Changing Offensive Terms In The US Federal Law – LearnMate

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Hey guys!

As we approach the end of Unit 3 AOS 2, it may be worth pointing out that in the US, the racial labels ‘Oriental’ and ‘Negro’ will soon be abolished from all Federal legislature.

According to, “the U.S. Senate approved H.R.4238 on Tuesday night, which stipulates that outdated and offensive terms such as “Negro” and “Oriental” that refer to marginalized ethnic and racial groups must be removed from federal law and replaced with terms like “Asian American” and “African American.” You can find the full article here:

As we have studied politically correct language in this AOS 2, you’ll notice that both ‘Asian American’ and ‘African American’ would be deemed politically correct. I suspect that by including the inclusive term ‘American’ in this label, these marginalised groups would, therefore, feel more included in American society. In contrast, if an Asian American were to be called an Oriental, it would help to promote a greater sense of social exclusion. However, as was stated in 2012 by two ‘African Americans’ on CNN’s iReport, they, in fact, feel a greater sense of marginalisation when labelled by this phrase because:

My generation doesn’t want to be called African American, because we are all 100% Americans. What’s so hard about us being called Black Americans? If we were never born in Africa, then why do we have to have that title?

You can find the complete article/video here on this:

But, WHY are these terms being deemed derogatory? Well, for starters they have succumbed to a connotative change – that of deterioration (semantics). When a term semantically deteriorates, this means that it’s socially ascribed to a negative object, image or stereotype.

The article above further goes on to state the following:

The word ‘Oriental’ is a derogatory and antiquated term and the passage of this legislation will soon force the United States government to finally stop using it. I thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for understanding that the time has come for our government to no longer refer to Asian Americans, or any ethnicity, in such an insulting manner. Repealing this term is long overdue. ‘Oriental’ no longer deserves a place in federal law, and very shortly it will finally be a thing of the past.

You could therefore possibly argue that this removal reflects a greater desire for social inclusion in many societies and therefore less marginalisation.

I hope that helps!


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Changing Offensive Terms In The US Federal Law – LearnMate