Not all Asians are Orientals nor all Blacks African-American

Sep 21 2015

I am always amused by the lack of cultural or geographical knowledge in most people in the US. I recall sitting in a conference room once, with a large group of people, and a Middle Easterner referred to a person as Oriental. To our chagrin, a Ms. Wong jumps up pointing at and admonishing the fellow for being so politically incorrect, and that the person in question is Asian and not Oriental.

So it struck me that this political correctness with respect to race is somewhat overdone and that not all Asians are oriental, and that the accused was actually correct. It all depends on where you come from and your reference point. Another common and disturbing usage is calling every black person an African-American. We're even adding religion to the mix, e.g., Jewish-American.

Here are some definitions to work with:

  • Asian - A native or inhabitant of Asia. A person of Asian descent. Asia is the largest of the continents with more than half the world's population. Though strictly speaking all of its inhabitants are Asians, in the US and in practice this term is applied almost exclusively to the peoples of East, Southeast, and South Asia as opposed to those of Southwest Asia such as Arabs, Turks, Iranians, and Kurds who are more usually designated Middle Eastern or Near Easterners.
  • Middle Eastern - An area comprising the countries of southwest Asia and northeast Africa.
  • Arab - A native or inhabitant of Arabia. A member of an Arabic-speaking people.
  • Iranian - Of or relating to Iran or its people, language, or culture. A native or inhabitant of Iran.
  • Iraq - A country of southwest Asia.
  • Jewish - Of or relating to the Jews or their culture or religion.
  • African American - A Black American of African ancestry.

And, now here is some of what we may conclude:

  • Not all Asians are Orientals, but all Orientals are Asians.
  • Middle Easterners are also Asians, and may be Africans.
  • Not all Africans are blacks, and therefore, not All African-Americans are blacks.
  • Not all blacks are African-Americans; some may be Jamaican or Haitian, and although they may have originated from there they prefer not to be Africans.
  • Iraq and Iran are not the same.
  • Iranians are not Arabs, however, Iraqis are Arabs.
  • Arabs, are not all Muslims, some are Christians and some or Jews.
Brief History of Iran ....

Inhabited since c. 2000 B.C. by Iranian peoples, the region later became the core of the Persian Empire. After being conquered by Alexander the Great and ruled by the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, Persia was reestablished under the Sassanian dynasty (A.D. 224-651) and, after invasions by Arabs (7th century), Turks (10th century), and Mongols (13th-14th centuries), was reestablished again under the Safavid dynasty (1502-1736). The country, officially renamed Iran in 1935, was ruled by the Pahlavi dynasty from 1925 until the ouster of Muhammad Reza Pahlavi (1979) in a revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini, who established an Islamic republic.

Brief History of Iraq ...

Site of a number of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations, including Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, and Babylonia, the region fell to Cyrus the Great of Persia (6th century B.C.), Alexander the Great (4th century B.C.), Arabs (7th century), and later to the Ottoman Turks (16th century). It was established as an independent kingdom in 1921 and became a republic after the assassination (1958) of Faisal II. Baghdad is the capital and largest city.

Here is a question I love asking people: If you are born a Christian in Jerusalem, live there for 25 years, then migrate to the US and become a citizen, what are you?

Answer, depending on who's looking at you, here are all the things that you are:

  • Jewish - Because of where you were born, as well as a Middle Easterner, or perhaps an Asian.
  • An Arab - Because most likely you speak Arabic.
  • Christian - because of your religion.
  • A Jewish-American
  • An American
  • ... A person.

If we only knew more, we would realize that we have more in common then we think.

Contributed to Boroumand by A.R., San Rafael, California, 2004


Take Away Lessons For the Guilty

  1. Get a World Atlas and a book on world history and read it.

  2. There is room for some grouping by race, religion or economic circumstances, as it helps in managing social programs, fairness in our work place, schools and the like. But know this, the more we categorize and inventory each other, the more discriminating we become, or perhaps even racists or bigots.

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