The term ‘oriental’ remains disputable because of the historical context and numerous cases of mistreatment. In some contexts, it is used to speak about violent and discriminative policies related to Asian people or culture. At the same time, it demonstrates that Asians were not integrated into U.S. society and were viewed as strangers. The transformation of the term from a neutral to intolerant one is similar to the history of the N-word.
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Initially, a word meant “black,” but it evolved into an insult mostly used with negative connotations when speaking about black people. In such a way, the term “oriental” is neutral, but the historical background and its usage to refer to people from Asia to emphasize their sameness and biased attitude promoted the emergence of negative connotations. The word also results in the formation of a specific status of Asian culture. The Naturalization Act also contributed to the formation of the negative image as it restricted the ability to become citizens for people not of white descent. This policy was altered only after the Civil War, while according to Thomas Gugliemo, white immigrants did not have such issues. It proves that Asian people had a worse position compared to other ethnic groups in the USA.