“Asian” Semantic Hypocrisy

I had written on this before, but today I noticed that the Asian People page on Wikipedia has a not-worldwide-view flag, which I agree with because the article definitely has the tone of being predominantly written by an American.

The term Oriental is all but taboo in North America as somehow being offensive because it is Eurocentric, yet the same people who eschew it find nothing wrong with saying Middle-East. (One would think this attitude by Americans of obsequiousness to Orientals and abasing Middle-Easterners would make sense given the political climate and international relations, however as the article stated, the conference took place in 1968, long before either the U.S.’ insurmountable debt to China or its ablating relations with the Middle-East.)

That hypocrisy has always irritated me, especially since in North America, the term Asian is used pretty much exclusively to refer to the Far-East (which I suppose is, or at least should be as “offensive” as Oriental). This co-opting of the term that should refer to anyone from the largest continent on the world by one half of it (no matter how many people may be packed into it) is more offensive than any Eurocentricity since it is basically an affront to people from dozens of countries across the rest of the continent.

(Of course, I grew up and learned the names of the continents before the explosion of over-political-correctness that infected North America later on. Aside from the hypocrisy, personally I like the term Oriental because it has that exciting air of mystery whereas Asian is so bland.)

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