PantherCult wrote: ↑Tue Dec 06, 2022 10:33 pmThe entire notion of "Eastern World" and "Western World" is flawed though - as directions of East and West are relative to your starting point. Asia is only "East" if your starting point is Europe. Asia is the West if our starting point of reference is the United States. And the word Oriental was used perjoratively enough - especially in the western united states - that it became offensive to those it was used to describe and thus fell out of fashion.EnigmaticClarity wrote: ↑Tue Dec 06, 2022 9:32 pmI've heard multiple explanations for how "Oriental" fell out of fashion, but not one that makes complete sense. Historically the Occident is the western world and the Orient is the eastern world,, so how a geographical descriptor ended up becoming a slur is puzzling.
This reads like an advantage FOR the continued use of Occident and Orient. So Orient has been all used up by racism. Is the thought is that changing the language for an otherwise-neutral word is going to stop the racist thoughts? SPOILERS--it won't. As long as there is a word to describe people from a specific place that will continue, and changing the language won't make a dent in that.
Asian strikes me as a particularly problematic word to replace Oriental since it blurs multiple races, ethnicities, cultures, and religions just as you outlined. How long before racism taints "Asian" too? Fifty years? Five? The cycles are quickening, so I won't be surprised if racism taints Asian in even LESS than five years given that it was a poor replacement to begin with. And how long before racism fouls the next neutral word as well? Should we just eliminate all words that designate a geographical region to deny racists any possible arsenal for attack?
This topic interests me for multiple reasons--my love of English and my having been a Zen Buddhist for 30+ years being the two primary ones--and I've been completely confused by the entire idea of that word being a slur for 10+ years now. As you pointed out I've also heard people posit it started on the American West Coast and that the UK mostly doesn't view the word that way, and I don't completely get that, either, other than the fact that there are over a million Chinese immigrants living in California.