Just got back from angry asian man’s post about Revelle College’s dance theme.
Apparently, people were all up in arms because it was set as “Eastern Elegance: A Night in the Orient”.
I’m not sure how I feel about it, and I’m still trying to sort out my feelings about the uproar over Brandon Dicamillo’s Chinese Freestyle youtube clip.
Call me perverse, but when people get all excited over something, some part of me tends to want to downplay it. Maybe if I had encountered those two things on my own, I would also have been offended, but right now I’m more bemused than anything else.
Orient, according to Wikipedia ( which we all know is the go-to for all knowledge), the word is derived from the Latin word that means east, oriens.
I can see how people can be upset at how the word indiscriminately lumps together all the different cultures that it was ever associated with — Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, etc. I can also see how it can be considered culturally insensitive — wow, there’s a post-PC phrase for ya, for them to call it a Night in the Orient and yet only have the most superficial concepts thrown in — cherry blossoms, chopsticks, etc.
But I really do, in the end, see it as a game of semantics. I don’t dislike the word Orient, I actually think the way the word is structured is pleasing aurally. In fact, I’d probably be more likely to use it in writing simply because I think it sounds prettier than Asian — which is most likely also derived from an ancient Greek word. Wiki can’t seem to agree on what the exact etymology is, but it’s likely to come from a number of words in ancient languages.
Granted, I’m really only looking at this from the viewpoint of semantics. *shrug* According to the article on it, there were worse atrocities than the simple (hah!) use of the word “Orient”. “Ghetto geisha”? Lolcats indeed. But I arrived on scene too late to catch the facebook furor.
I especially loved how multiple responses to this article involved people comparing the theme to potential African-American themes.
If a Black person made a dance called “Nigga’s Night Out” with a gangsta theme, glock shaped chocolate fountain (dark, of course) and maybe even cotton picking, I’m sure other black people would be offended. Well, maybe not, cause black people are really really cool. – anon
What would happen if someone had “Plantation Night”? – anon
I don’t think the two are on the same level at all. After all, it’s only in some circles that the word is considered offensive. And (from what I know) it isn’t as if there were going to be “geishas” running around being servers or some such. Not that I consider people in the service business offensive — which culture doesn’t have them?
In the end, I agree with certain posters that it was probably something that should be brought up, since it IS offensive to some, but that the uproar isn’t really entirely warranted.