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Orient

From Academic Kids

The term the Orient literally refers simply to the rising of the sun, being derived from the Latin word oriens. It is used to mean "the East". Similar terms are the French-derived "Levant" and "Anatolia" from the Greek anatole, two further locations for the direction in which the sun rises.

"Orient" and "Oriental" have been used in English to refer to both Near and Far Eastern countries, including the Middle East, China, Japan, and India. For example, Mizrahi Jews are often referred to as Oriental Jews, while the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies focuses on Africa as well as the Middle East and East Asia.

For discussion of history or current events, more specific words such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, or individual country names may be preferred.

There is an opposite term "Occident", which literally refers to the setting of the sun, being derived from the Latin word occidens, refers to "the West", but nowadays the word "Occident" is rarely used.

Political correctness in the United States

Some people in the United States think of the term oriental as offensive or politically incorrect, largely because of its connection with nineteenth century attitudes to the East, and the fact that it is a blanket term for a nonspecific category of peoples. The term oriental has come to be associated with an opposition between "East" and "West", where the East was seen as backwards, exotic, and patriarchal, while the West was seen as logical, rational, and more modern. Additionally, many of the universities in Europe that historically offered courses in oriental studies were riddled with inaccurate information that clouded the reality of the people to whom the studies referred. These distorted pictures of Eastern peoples were used to justify colonization of the countries. Some Asian Americans see parallels between the word oriental and nigger. However, many see it as simply old-fashioned, as many African Americans see the word negro.

Since oriental is used to describe peoples and regions that are to the East only in relation to Europe, this term is considered by many as an extreme example of Eurocentrism. The term Middle Eastern follows the same pattern, yet is subject to less controversy.

Some people use the term oriental to refer to people from a region that is distinct from, though part of, Asia. Generally synonymous with the Far East, the Orient consists of China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and sometimes Southeast Asia, and the term oriental refers to people and culture from those areas. Asia includes India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and a number of other countries that are no longer generally considered to be part of the Orient.


Orient : An English professional football team from Leyton in the East End of London.

See also

es:Oriente ja:東洋

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