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Is the term 'oriental' offensive/racist?

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    I was hanging out with some East Asian friends. Someone asked one of the girls of she was 'oriental' because she doesn't look it. She gave them a weird look as said I'm Asian. I asked her what happened and she started ranting about how offensive it is etc.

    I'm half Thai and half Somali so people are always questioning my ethnicity but I didn't know 'oriental' could be offensive. I say it quite a lot myself because when I say Asian people often assume I'm south Asian - that's probably because I grew up in a place where everyone was south Asian.
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    Your friend is stupid
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    (Original post by Nick1sHere)
    Your friend is stupid
    +1
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    It's not offensive at all in the UK. In America it's rarely used - they call them 'asian' instead.
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    Can't you get oriental duck? Apparently it's quite tasty :sexface:
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    Why is it offensive in America?
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    It's not a commonly used word in the UK. Yet I've always thought that there are some people that find it offensive, but others who don't. It depends on who you're speaking to I suppose.
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    It's not offensive/racist, but I heard it's politically incorrect... :dontknow:
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    A little insider information from an Eastern Asian: if she was born in Eastern Asia, she probably dislikes your skin colour hence the ranting...
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    i have been to an oriental buffet
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    No, it's not offensive. :facepalm2:
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    (Original post by Dalek1099)
    i have been to an oriental buffet
    :sexface:
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    (Original post by ssh19931111)
    A little insider information from an Eastern Asian: if she was born in Eastern Asia, she probably dislikes your skin colour hence the ranting...
    It was a old white woman that asked her about her ethnicity on the bus, not me.
    Why would she have anything against my skin colour? Do you even know what my skin colour is like? I could pass for being fully Asian mate. She is definitely not a racist - she has a mixed race boyf mate and black friends.
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    I know people generally refer people from the far east as oriental... but forgive me for my ignorance (and maybe someone can back me up or show me evidence suggesting otherwise...) but weren't those from Persia/Babylonians originally referred to as orientals?

    To the OP: I don't see why it would be offensive.
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    In the USA and other countries yes, not in the UK.
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    I never thought saying oriental was offensive and only questioning it now after reading this thread.
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    No. :facepalm:
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    "Oriental" makes me think of sex involving kinky things.

    <Waits for the reply to get censored>
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    I have heard sometimes it is considered offensive, but I have never considered it so and in the UK it isn't usually thought to be so. More often found offensive in the US or Canada, when applied to a person as in ' he is an oriental'

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Updated: February 19, 2012
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