May 10, 2016

Congress passes bill that would delete words like 'Oriental' from federal language

A bill that would remove derogatory racial terms, including the word “Oriental,” from federal language has been passed by Congress and will now go to President Barack Obama to sign into law.   

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed H.R. 4238 -- introduced by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Grace Meng, D-NY – which removes all references to words such as “Oriental” and replaces them with terms like “Asian Americans.”

“Updating derogatory references in federal law is long overdue,” Hirono said in a statement on Tuesday. “Our country’s diversity makes us strong, so it is imperative that this language is changed as soon as possible.”

Added Meng: “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.”

The bill strikes “a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” and replaces it with “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native.”

By:  Melanie Yamaguchi
Source: Hawaii News Now