[Ads-l] Now in your hands, the the key to the "singularity"... (UNCLASSIFIED)

Christopher Philippo toff at MAC.COM
Sun Jun 5 14:02:09 UTC 2016

On Jun 5, 2016, at 8:47 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> Do not use...
> Why not?
> Has anyone determined what percentage of East Asian people are
> actually "offended" by "Oriental"?
> Or is it an argument from the authority of the handful of persons who
> asserted it was offensive ca1970?

The stylebook doesn’t say the term is offensive, it just says “do not use”.  “Orient” could be deprecated for being overbroad (potentially referring to North Africa, Western Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Asia), or for offensiveness to a small or large number of people - but again, what good are guesses?

Stylebooks often don’t supply their reasoning and often don’t note the history of the entry, such as when “do not use” was added, which is too bad.  From what I can see of the 1982 and the 1986 Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual on Google Books the “do not use” doesn’t appear to be in the “Orient, Oriental” entry.  It seems to have just “Orient, Oriental Capitalize when referring to the Far East nations of Asia and nearby islands or to an inhabitant of these regions. Also: Oriental rug, Oriental cuisine.”  (“Oriental cuisine”?  Talk about overbroad!)  If that’s so, the speculation that the AP accepted an argument from a “handful of persons” ca. 1970 is out.  Ask the AP for whatever records they might have of their deliberations in developing the stylebook?


Chris Philippo
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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