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Thread: Oriental is ornamental

  1. #1
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    Oriental is ornamental

    The first time I heard 'Oriental is ornamental' was from a white Kung Fu brother. I was like 'Huh? That's a thing?' He proceeded to edumacate me on the derogatory nature of the term. That must have been nearly twenty years ago.

    DEC 3 2015, 6:48 PM ET
    U.S. House Votes to Remove the Word 'Oriental' from Federal Law
    by EMIL GUILLERMO

    The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously on Wednesday to remove two instances of the word "Oriental," along with other dated references to minorities, from federal legislation. The proposal was co-sponsored by Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY) and Ed Royce (R-CA).

    Meng co-authored a similar law in 2009 as a member of the New York State Assembly.

    "We're technically 'AAPI,' so we're replacing it with all those four words: Asian American Pacific Islanders," Meng told NBC News. "We want to be as inclusive as possible…As far as we know these are the only two remaining sections of the code that have these terms, so hopefully that will take care of that."

    The language in the legislation that would be removed by Meng and Royce's amendment, which is contained in the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, goes beyond just Asian Americans. The instances in the U.S. Code relate to attempts in the late '70s to define the term "minority."

    In Title 42, section 7141, on minority economic impact, the definition reads: "(A)ny individual who is a citizen of the United States and who is a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent."

    In Title 42, section 6705 on land grants, minority is defined as "Negroes, Spanish-speaking, Orientals, Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts."

    "Our ethnicity, our identity cannot be described as 'oriental,'" Meng said. "That essentially means nothing about ones origin. And it's not about being politically correct. There are some people who use the term without bad intent. The point is to make sure that federal law as it is written is using accurate and factual terms and labels."

    The Obama administration has said it would veto the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, sponsored by Republican Congressman Fred Upton, "because it would undermine already successful initiatives designed to modernize the nation's energy infrastructure and increase our energy efficiency," according to a White House memo.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    Okay, so maybe I didn't say "That's a thing?"

    I can't believe someone called me on that here privately. You know who you are. I must concede - 'That's a thing?' is a contemporary slang phrase and I must have said the equivalent of it back in the mid 90s.

    The House Votes To Ban The Terms ‘Oriental’ And ‘Negro’ From Federal Law
    It's 2015.
    Marina Fang Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post
    12/07/2015 05:24 pm ET

    WASHINGTON -- Politicians have a habit of burying important information. There are bills with titles that say nothing about what they will actually do, and as comedian Jon Stewart noted in his swan song on “The Daily Show,” politicians have mastered the art of hiding bad things under “mountains of bull****.”
    But sometimes they bury some positive developments. Stuffed into a House energy bill passed last week was an amendment banning the terms “Oriental” and “Negro” from federal law and replacing them with “Asian-American” and “African-American.”
    The legislation, sponsored by Reps. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) and Ed Royce (R-Calif.), was passed unanimously by a voice vote. It removes these terms from the last two places in the federal code where they are still used. Last updated in the 1970s, the sections refer to minority groups using now antiquated and offensive terms.


    BILL CLARK VIA GETTY IMAGES
    Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced a similar bill when she served in the New York State Assembly.

    The new legislation has ramifications for other minority groups as well. The parts of the federal code to which the amendment pertain are dedicated to defining minority groups for federal agencies’ purposes.
    In addition to “Negro” and “Oriental,” the two sections of federal law use “Puerto Rican” and “Spanish-speaking,” which were both catch-all labels for Hispanic or Latino individuals, before the latter terms came into wide use. It also uses “Eskimo” to refer to the native people of Alaska, who prefer the terms “Inuit” or the even broader term “Alaska native”; and “Indian” to refer to Native Americans. The amendment will replace these old terms as well.
    The changes are not about being politically correct. As Meng, the first Asian-American from New York elected to Congress, noted last week when speaking about the amendment on the House floor, the terms are ones that “many in the community would find offensive.”
    “I would not want either of my children to be referred to as ‘Oriental’ by their teacher at school," she said. “I hope we can all agree that the term ‘Oriental’ no longer deserves a place in federal law.”
    Scholars note that both “Negro” and “Oriental” have historically been t***** subjects for the groups that they describe. The terms can reinforce stereotypes, and were developed and imposed by white people, not always embraced by the very people they were used to describe.
    For Asian-Americans, calling them "Oriental" also connotes a sense of exoticism and otherness.
    Paul Ong, a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles who studies Asian-Americans, explained that using the term "Oriental" is “indicative of old stereotypes.”
    “Just like 'Negro,' it’s a historical term that people got used to,” Ong told The Huffington Post. “There’s a whole generation that grew up with the term."
    Both terms gradually stopped being used, particularly after the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. But older generations may still use them without understanding why they are offensive.
    "There’s a degree of ignorance," Ong said. "I think there are still those negative terms and connotations that reflect old prejudices and biases. Asians have stereotypes projected toward them."
    Some government agencies still held onto the terms, even as they fell out of common usage. For example, the U.S. Census only officially stopped using the term “Negro” in 2013, though it had been using "black" and "African-American" alongside it.


    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Ong thinks that the speed of updating the terms can depend on the purpose of the federal agencies.
    "Some agencies deal with developing programs for ethnic groups, so they collect data for those groups," he said. "For those agencies whose jobs is to collect accurate information, I don’t see that problem. The problem is with other agencies that only occasionally deal with these issues in a very pro forma way [to] talk about diversity. They don’t have the insights to understand that these terms are offensive and haven’t necessarily had to deal with the sensitivities of the terms."
    State governments have also been slow to change. Meng previously spearheaded a similar law when she served in the New York State Assembly. That law, passed in 2009, eliminated the use of “Oriental” in New York state documents. The state of Washington banned the term in 2002.
    Unfortunately, Meng and Royce’s amendment may not even become federal law right away, as President Barack Obama plans to veto the GOP-sponsored energy bill if it passes the Senate in its current form, due to concerns about its negative environmental ramifications.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  3. #3
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    For decades, whenever I heard 'oriental', I thought of that stereotyped *****y music that was most likely thought up by Western composers, probably sometime in the '60s. If you're wondering which music I'm talking about, it's what the opening nine notes of the song "Turning Japanese" is inspired by (BTW, I always hated that song). You know, "Do-do-do-do-do-do, do-do-doooo..."

    'Oriental' also reminds me of ramen noodles, i.e., 'Oriental flavor'. What does that even mean, anyway? That it tastes like an Asian person? Does it taste like someone's hair or dirty feet, too?
    Last edited by Jimbo; 12-11-2015 at 01:15 PM.

  4. #4
    Greetings,

    I learned from a movie comedy that the word "oriental" was out. It featured James Hong. This guy was delivering a speech and every time he said "oriental" you would hear James Hong's corrective voice saying "Asian". That is all it took for me. But when you hear Asians use the word, in a wonderfully educated way, it is hard to kill it off.

    I also eat Ramen "oriental" noodles. I never thought about it in such unsavory detail as Jimbo has. That will have to change as well. And if they start using "Asian", then, again, it is up to us to decide what kind of Asian we are eating and what part. It is a no win situation.


    mickey

  5. #5
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    Oriental FLAVOR would be my rap DJ name

    Or maybe Oriental Flava.

    That's really funny, Jimbo. I found this when pondering it:

    An Official Complaint Against Oriental Ramen
    We all know it’s racist. So let’s talk about it.
    BY LUCAS PETERSON JANUARY 29, 2015


    Illustration by Kris Mukai

    Let’s take a walk through the center aisles of any grocery store in America, past the dried pasta and canned soup, down the “ethnic” aisle, to the section stacked with instant ramen. Chances are, there will be at least four flavors: 1) Shrimp: tasty sea crustacean, check. 2) Chicken: renowned edible fowl, check. 3) Beef: delicious meat from bovines, check. 4) Oriental: Um, excuse me? No, come on… really?

    What on earth is “Oriental” flavor? Is it ramen that tastes of carpet? Because other than rugs, this is the only current use of that descriptor I can think of that doesn’t raise eyebrows. From the time that I was one of just two Asian kids in my suburban Chicago elementary school class, I’ve been instructed that that term is “not okay.” And yet, two of America’s largest makers of instant ramen—Maruchan and Nissin—continue to sell “Oriental”-flavored products.

    So, seriously, what is Oriental ramen? Let’s examine both the name and noodles themselves.

    On that first point: Asians don’t like to be called Oriental. Most races of non-white persons—as well as many white minorities—have historically been labeled with certain terms that are now considered antiquated or pejorative; you can probably think of a handful. If you’ve ever had an uncomfortable conversation with your grandparents about, say, our current president, you know what I’m talking about.

    Now, imagine seeing those words slapped onto labels and used to describe food. Food that you see at the grocery store. In 2015. In our post-racial society, no less. How is a food item supposed to taste like an entire continent of people? Because “The Orient,” if you take its definition at face value, isn’t just limited to East Asian countries like China, Japan, and Korea. India and Pakistan are part of the Orient. Freaking Turkey is in there. So for starters, the idea of a unified flavor of “Oriental” is fairly absurd.

    But what about Asian? Isn’t that term just as bad as far as lumping different and diverse peoples together? And what’s the big deal, anyway: doesn’t “orient” just mean “east?” You don’t see Westerners getting all huffy about being called “Westerners!”

    Yes and no. Not really the same. “Asian” is a geographical term. It’s like “European.” Sure, Asian can be misused like any other word, but it lacks the loaded-ness of “Oriental,” which conjures up images of Fu Manchu and dragon ladies and opium dens and Jerry Lewis. According to Clement Lai, professor of Asian American Studies at California State University Northridge, “Oriental conjures up false and negative stereotypes and continues the perception that Asian or Asian American is exotic, foreign, and not a part of mainstream America.”

    Beverly Kim, former Top Chef contestant and current owner/chef at Parachute restaurant in Chicago, adds, “The word oriental contributes to the misconceived notion that Asians come from one big country. It minimizes the nuances in each Asian culture. “

    When in history, then, did that tipping {1} point arrive? When did we really begin to swap Asian for Oriental? For fun, I went to Google Books and made an Ngram of the words Asian and Oriental, charting the usage of those words in books between the years 1900 and 2000.

    The word Asian took off around World War II, blowing by Oriental during the Civil Rights Movement in the late-1950s, and thoroughly surpassing it by the unofficial end of that movement in 1968. That makes reasonable sense, given the era of Black Power/Yellow Power. The word Oriental, on the other hand, has been in a slow, steady decline since the late 20s. Maybe instant ramen companies just haven’t gotten the memo yet.

    Which brings us to the question of the noodles, and what exactly “Oriental” tastes like. Let’s assume that the manufacturers are attempting to evoke the Far East: China, Japan, Korea. Setting aside the fact that these countries all have wildly different cuisines, what are the flavors associated with that part of the world? How does one try to make something taste Oriental?

    Sophie Deterre, food scientist at Afineur, explained the process of engineering certain types of flavors: “You have thousands of compounds in front of you, and you know the properties of all of them, and you have to smell or taste them and train every single day to be able to make the right combinations… It’s like people who create perfume. You have a panel of experts, people who are trained to test and already have the specific references in mind. And then they say ‘Okay, we’re close to the beef taste,’ or ‘This is more like a chicken taste.’”

    The ingredients on a package of Oriental-flavor Top Ramen are a list of difficult-to-place chemicals and compounds with the occasional recognizable food item popping up. Disodium succinate and sodium tripolyphosphate, anyone? MSG is in there, as is hydrolyzed soy protein, garlic powder, and, third to last on the list of twenty-nine ingredients, is the exceedingly vague (yet somewhat promising) word spice.

    Linda Chung, VP of Marketing for Nissin Foods USA (maker of Top Ramen) described Oriental flavor succinctly to me via email: “There is no standard definition of oriental flavor. For Top Ramen, the flavor profile can be characterized as a combination of soy sauce and ginger.”{2}
    I bought a bunch of Oriental-flavored Maruchan and Top Ramen instant noodles and they tasted, for all intents and purposes, identical. They were very salty, of course, like all ramen, but they both had a pleasantly spiced, vaguely soy/vaguely beefy broth. They tasted brown. Brown-flavored, like the mystery goop you’d get on some chow fun noodles at a seedy Chinese take-out place. I wanted them to taste terrible, as that would allow for more ranting, but they didn’t.

    In the end, Chung was fairly spot-on: soy was the most immediately nameable flavor, and ginger was the most prevalent spice. The soup was slightly greasy, but not overly so. So folks, there you have it: Oriental things taste like soy and ginger. Crack an egg and toss a slice of American cheese in there and you’ve got yourself a decent little snack.

    But is it fairly representative of the “Orient?” Can the palates and cuisines of over four billion people be grouped en masse and distilled down to… soy sauce and ginger? And is that really better than just labeling it “soy sauce and ginger flavor”? The term Oriental has the effect of tremendously, incorrectly simplifying the eating habits of a huge number of distinct and diverse peoples. For a corollary, imagine going into a grocery store and seeing a product called “Western Civilization Flavor” that tastes like French fries and ketchup.

    For her part, Chung was straightforward about her company’s continued use of the term: “At Nissin Foods we believe that oriental is the correct use of an adjective that refers to objects, not people, related to or situated in Asia. The term continues to be in common usage for food and products throughout the U.S. Our oriental ramen flavor has been around for over 30 years and is part of Nissin’s heritage. To date we’ve received no consumer complaints regarding our description of this flavor.”

    I suppose, then, that I will be the first person to lodge an official complaint. I’m not one for p.c. zealotry. But words do matter, and Oriental is inextricably linked to a certain era and specific attitude—of colonialism, exoticism, and alienation. If we can relegate these antiquated terms and attitudes to the past, to quote Edward Said’s seminal academic text Orientalism, “then we shall have advanced a little.” After that, maybe we can tackle the issue of engineering a tastier instant noodle. Because, let’s be honest here, there’s still some work to do there, too.
    And this:
    Gene Ching
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  6. #6

    While we are on the subject of instant noodles......

    I found a better way to season the noodles.

    When the noodles are ready pour out most of the water and then push the noodles aside and use the flavor pack to flavor the remaining water to taste (about 1 to 2 ounces of water, depending on what else you have in the pot with the noodles.). Stir the noodles through it and then take out the noodles. You end up not using the full flavor pack; oftentimes, less than half of the amount in the pack. You still get the full flavor without a ton of additional salt and other additives.


    mickey

  7. #7
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    Since I discovered I have a gluten intolerance in 2011, I no longer eat ramen noodles. Although I only ate them occasionally before. But I love noodles, and if I want any (pasta, or Chinese or Thai style), I get gluten-free noodles made from brown rice flour. They're good, and taste pretty much the same as regular noodles, only they're usually more expensive. When I cook my own recipes, I get to control what goes into the flavoring, etc.

    The only instant-style noodles I occasionally buy and eat now are some gluten-free options by a company called (I think) Simply Asia. They have something they call 'Singapore street noodles' or something. They also have a gluten-free Pad Thai as well. TBH, I use all the flavoring when I have those. But I think it's OK, because I rarely eat them. They aren't 'great cuisine' or anything, but sometimes I get a hankering for Chinese or Thai-style noodles, and they're pretty good (better than Top Ramen, IMO).
    Last edited by Jimbo; 12-13-2015 at 12:39 PM.

  8. #8
    Thank you for the share Jimbo,

    If I should ever see the gluten free noodles, I will try them out.

    mickey

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    Beef rice noodle with black bean and chile all the way!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickey View Post
    Thank you for the share Jimbo,

    If I should ever see the gluten free noodles, I will try them out.

    mickey
    Mickey,

    The brand of gluten-free noodles I cook my own recipes/dinners with is called 'Annie Chun's'. They make Pad Thai and Maifun style noodles. They seem to mostly be sold in smaller, more health-conscious stores, which tend to sell more gluten-free foods. I don't know which stores in NY would carry them, though. There is at least one other brand, but I always buy Annie Chun's.

    As for gluten-free Italian-style pasta, I prefer a brand called Tinkyada. I use their spaghetti, and have used their elbow macaroni in the past. Again, there are other G-F pasta brands, and I'm sure they're equivalent, but this is the pasta brand I'm used to. I've found this at Target before, but I can get it a little cheaper at some smaller local stores.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 12-13-2015 at 07:24 PM.

  11. #11
    Hi Jimbo,

    I never really thought about gluten free until I read your post. After doing some research, I am realizing that this may have had an effect upon my life that is far greater than I realized, going as far back as high school. Thank you again for sharing with us.

    -N-, that simple dish seems like an intense fire!


    mickey

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickey View Post
    Hi Jimbo,

    I never really thought about gluten free until I read your post. After doing some research, I am realizing that this may have had an effect upon my life that is far greater than I realized, going as far back as high school. Thank you again for sharing with us.
    You're welcome, mickey. When I had to go gluten-free, I soon realized just how many products contain gluten, not just bread and noodles. Luckily, there are brands like San-J that make gluten-free "Asian-style" flavorings. They make soy sauce, Szechuan, teriyaki, and many others. There are also gluten-free breads, cereals, tortillas, etc., from various companies (usually smaller companies, as opposed to big-brand ones).
    Last edited by Jimbo; 12-14-2015 at 09:21 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickey View Post
    -N-, that simple dish seems like an intense fire!
    One of my favorites.

    I practiced making rice noodles from scratch for a while.

    The packaged rice noodles at the supermarkets in the East Bay just never seemed as good as the ones from SF Chinatown bakeries.

  14. #14
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    Obama signed

    Obama Signs Bill Removing ‘Oriental’ and ‘Negro’ From Federal Laws
    The outdated words will be replaced with “Asian Americans” and “African Americans.”
    05/23/2016 03:50 pm ET | Updated 1 day ago
    Krithika Varagur
    Associate Editor, What’s Working, The Huffington Post


    TOM WILLIAMS VIA GETTY IMAGES
    Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) fought to remove the term “Oriental” from all official New York State documents when she was a local legislator.

    The words “Oriental” and “Negro” will no longer be part of federal law.

    President Barack Obama signed a bill Friday eliminating the offensive and outdated descriptors, after the legislation passed unanimously in the House and Senate earlier this month.

    Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) sponsored the bill, which aimed to “modernize“ two references to “Orientals” and “Negros” in the U.S. Code that date to the 1970’s. The words will be replaced with “Asian Americans” and “African Americans,” respectively.

    “The term ‘Oriental’ has no place in federal law and at long last this insulting and outdated term will be gone for good,” Meng said in a statement on Friday.

    Other terms that are affected by the law include “Spanish-speaking,” which will become “Hispanic”; “Indian,” which will become “Native American”; and “Eskimo” and “Aleut,” which will become “Alaska Natives.”

    Meng spearheaded a similar effort when she was a member of the New York State Legislature, passing legislation in 2009 to eliminate the term “Oriental” from all official New York state documents.

    The word Oriental literally means “Eastern,” but it acquired negative connotations in the late 20th century, when Asian-Americans immigrated to the U.S in significant numbers. The word evokes anti-Asian sentiment from the nation’s history, including racist “Yellow Peril“ stereotyping; the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882; and the Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924.

    When New York state eliminated the term in 2009, Howard University’s Frank H. Wu told The New York Times that the word is “associated with a time period when Asians had a subordinate status.”

    “For many Asian Americans, it’s not just this term: It’s about much more,” he said. “It’s about your legitimacy to be here.”

    “‘Oriental’ is derogatory because it objectifies Asian-Americans, as if we were rugs,” Mee Moua, Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, told HuffPost. “Plus, the term is weirdly directional. It makes ‘The Orient’ into this foreign, exotic place, but it’s only ‘far away’ if you’re from the West. That’s pretty alienating.”

    “Negro,” for its part, was actually once preferred to “black,” a word many African-Americans found offensive before the civil rights era. But “Negro” fell out of favor in the 1970’s as people preferred to identify as black or African-American and dissociate themselves from a word some said resurrected thoughts of slavery and segregation. The U.S. Census dropped “Negro” in 2013, after African-Americans described it as offensive. It was an option on census forms as far back as 1900.

    Obama signed the bill shortly before leaving for his trip to Vietnam and Japan, where he will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima.
    I'm going to post the yellow happy face now.



    Gene Ching
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  15. #15
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    out of control....like orientals.

    He should have said 'communists'. That would have played better with the party and been more accurate.

    GOP Rep Says Holding Town Halls Is Like Being Yelled At In A Ritual By 'Orientals'


    Seth Perlman
    By ESME CRIBB Published MARCH 2, 2017, 5:19 PM EDT

    Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL) said late last week that holding town halls is not "productive" and compared it to "the cleansing that the Orientals used to do where you’d put one person out in front and 900 people yell at them."

    "You know the cleansing that the Orientals used to do where you’d put one person out in front and 900 people yell at them? That’s not what we need," Bost said Friday in a meeting with the editorial board of The Southern. "The amount of time that I have at home is minimal, I need to make sure that it’s productive."

    Bost said that in-person town halls "are out of control" and that instead of holding public events he is "busy trying to work on the issue."

    "If all you want to do is stand and yell at me," he said, "we're not going back and forth."

    Bost's office did not immediately respond to TPM's requests for comment.
    Gene Ching
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