“You’re telling me that is considered a slight if you call someone an Oriental American?”

New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa has defended using the term ‘oriental’ for Asians.

The WFAN radio presenter was discussing Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of The Slants to keep the trademark of their name.

Francesca tells a caller on-air that the ruling could help Washington’s NFL team keep ‘Redskins’ as their name – a term many Native Americans find offensive.

“The feeling is that it’s going to be the same answer to the same question” regarding the Washington team name, Francesa said. “The only other debate is that they were talking about themselves. They all were Oriental Americans who were part of the group. … They were some kind of a musical band from Oregon, and they could not trademark the name ‘Slant,’ even though they were a group of young Oriental Americans.”

A producer tells Francesca that ‘oriental’ is offensive. This seems to irk Francesa, who reveals he actually doesn’t know what to call Asian Americans other than ‘oriental.

“You’re telling me that is considered a slight if you call someone an Oriental-American?” Francesa said. “What is the proper term then, so I want to get it proper since Oriental-American is now considered a slight? What would be not a slight?”

After being told the correct term is Asian American, Francesa seems to be in disbelief.

“Asian-American. … So let’s make that an Asian-American band,” he said. “You’re telling me that using the word Oriental-American is a slight? … If they would like me to say Asian-Americans, all power to it … then I’ll say Asian-Americans, whatever makes people happy. Has it gotten to that point where that would be considered a slight? Oh, boy. But if it has to be Asian-American, then it’s Asian-American.”

He later tries to defend using the term, “Why should [oriental] be [offensive]? Literally it means in the dictionary is someone of the orient or someone of the east. It carries no slur.”



Last year, Resonate writer Alice King a compelling piece about why ‘oriental’ is offensive. Click here to read it.

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