July 07, 2002


REORIENTATION: I know I'm a week late, but I ought to comment on the silliness in my new home state:

Beginning today, [Washington] state and local lawmakers are prohibited from using the term "Oriental" in statutes, codes, rules and regulations.

Instead, officials must use "Asian" to describe people of Asian descent.

Why "Oriental" is offensive to anyone, I have no idea. The word is a throwback to a time when East was at the top of the map-- hence oriental. Clearly, the Korean state senator who's idea this was is a hypersensitive lunatic.

The substitution is also incorrect. Eastern Russians, Uzbeks, Indians, Iraqis and Israelis are all "Asian." Only Southeast Asians are Oriental, right?

All this begs the question-- why should state and local laws mention ethnicity, anyway? Interestingly, the only law where the wording is affected-- requiring "solicitation of minority contractors for construction of city water mains"-- may be inactive, if I heard the radio correctly the other day; a ballot innitiative recently outlawed race-based preferential treatment by the state.

Posted by John Tabin at July 7, 2002 04:16 PM