Talk:Oriental (word)

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 Definition Generalized notion of the "East," including the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia which in modern usage is applied to those parts of Asia east of Afghanistan, but outside of the Indian sub-continent. [d] [e]

"For most Asians"

Proposition: "For most Asians," or some other means of qualification, should be added to "While "I ordered oriental rice" is acceptable language, "I handed my coat to an oriental woman" is not."

I have made this change. The reason is straightforward. As Will has amply demonstrated, not everyone agrees with the claim in question. Hence, our Neutrality Policy demands that we qualify the claim somehow. This is perfectly straightforward. I request that if you, Richard, want to change it back, you address this first. --Larry Sanger 03:20, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

I would suggest this read "For most people", because the controversy does not fall along racial lines. Edward Said, myself and Richard Jensen, for example, are not Orientals. Will Nesbitt 14:14, 5 August 2007 (CDT)

Depends upon what it meant. Are we looking at the controversy universally, or subjectively? The first sentence of this paragraph suggests to me that it refers to what Asians themselves feel about these terms, self-referentially and when used by others. If that is the case, "for most people" cannot be used, because what non-Asians think would be irrelevant in this instance. Aleta Curry 17:48, 5 August 2007 (CDT)
My response above was not written to reflect anything you posted below. I wrote that because it is a fact that some speakers agree with this line of thinking. It is a fact that some speakers do not agree with this line of thinking.
I take your comment to mean that you saying that what some speakers think is more relevant than what others speak about the same subject? I actually find this thought a bit offensive, but I might be misreading you. This is the same line of argument that was used for a time to justify the language of rappers. The theory was that they were allowed to use racist terms and misogynistic terms because there thoughts were somehow privileged and more relevant when speaking about certain issues.
I personally ascribe to the theory that words mean the same thing no matter who speaks them.
However, I'm not sure that my personal opinion or yours really matters. (It's a waste of time to argue this.) The fact remains that some speakers agree with this and some do not. This is factual and keeps us out of a side argument of no import or consequence. Will Nesbitt 19:30, 5 August 2007 (CDT)
You *are* misreading me, and I'm going to disregard all the red herrings. I specifically said "in this instance". What I mean is, bluntly, that if your subject is "Do Roman Catholics object to being called Papists?", you must stick to the topic, rather than talking exclusively about what Methodists and Baptists and Lutherans and Episcopalians think of calling Roman Catholics "papist" and never talking about how Roman Catholics feel about it.
Thanks for the clarification. I'm not misreading you. I'm just disagreeing with you. ;^)
Some people who are not Roman Catholics may find the word "papist" offensive. Meaning they don't like it when their Roman Catholic spouses are called papists. They are offended by the word papist because they think the word is antiquated and inaccurate. I don't think there is any reason to label the offended as a particular type of person. Will Nesbitt 07:23, 6 August 2007 (CDT)
"Some people who are not Roman Catholics may find the word "papist" offensive."
True. Not my point. Aleta Curry 18:48, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

Rumor or Fact?

Proposition: Delete "In the 1970s the Ford administration banned the word (as applied to people) from federal government usage. " unless this statement can be sourced.

This is not only unsourced, it is factually wrong. I can point to Fair Housing Documents and EOE documents in use today which use this term to describe people. Will Nesbitt 07:33, 5 August 2007 (CDT)

Value Judgment / Bias

Proposition: Remove/reword this sentence "Today, unquestionably, in educated and polite company, one very rarely hears the word applied to people." on the basis that it is full of absolutes (which can be challenged on their own merits) and draws a line of controversy and argumentation where there is none.

CZ editors of East Asian ancestry and with ties to Oriental communities have already demonstrated that there is no great controversy associated with this word. This sentence stakes out an impossibly aggressive stance against the usage of Oriental which is neither supported anecdotally or by usage references. Furthermore, the sentence implies that those who do not agree with the editor's interpretation of the language are both impolite and uneducated.

It is true that some people find this word offensive in some usages, but this is the case with virtually every racial, regional, cultural and nationalistic label in the English language. Most readers know this already, and when we stake out this sort of grounds we risk alienated many fair-minded people. Will Nesbitt 07:42, 5 August 2007 (CDT)

"CZ editors of East Asian ancestry and with ties to Oriental communities have already demonstrated that there is no great controversy associated with this word." Will, I don't see that at all, and you have left out an important distinction, which is that where CZ editors have acknowledged usage of the word, they have almost always qualified that that is where oriental is applied historically, or to things rather than to people. The rest of your post just muddies the waters.
Aleta Curry 18:01, 5 August 2007 (CDT)
Aleta, I can extract and footnote the quotes if necessary, but that in and of itself would prove nothing. I should have said "some CZ editors" as that would have been much more accurate.
My point remains that a goodly number of people who are both educated and polite have no fear of the word Oriental. They do not believe the word is any better or worse than Occidental, European or even hyphenated politically correct constructs such as East-Asian. In the end though, their opinions, like mine, don't matter. The fact is the word remains in standard English usage as evidence by many many footnotes. Will Nesbitt 18:26, 5 August 2007 (CDT)
Will, I have understood and am not disputing your point. You may have missed mine, which is on context. Aleta Curry 19:05, 5 August 2007 (CDT)
Then I am still missing it. ;^)
Sorry, it's my fault, not yours. I am sometimes a bit thick-headed but I try to make-up for this short-coming with effort.
I agree that context is important to understanding whether "Oriental" is an insult or not, but I don't understand how this is unique to Oriental. The same could be said of Yank, Irishman, Frenchie, black man, Northerner, Southerner, Mexican, etc. I agree that a fool can attempt to use the Oriental label as an insult. I do not agree that there is anything intrinsically insulting about being called an Oriental. I believe that any term used to describe a class of human beings can be construed as an insult and I defy you to find a term that is not insulting in certain circumstances. For example the term "little angel" can be a compliment or an insult depending upon tone and context. Will Nesbitt 19:35, 5 August 2007 (CDT)
a) I didn't say it was unique to "Oriental" and b) we're not discussing any of those other words. Will, you're certainly not "thick-headed" here; you've demonstrated that you understand the concept absolutely perfectly. So what I need to understand is why the question of context should not be applied to the word "Oriental" the way it would be to all those others? The best you can say is "that there is no great controversy associated with this word in some contexts"--not sure why that is problematic? Or maybe you're thinking something like "Due to the prevailing school of political thought, today, unquestionably, in educated and polite company, one very rarely hears the word applied to people, even though use of the word is uncontroversial in some contexts"?
Anyway, I'm very aware that this page is on dispute watch and don't want to cross the line, so feel free to come talk. (And thanks for dropping me a line) Aleta Curry 01:14, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

Should we avoid certain talk when a page is under dispute watch? I don't think context is unimportant. What I think is insulting are the terms "polite" and "educated". That implies that those who use the term are both impolite and uneducated. That just isn't a factual statement. Will Nesbitt 07:26, 6 August 2007 (CDT)

Missing Source

Proposition: Source or remove following sentence: "However "oriental medicine" is somewhat more controversial."

The source is a dead link. The word is still commonly used by practitioners of Oriental medicine (as can be documented in any metropolitan Yellow Pages). This sentence may refer to legistlation which was passed a few years ago about the use of the phrase "Oriental Medicine". If I recall correctly, that phrasing was banned from state documents, but reality didn't comply with this edict. The word never was eradicated from California websites and documents after the complaints of a goodly number of practitioners. Will Nesbitt 07:48, 5 August 2007 (CDT)

Editorial claim unsupported by any source

Proposition: This sentence: "Many Asian gangs such as the OPB, Oriental Playboys, and the ORB Oriental Rutheless Boys, refer to themselves as oriental to stress they are outside social norms" should read: "Many Asian gangs such as the OPB, Oriental Playboys, and the ORB Oriental Rutheless Boys, refer to themselves as oriental."

This sentence ascribes a motive where no evidence of motive exists. It would be almost as silly to assume that the Shriners and the Oriental Food Association use the word to stress they are outside societal norms. The fact that this term is broadly used by members within and without polite society is an indicator that there is no large measure of controversy associated with the word. Will Nesbitt 07:53, 5 August 2007 (CDT)


From the New Oxford American Dictionary, 3rd ed., 2012:

"Oriental (Zoology) of, relating to, or denoting a zoogeographical region comprising Asia south of the Himalayas and Indonesia west of Wallace's line. Distinctive animals include pandas, gibbons, tree shrews, tarsiers, and moonrats." Anthony.Sebastian 03:07, 31 October 2013 (UTC)