Oriental means "of the east", antipodal of occidental which means "of the west". In general terms, they both have their roots in Latin; occidens means "setting". While oriens means "rising". Neither word bears any inherent harm towards any group of peoples. There are greater battles to be fought and greater features to be had.
It seems a simple fix to add additional genre tags in addition to "oriental." Leave it for everyone living in cultures where the word is neutral, but add additional options so that people who do feel hurt by it don't feel forced to use a word they have negative experiences with.
As many have stated, if a word is a slur in North America, it doesn't automatically follow that the same word will be a slur everywhere else as well. Maybe somewhat counter-intuitively, the dysphemization process *does not* make people more protected. What this process achieves is: it exports a slur from one culture to many other cultures and languages. It creates another way to hurt people. If you want to contribute to a positive change, do not "ban" this word; reclaim it.
For those of us who don't see an issue with the word "oriental" or even "eastern", we're citing definitions as a way of saying that these words are the same; by definition, they are not inappropriate or offensive. They simply describe people who live "East". But by doing this, our intention to educate and make people more comfortable can come across as though we're not listening; but we are--surely, just not in a way that includes the other person. I will agree that the wording of the post doesn't make much sense to me, and I will also admit that this suggestion seems very non-issue to me. When it comes to things posts like this, I like to read what everyone has said, everything from the ad hominem to the logical. You guys, as a community, have insights I often don't see. I try to be an ally where I can; often, it comes down to this: if there is an issue to someone and where it is a non-issue to me, I seek to change to make the most people comfortable. Sure, I might be feeding into PC culture, but there is a chance this is an honest plea to be seen. So, I am going to assume best intentions here and not get pulled into the PC debate; getting pulled into that and debating the definitions of words does not serve a purpose when it is the connotation and the marginalization of it that is affecting the person/some people/the people. I might be wrong, so I'll remain open to all sides, here.
This is stupid. There is nothing offensive about the perfectly appropriate word oriental.
Quite honestly this smacks of the over sensitivity and the need to be "PC" (politically correct) which runs rampant in some part of the USA. Hey I live here (a transplant but live in the USA and love it) but I just gotta say some of the PC stuff in the USA creates more issues than it solves. This is a real word, with a real meaning, and real history and usage. It is not even close to being a racial slur... or slur of any kind. Having grown up in Asia, and frequently traveling there as an adult, and having many asian friends and business associates, I can not think of one that is, has been, or would ever be offended by the word Oriental. And why should they be? Literally, it means of the Orient or of the East, as opposed to of the Occident or of the West. Last I checked, geographic origin is not a slur. If it were, it would be wrong to label people from Mississippi as Southerners. I think there are so, so many better things the dev team could do with there time. Just saying.
I feel like this "feature request" is a waste of votes, frankly. All of these coins could have been used to vote for better, more useful feature requests.
I've typed and re-typed my comment so many times and honestly, others have said it much better than I can put together. All I just wanted to say was that, as someone of Asian descent, when I first read this feature, I felt insulted that the word suggested to serve as a replacement for the genre was "Eastern". I'm sorry, but this just screams to me of someone who fully believes in their cause and means well but doesn't realize that they're erasing a people and popular denotation of a country, region, genre of art and music, time period-- and essentially stripping the genre of its identity. I've rarely seen the term used other than in when describing history or the past and never to describe a modern concept except when someone is being overtly racist about something online. I agree with A Mischievous Orc that instead the genre should add popular Asian subgenres and perhaps if people wish so badly for 'Oriental' to be removed then PLEASE use "East Asian" for the genre. I definitely have the ability to downvote this more but I'm only taking 50 from this because if the majority want this so much then, so be it-- it would have just been 10 but what can I say-- I literally saw red when I saw "Eastern". I just wanted to voice my opinion.
"Oriental" literally means "Eastern." Read a book, you PC fools.
As someone of Oriental descent, with many family members in Thailand, I find this suggestion more offensive then the proposed fix. My homeland is not an offense
While I do feel that WorldAnvil is behind on addressing certain issues such as sexism and racist stereotypes, erasing the term Oriental would be a step backwards. The term Oriental has a very strong historical connection that has purpose in the genre context and is still used in literature today, including on the blurbs of popular literature written by people from China and Japan. The term Oriental itself to describe a genre or a historical perspective in Asia, is not seen as offensive in Asia. What is offensive, is the lack of respect that is given to the diversity of the peoples in these countries and ethnicities, the lack of acknowledgement of the atrocities that have happened to Asians across the world, the propaganda across governments on all sides to effectively ignore social issues for diplomatic grants and trade, It is not the term Oriental, or East-Asian that is problematic, but how people's lives and culture is being used for another people's or government's benefit. So if you intend to write a world that's Oriental inspired, or inspired by East-Asia please keep that in mind. The archaic and inappropriate connection of the direct term 'Oriental' is largely based in America, and I would also be concerned that WorldAnvil will be further pulled towards being American-centric if they were to erase this term. The term Eastern does not serve the same function, however East-Asia would at least serve a better geographical point. I would prefer these options to be added, rather than the word Oriental be removed. Wuxia-Fantasy and Shenmo are very important and popular subgenres in China. Shōnen and Shojo are also staple genres in Japan, and reach not only into manga and anime, but also into novels as well.
- Shenmo Fantasy
- ShojoI have a lot of coins, but I'm taking away just -10 because I want to weigh in my perspective, but if a great deal of people truly feel that this term harms them and their community, than I think that deserves higher priority. But please, please, do not replace with Eastern. The term would be geographical incorrect (there's a lot more countries involved!!) and probably offensive. Thanks for reading if you got this far! Peace.
Oriental has never been used in a derogatory or bigoted fashion, excepting for the one extremely specific and situational circumstance of an Asian American being referred to as Oriental. And even that is exceedingly rare (for instance, a quick Google search shows this: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-tsuchiyama-oriental-insult-20160601-snap-story.html - an article from someone actually of the affected ethnicity) The people actually native to Asian countries do not find the word offensive, and it is their word we should take for it. Let's not make a word that, for the most part, has broadly positive connotations into yet another derogatory. The English language does not need more derogatories, let's not try to find ways to shoehorn yet more words into that category.
1. This isn't even a feature, so the wasting of votes/time on this is lame. 2. Even below, the only comments supporting this change come from an American-centric view. This is super disappointing, since apparently the 'proper' way to refer to an entire continent's worth of people is supposed to be decided by people born in another continent entirely, with a completely different culture and (often) not even speaking the same language. Stop insisting that your every whim not being followed is racist/bigoted.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/after-50-years-asian-american-advocates-say-term-more-essential-n875601 From the article: “There was a recognition that the term Oriental was a Eurocentric term that geographically referenced the East relative to Europe,” said Karen Umemoto, director of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center, which was co-founded by Ichioka in 1969. “Many of the stereotypes of Orientals and Orientalism was part of the project of imperialist conquest — British, and later, American — in Asia, with the exoticization of the Oriental as well as the creation of threat and fear, as evidenced in the yellow peril movement.” Daniel Kwan of Asians Represent! podcast and DND twitch channel often speaks up against this term as well. I am not sure "Eastern" is the appropriate replacement, but it certainly feels like something to spend time on.
Why? Because in America, some people think the word is demeaning because Americans from East Asia prefer to be called Asian Americans instead of Orientals? The word is only inappropriate in one specific case, and that is only if you call an Asian American an Oriental. In no other circumstance has it ever been used offensively, and even in this case, it is considered offensive because Asian Americans are proud of the fact that they are Americans, just like the American next to them ignorantly calling them an oriental, even if they are from California and the ignorant American is likely from the Southeast so is technically more oriental than they are. Because, in this case, 'Oriental' is being used to describe a location, and not to describe a specific group of people, I don't support this idea.
Oriental is just a word for East Asia. Asian people are not offended by this word, only ignorant Europeans and Americans.
All of you people are seriously so messed up in the head to be even thinking the way you do in the first place. Oriental ? When in the world did that become derogatory, you people need the flying spaghetti monster (because you'll be sad if I say anything else), Right? Seriously grow up and be ashamed.
Honestly, this shouldn't even be a feature request, it should just be done period. I fully expect people to be arguing over 'political correctness' and dumping negative ACs (which are a thing?!) on this. All of this on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Sad.
This is not problematic language.
Although I am sure the intent is good, I feel this idea is scary, and I think the beginning of this type of thinking will greatly limit people's creativity. There's no way that "Eastern" fully describes the richness that is intended from "Oriental" cultures. Most of my friends are Asian and none of them find the word Oriental offensive, simply because it was never a derogatory term, lets not try to make it so please.
The counterpart “Western” term to Oriental is Occidental. If you’re using one but not the other, that’s a problem. The argument is that if you use Oriental to describe Asia but you aren’t using Occidental to describe Europe/America, you’re centering and privileging White culture while implicitly labeling Asians as “The Other.”
Agree with changing the current situation, do not agree with the offered solution. Both oriental and eastern are terms are inespecific and non-descriptive on themselves: Are we talking about Russian culture? japanese? indian? Hell, oceania is in "the east"... so is Italy! Both words mean the same: "It's at the east of us" but there are so many cultures to the east of whatever "us" means that it doesn't tell me much. One commenter said that they have an specific meaning in Austria, another one explained a different meaning "in English", unsurprisingly they have yet another meaning in Spanish (oriental = southeastern Asian... or Uruguayan) so it is clearly non descriptive enough. It would be a lot nicer and more useful to have more specific terms like the ones jcsamuelson suggested.
No objections. This is a simple fix to remove problematic language.
I agree that it should be changed, but I think instead of "Eastern" the list should be expanded since there other countries besides those of East Asia. I'm upvoting this so the concept won't be lost, just think the problem should be addressed in a different manner.
The word 'Oriental' is not "generally" perceived as inappropriate, it is perceived as such by a select few who think it their business to bar the rest of us from using whatever vocabulary they deem unworthy. In so doing much of our ability to convey diversity of thoughts and ideas is lost as our language diminishes and we have fewer words at our disposal to describe those ideas. The word 'Oriental' has a very specific connotation in the English language, one which 'Eastern' doesn't get across, and it's not an inherently negative connotation. Yes, of course it's archaic. That's exactly my point. "Eastern" conveys geographical location. 'Oriental' tells us we're looking at a certain area of the world, at a certain time in history, and it may even carry the meaning of what outside perspective this culture is being viewed from. (I believe the word's meaning as we now understand it originated in Victorian England, and as such it contains some connotation of the international climate of the time) Of course British colonialism was terrible for a lot of reasons, but removing the word from our vocabulary doesn't do anything to fix that. Replace it if you must, or better yet, just have both. I'm just sick and tired of words getting canceled.
Agree with the intent, not the approach. 'Eastern' in this context remains as fraught as 'Oriental' since it still betrays a Eurocentric or Americentric bias, leaving the core issue unresolved. One 'fix' might be to add greater specificity (e.g., East Asian, Southeast Asian, Southern European, Middle Eastern, etc.). Another might be to eliminate regionalism altogether in favor of sticking to culturally agnostic genres (e.g., science fiction, horror, fantasy, etc.) and sub-genres.
This is the first time I hear about 'oriental' being perceived as inappropriate. And the world is bigger than the usa. just because one country does something doesn't mean all others should. yes oriental might be an old fashioned word, but there isn't much negative about it. But if we are not allowed to use old fashioned words how can we write?
I don't agree at all. This software does not center the U.S. or Westerners (for which I'm glad, and yes, I'm an American). Changing something because the U.S. has decided to take issue with a word, and very VERY recently at that, is no reason to strike it from everywhere. Perhaps add 'Asian' as well as 'Eastern' or 'East Asian'. From Japan, west all the way to Saudi Arabia is filled with countries all on the continent of Asia. So if we're going to change anything, change it because it speaks to the genres and types of worlds we're writing and not because the U.S. has taken issue with a word that happens to be just fine & non-offensive according to the Oxford dictionary.
I agree with Racussa, the term may be "archaic" in the US, but the world is much bigger than the US. Basing everything on an American standard is narrow minded and imperialist, so as someone else said, why not both?
The terms "orient" and "orientalism" are still perfectly well defined in Art Historical writings, and given that much of what we are writing on here is period fantasy, I don't need to see the terms disappear, particularly since in my fantasy world, "eastern" does not describe the correct geographic location of where those visual and cultural styles are found. So I would be in favor of keeping the term, but perhaps simply adding "eastern" as another alternative, as someone else suggested.
The statement may be true for the US context (dividing the world in operation ranges and calling the formentioned region as Near and Middle East covered by USCENTCOM), but at least in Austria the term 'Orient' means the eastern mediterranean culture, mostly influenced by byzantine empire and the arabic-islamic tradition (from Lebanon till Iran; what yuu can study as 'Orientalistik'). 'Eastern' is more connected to Slavic-tradition of east-european countries (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, BieloRussia...) I would find it rather confusing to mix the to terms. And as WA has its center in Greece (and/or GreatBritain), I'd prefer the European to the US style. Altough considering that East and Oriens - sunrising - means the same direction ;-)
How about both?