Discussion post #2. – one single page – about history, law and
Discussion Post #2: Oriental or Asian American? What’s the difference?
What’s in a name? Oriental versus Asian American/Asian Pacific American
Let’s consider the term, “Oriental.” As a “racialized” term, how is this term problematic? Why does it evoke controversy? When is it okay to use? What is the sociohistorical implications, its political implementation, its social use, its use as “compass,” etc.) ? What does this term tell us about American society’s views of Asian Pacific Americans and the social location of Asian Pacific peoples here in the U.S. and abroad?
The transformation of “racialized categories” from Oriental, Asiatics, Mongolian, Malay, Asian-Americans, Asian Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestries, etc. etc. is really the process of “racial formation” and “racialization” taking place. Welcome to the (sociohistorical) process!
Professor Phillip Tajitsu Nash has written a great article on this titled, “Inter-Change” (p. 1 ~ 4) in the textbook, Asian American Experiences: Past, Present and Future (edited by Eunai Kim Shrake and Edith Wen-Chu Chen). If you are able to get a hold of this textbook and read Dr. Nash’s chapter, he examines the term, “Oriental.“
Consider the legal cases in early Asian American history and how they have affected the term, “Oriental.” What are your thoughts?
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