Sunday, May 22, 2016
President Obama signed bill H.R.4238 “modernizing terms relating to minorities” into law on Friday.
Sponsored by Congresswoman from Queens, N.Y., Grace Meng, bill H.R.4238 (co-sponsored by all 51 members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus) will strike words such as “Negro, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” and replace them with “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native.”
There has been a lot of controversy lately about how “ethnic” groups in the U.S. name themselves, especially with racially-charged words such as “redskins,” the “n-word” and“Oriental,” and so this bill is just one more way that people of color can and will define themselves with words they find acceptable.
Rep. Meng, who is Chinese-American, said that she is especially happy that the word Oriental is going the way of the covered wagon.
“Many Americans may not be aware that the word ‘Oriental’ is derogatory,” says Meng. “But it is an insulting term that needed to be removed from the books, and I am extremely pleased that my legislation to do that is now the law of the land.”