Whore of the Orient Title Deemed Racist by City Councilor

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Whore of the Orient Title Deemed Racist by City Councilor

Jieh-Yung Lo, a councilor for the Australian city of Monash, wants Whore of the Orient's name changed.

When you name your game Whore of the Orient, you have to know that at some point that you're probably going to catch some flak from someone. That being the case, Jieh-Yung Lo, a councilor for the city of Monash in Australia, is threatening to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission if the game, the brainchild of L.A. Noire creator Brendan McNamara, fails to cease production or change its name. His issue is with the casual use of the world "orient."

That might surprise some who might naturally assume "whore" to be the word at issue. According to Lo, however, that's not the case. "The O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities," said Lo. "It's a 19th century racial-colonial conception and it's especially painful for older people in the communities. That was a very bad time in China, and people don't want or need to have that dragged up."

A source of particular chagrin to Lo, a self-professed gamer himself, is the fact that the state government of the New South Wales region has contributed $200,000 through its Screen NSW group to help further the game's development. "Australian institutions should be encouraged to fund projects and initiatives that cultivate mutual understanding and prosperity in the Australia-China relationship," said Lo. A spokesman for Screen NSW has, in turn, responded that it "does not proscribe subject matter to content creators, including titles" and that it "makes its funding decisions based on the creative integrity of a project and the expertise of the funding applicants.'' The spokesperson added that the game's title "doesn't refer to any content of the game. 'Whore of the Orient' is an historical nickname for the city of Shanghai.''

Source: The Age

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Huh.

I know "orient" and "oriental" are old terms, no longer used and probably not considered correct, but I didn't know they were considered racist or offensive or whatnot. I always thought it was just an old word for Asia.

Is this a widely held view, or is this chap just being a prat?

Its Australia so I guess not many are that suprised

Wait, the word Orient is bad? Huh, I didn't know that. I hadn't heard of this game before but now I want to look it up.

Well... I always thought that referring to an asian person as "an oriental" is offensive, but the word "orient" itself? I mean, isn't it technically just an old word for "the east".

Presumably we western Europeans can all start being offended if some game decides to use "Occident" now as well?

The woman needs to educate herself a little more. Orient is not insulting or offensive. It's simply a modernization of Dioecesis Orientis. This is the name of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Over the years it eventually became a blanket term for the East as used by western cultures. To even pretend that it has the same connotation as the word "nigger" is ridiculous. Chink, gook, Charlie, Chinaman, lemon, Bodie, nip, nipper, yolkie, etc. But Orient? Grow up.

I've never heard of anyone getting their panties in a wad over the use of the term.

~signed, some random person living in Taiwan

SanguiniusMagnificum:
Well... I always thought that referring to an asian person as "an oriental" is offensive, but the word "orient" itself? I mean, isn't it technically just an old word for "the east".

Indeed. Seems a little over sensitive, but then again I'm not Chinese-Australian. Anyway I suggest this guy concentrate on parking around The Medical Centre and the Clayton Rd level crossing. Both bigger issues for Monash.

A bit of useful information might be that the term "oriental" is not considered offensive in Europe, including Britain, while it is deemed more inappropriate in the US and, apparently, Australia.
Just chiming in before the wave of confused and angry Europeans.

"Whore of the orient" is a historical nickname, yes, but it was one that wasn't coined with particularly egalitarian sentiments in mind. Really, "people used to use that" isn't a good defense.

drschplatt:
The woman needs to educate herself a little more. Orient is not insulting or offensive. It's simply a modernization of Dioecesis Orientis. This is the name of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Over the years it eventually became a blanket term for the East as used by western cultures.

Er, that does not mean it's not offensive. This is hardly the only person to be offended by the word "oriental".

I find it so silly that we have words that aren't allowed to be used by everyone, and that these words seem to be decided by whoever the hell is feeling extra sensitive.

I don't care if Indian is used to describe another people. It was used to misrepresent my people, and therefore must never be used again because of reasons.
Though technically the appropriate racial slur for my people is skijin, or wagon burner, or savage (I suppose). None of which have any relevance or meaning in this day and age.
At some point I guess you just gotta get over the past and join us in the year 2013.

thaluikhain:
"Whore of the orient" is a historical nickname, yes, but it was one that wasn't coined with particularly egalitarian sentiments in mind. Really, "people used to use that" isn't a good defense.

drschplatt:
The woman needs to educate herself a little more. Orient is not insulting or offensive. It's simply a modernization of Dioecesis Orientis. This is the name of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire. Over the years it eventually became a blanket term for the East as used by western cultures.

Er, that does not mean it's not offensive. This is hardly the only person to be offended by the word "oriental".

In the time I've posted that, I went ahead and checked with a few dozen other Asians here to see if anyone finds it offensive. Included in my poll were Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, American Born Chinese, and one Japanese individual. None of them found it offensive.

For whatever it's worth it doesn't seem even remotely universal, nor in my Asian travels have I ever heard of it being considered offensive.

I suppose the guy could be offended by it, and he has every right to be. But he's trying to pass it off as the same thing as calling someone a "nigger" and I find that just asinine.

So decided to check Wiki about the word Orient:

Australian English
In Australian English, the term "Asian" generally refers to people of East Asian or Southeast Asian descent, such as those of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, or Filipino descent. Persons of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and most other South Asian descent are referred to by their respective demonym, but without explicit knowledge, those people are indeterminately inferred as "Indian."
The word Oriental, in place of Asian, is seldom used in colloquial conversation in Australia and is understood, but considered anachronistic rather than offensive.

Honestly something has to have offensive intent to be considered offensive to begin with, if this game is set in a date where this word was used in normal conversation or a derogatory term for that time period that is required to creative as close as possible replica of that time period, it's no way considered offensive because it's where it belongs; in the past.
It's a poor form for a cry of censorship from someone who probably doesn't even know anything past the title, and if he/she does his/her opinion is of poor intent because if this were a movie, he/she wouldn't bat a fucking eyelid.

Hope they don't change anything for this fool, just kicking up a fuss for the sake of it and probally just trying to get attention for an election or something.

Now that's what I call...

image

...a Lo blow.

In all seriousness though, I think this is being blown out of proportion. While the word "oriental" is inaccurate and outdated, it's not nearly as racially charged as the "n-word." Not where I live, at any rate.

And really, lodging a complaint with the Human Rights Commission? Really? Don't you think they'd be more useful, oh I don't know, looking into actual human rights abuses instead of the title of a video game?

I wonder if he wants to ban the Oriental Express, Oriental Trading Company, Daylight Robbery On The Orient Express, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Oriental Insurance, or the hundreds and hundreds of other international uses of the term "Orient" and "Oriental" that are not offensive or considered offensive by millions of people every day.

thaluikhain:
"Whore of the orient" is a historical nickname, yes, but it was one that wasn't coined with particularly egalitarian sentiments in mind. Really, "people used to use that" isn't a good defense.

That depends on whether it's used in a historical context or not. If this game is a historical fiction adventure game(I haven't checked), then there is nothing wrong with the title. If it's a game about modern brony gang wars in Shanghai, then the title might be less appropriate(and makes no sense).

These can be found in countless Coles, Safeway and IGA stores around Australia.

image

More people around Australia will see this every day than will probably ever see "Whore of the Orient" in the entirety of its existence.

Where's the complaint to the human rights commission for that?

Yes Mr Lo you were "offended"

Oh. My. God. Please tell me this is a game set in British-China where you play as a prostitute who fights crime and the British exploiters. Because that is a game I've wanted to see in forever.

Is this when I start up my Anno 1404 and play the Oriental Race with all their Indian glory?

Orient just simply means east, and sadly spazzy people can get offended by any old stupid shit that comes their way.
But them getting offended doesn't mean anything needs to change, first she needs a critical mass of people to agree.

I grew up out in Asia and I've NEVER heard anyone consider the term offensive. Where the hell she got that, comparing it to the use of "nigger" in American/Western culture, I'll never know.

Perhaps this is an Australian thing? Either way, I don't buy into censoring language because it hurts feelings, in this context at the very least. The intent is clearly to reflect the product/art in this case, not to intentionally upset or incite.

Also, good job giving them free press.

Although I assume it would be offensive to call someone of Asian heritage "oriental" (mainly in the phrase "Those Oriental people work like dogs..." As said by our mayor Rob Ford...sigh) I assumed that the terms "orient" and "oriental" were perfectly fine if they weren't used to describe a person. Food products, festivals, even various Asian restaurants here in Toronto use those two terms with no one complaining. I'm pretty sure I've seen several Asian run convenience stores with orient or oriental somewhere in the title.

Maybe it's an extra sensitive topic in Australia, but even so this complaint just seems a bit ridiculous. Does the councilor just need to sit down and like the title like everyone else? Not necessarily, he's under no obligation to be nice and cheery with the game; at the same time the game hasn't come out yet, and for all we know it could deal with whatever it's subject matter is in a tasteful way that would at least indicate that the game's title is trying to be more historical than it is trying to be offensive. Besides which...it's a fucking title. Even if the title was remotely offensive like "Charlie the Chink and his Band of Gooks" it's still a damn title, a pretty stupid and inflammatory title to be sure, but a title none the less; is a title really worth the time and effort for the HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, when they could, you know, actually deal with much more serious and pressing issues? Maybe you should just try a small petition or something like that to get the developer's attention rather than going to a government office.

As a slight off-topic:

That might surprise some who might naturally assume "whore" to be the word at issue.

Is this going to be an issue? I mean I know when the game first came out there were people who lambasted the game because it had whore in the title, but I haven't heard anything about it since then (although that could just be related to the fact that we haven't heard much about the game since then either) I would assume that people would be smart enough to realize the title's context and leave it at that, but then again seeing as how that didn't really happen the first time around I wouldn't be surprised if we heard more people complaining about the title

Vault Citizen:
Wait, the word Orient is bad? Huh, I didn't know that. I hadn't heard of this game before but now I want to look it up.

yep. apperently its the asian equivalent of "nigger". many people, including myself from not lnog ago, dont know that. probably the gamemaker didnt too. because asians didnt have to revolt against their slavers and make a civil war, their name is forgotten and noone uses it. but they do get offended by it.
Though due to its little usage and not as pompuos history as that of word "nigger" it is often ignored as offense and thus its offensive power is pretty much none. the word is only as offensive as you let it be after all.

HIstoricity, while im all for it, would not work. "Whore of oriental" historical titling counterpart would be if Django Unchained would have been called "Nigger gunslinger". im sure you can see why they didnt choose that.

As a huge fan of Edward Said, I can kind of see the problem. I knew the term oriental was a bit of a slur, but the problem it's presented always seemed to me to be more in the way of generalisation than targeted insult. After all, it wasn't just used for the Chinese. At times, it's been used for pretty much everywhere east of Europe. The most damaging aspect of it historically has been in this perception that all of Asia is the same.

Of course, anyone should be allowed to use whatever words they want for a creative project. Just so long as they're using it to deliberate effect with understanding of the word's history and connotations. The same should go for everyday conversation as well, mind you.

The only 19th century racist term for a person of Asian descent that is no longer used that I can think of was "Celestial" and that was more of a religious insult, similar to "heathen" but being more specific for those of the Asian religions excluding Hinduism.

Orient? Er, no, it's a geographic term. It's pretty much all of South East Asia east of India.

And now I want some ramen.

Strazdas:

Vault Citizen:
Wait, the word Orient is bad? Huh, I didn't know that. I hadn't heard of this game before but now I want to look it up.

yep. apperently its the asian equivalent of "nigger". many people, including myself from not lnog ago, dont know that. probably the gamemaker didnt too. because asians didnt have to revolt against their slavers and make a civil war, their name is forgotten and noone uses it. but they do get offended by it.
Though due to its little usage and not as pompuos history as that of word "nigger" it is often ignored as offense and thus its offensive power is pretty much none. the word is only as offensive as you let it be after all.

HIstoricity, while im all for it, would not work. "Whore of oriental" historical titling counterpart would be if Django Unchained would have been called "Nigger gunslinger". im sure you can see why they didnt choose that.

I would think "Saharan Gunslinger" would have been more accurate as the Orient is a geographic region.

Now if you wanted something that'd be the same as "Nigger Gunslinger" there are many more offensive terms for Asian one could apply over "Oriental".

To name a few "squint-eyes", "chinks", "nips", "yellow".

Speaking of "yellow" I heard a fun term recently at work from my Asian colleagues: "banana". Apparently it's picked up some steam for an Asian who is just yellow on the outside but has converted to white/western culture... I find it quite endearing.

That must be a pretty skilled whore if she serves an entire continent. Or is that like a Miss America thing?

Also, I always thought Orient was an abstract, romanticized idea with specific tropes and themes, not an actual place.
Are we burning Disney's Alladin DVDs now because they're "insulting"?

hooblabla6262:
I find it so silly that we have words that aren't allowed to be used by everyone, and that these words seem to be decided by whoever the hell is feeling extra sensitive.

I don't care if Indian is used to describe another people. It was used to misrepresent my people, and therefore must never be used again because of reasons.
Though technically the appropriate racial slur for my people is skijin, or wagon burner, or savage (I suppose). None of which have any relevance or meaning in this day and age.
At some point I guess you just gotta get over the past and join us in the year 2013.

I kind of love the point he makes at the end about "Indians". :P

In all of my years, despite the amazingly PC culture that has developed in the United States, I have never once heard anyone refer to Oriental or Orient as being offensive or racist. It's not a commonly used term, having been replaced more or less by the more modern term "Asian", but it was never considered offensive, not by anyone I know. Perhaps there is a small number of people who find it so, but that's pretty much true for any word or term used to describe a region or a people. There's always someone with an axe to grind.

With all due respect to the councilor, I think that he is making this up for publicity purposes. Is there, by chance, an election going on this year or next year for his position?

Called it.

Sixcess:
Whore of the Orient?

Well that title seems certain to get changed before release. Leaving aside the obvious, 'Orient' is a somewhat archaic term, and regarded as mildly offensive by some these days.

If I knew it two years ago then sure as shit so did the developer, and if he didn't... well, he should have and he does now. Let's not mount our hobby horses for another round of the Free Speech Crusade. He knew this was going to cause offense.

The complaint may be exaggerated, but the title is still in very poor taste. Hopefully they can make up for it by honestly exploring and explaining Shanghai's plight, rather than exploiting the "exotic" setting to make another tale of man and his gun*.

*I'm not saing LA Noire was a game like that - I haven't played it.

Vaccine:
So decided to check Wiki about the word Orient:

Australian English
In Australian English, the term "Asian" generally refers to people of East Asian or Southeast Asian descent, such as those of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, or Filipino descent. Persons of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, and most other South Asian descent are referred to by their respective demonym, but without explicit knowledge, those people are indeterminately inferred as "Indian."
The word Oriental, in place of Asian, is seldom used in colloquial conversation in Australia and is understood, but considered anachronistic rather than offensive.

Honestly something has to have offensive intent to be considered offensive to begin with, if this game is set in a date where this word was used in normal conversation or a derogatory term for that time period that is required to creative as close as possible replica of that time period, it's no way considered offensive because it's where it belongs; in the past.
It's a poor form for a cry of censorship from someone who probably doesn't even know anything past the title, and if he/she does his/her opinion is of poor intent because if this were a movie, he/she wouldn't bat a fucking eyelid.

But the word is "Orient" not "Oriental". It's referring to the location, not a people.
I've never in my life heard of the word orient (as opposed to calling someone an oriental) offending people and like 65% of my friends are Chinese. This seems to be an Australian thing.

Why does my country just kinda suck right now? Like, we have a shit Prime Minister, an over sensitive game classification board, terrible internet, and now we have someone saying that the word Orient is now on par with "Nigger". FUCK, next I guess Slav will be an offensive term, or Anglo, or Middle Eastern.

You know this whole "certain words cannot be used" shit is starting to get a little pedantic.

Abomination:

Strazdas:

Vault Citizen:
Wait, the word Orient is bad? Huh, I didn't know that. I hadn't heard of this game before but now I want to look it up.

yep. apperently its the asian equivalent of "nigger". many people, including myself from not lnog ago, dont know that. probably the gamemaker didnt too. because asians didnt have to revolt against their slavers and make a civil war, their name is forgotten and noone uses it. but they do get offended by it.
Though due to its little usage and not as pompuos history as that of word "nigger" it is often ignored as offense and thus its offensive power is pretty much none. the word is only as offensive as you let it be after all.

HIstoricity, while im all for it, would not work. "Whore of oriental" historical titling counterpart would be if Django Unchained would have been called "Nigger gunslinger". im sure you can see why they didnt choose that.

I would think "Saharan Gunslinger" would have been more accurate as the Orient is a geographic region.

Now if you wanted something that'd be the same as "Nigger Gunslinger" there are many more offensive terms for Asian one could apply over "Oriental".

To name a few "squint-eyes", "chinks", "nips", "yellow".

Speaking of "yellow" I heard a fun term recently at work from my Asian colleagues: "banana". Apparently it's picked up some steam for an Asian who is just yellow on the outside but has converted to white/western culture... I find it quite endearing.

Oriental is as much a geographical region as a "black country". Oriental is kind of forgotten word since its usage has dissapeared with what people hoped would be the end of racism slurs, but "nigger" persisted. While yes the terms you listed are indeed often used as offensive words, so was oriental. you know the whole "fuck me sideways" expression came from the fact that we used to insult asians as "Having sexual organs sideways". which was obviuosly a lie, but an effective insult nonetheless.
We often call orselves (eastern europe) banan country because we are in european union and yet most of our statistics are worse than african dictatorship states. Even our flag is similarto african ones.
Words can be used in interesting ways.

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