This time it is the word “Oriental” – particularly when applied to a PERSON.
Now I LIVE in the Orient – which simply means The East – although these days, it is generally understood to mean South East Asia.
But thanks to the foreign-political history of the United States Of America, the region is understandably wary of ANYTHING coming from THAT place.
Which is why the perfectly innocent word Oriental is now considered a pejorative, when spoken by a Yank.
However, unless one is a slave to that country, the word is still FINE if used by a Brit.
Which brings me to the word “Jap” – as in Japanese person.
Now I’M a Brit – which is merely short for a British person.
However, while Brit is PC – Jap most definitely is NOT. Why? It’s those damn Yanks again. This time, it goes back to WW2, when America was at WAR with Japan – and while the abbreviation was used for simple convenience, given the situation at the time it also inevitably contained VENOM.
And while that argument was settled seventy years ago, the word STILL REMAINS venomous. But again, this is really an AMERICAN thing – if a BRIT calls a Japanese person a Jap, it is usually just for that convenience of abbreviation.
Which brings us to the word Yank itself. This is currently defined as SOMETIMES pejorative – depending on context – and who’s using it.
But what of Brit? As stated above, the term is not currently considered offensive – nevertheless, I was recently surprised to discover that it USED to be.
The dictionary says; Brit: informal, formerly offensive – A British person.
Of course, ALL of these words – and many, far more offensive – are ultimately just words. Whether they are intended to offend depends on who is using them – and how.
In any case, TRUE racism is about FAR more than mere words. Check out the song, “Strange Fruit” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strange_Fruit – and the Billie Holiday version on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Web007rzSOI