The word "Oriental"

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The word "Oriental"

Post by Lightning Lord » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:16 pm

Now, I know this is a legacy thing with D&D, but this word is pretty off-putting. I'm not Asian myself, but I have talked to several people who are, some gamers, and in general, they agree that it's got to go. It's a holdover from the past and people aren't rugs.

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by CmdrCorsiken » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:28 am

'Orient' is simply a latin word for 'the East' In other words, an 'Oriental Adventures' book would otherwise be called 'Eastern Adventures.' I realize we practice a very international hobby these days, so the East/West terminology may not be as understood or applicable anymore. But what is the alternative?
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Cthulhudrew » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:48 am

It's an interesting point. References to the Orient and Oriental Adventures do seem a little dated in this day and age, where in the Real World of today we might simply say "Asian," in reference to those cultures originating from the Asian continent.

But in a fantasy world, where there is no "Asia" what is an easy point of reference to provide a reader with an idea of the sorts of cultures a product is about? In that sense, Orient seems to do the trick- it conveys that these are Asian-themed (non-western) cultures and stories and ideas. At the same time, though, more traditionally "western" cultures aren't generally referred to as Occidental in fantasy- doubtless due to a sort of western-centric point of view (which, again, in this international communication era seems very dated and unnecessary). I could see why the word itself might be offensive to some, put into a historical context (again, that western ethnocentrism that often accompanied the term), even if it seems rather innocuous to me.

(As an aside, it's interesting to me that the original Oriental Adventures setting for D&D- Kara-Tur- wasn't even located in the East, but is generally supposed to have been intended to go to the West of Oerth in the world of Greyhawk before being absconded for the Forgotten Realms, where it was located East.)

Add, too, that many fantasy worlds- particularly, I think, more recent ones- blend "Oriental" and "Occidental" cultures more liberally than as depicted in our real world, and blurs those lines yet again.

The alternative, I suppose, is simply to refer to them in the context of your particular campaign world, and presume that naming conventions and descriptions will convey the intent and the inspiration of the cultures. That, too, has its limits, at least insofar as reaching out to a broader audience; one that is not "in the know" with the product line already.
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Vile » Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:13 am

Living in South East Asia I must tell you that references to "Asia" are not well-received here - trying to lump half a planet's worth of cultures that don't really get on with each other under one label is not a good idea. For the same reason I don't like the idea of "Western" or Eastern". I am guessing (because I don't know) that the recent objection to the term "Oriental" stems from said "Western" world, because I have never heard anyone complaining about it here - is this an American thing?

In a fantasy world you will just have to come up with a unique term if you want to be politically correct, because just about any real world collective geographical term is going to upset someone. You will lose any marketing value, though, because you are no longer using a word to represent a stereotype that everyone can understand but which could be offensive to someone.

I'm actually not sure what the original post is saying by "it's got to go" - are there still "Oriental" things being published? Because the alternative for existing books is correction fluid, which I'm not an advocate of (except in RuneQuest, where I Tippex out all instances of "Duck" and replace them with "Goblin").

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Morfie » Thu Oct 24, 2013 5:59 am

I have spoken to people about this in the past, and they were okay with the word Oriental when it was being used to describe a geographical area.
They only found it offensive when it was being used to describe a person, as in "hey, you oriental fellow".

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Ashtagon » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:01 am

Morfie wrote:I have spoken to people about this in the past, and they were okay with the word Oriental when it was being used to describe a geographical area.
They only found it offensive when it was being used to describe a person, as in "hey, you oriental fellow".
Pretty much this. When used to describe people, it is offensive. Most everything else, it's not a big deal.

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by BlackBat242 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:44 am

Vile wrote: I am guessing (because I don't know) that the recent objection to the term "Oriental" stems from said "Western" world, because I have never heard anyone complaining about it here - is this an American thing?
Yes... it is a part of the professional-offended-person industry.

Yes, there is a complete industry in the US that has grown up around being offended... either personally or on behalf of some vaguely-defined "oppressed minority" (who sometimes don't even know they should be offended, much less that someone has filed complaints or a lawsuit on their behalf).

If someone somewhere could possibly, theoretically, be offended, there are those who will step up and press complaints, file lawsuits, and apply media pressure to get whatever they are objecting to changed... even if there has not been a single person who actually reported being offended. The mere possibility of someone being offended is enough for these groups to swing into action.

Law firms, advertising firms, lobbyists, "journalists", media specialists, paid protesters... the employees in this industry are many and varied.



An example is the recent outcry over sports teams and schools using mascots that refer to "Native Americans"... while there is some validity in some cases, it came to a head when a group of these mostly-white affluent bleeding-hearts (guilt-ridden about the wrongs of the past) showed up in the State of Utah, and began throwing a fuss over the University of Utah's "Running Utes" athletic teams' name.

They had the national media getting into the act... until their protest press conference was interrupted by representatives of the Ute Tribal Council, who berated the professional protesters for attempting to control how the Tribe marketed itself.

They pointed out that the Tribe was proud of the University's association with the Tribe, that the name was a reference to the Tribe's pre-white-colonization reputation for their prowess as distance runners, that the Tribe had given their approval to the University to use the name decades earlier, and that the University's Sports Oversight Board had had a seat permanently reserved for the Tribal Council's chosen representative for over 30 years.

The Tribal representatives then told the protesters that, by not having even asked the Tribe if they wanted protests made on their behalf, much less involved them in preparing for the protests, the protesters had displayed a belief that either the Tribe was incapable of protecting its own interests or was not intelligent enough to realize whether or not its dignity was being abused... that the protesters themselves were guilty of condescending, patronizing, and controlling behavior exactly the same as what they claimed to be protesting!
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Teazia » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:19 am

Wow, that is an awesome story. Even though I am half a world away, I am dismayed at what has happened in the USA over past decade or so.

I wonder what will replace "Asian" once it has been deemed to be offensive?

The whole Jeremy Lin ethnicity status been most illuminating. ESPN (Disney) has him of Chinese descent and Yahoo (founded a Taiwanese) has him of Taiwanese descent. Both are technically correct, but there is a very clear bias in the words.

The PRC can go suck it btw, go point your missiles somewhere else.

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by ghendar » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:26 pm

Teazia wrote:Wow, that is an awesome story. Even though I am half a world away, I am dismayed at what has happened in the USA over past decade or so.

I wonder what will replace "Asian" once it has been deemed to be offensive?
The politically correct movement has gone way over board. I'm continually amazed by how people are offended by words.

BlackBat's post above is spot on
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by ripvanwormer » Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:56 pm

"Political correctness" just means "don't be a jerk to people." Most of us learn as small children that some words make us feel good about ourselves and some make us feel bad. It's not up to anyone else to decide how these words should make us feel, or to decide that we're overreacting because the word doesn't bother them; if someone asks, politely, "please don't call me that," the right thing to do isn't to angrily decry the pernicious forces of political correctness, but simply to be a decent person and call them something else.

It should really be up to the individual what descriptors they're comfortable with. It's not so much a matter of "people getting offended by words" as it is a question of whether people have the right to choose their own names for themselves.

In a way, I'm bewildered that this should even be a question. Why would anyone think it was okay to use a name that someone's asked you not to use? Does using a different name hurt you? If not, you might as well indulge the other person's idiosyncrasies and use the name they've chosen. Even if you think they should be fine with the name you prefer, even if you think your name for them is totally rad and you don't understand their reluctance to embrace it at all, it's not particularly polite to argue about it.

Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Nobody likes to think of themselves as jerks, and any suggestion to someone that they might have been making a mistake, even unintentionally, is liable to raise hackles and cause a backlash. And, of course, humans are creatures of habit and naturally have a resistance to change. It really shouldn't be surprising, then, that people get defensive and attack people for wanting control over their own names and are eager to assign blame to a "professional-offended-person industry," because the alternative is to take a hard look at themselves and wonder why they're spending so much effort in defending their right to be jerks.

For those actually curious, the word "Oriental" has fallen out of favor as a description of people because of the connotations and stigma that have grown around it as a mark of otherness and exoticism. Yes, it just meant "east" originally, but etymology isn't definition and words accrue other meanings over time. After the US's experience in the Vietnam War, in particular, there was a desire to find an alternative that could function as a more neutral marker of geographic origin. Thus, Asian or more specifically East Asian or South Asian became preferred by most. Not everyone will care, and having a preference isn't the same as being offended. If you've used a different word, it doesn't make you a bad person, but it's nicer to oblige people in their preferences if possible. Asian has it's own problems, especially because it lumps together vast portions of the Eurasian continent that have nothing in common other than not being Europe. But it's probably best to let people choose their own name. If, someday, another word becomes more popular, that's okay! Languages change with time, people are allowed to change their names, and the kind thing to do is to respect that.

As for using American Indian tribes as mascots for sports teams, obviously it's important to have the tribe's permission, but it's also important that the students themselves feel comfortable with it. At my college, the team was the Chippewas, though the old stereotypical Indian head logo had long since become a stylized flying C and in common parlance we were simply the Chips. Even so, controversy would regularly rear up because it's weird to name your sports team after a group of human beings when most teams are named after animals and inanimate objects. The school paper had no problem finding quotes from local tribal leaders assuring us that they didn't care because Chippewa wasn't their own name for themselves anyway; they're the Ojibwe. Still, this wasn't as unanimous a feeling as the paper often portrayed it as, and I know a lot of the students didn't like it at all. What it came down to in the end, more than the opinion of the students, faculty, or the Ojibwe themselves, was that the university depended on donations from alumni who would have withholded their funds if the traditional name were allowed to change.

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Big Mac » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:52 pm

Lightning Lord wrote:Now, I know this is a legacy thing with D&D, but this word is pretty off-putting. I'm not Asian myself, but I have talked to several people who are, some gamers, and in general, they agree that it's got to go.
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "it's got to go", but this forum is about the 1e Oriental Adventures book and the 3e Oriental Adventures book.

Are you asking the owner of The Piazza renames this forum? It is a bit hard to have a forum about Oriental Adventures that is not called Oriental Adventures. How would fans of those books find the forum if it was renamed? And what could you rename a forum that is named specifically after those products? And how could people talk about the books without mentioning the names of the books?

Or are you asking for discussion of Oriental Adventures to be banned?

To be honest, I much prefer to talk about Kara-Tur or Rokugan (or even Mahasarpa) than Oriental Adventures. I see OA as a set of rules, and I'm more interested in campaign setting inspired by Asian cultures. And Oriental Adventures can either mean one of those settings or something else. It is a bit meaningless to me. I would have been happy if we had had a Rokugan forum instead. But there are currently 53 threads and 428 posts by people that do want to talk about Oriental Adventures.

But whatever you are talking about, this thread seems to have nothing to do with the Oriental Adventures campaign setting, so I'm going to report the thread and ask a moderator to move it.

I'm not sure of the best place for this thread.

If you are actually asking for Ashtagon to do something like rename this forum, then Kippin' Griffon would be the place for it to go.

If you want gamers to avoid using the word "oriental" then this isn't really a RPG topic, at all and would go into The Tabard Inn.

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): I'm going to be bold and move this from the Oriental Adventures forum to The Tabard Inn (on the assumption that this thread is not really related to the Oriental Adventures forum. Should you wish to have this thread moved to The Kippin' Griffon, please let a moderator know and we can move it there.
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by BlackBat242 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:52 am

ripvanwormer wrote:"Political correctness" just means "don't be a jerk to people." Most of us learn as small children that some words make us feel good about ourselves and some make us feel bad. It's not up to anyone else to decide how these words should make us feel, or to decide that we're overreacting because the word doesn't bother them; if someone asks, politely, "please don't call me that," the right thing to do isn't to angrily decry the pernicious forces of political correctness, but simply to be a decent person and call them something else.
And I have no problem with this view... but that is NOT how some parts of the Political Correctness movement operate.
ripvanwormer wrote:It should really be up to the individual what descriptors they're comfortable with. It's not so much a matter of "people getting offended by words" as it is a question of whether people have the right to choose their own names for themselves.
And here is the problem... like in my example, significant elements of the "PC" movement do feel they have the right to tell people whether they should be offended or not, to pressure and even berate them when they AREN"T offended when the "PC crusaders" think they should be offended, and to speak and litigate "on their behalf" when those individuals or groups decline to be offended or to join in the desired offendedness.
ripvanwormer wrote:Nobody likes to think of themselves as jerks, and any suggestion to someone that they might have been making a mistake, even unintentionally, is liable to raise hackles and cause a backlash. And, of course, humans are creatures of habit and naturally have a resistance to change.
.....
As for using American Indian tribes as mascots for sports teams, obviously it's important to have the tribe's permission, but it's also important that the students themselves feel comfortable with it. At my college, the team was the Chippewas, though the old stereotypical Indian head logo had long since become a stylized flying C and in common parlance we were simply the Chips. Even so, controversy would regularly rear up because it's weird to name your sports team after a group of human beings when most teams are named after animals and inanimate objects. The school paper had no problem finding quotes from local tribal leaders assuring us that they didn't care because Chippewa wasn't their own name for themselves anyway; they're the Ojibwe. Still, this wasn't as unanimous a feeling as the paper often portrayed it as, and I know a lot of the students didn't like it at all. What it came down to in the end, more than the opinion of the students, faculty, or the Ojibwe themselves, was that the university depended on donations from alumni who would have withholded their funds if the traditional name were allowed to change.
And this is a case of the line I included about
while there is some validity in some cases
... where legitimate offense is felt, then action to change the situation/name SHOULD be taken.

The problem is that the industry - and yes, it does exist - has a habit of creating claims of offense where no offense was present, and of claiming to know better than the "poor, misguided, afraid to stand up for themselves, unenlightened, oppressed group" - who really aren't offended at all.
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Vile » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:17 am

Surely, by default, terms like Oriental, Asian, Western, or whatever are descriptors used by outsiders for a large, geographically-defined body of people. They are never words chosen by people themselves - people are Chinese or Japanese or Indian or English or Welsh. So, I can well understand why people are offended by generic terms (I personally have other things to do with my time, because I would never get anything done if I got upset every time someone called me "gweilo" to my face or within earshot). Bushido might be very evocative, but I have no idea whether it wouldn't offend a real follower of Bushido - I imagine it would depend how "right" the writers got it, which is always difficult when writing about a foreign culture, even if it is a fantasy version thereof.

Again, because we are describing a fantasy setting and the assumption is that you do not want to risk causing such offence, I think the only option is to use a fantasy name and accept the fact that people will not know what your game is about without a closer look. Alternatively, narrow down your focus to, say, fantasy Japan and use geographic terms that cannot upset anyone - even that is not guaranteed because there are a lot of disputed territories out here.

I don't closely base my fantasy game worlds on a particular real world culture. In science fiction, I usually avoid any knowledge of Earth at all. This, by the way, is not because of potential offensivenss to the caricatured cultures, but because I can't stand it when I get a know-it-all player making assumptions based on his knowledge of the real world equivalent (and my players tend to know far too much for my own good). It makes life simpler and more fun.

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Nevermore » Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:13 am

I think that the word "Oriental" is only an abstraction into the gaming world, referring to the cultures, legends and the flavour of Eastern countries, in order to distinguish them from the European mythology. It doesn't have a particular offense meaning, if you don't use this word in racist terms.

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Gecko » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:38 am

Languages, and the words within them, are constantly changing. Words must be examined in the context of their timeframe and culture, but most of all their intent and how they are used. Even many of our strongest 4-letter words started out innocuous (sp? sorry), but changed over time to what they are now. We human's do seem to have a propensity for creating or even adapting words to negatively refer to others, and I take it your asking "Is that the case with the word 'Oriental'?"

My own impression of the word Oriental is that in modern american english is that it is quickly becoming archaic - a word you might hear a member of older generations throwing around to equate with "East Asian". On the other hand, Oriental and Occidental are quite common components of place names in Spanish-derived toponyms throughout not only the south-western united states but also all through latin america and most have long since forgotten it's etymology through latin.

Similarily, I've noticed the disturbing trend where so many now equate "Asia(n)" with only "East Asia(n)", completely ignoring all the rest of the vast continent of Asia and its numerous and diverse other cultures.

As for athletics nicknames, I can give another example from a bit of a different angle: The University of Hawai'i for as long as I can remember were always the Rainbows or the Rainbow Warrior's (depending on the sport) (or Rainbow Wahine for Women's Volleyball) and the supporter's chant was the 2-syllable "Go-Bows!" (except when Tee Williams went up for a spike, then the chant was simply a descending "!Teeeee..." :)) and even those that were officially the "Rainbow Warrior's" were always called either "the Bows" or "the Rainbows" in common speech (I do remember a new news sportscaster who had just come from outofstate once refered to the football team as "the Warriors", and it took me a moment to figure out who he was talking about). The logo was a rainbow coming out of, or leading to, the letters "UH". This was "Rainbow" as-in the beautiful optical meterological phenomenom which is so prevalent in Hawaii that the whole state is sometimes called the Rainbow State (You haven't seen nature's beauty till you've seen a sharp, well defined, double rainbow over the green mountains, maybe even with a faint tertiary one). But because some people have come to apparently so strongly assotiate "Rainbow" with the LGBT Pride Flag (even though there's soo many other examples of "Rainbow Flags" around the world of various meanings, and in any case this wasn't as a flag) that the school felt pressure to change due to fear of driving potential athlete's away due to potential homophobia related concerns. They changed the logo to a stylized "H" that apparently is supposed to represent a Kapa cloth design (I'm sorry but no Kapa cloth is even close to being green with white highlights!) and they were going to change all the teams to be simply the "Warrior's". What kind of a chant can you have then? "Go-War!"? wait... that's not right, but neither is "Go-War-i-or's!" because then you sound like a braying donkey! They finaly let each of the teams choose their own nickname's- all the Women's teams choose to remain as the Rainbow Wahine's, while most of the Men's teams chose to remain as the "Rainbow Warriors" and only some became the Warrior's (One even went the other direction becoming, or remaining, as the case may be - I'm not sure which - simply the "Rainbows" - Baseball I think it was).

Now 13 years later I just read that they are re-branding and making ALL the Men's teams have the same nickname as the "Rainbow Warriors". I don't live there anymore so I don't know if the "Warrior's" part of the name became more common than the "Bows" or "Rainbows" in everyday discourse, but what a crazy rollercoaster ride for 13 years (now I wonder how many more years it will take to get rid of that ugly "H" logo). Not sure if that's technically "Political Correctness" or not, but I figured I'd offer it as another example.

In a similar vein, even the word "Gay" has changed meanings several times. It used to mean "Happy" or "Carefree". That meaning was before my generation, but it's still recent enough that I have come across written works using that sense on several occasions. By my generation the word "Gay" had became only to mean homosexuality. The word itself in that meaning is neither good nor bad, but rather it is how it is used, and the intention behind it that can result in the word being bad, neutral, or good. In my life time the word "Gay" then became something to describe a characteristic of in-animate objects (I never did understand what is meant when someone describes something with the phrase "That's so gay!"). Perhaps that's more of an idiom than a word meaning change, but now that usage has apparently become something bad (or was it always something bad? As I said, I've never been 100% sure what is meant in that usage) because there was a PSA commercial on TV which was clearely aimed at Teenagers to disuade them from using that phrase.

That's just a word that has changed meaning within my short lifetime, if you look at the longer span of time which the english language has been around - the changes can be even more dramatic- just one example is the word "Awesome". It originally meant something terrible or awful, as in you might loose your sanity if you beheld it. But yet now it means something amazing or wonderously great.

If you want another example, I've derogatorially been refered to as "Haole", and yet I've also freely self-identified as a Haole (in the broad Kama'aina Haole ethno-cultural term) for a number of reasons, particularily because it's far easier to say than "Caucasian", and as a broader term than "Caucasian" or "White" it's actually more inclusive and more correct in a sense in my particular ethnic sense. Again, it's in the usage and intent that the word is either Neutral or Negative (I can't think of any example of this particular word being Positive). I assotiate the word as being very strongly Neutral, but I have definately felt the sting of it being used negatively.

Anyway, my long detouring rant aside, to get back on topic: In my impression based on my limited experiences, it seems the word "Oriental" in English is on it's way out. It originally meant East or "Eastern" but then came to mean "non-European" and when it is rarely still encountered it now means "East Asian". Meanwhile in Spanish it is common but has no connotations of anything other than "East" or "Eastern" in a purely compass or cardinal direction sense.

Edit after reading more of the replies in this thread: If your instead refering to the Oriental Adventures forum, then never mind as I have no input in that connection one way nor the other, having no knowledge of it.

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Sock Puppet » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:02 pm

fwiw, on another forum, I homebrewed a variant religion in which their eastern splinter is known as the "Oriental Temple" (contrasted with the East African based splinter called the "Meridional Temple"). But they;'re based in central Asia. Oriental is this context is used purely as a geographical marker.
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by lesh » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:07 pm

from what I've seen only Americans consider this word offensive

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by BlackBat242 » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:27 am

To expand one of Gecko's points...

Yankee is a term with a long and varied history. Originally created by British troops as an insulting term to describe the "uncultured uneducated colonials attempting to ape English culture" they encountered in the rebellious American colonies, it was seized on and used with pride by the victorious rebels. It was then again used as a term of derision by the Southern states during the American Civil War (and it still is to this date to a lesser degree), while now being mainly used as a neutral geographical term for residents of the "New England" states.

Its abbreviated form of "Yank" was again used by the British in the 20th century, this time in a more neutral manner... but the Mexican and Latin American peoples tend to use Yanqui as profanity as often as they use it to attribute nationality.

As part of the name of a major professional sports team, perhaps it should also be banned because some use it as an insult?



There are many other words that have passed through many stages of use/misuse and meaning... which simply shows that forbidding the use of a word because of a temporary meaning is an exercise in futility, as another word will simply be used in its place, often with a change in meaning.
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Michael Tumey
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Michael Tumey » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:46 pm

I am both American and half Japanese, and am in no way offended by Asian nor Oriental in the description of me or any subject matter pertaining to the cultures and peoples of Asia/East Asia. I am offended by the existence of the "politically correct" movement/industry, however. I am somewhat offended by the use of the term "mongoloid", as it is also used to refer to people with Downs Syndrome - in the way their eyes look, though I don't see that word used much.

Regarding the idea that Asian, generally implies East Asian when Asia is nearly half the globe and much larger than just East Asia. If I were building a setting in the steppe/desert spice/silk road countries from Mongolia westward, I'd refer to as the Near East, just as the Arab world is sometimes called the Middle East. I think it's easy enough to distinguish - Near East, Middle East and Far East, all referring to some general geographical region of Asia.

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Ashtagon
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Ashtagon » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:10 pm

Michael Tumey wrote:Regarding the idea that Asian, generally implies East Asian when Asia is nearly half the globe and much larger than just East Asia. If I were building a setting in the steppe/desert spice/silk road countries from Mongolia westward, I'd refer to as the Near East, just as the Arab world is sometimes called the Middle East. I think it's easy enough to distinguish - Near East, Middle East and Far East, all referring to some general geographical region of Asia.
Traditionally, "Near East" referred to those lands west of the River Jordan, and Middle East referred to those lands east of that river, ending just before Persia. That distinction is largely forgotten these days though, with the whole area being called the Middle East.
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Vile
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Vile » Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:40 am

Ashtagon wrote:Traditionally, "Near East" referred to those lands west of the River Jordan, and Middle East referred to those lands east of that river, ending just before Persia. That distinction is largely forgotten these days though, with the whole area being called the Middle East.
Except at Eurovision time! :cool:

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Saunatonttu
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Saunatonttu » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:18 am

Vile wrote:Except at Eurovision time! :cool:
Finland, 0 points. :D
Surfing's the Source, man...

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Vile
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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Vile » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:32 am

Saunatonttu wrote:
Vile wrote:Except at Eurovision time! :cool:
Finland, 0 points. :D
2006 was the best Eurovision, ever.

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Justinov » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:47 pm

Oriental = From Latin (oriens, orior) meaning "Rising" (of the Sun in the East).
Occident = From Latin (occidens) meaning "Setting" (of the Sun in the West).

I find it hard to say take it serious that someone should be offended by the word Oriental when it means "easterner", especially if it is regarded as a "western" idea (which would be equally offensive in use then).
Japan is actually the "Land of the Rising Sun" so they totally agree, since that is the meaning of "Oriental".

The word Levant which in today's english and french is used for the eastern part of the Mediterranean have actually the same meaning as Oriental:
From Latin "levera" (like in english "lever" to lift something) to French Levant "rising" (of the Sun).
That area in the eastern mediterranean that became Crustader States was also called in French "outre mer" meaning "over the sea" (English "outremer").

So all these words a TOTALLY neutral and descriptive.

About Near, Middle and Far East:
The Middle East is a modern term originated in GB or by the American writer Alfred Thayer Mahan in 1902. It is actually also not very much east as it also comprises Egypt but goes to include the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq.
Even more confusing "Near East" denotes the lands controlled by the Ottoman empire, which is bigger than the "middle east" and comprises western lands in North Africa (like Algeria) and also the Balkans, but doesn't go quite as east as the middle east though it's mostly an overlap.
Far East is written about the first time by the Portuguese about India in the 1500-hundreds and later became a British term for the east of British India and later all lands to the western part of the Pacific and Eastern part of the Indian Ocean.
In modern times you have defined these terms more in distance to Europe, but that is not their original meaning.

PS: The Chinese called "our" lands Taixi (the far west).
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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Re: The word "Oriental"

Post by Gecko » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:12 pm

I'm currently reading a 1982 English translation of what was originally a 1923 German work about medieval warfare, and I just finished the 3 chapters on Byzantium, the Arabs, and the Crusades and it made extensive use of both of the words "Oriental" and "Occidental" in comparing and contrasting (outside of nomenclature, relatively little contrasting, mostly comparing - including an interesting comparison between the Ommayads v. Abbasids as being like the Merovingians v. Carolignians), and so here is a clear case when "oriental" still meant simply "Asian" (and in these cases specifically "West Asian" rather than "East Asian")

edit: Justinov posted while I was typing- good examples J!

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