The cashier called DS "Oriental." UPDATE post #73 - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 99 Old 03-09-2010, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jalilah View Post
Well, belly dance is not the term that people from the countries where it comes from call it...
Most Arabs just use the word belly dance because they assume it is what the English word for it is and don't really give it a second thought. Many have told me they find the term demeaning however but most Arabs are more concerned that they won't be considered terrorists, so they are not going to debate about a dance term!
Thanks for the explanation! I suppose my DH's (Palestinian) family fits into the later category - I've never heard any of them even hint at finding the term offensive, and my MIL loves to point out things which cause her offense , so I was surprised.

Sorry, OP, didn't mean to hijack, but I guess this too reinforces how very difficult it can be to keep track of which terms are sensitive and which are not when we come into contact with so very many different cultures with different histories and cultural contexts.
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#92 of 99 Old 04-09-2010, 06:24 PM
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I don't think Asian or Oriental are offensive. My Dh gets offended if people call him Chinese or Korean, that's what offends him the most "I'm Japanese!"

My Japanese MIL uses the term "Oriental" instead of Asian.

But saying "cute and oriental" is really unecessary, just saying that he's cute and save yourself and embarassment is better. I wouldn't feel uncomfortable if they call my daughters Oriental or Asian becuase they are the ones that inherited the looks from their daddy the most.

All of this reminds me, we went to Colorado to visit my BIL and his family. He's Japanese but he's wife is American. And she got all mad on Dh becuase he said "We Asians do things this da da da way" once and heck he's the Japanese one so I guess he was the one that is supposed to get offended and BIL even told her to relax.

So no I don't feel offended or uncomfortable, I'm a European/Asian mix myself. Swedish/Japanese to be exact.

Mum to Hikari(8), Mika(3) and Tai (5 mos)
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#93 of 99 Old 04-25-2010, 11:53 PM
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lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), one 13 wk (10/13) and 5/15 just your average multigenerational living family!!
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#94 of 99 Old 04-26-2010, 02:25 PM
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"You know, all the little Oriental babies I've seen lately are chubby, and all the American babies are skinny minnys."
I had to laugh at this comment. I've been guilty of using the term "American" to refer to multi-generational (white) Americans like my family as opposed to newly-immigrated (Asian) Americans like my husband and his friends . Got roundly called on it by dh and have been very aware of it since. So even a woman who has lived 8+ years in Asia, speaks Vietnamese fluently and married a Vietnamese man can make that mistake!

I just chalk it up to human nature. We are tribal creatures and for thousands of years have lived in societies where everyone looked like us. I know intellectually that Americans come in all colors, but apparently on some deep emotional level I think that Americans look like me, just like your ex-MIL does. I think it is totally appropriate to gently point out to her the assumption she made there, but I wouldn't be worried about it. Multicultural societies where different races are considered equal (at least in law) and are interbreeding with each other in family units are a relatively new phenomenon, so I'm not at all surprised that human awareness hasn't caught up to the reality yet. It takes time. The good news is, multicultural kids are the fastest-growing "ethnic" group in the US. I tell our daughter that she is the wave of the future, to be proud of what she is, but to expect that she will have to educate people sometimes because she represents something new and different.
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#95 of 99 Old 04-26-2010, 04:29 PM
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that that is such a diplomatic viewpoint that you are sharing with your daughter and i'm even trying to learn to see it from the perspective of the people who are asking the questions or making the comments, thanks to some of the stories that we are sharing here.

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#96 of 99 Old 05-03-2010, 11:22 AM
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I remember seeing this thread when you first posted and my first thought was but your baby isn't a rug - however, someone else had already posted that so I didn't bother, any how, we live in France, I'm Scottish or British and make that point oh so very often; dh is Algerian which is far more understood than the mistake of confusing a Scot with someone who is English, anyhow our dd at school is calle 'La Petite Anglaise' which DRIVES HER NUTS, first of all she's not got any english in her, she's half scottish half algerian and has lived here in france since she was 3 months old, she doesn't fit in with the french because she's not 'french' she doesn't fit in with the Arabic/North African children because she's not wholly that either, and of course not the Haitians/Outre Mer children either - it's so confusing for her, for some reason unbeknown to us ds seems to manage this better - although he's only 4 than dd who's 7, needing to find her identity - although she's really excited about starting 'La Danse Oriental' in September - just to put the cat among the pigeons again.

OP I don't think that the lady really realised that she was being offensive and gentle redirection is the option to go with - although that being said sometimes we can't help being shocked at some of the statements!! just like at the aquarium with our ds and a friends dd a lady said - oh just let the babies in at the front - i gently corrected her and said that they were both 3.5 years old and certainly not babies - she was offended at my statement - lol the world never ceases to amaze me!!

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#97 of 99 Old 05-10-2010, 12:24 PM
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than the mistake of confusing a Scot with someone who is English, anyhow our dd at school is calle 'La Petite Anglaise' which DRIVES HER NUTS, first of all she's not got any english in her, she's half scottish

That bugs me and I'm not any of the above. I used to live in England so I'm very careful to place the right labels on things. The French find it odd that I say things or people are "Britannique". Then I'll sometimes add "Well I think her husband (or whatever story) is from Scotland so I certainly can't call him 'anglais' can I??"

I correct my husband every time I hear him slip.

If it's any comfort, my kids get called "Anglais" at school, which is really wrong. I'm all "You're Jewish-American-Alsatian. For crying out loud, your mom got kicked out of England for having the wrong nationality. How much more un-English can you get??"

There is a group of French people who do NOT get confused-GOLPHERS! I would use that. "Guess you don't play golf" or whatever. Make a joke of it.
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#98 of 99 Old 06-06-2010, 09:25 AM
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I'm Chinese and African-American. My husband, who is English and Irish with a side of German, has the most politically incorrect uncle ever. He frequently refers to me as "black" or "Oriental." Not that I would mind him saying "black," but he does manage to give it a bit of a nasty tone. I have corrected him on saying "Oriental" a number of times, even explaining that it refers to objects and not human beings. It's akin to calling us "Celestials," which is a semi-derogatory, partly facetious word used back in the 19th century to refer to those of us with ancestry in what is often called in Chinese "All Under Heaven," or "the Sub-Celestial Realm." No kidding. This is how Chinese referred to China before outside influences. ANYWAY, it's really hard to try to teach people who don't understand race relations or haven't had a lot of exposure to other cultures how to be sensitive to their word choices. I would honestly just make sure your beautiful little guy understands that he can be proud of both sides of his heritage, and help him steel himself against being hurt by educating him. That's what my parents did, and it's what I'll do for my own little boy. Chin up, armor on, Mama.

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#99 of 99 Old 06-06-2010, 09:31 AM
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I have two or three Asian friends (each with a different ethnic background) who have no problem with the word. It surprised me, because I wouldn't say it, but they say it's not offensive at all. I only know one Asian person who takes issue with it.

Mom to 5 wonderful kids (9, 6, 4, 2 and 0), 1 adopted through foster care.

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