or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › The cashier called DS "Oriental." UPDATE post #73
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The cashier called DS "Oriental." UPDATE post #73 - Page 3

post #41 of 99
First off, your son is gorgeous! I mean, he is really, really cute!

Both my girls are about a quarter Chinese. They look it and it doesn't bug me at all when people ask. The first time someone asked if my dd was "mixed" it was an Asian young woman. I was surprised because I thought that was just...I don't know. Something you didn't say like that. It sounds like that's your gripe with Oriental, right?
Anyhow, Oriental would bug me but it might surprise me. "Looking all cute and all Oriental" actually made me laugh. It's worded so strangely.
post #42 of 99
Thread Starter 
Wow, this thread took off! Usually I'm like death to threads. LOL

Thanks for all the compliments about ds. He is cute.

Thanks for all the perspectives. Just to clarify:

The cashier in no way meant to be rude, I'm sure. I wasn't offended or angry, just shocked, and then really sad. As I've said before, I'm not really sure why it affected me so much. As a white woman, I've dealt with sexism and "classism" (I grew up very poor), but never racism. Maybe that's why it's bothering me. Even if it wasn't the cashier's intent to sound racist, and I'm sure it wasn't. Maybe I'm not prepared for the racism my ds may (will) encounter in his life.

I agree, if someone says something similar to me again, I would just gently educate.

Also, I'm sorry if I've offended anyone here. I didn't mean to! I just wanted to talk about this experience, and you all have been very helpful.
post #43 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Altair View Post
if you want to know why it is offensive:
http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/Orientalism.html
This is a very concise explanation of why 'oriental' as a descriptor for a human being is offensive. It comes with the implication of the person existing for the purposes of the 'west.' It is entirely a euro-centric term and not one derived of the individuals or groups it is erroneously used to describe. The page above explains this well.

I was once called a 'baby machine' and I think this epithet is somewhat analogous to the term 'oriental' in reason for offense. It is not offensive that my body provides a home for my babies to develop before birth and food for them afterward, but to consider my existence as for the sole purpose of providing this, is upsetting. My babies exist because of me and not the other way around and people who are described as 'oriental' may or may not be responsible individually for the benefits others derive from their work and presence, but they do not exist to provide those benefits that are termed 'oriental' for the benefit of others.

The term 'oriental' redirects the worth and value of the individual person onto the perceived benefits s/he is or will bring to the person who is not 'oriental.'

I like, "Rugs are oriental; people are not."

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
You know, my problem with it would be less the term "Oriental," but that he's cute BECAUSE he's asian. That's just weird. I'm mean, even if she had said "Look athim sitting there all cute and Asian" it would be offensive to me. How else is he supposed to look, right?
Yes to this.
post #44 of 99
Should've replied, "and look at you standing there, looking all cute and black." lol. You did say she was AA? Right?
post #45 of 99
I haven't read the whole thread (and won't tonight - I'm on my way out to the store), but you said the cashier was "middle-aged". She probably has no idea that the term "oriental" is considered offensive. I live in a city with a very large Asian population (over 50% in some municipalities), and I had no idea it wasn't acceptable until a few years ago. I still have no idea why. I was taught the term "Oriental" in school. I still have to think hard to remember not to use it. I'm 41, so also middle-aged (*sigh*). That cashier may have no idea whatsoever that "oriental" isn't an acceptable term.
post #46 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottishmommy View Post
I think the reason "oriental" is offensive is because it implies that the person is from the "east", meaning the person is not from here. It implies that a person is foreign or exotic. It's not specific. "Oriental" could mean African, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. Basically anything that isn't Northern European.
Actually Northern Europeans would be "occidentals" the split would be centered around the Mediterranean between Rome and Constantinople (modern Istanbul, in Turkey.) "Orient" means east, "occident" means west, and "mediterra" means the middle of earth.
post #47 of 99
I personally get tired of "PC". What's acceptable to say and what's not acceptable to say changes like the weather. New words get "invented" all the time - African American as opposed to Black, which was first just Negro. Little Person as opposed to Dwarf which was first Midget. Now Oriental has become Asian and even more appropriately Eurasian. Jeesh! How is anyone supposed to keep up?

Granted, if I KNOW terms are offensive, then *I* make sure to avoid the insulting word. But lots of people have no idea that something is suddenly inappropriate.

So in that vein, I'm with the pp - it's the context that makes the difference.

An old, very old, friend of mine once referred to my nephew as "That sweet little negro baby." I neither corrected her nor was insulted by her. She said it out of love, and expressed herself the only way she knew how.

I agree that the OP's baby is adorable.
post #48 of 99
AWE!!!!!! Your baby is adorable. Honestly, I think oriental is like gypped, people don't know it is offensive.

As for the 4th grader -- just wait that will be your child and you will want to die! LOL

I do so think you can tell the cashier that oriental is a racially offensive word! It shouldn't matter her color.

At the same time my brother, sil, niece, and nephew get tired of telling people JAPANESE! My brother can be a butt head about it. I could see him yelling at the cashier without giver her the proper language. They feel Asian is a better description because unless you have had close association a person can miss different coloration, facial, body shape that you can see among different Asian groups.

I also have never heard the term Eurasian to describe people. I wouldn't feel that to be an accurate description because the continent is so vast and covers a variety of cultural, ethnic, and racial groups. Japanese look different than Chinese. Tibetans different than Chinese. Then you have several distinct variations in India. Caucasian is different than those groups. All these groups live on the continent of Eurasian.

I am more and more staying away from the term African-American because of the same reason I do not think Eurasian is a good description of your son. What we label in the US as African-American could be better described as Nubian (even that could be subdivided). I have associations with Egyptians and Moroccan, the both come from the African continent, and wished people in America would understand the cultural, ethnic, racial diversity there is to a very large continent. Even saying you are American as a racial identifier is not really correct.

Yes, the lady was a little -- ok way off on describing your child's race that way. No matter how cute he is. Racial sensitivity isn't or shouldn't be just a white on black thing in the US. I have a friend Native American friend that is having issues because by she is seen as white, or not brown enough by some of her co-workers. I have seen racial issues were a non-white person has discriminated against another "non-white" person because of their skin tone (does that make since?)
post #49 of 99
The thing about politically correct language - it's "correct" because it is respectful of people to determine what descriptors work for them. Just ike a white housewife might now want to be called a home engineer - it is that woman's choice what works for her. Being confusing for others is no reason to take away individual self-determination.
post #50 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. Bratton View Post
Should've replied, "and look at you standing there, looking all cute and black." lol. You did say she was AA? Right?
That made me laugh. It is what we'd WANT to say! But I think I'd just go with "rugs and salads are Oriental; people are Asian" - with a smile. I agree that the cashier didn't do it with bad intent, just ignorance of the term's being offensive today.

My MIL (85 years old) ALWAYS mentions people's race. It gets a bit old.
post #51 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
They feel Asian is a better description because unless you have had close association a person can miss different coloration, facial, body shape that you can see among different Asian groups.
It really isn't that easy to always tell some ones exact ethnic nationality based on appearance.

I once dated a guy everyone assumed was Irish. His family was from Germany and Poland originally, but the red hair and freckles fooled everyone except few others at his synagogue who knew a lot of Polish Jews have red hair.

My DH is almost all Chinese, he has just on great-grandmother or great-great-grandmother (the translation got a bit muddled) from the Philippines. So what do you think DH looks like? A younger Junichiro Koizumi former prime minister of Japan. My mostly Chinese husband (and his dad who he takes after) looks much more like various Japanese people I've known than the various Chinese people I've known. He has even been mistaken for Hispanic.

Quote:
I also have never heard the term Eurasian to describe people. I wouldn't feel that to be an accurate description because the continent is so vast and covers a variety of cultural, ethnic, and racial groups.
Eur-Asian is commonly used to describe people who have both European and Asian heritage.
post #52 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
for what it is worth, in the UK, Asian generally means someone from the Indian subcontinent or Pakistan. I believe they use the term Oriental or far east asian to refer to folks from China, Japan, Korean, or South East Asian for Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian, etc.
Oh that used to bug me so much when I lived in London! I was there for 6 years. No, South Asian and Asian shouldn't be confused. I think that mix-up cropped up because of numbers. They have a large population from the subcontinent but not that many people from the "Far East" in England.

The first time I heard it, it was on a cooking show and they were talking about "Asian" food. I'm like, that looks more Indian than Asian lol!

My "flatmate" was 1/4 Chinese and she would say "Chinese" to avoid the whole issue.

Being from San Francisco, the lack of PC-ness in England was a real thorn in my side...
post #53 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Actually Northern Europeans would be "occidentals" the split would be centered around the Mediterranean between Rome and Constantinople (modern Istanbul, in Turkey.) "Orient" means east, "occident" means west, and "mediterra" means the middle of earth.
Yes, I understand the correct terminology. What I mean is that throughout history lots of things are considered "oriental" that aren't "Asian". It means from the East, which to me implies not from here. Think of the x-mass carol "We three kings from orient are". It doesn't refer to a specific area, it refers to a place east of where we are. So when people are referred to as "Oriental" it implies they are foreign. And the term refers to Middle Eastern cultures as well. A lot of "Oriental" rugs are from the Middle East. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orientalism
post #54 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anastasiya View Post
I personally get tired of "PC". What's acceptable to say and what's not acceptable to say changes like the weather. New words get "invented" all the time - African American as opposed to Black, which was first just Negro. Little Person as opposed to Dwarf which was first Midget. Now Oriental has become Asian and even more appropriately Eurasian. Jeesh! How is anyone supposed to keep up?

Granted, if I KNOW terms are offensive, then *I* make sure to avoid the insulting word. But lots of people have no idea that something is suddenly inappropriate.

So in that vein, I'm with the pp - it's the context that makes the difference.

An old, very old, friend of mine once referred to my nephew as "That sweet little negro baby." I neither corrected her nor was insulted by her. She said it out of love, and expressed herself the only way she knew how.

I agree that the OP's baby is adorable.
I really don't think that this is a positive attitude, IMO. It's just...lazy.

Yeah, language changes because language is political and reflects evolution of society.

Example, you wouldn't want to still call a DVD a 'video' or a CD a 'tape'...the inherent set of ideas that define what the thing is has changed and evolved. Not only is it incorrect terminology, it's outdated, seemingly ignorant and again, lazy.

I hate the word Oriental. It smacks of the word 'colored'. You wouldn't go around calling your AA friends 'colored'...think about it.

People who are Asian KNOW the difference between Asian and Eurasian. (Please educate yourself - they aren't the same thing, not even close).
post #55 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
Example, you wouldn't want to still call a DVD a 'video' or a CD a 'tape'
That's because a DVD is not a video, and a CD is not a tape. They never were.
post #56 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
My mostly Chinese husband (and his dad who he takes after) looks much more like various Japanese people I've known than the various Chinese people I've known. He has even been mistaken for Hispanic.
My Japanese dad was frequently mistaken for Filipino. When he would visit the midwest with my mother, everyone assumed he was Native American or Mexican.
post #57 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
That's because a DVD is not a video, and a CD is not a tape. They never were.
Wow, really?

My above sentence was merely an example of how silly the use of anachronistic language can sound.

FWIW, one can argue that black was never colored and oriental was never asian.
post #58 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
I really don't think that this is a positive attitude, IMO. It's just...lazy.
It's not LAZY if you're not AWARE that a word has gone from acceptable to unacceptable. I didn't know till last year that Inuits find "Eskimo" insulting. I didn't know till awhile ago that Little People are beginning to think "Dwarf" is insulting....(key word beginning to....it used to be more acceptable. Now it's slowly changing to unacceptable.) I had no idea till college that "Indians" were now to be referred to as "Native Americans." You see? If you aren't aware of it, it's not lazy and not rude. Ignorant, perhaps.

Quote:
Example, you wouldn't want to still call a DVD a 'video' or a CD a 'tape'...the inherent set of ideas that define what the thing is has changed and evolved. Not only is it incorrect terminology, it's outdated, seemingly ignorant and again, lazy.
This doesn't make sense to me, either. A CD never was a tape.

Quote:
I hate the word Oriental. It smacks of the word 'colored'. You wouldn't go around calling your AA friends 'colored'...think about it.
Again, a person has to KNOW the word is offensive and still use it in order to be offending. Just because YOU think Oriental smacks of the word "colored" doesn't mean everyone else does.

As for the "think about it" comment, I already mentioned that just knowing that some people find certain words offensive is enough for me to not use those words. BUT...that doesn't mean that everyone knows those words are offensive.

Quote:
People who are Asian KNOW the difference between Asian and Eurasian. (Please educate yourself - they aren't the same thing, not even close).
I just call everyone Asian. Heck, in two generations Eurasian, African American and who knows what else might be considered offensive. And I still won't have caught up to what was "PC" in 2010.
post #59 of 99
Anastasiya, YOUR statement, and I quote, was:

"I personally get tired of being PC."

Your words, not mine.

Once you know the proper term, being 'tired' of changing your own vocabulary is lazy. Not bothering to change your language because it 'tires' you mentally...well...

I'm not white, my DH and kids Asian/Eurasian. Yeah, this kind of post really picks me at a personal level. Must be nice to have the privilege to pick and choose how you identify other people.
post #60 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
My Japanese dad was frequently mistaken for Filipino. When he would visit the midwest with my mother, everyone assumed he was Native American or Mexican.
I think what is "interesting" is how migration (long before we existed) caused this! Most Native Americans have genetic Asian roots. There CAN be very similar features.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Multicultural Families
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Multicultural Families › The cashier called DS "Oriental." UPDATE post #73