorative, but "European" and "European American" are preferred terminologies? While someone who believes this theory might be able to point to a few non-white writers whose life work revolved around "caucasian studies", it would be much more difficult for the majority to point to academic works which directly endorsed the use of the word "white".

How could one possibly prove that "white" is not perjorative (in the opinions of SOME people)? We're not trying to prove the term doesn't offend some people. I would guess that nearly every label would offend somebody. I'm just trying establish that an accepted and commonly used term doesn't offend EVERY person. If the word was offensive would it be used by government, by business, by academia? How much more sourcing can one possible find than common usage? Conversely, can you point the the American Kike Institute? Can you point to a university that has a WOP Studies program? Can find a Fair Housing or EOE document that allows the respondant to choose between honkie, colored, beaner or oriental? Come on now. At some point, it's not that you're not understanding, it's that you're trying not to understand.

I don't like ad hominem attacks, so I hope this doesn't sound like one. But it is my guess that you have so completely bought into the "oriental = bad" mindset, that you are blinded to the staggering majority of Americans who would disagree with you.

As an aside, I think the text about "oriental" being accepted in Europe is probably baloney --- especially by your standards. This text was inserted by Europeans who saw the article and stepped in to insert their opinions. The difference is, while Orientals are 5% or less of the American population, Orientals are 1% or less of the European population. Thus, the argument (which is a small one here) is completely off the radar over there. I think English speakers in Europe probably feel the same way we feel here. Some people think Oriental is archaic. Some people think Oriental is okay. Some tiny percentage feel strongly one way or the other.

BTW, here are more "pro-oriental" references. These guys look pretty serious and they don't look to be in the business of being perjorative toward East Asian cultures and peoples:

publishing house

Journal of the American Oriental Society

Although by the outrageously high standards you're trying impose you'll point out that this was written in 1938. While this was written in 1938, the descriptor was written currently.

Used in the NY Times

In Australian academia

In Indian academia

At Queens College in NYC

The Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago

The San Diego State University's Department of Linguistics and Oriental Languages

International Journal of Computer Processing of Oriental Languages founded in 1988. Editor-in-Chief: Shi-Kuo Chang, University of Pittsburgh

Do you think the Oriental Yellow Pages is in the business of offending Asians?


The list goes on and on and on ... 12:21, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Your implication that you are being asked to prove a negative does not work here. I have supplied reliable sources that state that Oriental does not enjoy preference in the US. If it is in fact the case that people are widely identified or self-identify as Oriental, shouldn't there be similar documentation beyond your opinion?
It is my opinion, an opinion you obviously disagree with, that the word oriental is pervasive and accepted and used all over the country. Opinions cannot be stated as facts in Wikipedia articles. That is what we mean by original research. If Oriental is widely used in the United States as a noun to describe people, then there should be sources that document this. All of your sources pertain to Oriental as an adjective, names of places and things, are quite dated, or are references to uses outside the US.
Moreover, as has been noted many times now, the position I have advocated for including in the article is that Oriental, in recent times, in the United States, is widely viewed as offensive when applied to people. Not things, places, food, hotels, language studies or gang names.
This is not the proper forum to discuss at length our personal feelings on Oriental. Wikipedia has standards for including information in articles including the requirement that we report truthfully what other sources have said about a subject. Your edits have violated this requirement. It is untrue to say that most people in the US find the term acceptable. Pretty much every dictionary and style manual notes that the term is considered obsolete or offensive.--Media anthro 13:46, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Please stop preaching and condescending. I KNOW opinions are not the basis of Wikipedia articles. This is my point EXACTLY. But evidently, I’m being too subtle.
I’m trying to explain that YOUR OPINION is not the basis for a Wikipedia article. You cannot PROVE that “Oriental” is a derogatory or pejorative term. You can only prove that some people find the term derogatory. I cannot prove the term doesn’t carry derogatory connotations. I can only prove that many people use the term.
By the way, the article doesn’t say anything about “most” people. By the way you should read the references before you dismiss them. The International Journal of Computer Processing of Oriental Languages was founded in 1988. If I cited a source founded in 2007, you’d say the source is too new. I get it. You don’t have to keep repeating yourself. You don’t like “oriental”. BTW, this is an untrue statement: “Pretty much every dictionary and style manual notes that the term is considered obsolete or offensive.”
But at least now I understand the tactics of your debate. Your tactic is to off-load the entire burden of proof upon me. That implies that your position is the default position. This is a huge work generator for me. Then when I do the work to support my position, you can simply and flippantly dismiss the proof. What proof you cannot dismiss you can call “original research”. Of course, by your standards, the "authorities" (meaning those few references who agree with you) have endorsed your opinion as fact-based. (BTW, the truth is the references you cite above simply do not back up your assertiions.) By using this tactic, you hope to win the debate by attrition.
I don’t hope to win the debate. I know I won't convince you of anything. Your mind is set ... as is mine. I just hope to preserve another opinion. I am fighting to keep your opinion out of the facts. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:44, 19 January 2007 (UTC).
Regarding your comment, "BTW, this is an untrue statement: 'Pretty much every dictionary and style manual notes that the term is considered obsolete or offensive.'". That statement is sort of at the crux of Media anthro's point, which is that most relevant organizations with much higher standards of submission have acknowledged the term's obsolescence and/or offensiveness. If you disagree with that point, then that is the centerpiece of the argument you too are having. I don't know about the "pretty much every"--not because I doubt it, but simply because I don't consider my own exposure to those sources comprehensive enough to back up such a claim. Certainly in my limited sampling it seems true, and Media has definitely proven that it is true for several major organizations. What is needed, in your mind, to prove the point in a more comprehensive fashion? More references? Or is there a fundamental problem you have with this approach that more references would not solve? Jun-Dai 19:06, 19 January 2007 (UTC)


The two of you are sort of talking past each other. I'd like to know what either of you would require to see your point disproven. If your point isn't disprovable, then you're not really entering into the argument in good faith, and given that neither of you seem satisfied with each other's references it would be helpful if you would explain what sort of references you would consider relevant.
Also, unless I'm mistaken, Media anthro has pointed out that he/she doesn't see oriental as an offensive term except in reference to people. If that's the case, then you two might be arguing about nothing, because all of's points and certainly references seem to revolve around its use to describe nouns other than people (e.g., languages, cultures, etc.). Part of his/her reason for doing so might be the fact that the article's mention of the offensiveness of the term has never restricted that to its use in relation to people. So it might help if we understood the actual points of disagreement here.
Lastly, before you use it any further, I'd like to point out that the word is pejorative, not perjorative Jun-Dai 19:17, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
You're correct. We're talking past each other. H

According to Media anthro's source Oriental is "often capitalized, sometimes offensive". That's exactly what I'm willing to concede. However, Merriam Webster does NOT say "this term should not be used to describe people." I agree completely with the dictionary. Anything said beyond the point of "sometimes offensive" is simply opinion. We can argue about the meaning of "sometimes" and we can argue about the meaning of "offensive" all day long. But can we please agree that it's "sometimes offensive" and not "always offensive". Who needs a lecture about the 19th and 20th Century academics? If you open up the debate to anything more than accepted fact you end up with a discussion forum. 22:20, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I seem to have two positions here.
1. Oriental, as a noun that describes people, is widely and presently seen as outdated or offensive in the United States (though not by everyone). I have provided reliable sources in accordance with Wikipedia policy that support this. These sources use terms that range from "sometimes offensive" to "taboo".
  • I do not know whether this is the case true outside of the US and make no claims regarding that.
  • I do not hold a position on whether this is true for other uses of the word (such as Oriental studies or Oriental rugs).
  • The idea that Oriental is objectionable is not a "minority opinion" in the US, and this is reflected in the sources I have produced.
  • I agree that it's not offensive to everyone and that there are likely published sources to support this, but I do not agree to removing reliable sources that describe it in stronger terms than "sometimes offensive" such as "taboo." Rather, I support the inclusion of sources with multiple points of view.
  • I have not yet found a reference source that does not describe Oriental as offensive or outdated.
2. Sources used to support the idea that some people in the United States do not find the term Oriental being applied to people objectionable should conform to WP:V and WP:NOR.
  • The ones currently in the article do not, as far as I am aware, support this specific use of Oriental (n.), with the possible exception of the ones pertaining to gangs. Many do support the notion that not every use of Oriental is offensive (as in names of companies, rugs, etc.).
  • Finding sources could mean producing dictionary entires or style manuals current in the US that do not describe Oriental as a noun as offensive.
  • Cultural critics, essayists or journalists who hold such a position would also be acceptable, I think. Michelle Malkin is cited in the article, though I didn't see any use of Oriental on the links that I clicked.
  • I do not agree that the Merriam-Webster description of "sometimes offensive" should be reinterpreted to mean "some people prefer to be called Oriental".
--Media anthro 23:25, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

You're so completely convinced of your own certitude that you can't allow for another possibility of truth. It's beginning to get quite frustrating. I am now convinced that it's not that you are unable to understand the alternative, but that you refuse to understand the alternative. I'm begging you ... PLEASE stop changing my words. (By "my words" I do not mean "the article". I mean please stop changing my argument into something that I never said and that was never said, just so you can punch down something ridiculous.

For example, "I do not agree that the Merriam-Webster description of 'sometimes offensive' should be reinterpreted to mean 'some people prefer to be called Oriental'." First of all, you have no clue what some people prefer. You really don't. The fact is SOME PEOPLE (the Oriental Playboys for example) DO prefer to be called Oriental. What I said and "sometimes offensive" does not mean "always offensive". "Sometimes offensive" does not mean "offensive" when referring to people. Did it ever dawn on you that the people who write the dictionary have already had this discussion? After much discussion, they probably agree that the term was "sometimes offensive". I agree that the term is "sometimes offensive", but for some reason the dictionary doesn't seem to be a good enough source for you.

If you can't find a word on a reference page, go to "Edit" and then to "Find on this page". 12:32, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I really do wish at this point that some other editors had some input because this isn't going anywhere good. Look, I fully accept that "SOME PEOPLE... DO prefer to be called Oriental." Okay? I agree that it's not "always offensive." Very few terms are always offensive.
My biggest problem is with the original research in the article and the failure to ascribe that view to any published source. I also have issues with the wildly irrelevant passages about Jews and Steve Irvin. If a published source had made an argument regarding "Jew" and "oriental", it would be fine to cite it here. You making that argument is original research.
As for Merriam-Webster, my point was that we have no idea what they meant other than that Oriental is "sometimes offensive." Media anthro 13:11, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I think the latest changes made by are good ones.--Media anthro 13:21, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I disagree that this is going nowhere. I think your most recent edition was very close to acceptable. You eliminated all the irrelevant pontifications regarding 19th Century Academics. In response, I blasted all the counter-points. I for one would much prefer to stick to the facts. I'm not in favor of arguing toward an "oriental = good" viewpoint. I just don't think the evidence supports "oriental = bad". I will accuse you of gleaning quotes from your sources which support your position, rather than pulling in neutral quotes. You were a tricksy hobbit when you quoted "Random House", a dictionary publisher, blurring the line between a "dictionary" and a much more biased work: "The Guide to Sensitive Language." I hope you read the most recent edit before reverting. I think it's close to something we can agree on. 13:24, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

BTW, a quick anecdote of why I hate political correctness. Last night for dinner I ate an "Asian Fusion" restaurant. Do you know what "Asian Fusion" was? Oriental! In other words mixed up various cuisines from East Asian and call it Asian Fusion. The reason this ticks me off is because we've replaced one perfectly fine word with two inaccurate words. It wasn't "Asian" as there were no Khababs, no bortch, no curries. It wasn't "fusion". (It wasn't fission either.) It was friggin' Oriental cuisine. (Mine was teriyaki with sides of kimchee and some chinese noodles. Pretty good. Hers was fried flounder with ponjon (or however you spell it). I'm running late. ta ta 13:29, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

No reverts on my end. At first glance, I think you improved on it. I'll probably tweak it some later, but I think maybe I'll spend the Saturday away from the computer. I think there's still work to be done on tone, and I think academic discussions of Orientalisms of the 19th century and 20th centuries probably belong somewhere in the article. --Media anthro 13:47, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Do what you will, but if you feel compelled to start putting in discussions of 19th and 20th century Orientalism under "Perceptions and Connotations", then I'll feel compelled to put in the counter points. I don't have any problem with a separate sub-heading that talks about how some older material is out of date, that's perfectly fine. Where I draw the line is when you insert inferences derived from these facts.

Original Research, my ass[edit]

Pay dirt, baby. Read it and weep. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:16, 20 January 2007 (UTC).

Well, at least you didn't revert.

The references, btw, are rock solid and indisputable. Yale Book Review. US News. Professor's of English and a well-researched book. The only thing I'm curious to see is how you're going to find a way to interweave your opinion into the article. You've been driving your POV from the get-go, as evidenced by the quotes you pulled from your references to make it appear as if your references agreed with your position. My favorite one was when you blurred the line between Random House (a maker of dictionaries) and Random House's Guide to Sensitive Language. My guess is that you will find another procedural move to stifle facts which differ from your opinion. 22:29, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

I see one paragraph in this latest round of additions that has relevance to this article:
US News and World Report writes, "Unsurprisingly, (Ravitch's book) has gotten the cold shoulder from our education establishment ..." [1] Laurie Morrow, a former Salvatori Fellow of the Heritage Foundation and professor of English writes:
Although the Japanese proudly consider themselves eastern--from the Land of the Rising Sun (remember that World War II flag?)--don't call them "Oriental," for this is Eurocentric, and one should have no center in the happy world of cultural equivalence. (One wonders whether the language police would object to a Tokyo resident's using the term Occidental?)
The language police seek to eliminate anything that might cause students discomfort or distress. The world is, however, a difficult and trying place, full of ideas that must be resisted and fought. What students need to learn are courage and perseverance in the face of difficulty, so that they can confront what should be resisted--including censorship by the language police.[2]
--Media anthro 22:32, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Correction. You see one paragraph in this latest round that you think supports your POV. I have editted to indicate that Professor Morrow was attempting sarcasm in the extreme when she stated, "don't call them "Oriental," for this is Eurocentric." Read the references and then at last you will come to the realization that not everyone in the world agrees with your POV. 01:23, 21 January 2007 (UTC)


Request for comment[edit]

Can any interested editors comment on 1) the tone of the article, particularly Perceptions and connotations 2) the appropriateness of the sources used to document various positions in that section? It's difficult to recommend any good starting point on this talk page for more background, but try this. Thanks. --Media anthro 22:48, 20 January 2007 (UTC)1

There is a mountain of sources to back up the opposing viewpoint. Have you considered the possibility that your opinion is not a fact?

Is there a single reference you can challenge? Or do you simply challenge the work as a whole because it doesn't support your opinion? Can you please point to a fact that is unverified? Can you please introduce a fact that remains unwritten? Since when is sourced and quoted material from reputable sources "Original Research"?

In other words, what's your excuse now ... 01:39, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

comment - I don't think this article is the place to talk about the controversy over political correctness, this is beyond the scope if this article. It is fair to simply state that the term is offensive in North America and leave it at that. futurebird 14:29, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

But why would you "leave it at that" when that opinion is clearly challenged as evidenced by a mountain of documentation. 22:50, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Banned Words and Images[edit]

In addition to Oriental, many images and words are "banned" from modern textbooks. Of course there are many scholars and commentators who disagree with the banning of these words and images. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:32, 21 January 2007 (UTC).

A long list of such asserions has no place in an enyclopedia article. Editors who log in aand sign their posts on talkpages re often taken more seriously. --Wetman 04:50, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Please check the sources before you censor. Perhaps you'll learn something. I would prefer that you cease ad hominem attacks against me, but even so you don't need to take me seriously. If you haven't read the source material, you're uninformed and thus in no position to challenge the work of respected scholars.

BTW, in an article where it is claimed de facto that "oriental" is a bad word, it's important to understand the other words and concepts which have been banned. This gives a framework to understand both the political climate surrounding and the agenda of those who seek to forcibly eradicating the term from usage.

In previous editions, I asserted these facts based upon a wealth of sources, and it was claimed that this was "original research". Now, I have supplied facts founded upon serious scholarly work of others. I know it's quite a surprise that not everyone thinks the same way you think, but that's no reason to censor shocking material.

Let's be get the whole truth out there. Many "archaic" terms and images are banned from American textbooks specifically those which apply to so-called Asians. 12:17, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

"banned from modern text books". This statement seems to be US-centric and not generic to the English speaking world, or the rest of the world.--jrleighton 06:45, 7 February 2007 (UTC)


"The creation of a polarity oriens/occidens originated in Roman imperial administration from the time of Diocletian and was taken up in Christian Latin literature, but the term Orient did not enter Western European languages until the time of the Crusades[1]" -- What does this mean? How can the poliarity oriens/occidens have been CREATED? the concept of west is DEFINED as the opposite of east -- the polarity is inherent to the meaning of the term. And how can the term orient not have appeared till the Crusades if (as was just noted) the words are Latin and date back to Diocletian at least? What is this supposed to mean?-- 21:59, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Orient or Oriental[edit]

The vasy majoritry of debate about this article arises from the fact that it redirects from "oriental". Most of this concerns US debates about "PC" and anti-PC terminology, debates that are largely meaningless ouitside the USA. I propose that we split the article into two separate ones Orient and Oriental. The latter might be called something more specific such as Oriental (ethnic label). Most of the Pro and Con stuff about the use of the term as a synonym for East Asian/Mongoloid etc could go there, with a link from here. Paul B 15:44, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Paul, I think this a great idea because there is a consensus about much of what Orient and Oriental means. However, there is some degree of controversy regarding the implications of the ethnic label Oriental. If the controversy is labeled as controversy then well-researched opposing viewpoints can document opinions which will allow the reader to make up his mind. This could also include larger/related issues such as chinaman ElderStatesman 13:46, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Can someone please reign in MediaAnthro who is on a baseless revert binge? ElderStatesman 16:34, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Recent Tag: Globalize USA[edit]

It is hardly the fault of American editors that other international editors have not contributed to this section. Actually, the onus may lay with other international editors to get off their collective "donkeys". 03:37, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I don't think that's not the problem. The problem is that American editors tend to have a far more emotional and political investment in this concept than people elsewhere in the world. Paul B 11:34, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, outside N. America, "orient/oriental" is not controversial. LDHan 19:32, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Absolutely true! 18:23, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

The term is not controversial in North America either. However, there is a tiny number of political activists who want to attach a stigma or victim status to the world oriental and thereby justify their pandering and prostituting for political gain. They exploit the ignorance of some and the compassion of others to exploit the American political system. This doesn't actually solve any problems, but it does generate a flow of government dollars to their "cause." 17:58, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

I was brought up with the term 'oriental' meaning from the countries of Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, etc. 'Asian' means someone from Asia. If we go around replacing 'oriental' with 'Asian', then how do we make the distinction? If you say 'Asian' to mean 'oriental', then what do you say to mean 'from Asia'? The oriental cultures share many features and historical events, while other Asian countries like Turkey and India are related to wholly different cultures and even different anthropological roots. 03:28, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

"oriental" being politically incorrect or offensive is just another example of people attempting to start a "chain-letter" or "fad" around the world so they can tell people "I started that".

With this tiny gloge using the Internet for high speed communication, people just love to start a rumour, only to see it explode and come back to them, after infecting the world with their disease. This is the analogous to the computer virus writers. It is the latest sickness affecting us via electronic media.

"Oriental" was and never will be offensive to people from those origins as evidenced by so many North American "Oriental" restaurants and "Oriental" societies named by the very culture themselves.

North Americans, grow a pair and stop being so gullible. Our English laguage has been destroyed by this very technique of people attempting to coin a phrase for world recognition by the "look-at-me" crowd.

"Asian" is not a correct term for this culture of people. Russians are Asian and not "Oriental", as well as are Arabs, Iraelites, Lebanese and Siberians. "North Americans" is likelwise not correct for all "Christians" or "whites" in the world.

Geez people! We have to start ignoring this influx of stupidity to preserve what we have left of our sanities. Just because one person says it and another repeats it does not make it true. I mean look at the people that think the movie hoax "nitro-glycerin" is real or even the biggest one of all... the "Global Warming" scam. (talk) 04:45, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Wrong Link[edit]

Under the subheading "Usage of term", "Orientalism" should link to the Wiki article on the book; it currently links to the broader topic. I'd rectify that, but I just don't know how. (talk) 07:11, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

British English[edit]

In the last sentence is it not redundant to say "The only other alternative..." How about just, "The alternative is to refer..." What do you fair people think?

By the way, I live in the US but I spent several months in Afghanistan. Much of my time was spent with British citizens, and they referred to the locals in this Southwest Asian country as Asians. The Brits also referred to some South Korean military officers as Orientals, and there was nothing derogatory about it that I could detect. My ancestors came from Norway, but I certainly do not get upset if someone calls me Scandinavian instead of Norwegian or American! Hildenja (talk) 16:21, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Tone of intro[edit]

Forgive me, but the tone of the intro was quite inappropriate for an encyclopedia, so I took the liberty of rewriting it, from:

The "Orient" is a term traditionally used in Western culture to refer to the Middle East, and Egypt resp. the whole Arabian influenced North Africa. Today also the eastern and southeastern Asia is sometimes called "Orient", except Russia, i.e. North Asia. The term "oriental" is considered politically incorrect. It refers to Asians as the people to the east, which makes the person using the term "oriental" declaring himself better than the Asians because he is basing the world around him. This may have been an acceptable term to us a long time ago, but times have changed and we know we are all equal, so the term "oriental" is politically incorrect.

--Adoniscik (talk) 20:51, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I know this last post was a bit old but I don't know about you, but I'm Chinese (and in the USA) and I don't percieve being called "Oriental" as being politically incorrect at all. I actually think that since "Oriental" (at the currect time) refers more specifically to the Far East (excluding Russia), specifically Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietmanese etc. that it is a more useful term than just "Asian" as Asia is a large continent with many different kinds of peoples. The use of "Oriental" is therefore more useful in this respect as it refers to a specific group of Asians. Also, I think there should probably be some sort of proof or citation for "Oriental" being considered PC or not PC, because, like I said, the Oriental people I know don't think "oriental" is not PC. But that's just my two cents. (talk) 05:22, 31 May 2008 (UTC)


Originally "Orientals" were Semites. The common Arabic look was known as "Orientalid", and Jews were frequently referred to as "Orientals". "Oriental" meaning "East Asian" is a very modern concept. Something to this effect should be added to the article. I'll look for links... Dr Rgne (talk) 10:14, 28 May 2008 (UTC)


I have edited the part that said the whole Western World uses the term "oriental" to describe a person or artifact of East Asian origin. This is wrong!!!This maybe true for America - but is Wikipedia English only catering Americans? Not!!! The Term oriental refers in most countries to the live style , culture and products of the Middle East, North Africa and sometimes South Asia and even Central Asia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:03, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

cleanup proposal[edit]

I added a {{cleanup}} tag just before the Perceptions and connotations section, with the following reason:

The rest of this article talks exclusively about the uses and perceptions of the term Oriental (and not the Orient) and would be better split into a separate article, interlinked in the See also section. This would improve the mapping of the language interwiki links, since other language wikipedias generally keep the concepts (Orient the noun meaning a vaguely defined region of the Earth; Oriental the adjective meaning of the Orient or of the east) separate. -84user (talk) 16:30, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Most of the dispute is about its use as a specifically ethnic/racial label ("I saw two orientals earlier") rather than anything else. I cerationly agree that this should be split. It arises because Oriental is currently a redirect to Orient. I suggested this back in 2007, but the page was a bizarre battleground then. Paul B (talk) 16:37, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Oriental means Arab and Bizantine empire not far east[edit]

oriental means arab and bizantine, the usage of word oriental in U.S is wrong. in US, many things are used wrongly such as hispanic which means people from spain kingdom. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:44, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Is "The Land of the Rising Sun" even relevant?[edit]

The Derivation section has "The Land of the Rising Sun" to refer to Japan as an example of using "sun/rise" to refer to "east." The fact that Japan is east of China, and thus the sun rises on Japan before China (hence the name), has no reference to the terms for "sun/rising" being analogous with "east." I think it's irrelevant and should be removed, but I'm new here so I don't want to just go and delete something if someone else has a valid argument for its legitimacy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Phoenix 6 (talkcontribs) 02:36, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

Usage of Term[edit]

I have updated the section from Remnants of the older conception of the Orient still exist in the English language in such collocations as Oriental studies (now Asian Studies) to Equally valid terms for the Orient still exist in the English language in such collocations as Oriental studies (now Asian Studies in some countries). There is a widespread belief that moving to 'Asian Studies' by some seats of learning in the US and elsewhere was based on political correctness and has nothing to do with definition. My personal belief which is neither here nor there is an attempt by certain elements to Americanize and 'correct' the English language according to some local ideology. Please refer to [Studies]. Being both British and coming from a very long line of men serving their country in the 'Orient' and having served as a journalist there for over twenty years I have never come across whether anecdotally, through research or in literature the use of 'Orient' to describe India, it is usually applied to Japan, China, Korea and so forth.Twobells (talk) 11:39, 21 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree. The term is only used for East Asia or southeast Asia. Not South Asia. Saturdayseven (talk) 12:24, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Southeast Asia, from Burma eastwards, is most certainly in the sphere known nowadays as "the Orient". BUT the older term "the Orient" began at, well, Vienna and definitely included places like Constantinople (Istanbul) and Alexandria. "The Oriental Question" referred to the diplomatic fun and games attending the slow collapse of the Ottoman Sultanate; and the name "the Orient Express" meant that the train went to Constantinople (not Beijing). I think you people need to read more books and take off your narro-viewpoint blinkers.Skookum1 (talk) 18:47, 27 March 2011 (UTC)
Certainly, in modern British English usage "oriental" means "East Asian" (oddly "Asian" normally means "South Asian"), but of course the word has historically been used to mean any culture determined to be "eastern" - definitely beginning with Turkish and Arabic cultures. Paul B (talk) 18:50, 27 March 2011 (UTC)

"Use in British English": inaccurate (or confusingly worded)[edit]

"In British English, the term Oriental refers to people from East and Southeast Asia. On the other hand, the word "Asian" refers to people from Indian Subcontinent. Therefore, Orientals is the only term which can refer to people of East Asian origin."

  • I would say that Oriental usually refers to people from East and Southeast Asia, especially in "modern" use, but it is also sometimes used to mean "Asian" more generally (especially in older but extant excamples).
  • "Asian" when used to refer to people (as in "Asians") is most often used to refer to people from the Subcontinent for the simple reason that most Asian-origin people in the UK are from there. But that doesn't mean that people from other parts of Asia can't be described as Asian or Asians (anecdotally, I know several people of Chinese origin who refer to themselves as such). (Just to make things even more inconsistent, an "Asian restaurant" generally means on serving food from East/Southeast countries. One serving food from the Subcontinent would normally be refered to as "Indian" - even if it was Pakistani or Bangladeshi).
  • The last sentance is ambiguous (and wrong in all interpretations I can see). As written, its wrong, because "Asian" can refer to East Asians. I think it is trying to say that "Oriental" is the only term than can unambiguously be used for East Asians, but that is still not true as a) "East Asian"/"East Asians" can also be used, and "Oriental" isn't necessarily unambiguous.

Iapetus (talk) 15:57, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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