Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 22:51:22 -0500


Subject: Re: Asian

On Tue, 12 Mar 1996, Ron Rabin wrote:

Has the meaning of Asian changed recently in American English?

When Oriental became no longer PC, Asian was substituted. Does Asian

now mean what Oriental used to mean whatever Asian used to mean before

this substitution?


Funny that. I just had a similar discussion on another

(non-linguistic) mailing list.

It seems that "oriental" carries the same weight as "nigger" to

some people. Plus, "oriental" refers to rugs, and Asian refers to

people. The Persians aren't happy about this though.

Somebody postulated that "oriental" has become derogatory because

of literary connotations of the word, which implies barbarism or

something like that. By some sort of osmosis, those that determine what

is and is not PC have adopted the same definition for "oriental" and

declared it un-PC.

Personally, I'm not satisfied with that explanation, and I'm

still trying to figure out why "oriental" is so bad. If anyone has an

answer, please let me know!!!

--Aaron E. Drews


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