9/06/2006

Oriental Asians

I looked up “oriental” in a dictionary yesterday to learn whether one capitalizes the word. Browsing the “Usage Note,” I discovered using the noun “Oriental” can be offensive. That is, when one refers to an Asian person as an “Oriental,” one may as well toss a Styrofoam cup out one's car window. It's that offensive. This discovery shocked me, especially since I was planning to use “Oriental” to describe an “Asian,” with no malice in heart, I add. Honest Indian, I was surprised to discover that another perfectly innocent word had mutated into something offensive.

The discovery got me to thinking. Asians are the only demographic of people about whom you can still crack wise. But based on what I found in the dictionary, I figure I'd better hurry. Things are changing fast. Evidently some Asians have organized a victim-advocacy group. They've set their sights on word “Oriental.” That's the aggravating thing about political correctness: It always selects such trivial, stupid-shit causes. Oriental v. Asian? Are you kidding me? If politically correct people want to advocate for Asians, why don't they organize a posse and slay that Godzilla creature who keeps eating innocent Japanese people? Do something helpful for once. Symbolism over substance!

I know what you're thinking. Gosh, is LBB going to publish a post disparaging an entire demographic of people? Of course not. Unless it's the Polish. Vile creatures, those Poles. But I would like to investigate why it's still OK (or until recently, has been OK) to make fun of Asians. Don't argue that it's not OK. If you don't believe me, watch any comedy show on cable television. Asians are fair game. I'm not saying it's right. I'm just making the observation that it is. I want to know why. It strikes me peculiar. It seems to me that Asians have a more legitimate gripe than any other race. Most of them are starving. And that's saying a lot. There's like 1.3 billion Chinese people. In fact, I read that for every dollar of national debt, there are 2.3 Chinese kids going hungry. Wait a minute. That wasn't it. If you stacked all hungry Asian kids on top of each other, the pile would stretch to the moon and back 2.3 times. No, that doesn't sound right. Whatever the thing I read, know this: There's a fuckin' lot of Asian people over in Asia and they're going hungry. Seriously. And hunger isn't their only legitimate complaint. What about Japanese people? Sure, they eat pretty well since we started building McDonald's over there. But they are the only people on the entire planet who've been nuked. Say what you want about slavery; it beats living in a mushroom cloud. Mexicans? What's their gripe? They get thrown back over a wall a couple of times per year. No big whoop. Japanese are the only people on earth to be on the business-end of an atomic bomb. If these people want to start complaining, I'll microwave up some popcorn, take a seat and listen. They've got the right to complain. Also, it wasn't just military targets that tasted the wrath of Fat Man and Little Boy. Schoolhouses, residential homes, factories, rice paddies, karate dojos, karaoke bars -- they all took a hit. Atrocity. Think about this little slice of irony. That soldier who allegedly wiped his ass with a page of the Qur'an is looking at 12 years of hard labor. The guys who dropped two atomic bombs on Japanese cities have their pictures posted in museums. When they flew home to the states, they got all kinds of cooter. Real heroes' welcome. What gives here?

This is conjecture, but I believe the reason Asians don't enjoy the politically correct protection that other demographics do is because of the former's success in academic settings and in the job market. It's hard to feel sorry for somebody who 18 months prior jumped off a boat, thumbed through a few People magazines, mastered the language and now speaks it better than most English Lit. majors (he still can't pronounce it for shit, but he knows syntax and grammar like gangbusters). Then, while the rest of us are dropping out of college and racking up credit card debt, he's launched a multi-million dollar enterprise selling woks on the Home Shopping Network with a bikini-clad American honey under each arm. Admit it. It's hard feeling sorry for a guy like that. I know I don't.

So making fun of Asians is still relatively safe -- for now. But I live in fear of their uprising. Why? Because these people know karate. I know, I know. Just because somebody is Asian doesn't mean they're a black belt. But really, many do have some training in the martial arts. Even if only a few know karate, that would be enough. Have you ever watched those Bruce Li movies? One karate man can kick 37 guys' asses at the same time. Meanwhile, our kids have been pounding down Doritos while they play X-Box games in a pile of their own filth. We've got a nation whose children are battling an epidemic of gout, for Christ's sake. Who do you think is going to win in a fight -- Bruce Li or Super Mario?

That's something to think about, my round-eyed friend.

51 comments:

jules said...

Starting my day off laughing. Thanks LBB.

Miss Cellania said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Miss Cellania said...

I'd surely laugh if I didn't have to deal with this kind of stereotype everyday.

mist1 said...

I thought Oriental was a flavor of Ramen Noodles.

NWJR said...

Mr. Bug, that's why you have to read my blog every day. I could have saved you the time it took to go through the usage notes!

When I was in college, someone used the word "negro", and the lone African American in the class took us to task, explaining that the word now had a negative connotation*. Heck, when I was a kid, if we'd called someone "black", we'd have gotten the living shit kicked out of us.

Probably by someone using karate.

* Yes, I'm old. OTOH, I'm also from the Midwest, and this kind of news takes a long time to reach us.

tornwordo said...

I had someone tell me that I shouldn't use that word. (I had used it, with no malice I add;) I actually said, "What am I supposed to call them?" Japanese-American or Korean-American etc was the reply.

Did you know that in Asian society, they easily detect the origins of a person by the look of the eyes? Over here, we don't have that skill. Or at least I don't.

Whatever happened to Miss Swan?

Blogarita said...

Unfortunately, some of those karaoke bars survived the nuclear attack, then reproduced and launched a massive attack on the US. Just their little way of getting even.

Edgy Mama said...

O, the starved but martial-arts-trained Asian masses could so kick our overweight, lazy American heinies. And they probably will one day.

Evydense said...

The thing I always hate about your blogs is that there's never anything to add! You've said it all perfectly.. I say let's find a more politically-correct term for 'politically-correct'...something like 'lame-ass stupid.'

Fathairybastard said...

I think it has some sort of colonial connotation. Something about white European colonial rulers labeling everything east of them as the Orient. Originally it could mean Turkish, Arab, Persian, Chinese, etc. Basically anything east of the Black Sea.

I guess "Asian" is more specifically referring to someone from Asia. But calling someone "Asian" or "Oriental" insinuates that they are foreign, like calling a Tejano a Mexican. Hence the hyphenated folks out there.

The one that cracks me up is "people of color." I was told growing up that it was wrong to call someone "colored." Denoted the idea that they were colored but I was normal, white being normal. I can see that. Makes sense. But now it's all turned around and the idea is that white folks lack something, both in culture and pigment, and that it's somehow better or more interesting to be a "person of color." What a bunch of stupid crap. Just call someone "colored" and see what happens. Isn't white a color, or pink, which is what we really are? or is it a lack of color? Anyway...

Fuck em if they can't take a joke.

Dave Morris said...

I was chastised recently for referring to my rug as "oriental."

What did the Cartrights call Hop Sing? "Chinaman," right??? Wow, we've come a long way.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Well, hell, I didn't know that about "Oriental." So, is "chinks" okay?

Also, I think it was Fat Boy, Bug. But who cares? It probably didn't feel good to any of them.

Dawn (webmiztris) said...

"Honest Indian"....lol! yet bad, bugs!

Dawn (webmiztris) said...

ahem, that should be 'yer bad'.

my bad. :D

La Chou said...

Ha..haha...ha...well I'm venturing forward as an Asian that found your blog. Very interesting observations, and true... I suppose people are merely jealous because Asians ROCK! Oh yeah, I can kind of do the thing where I can tell what Asians are what by their eyes...

Mr. Friendly said...

Speaking of HopSing...
My wife and daughter think that's who I am. Last birthday, they got me a meat cleaver.

Super Mario is not fair although appropriate. I nominate that David Carradine fight in his stead. All 60 or 70 years of wrinkled, withered, and wasted flesh. Now that's a pay-per-view fight. Any chance we could get Bruce and David back from the dead?

kissashark said...

I think it's OK (to poke fun) and I'll say why. I have a couple close friends who are Japanese and they make fun of Americans (round eye) all the time....seriously they (japanese in particular) generally think they are superior to us anyway and I think us poking fun about chinese food never filling you up, or all asians knowing karate is good natured....you haven't lived till you've heard a 65 yr old Japanese man scream english obscenities!

poopie said...

I'll have lunch special #5 with a side of cat-on-a-stick, grassshopper.

Scottsdale Girl said...

It's Fried Rice you Plick

That's all I got today LBB.

Sister MaryJane Rottencrotch said...

I always thought oriental refered to as "eastern," much in the way occidental means western. What is the disparagement there?

Amandarama said...

Did we nuke our Indians, I mean, Native Americans? You know, to test proof of concept before we went after the slants?

Greg - Cowboy in the Jungle said...

You just GOTTA hear this!!!

http://www.goofball.com/phone/INC20001004065810

Yasamin said...

Hey I support their little multi-guhgillion dollar funds.

i bought one of those woks. as well as the knives. and got a free curly cue cutter in the process!

Riss said...

You nailed it my friend, it's the "Model Minority" effect. I find it amusing that other races can get offended when their own is parodied, and yet think nothing is wrong with making fun of the Chinese delivery guy. I at least make fun of everyone across the board, my own people included.

P.S. - I believe the politically correct term now is "Chink-American."

MIA said...

NOW I"VE HAD IT! if they want to get pissed off about something if I were asian, I'd be so chop stick mad when I walked down the grocery aisle and saw things like, LA CHOY oriental dinner. HA HA in a can, talk about insult. A oriental chop suey in a can.

dawn said...

You obviously didn't have a racist grandfather like I did. I've known Oriental was offensive for decades. Another thing grandpa taught me? There are too damn many of them orientals.

Now you're all caught up.

Heidi the Hick said...

Work ethic, Lound Eye. Work ethic.

Only we Mennonites come close!

Softball Slut said...

And so Kareoke Bars are their retaliation? That's jacked up

C said...

I agree with Dawn - where ya been for decades. That's been offensive since I was in grade school and I am in my 30's. At any rate. I am a human being and I shit just like the rest of you. I look white, I am Mexican and I have been told I used to look Asian when I was a child. My mom looks like Halle Berry and my dad looks Native American Indian. My sister's been mistaken for a middle easterner and recently someone said I was exotic looking and wondered if I was from Hawaii. I am offended all day long if I want to be but I choose to say "What the fuck!" I have better things to do with my time.

Superstar said...

Karaoke tranlation= tone deaf. Need I say more?

LBB this is an exsample of why you should not consider HR.
Hispanic=mexican/spanard, Cuban
Asian=chineese, japaneese
Pacific Islander= FIJI
Native American=Indian
Indian=From the country of India
Native Alaskan/eskimo=Shit you not they have their own group/minority status
Vetran
African American=Negro (you might as well have used the "n" word)black, etc.
then you get int interracial issues..What if Mom is Pacific Islander and dad is African American...The list is endless.
I say we all are human and who gives a rats behind if we are purple w/ yellow polk adots or not!

Stop being so touchy feely and GO TO WORK! Do your job and GO home!

jali said...

My mom was 1/2 Filipina. She wasn't very politically correct since she called herself an oriental colored gal -

As AA as I look, when I was a kid, someone asked me if I was Chinese and if I could fry rice. Oh the pain and heartache of childhood.

Is the term, "the Orient" incorrect too? Damn pushy chinks and their personal agandas.

jordan said...

I have several asian friends (I know that oriental is offensive).. I've laughed hysterically about many of the things they've said about "white" folks... (cause it's true)

Sweetie said...

Hi there, Bugs Butt. I'm visiting from Migraine Boy's blog and I'd like to say that I have a friend who is 1/2 Jewish and 1/2 Japanese and he always tells me he's cookin' up a jap slap for me, or srap as they say in English, I mean Engrish.

The "Jap Slap" term comes from WWII days I've been informed.

exile said...

acctually asian's do complain about it.

unfortuantely they write their complaints using those tiny typewriters they use for the fortune cookies, so no one notices...

sans said...

since when is "oriental" insulting?

nongirlfriend said...

I'd like to read your observations on those horrible Irish people.

Being one of them, I would be amused. I'd be drunk, but amused.

sans said...

x-box in their own filth! ha hee hee haa haa! now get me some motherf***ing chocolate MILK!!!!

Spinning Girl said...

I used to imagine/joke about Japanese cars talking and saying, "oooh, stupid round-eye, you lun led light again!"

Asians do not find this funny.

Steven Novak said...

I most enjoyed your useage of the term "crack-wise." ;)
Steve~

Becky said...

Are you shitting me!? Offensive, oriental?! Well, not like I give a damn about being politically correct anyhow...

Smitty said...

I looked up "oriental" and it said something about not being able to drive.

Helga von porno said...

In london asian refers to indians, pakistanis bangladshis etc. Asian seem a stupid term for a race since there are at least two distinct races in asia. Best off calling them american. I like to confuse americans by refering to white people from africa as "africans" where, i think, "african" is american for black.

Sudiegirl said...

very interesting...:-)

JJ said...

Any group of people who can build a fence that can be seen from space is a force to be reckoned with...that's all I'm sayin.

Nölff said...

Have you ever heard of gay Asians, also known as Gaysians?

NWJR said...

Any group of people who can build a fence that can be seen from space is a force to be reckoned with...that's all I'm sayin.

That's an old urban legend, jj. You can't see it from space.

kari said...

SO inappropriate but I'm lauging my ass off!

Elaine said...

HAHAHAHA! This was brilliant my round eyed friend.

We laugh (raff) at your jokes because you don't know we talk shit about the round eyes while we're doing your manicure or drycleaning.

hee

I dont' see what the uproar is about "oriental." My mom used to call herself and other Asians Oriental all the time. But then again, we're Filipino, we don't really know what we fall under. Pacific islander? Asian? Other?

We're just a bunch of Magellan killers.

frozen ananas said...

i'd be very cautious about offending oriental asians with small eyes. we are all kung-fu experts.
haaaaaiiiiiiiiii-ya!

frozen ananas said...

i'd be very cautious about offending oriental asians with small eyes. we are all kung-fu experts.
haaaaaiiiiiiiiii-ya!

Evil Genius said...

Yah, being politically correct is totally overrated. Good show, old bean!

(Thanks for the giggles!)