By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
This just goes to show you we have a long ways to go in educating people about Asian America.
Sports talk show host Mike Francesa learned while on the air last night that the word oriental is offensive to Asian Americans.
The term has long been associated with rugs, not people. It comes from an age when the only images of Asian Americans were of the evil Fu Man Chu, the fortune cookie speaking Charlie Chan, the untrustworthy dragon lady and the submissive China doll.
Speaking about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling supporting The Slants request to trademark their name, Francesa of New York’s WFAN said “They all were Oriental Americans who were part of the group. … They were some kind of a musical band from Oregon, and they could not trademark the name Slant, even though they were a group of young Oriental Americans.”
When his producer informed him that the term Oriental was disparaging and the term Asian American was preferred, Francesa appeared dismissive.
“Oh, Asian American … So let’s make that an Asian American band. … You’re telling me using the word Oriental American is a slight? … If they would like me to say Asian Americans, all power to it … Then I will say Asian American. Whatever makes people happy. Has it gotten to that point that would be considered a slight? Oh, boy.”
“Oh boy,” is right. The 63-year old jock appears to have been living in a cave. It’s inexcusable someone in the number one media market in the country would not know the term oriental is offensive. The man works in the city of New York, a city with a sizable Asian American population and where many from the community are seen daily on the TV news.
Francesa would likely never use the term negro. Education is a never ending process. Let’s continue to pound the drum.
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