I’m not the most staggering PC guy on the planet, but even I knew that Oriental wasn’t a word to be tossed around carelessly. Though I had thought the rule simply that carpets and expresses could be Oriental, not a person. How wrong I was. Apparently it’s a wee bit stronger than I thought.
What brings this up? Well according to Polygon.com and Australian production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell was making a video game called Whore of the Orient, and the Australian-Chinese community didn’t care for it. According to the Sydney Morning Hearld, “Jieh-Yung Lo, who is the deputy mayor of Monash Council, states that the ‘The O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities’ and the game is an ”attempt to disgrace Chinese culture, history and traditions.'” Lo is even planning to complain to the Human Rights Commission over this horrible, horrible slander.
Now reading up on the game, I learn it’s set in the 1930’s Shanghai. Which means the term Orient would indeed be used for the Chinese and pretty much everyone else in the region, as I understand it. Not only that, but a little research shows that the name “Whore of the Orient” was actually applied to the city in question back in the day.
Thus I can’t help but feel this was more an honest (and thoughtless) mistake than an actual attempt to offend. A part of me also suspects Lo is either hyper sensitive to the word or bucking to get more renown for himself, but then again, I’m Whitey MacWhite White. I wouldn’t know much about how bad the word hurts, now would I?
In any case, Kennedy Miller Mitchell might be wise to dump the name for the game. Come up with something more appropriate.
Me, I’m going to work hard not to use the term again. Just to be safe.
- Report: Whore of the Orient gameplay footage leaks (joystiq.com)