• GreenestMermaid

    Well, historically, the word “oriental” was used to describe what is now considered folks from the Middle East. It then was extended to the rest of those in Asia. I personally think it is an extremely outdated term. Plus, it makes me feel like a rug.

  • raymonst

    “Under the context of Lady Gaga’s song, I don’t find the words that she use to be racist in any means but a bit ignorant.”

    i gotta agree. imo she used that term simply because it rhymes…

  • TienVNguyen

    @raymonst I completely agree with this also. And it holds true when it comes to most stuff like this.

    HOWEver, the qualm I have is that if she had used a word like “negro” or “spic” or something along those lines, which I believe is at worst on par with “oriental” or “chinamen” depending on who you talk to, the media would be all up in arms about this, there’d be calls to boycott her songs and she’d release a public apology, go on Oprah, and cry it out.

    But since it’s targeted toward Asians, the most I’ll ever hear about is on this blog, which is a fine service you’re doing.

  • wujo

    As we continue to evolve as part of the American society, although we may not find this to be offensive as an individual, we still need to make those accountable as it does offend us as a minority group. As the word “Negro”, “Spic” and others are used to degrade blacks and hispanics, they have come together to make it known and express their feelings of why it is offensive. We need to do the same to gain any sort of equality in this society. The fact that you personally do not find it offensive does not mean that you should not stand up for the fact that it offends us as group. Otherwise, we will continue to be the Model Minority that does not speak out for our own rights.

  • Kimiye

    I certainly had a WTF moment when I heard the song, especially since two days before several of us were trying to explain to a British friend about Oriental food and rugs versus Asian people. I’m not certain she believed us, and this song isn’t going to help.

    It only bothers me is when I try to explain the word usage to someone who gets a little offended about being asked to respect my wishes, such as, “Well, I don’t see what the big deal is.” Usually followed by “I don’t see why we all can’t be just plain Americans, instead of hypenated.”

    Thanks for the blog– it’s nice to know others noticed.

  • http://tinabot.blogspot.com/ TinaTsai

    Maybe gaga can make it up to the API community by letting up and coming api artists open for her on her tour…

  • A_Lee

    I think it’s fine. I’m not a fan of Lady Gaga or the entire genre, but it was a lazy rhyme, no big deal.

  • http://thylacine.livejournal.com/ ErikaHarada

    It just boggles my mind that she thought it was ok to be lazy with the lyric writing and use words like “Chola descent (wtf does that even mean?!)” and “orient”. Really?

    I think Oriental is a crap term for “Asian” because it reminds me of rugs and vases. However, some folks use it as an accepted term, particularly in places like England. I also know older Asian folks in the US who use it. The word is not really in the “using that word will make me punch you” league of offensiveness to me, but it’s still vaguely annoying when I hear it being used.

  • DanielConroy

    Your mama clearly never told you that you’re a superstar… and as the lyrics say, don’t be a DRAG, be a queen! Lord.

  • munch

    I’m surprised this is an issue. I’m Chinese descent from the UK, and I don’t find this word offensive. I am aware of the origins and Said’s oft quoted references of Orientals and Orientalism. At first, I thought maybe the blogger was way overreacting but I guess the term holds more deep rooted associations in the States?

  • http://thylacine.livejournal.com/ ErikaHarada

    @munch Yeah, I think it’s a regional thing. At first when I was referred to as Oriental when I was in the UK, I was put off by it but then my friends told me that it is not generally seen as being offensive there among the East Asian-Brit population and is used as a synonym for “East Asian” to differentiate between them and “Asians” who are South Asian…

  • Jesus

    I think there is something to be said about the backlash coming at people who even pose the question as a simple matter of self-reflection. In other blogs I frequent, especially one well-know gay news blog, a lot of the comments were pretty vitriolic and very much about “sucking it up” and just letting it be. Anyone who says anything about the fact that she is using language that stems from an era of appropriation/destruction/occupation of Asian countries is simply pulling the race card, rather than making a statement about the inherent racial inequalities rooted firmly in that word.

    All the typical trappings of privileged voices telling the offended that they shouldn’t be offended without asking what it is that is really being said to offend in the first place and most importantly why. Of course, most of these people are assumedly white or POC who have the privilege of not dealing with racism because they simply do not have to, but imagine if she had used another equally outdated term like negro or colored? Probably a lot more apologetics telling me that since she’s done so much for the LGBT community, I need to just be happy for what she is contributing and keep my mouth otherwise shut.

  • JonathanValdez

    Said talks about Orientalism as a term of creating the other. Plus it was a blanket term for anyone in the east. I feel this song can be construed in many different ways and what convolutes everyone’s argument more is the artistic creativity. On one hand it can be a political statement while on the other it can be denigrating. The problem I have with this piece is since Lady Gaga is a pop icon, people make take a cue from it to utilize this term once again to identify primarily Asian people.

    If anyone is interested in white priveledge look up Tim Wise’s lectures on it. I heard he spoke at UCSD last night.

  • http://www.nickdobson.net/ riceagain

    White guy here giving my two cents. While im part of the privileged majority as one commenter pointed out, I’ve spent the last 6 years of my life as a minority in Asia, so I feel at least partially qualified to comment.

    The lyric rhymed, that’s all with regard to gaga. With regards to the term ‘oriental’ while I can understand it’s condesending in a historical, colonial sense given that in many cases the people of.. let’s say Asia, but China, Vietnam etc were subjugated to the colonial powers. But just because the word holds a few histrical connotations doesn’t necessarily make it a slur or even racist.

    Nonetheless, Asian Americans are entitled to feel offended while I’m yet to meet an actual person in Asia that does and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel continues to do a roaring trade. Are we being a bit precious here?

  • Jesus

    @riceagain I don’t think anyone is being precocious. The fact that this song was supposed to be a gay anthem, as proclaimed by Gaga herself, should speak volumes about the her intentions in writing these lyrics. It’s just a bit insensitive to refer to people by these outdated terms and then expect them to appreciate the strides she has taken for the community. As @JonathanValdez said, the term was historically used as a means of creating the “other”. How exactly is someone who is say, gay and of Asian decent, but 100% American bred, born and raised supposed to feel included? Do you honestly believe that because you’re in Asia and haven’t met anyone who takes offense to the lyrics mean that your argument is valid? Again, here is the problem: someone is offended, but rather than investigate the cause of offense, the burden of explaining why we’re offended lies with the offended and we’re made to feel like we’re making a mountain out of a molehill. We’re not asking for Lady Gaga to be hung by her ankles, but with all the appropriation of Asian culture she’s into, I can’t help but wonder what was going through her head when she wrote the lyrics. Probably nothing, which is just as bad.

  • http://thylacine.livejournal.com/ ErikaHarada

    @riceagain I don’t think you having some insight into Asian culture as a “minority” has any bearing on what us as Asian-Americans (and British Asians) feel about the song.

  • http://www.nickdobson.net/ riceagain

    @Jesus therapy is my recomendaion.. the nasties of the world wont just go away.

  • http://www.nickdobson.net/ riceagain

    @ErikaHarada ”
    I couldn’t care less about the song, It’s not really relevant. Read the last paragraph of the post. I wouldnt spend too many of our breathing hours reading into Lady Gaga lyrics…

  • http://www.nickdobson.net/ riceagain

    @ErikaHarada I couldn’t care less about the song, It’s not really relevant. Read the last paragraph of the post. I wouldnt spend too many of your breathing hours reading into Lady Gaga lyrics…

  • http://www.nickdobson.net/ riceagain

    @Jesus “precious” not “precocious”.

  • http://thylacine.livejournal.com/ ErikaHarada

    @riceagain Saying stuff like “I wouldnt spend too many of your breathing hours reading into Lady Gaga lyrics…” and “Are we being a bit precious here?” directly contradict your claims that state that you think Asian-Ams are entitled to be offended.
    How about you stop telling people, ESPECIALLY minority folk with different experiences than you, what to feel?

  • JonathanValdez

    @riceagain “With regards to the term ‘oriental’ while I can understand it’s condesending in a historical, colonial sense given that in many cases the people of.. let’s say Asia, but China, Vietnam etc were subjugated to the colonial powers. But just because the word holds a few histrical connotations doesn’t necessarily make it a slur or even racist.”

    By saying that the historical implications of the term does not make it a racial slur (which in my opinion in the course of Western history and American history it has been) denies the history of oppression and persecution during the colonial periods of China, Vietnam, and other “oriental” countries. The fact that the Europe and America still identify themselves as “the West” is a position of power.

    As for the white priviledge comment I posted last time, I meant this solely for the collective purpose of all commentators here, blogger and commentator alike to have a basis of how I view white priviledge. My apologies if you felt this was solely directed at you. I’m glad to have civil discussions here. =)

  • YinnieChung

    Well oriental= orientate, meaning that we’re only looking in on the centre or the west. In other words, Second class to the ones in the centre. Thats how I see it.

    Alot of British east Asians are pretty unaware that oriental is derogatory, most of them have never heard of orientalism and Said. I’m British Chinese myself and it is kind of sad that there’s no awareness of this and no real awareness of togetherness in British East Asian community. Unlike Asian Americans, we don’t have alot of resources to fight for racism (like the AAPA/AA justice or even a British east asian month) , but then again I don’t think we were ever as persecuted as AAs were.

  • http://www.nickdobson.net/ riceagain

    @ErikaHarada what I meant was, i wouldn’t take her too seriously.

  • http://www.nickdobson.net/ riceagain

    @JonathanValdez point taken. I guess the bottom line is the word in antiquated. I for one have never heard it used to attack or deliberately condecend and actually if i heard it at all used to describe a person I’d think the speaker was very old fashioned and/or a bit slow.

  • izzi

    Ok, I have a few issues with this song, but I’ll just put the bit regarding “racially insensitive” so that it is not off-topic:

    She puts words like Oriental and Chola, which are terms that are disrespectful…and no, I don’t care if “my asian friend isn’t offended by this term” or “I’m asian and I don’t mind it” – you may be fine with it, I know a lot of blondes are fine with “blonde” jokes but personally I hate them as I got teased for being a ginger, I resent any jokes implying hair colour has something to do with personality or intelligence…in fact, I’m not too keen on any jokes that add character traits because of colour or country !!! What I’m trying to say is just because you, personally, aren’t offended, does that invalidate others’ feelings? If they are offended, so be it, take note and change it to something else….

    Now the “rhyming” thing…I’m sorry, if she had taken more than 10 minutes to write the song, as she has been boasting, she surely could have found other words that rhyme with descent : intent, tent, meant, sent…there I have 4 already…..or stretching it a bit there is also “inherent”, parent…..or even said something else altogether…no need to use derogatory terms, see?

    Also, she talks about “life’s disabilities” – since when is being gay, asian, black etc….a disability???? Because even if to her she is now talking about a separate group of people, ie those that are disabled, it could still be seen as that….

  • KevinLee

    @Jesus You see, that is just the kind of reason some LGBT have begun to have reservations about Lady Gaga. Some feel that she has forced herself upon some of us as some kind of queer hero and this whole mess with “Born this Way” just makes it all the more obvious. Any criticism of “Born this Way” is put down with trite comments like “Don’t criticize it! It’s a good message!” An article, http://www.sundancechannel.com/sunfiltered/2011/02/just-be-a-queen/, puts it bluntly. “How could any self-respecting gay person not [like Lady Gaga]?” There you have it. If you don’t like her song, you’re a homophobe or you’re a self-hating gay person. Gaga Monsters have bought into it, hook-line-and-sinker.

    But Lady Gaga is bisexual so many may feel its Ok because she already has her foot in the door…so to speak. That’s not the case when it comes to racial minorities though. Her song isn’t racist, but it is thoughtless. Her usage of words like “orient” or “chola” without knowing the significance of them just shows that she is in no position to be forcing herself on the minority community as some kind of racial equality hero.

  • kyingli

    The term “orient/oriental” is odd. It’s all very subjective how offensive it can be to different people.

    For me, it’s mildly offensive, like an annoying joke that’s no longer funny and won’t go away. But I hate hearing it described as “outdated”, as if being so excuses its history.

  • Pingback: Lady Gaga and “Born this Way”: Orientalist? « Literary Theory @MIAMI

  • avocado

    Was it thoughtless, or intentional? THAT is the question. Gaga is known to be a marketing genius, so maybe she stirred “orient” and “chola” in the mix just to cause controversy. I would think that coming from her background (upper west side New York), she’d know better. But then again, wealth doesn’t equal smarts. Look at Donald Trump and his stupid birther crap.

    In general, “oriental” is used by older generation Asians that aren’t pc, and by clueless non-Asians. Like most who’ve commented, I was annoyed that Gaga used the term, but not raging against the machine about it…i still like the song.

  • xo_helloxkitty_ox

    being mixed with asian, i find it a little offensive….and about that one girl who had a problem with the term “asian”?! what would you rather be called yellow? or pee colored(yes i was called this once) ect? asian sounds alot better than orient….i understand that it may not seem so offensive to asians in other countries like the UK but here in the US alot of us don’t like it. as for gaga being a racist…..i have no clue honestly…i don’t think it was ment to offened people or maybe it was its true she has been said to be a marketing genius….so who knows….all i know is she could’ve picked a better word…

  • Pingback: Lady Gaga Wants to Adopt a Baby from South Asia | (simple) | 8Asians.com

  • CindyJ.Thao

    My message to Lady Gaga:

    Dear Lady Gaga-

    You are a talented musician; however, I was born “Asian”, not “Orient”. I was not born “your” way.

    -Me

Mobile Theme