Why do americans call East Asians Asians,, and other Asians called middle eastern?

Americans have weird names for things, but i don't get that...
Say if you was arabic, what are they then? if east Asians are asians?

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Asia is a big continent, there are many nations in that part of the world, so why use "Asians" to refer to people with chink eyes from korea, japan

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I know the answer to this one. This is actually something new. It started I think in the 1980s. This was part of the emerging political correct trend. It was an era when the English language was being changed in an attempt to eliminate any words that might be perceived as offensive, if only by.001% of the population.

    It was the same time that gender biased words became gender neutral. For example waitress was no longer acceptable, so they became servers. Stewardess became flight attendant.

    Words that might seem offensive by some, were changed. In some cases words were perceived as incorrect, even though that's how language evolves. For example Indian became Native American - except in Canada where that was also considered offensive, so it became First Nation or some such ( @Canadians, is that correct? ).

    Blacks went through several different names until eventually just settling on black.

    Now for Asians. Asians used to be called Orientals. Somebody considered that offensive. Plus there was debate about what an oriental even was - some saying it meant what we used to call Asia Minor. Others said it meant SE Asia, which was how the term was actually used. So they settled on Asian as the politically correct replacement for Oriental.

    So to this day, Asian still refers to SE Asians. It's even more incorrect than Oriental, but that's where it came from. There are some people who broaden the term to include more of Asia, but it's still mainly the "politically correct" replacement for Oriental.

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What Girls Said 6

  • it's just in terms of who is prevalent
    the most noticeable Asians in the US are east Asians, so term 'asian' gets stuck with them. similar to how the term 'asian' in england is mainly associated with indians and pakistanis, since there are more of those Asians there
    every other Asian minority in the country who is lesser knows just gets called by their ethnicity

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  • Technically still Asians, but not Asians? I don't know it's weird lol 😂
    I guess the word middle eastern sort of implies that Arabs are Asians, I think.

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  • Because its easier that way.

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  • Most Asians that live here are from east Asia

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  • I don't know why :/

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  • I have often wondered the exact same thing.

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What Guys Said 11

  • To be fair... growing up when we called American born Indians and middle easterners Asian they get butthurt and rather be identified as American or middle easterners. It's like a lot of them are ashamed or being called Asian is bad...

    I did not see this happen with the immigrants though.

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  • Why do British people called Indian people Asians as well as people from South and East Asia (Chinese, Korean, etc)?

    Digging your Ali G gangsta vernacular. "Say if you was Arabic, innit?"

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  • its easier to categorize the two to identify what the person is referring too rather than calling them both Asian and then verifying what they mean. It is logical.

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    • Yeah but Asian is a loose umbrella term for anyone that comes from the continent of asia, which is a lot of nations.

    • it just takes away 1 step from further verification TBH lol

  • Back in the day we used to call East Asians Orientals. I thought that it was strange too when that changed for some reason.

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  • Because if you took a map of the 7 continents and laid it flat America would be on the Western side of the map and mostly Asian counties would be eastern side of the map. The counties in between are called the middle east. Because in the middle of the world there is nothing there but the Atlantic Ocean.

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  • they would be middle eastern

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  • becuz i said so

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  • Arabian= Middle Eastern. Indian = Indian or Desi; Japan, China, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines = Asian. Americans tend to put in Asia those who are genetically Asian, whereas with India, they are Indo-Aryan (mostly), and not Asian. Those of us who know that the Magreb (inhabited by such peoples as the Berbers, Tunisians, etc.) is not really in the Middle East, so we might call them North Africans, while those in Ghana are Sub-Saharan Africans, or just Africans. I think the only time you would still see Arabian as "Asian" is in very old geography books or Atlases. Turkey is European despite having a large amount of its land mass in "Asia", which is, actually Eurasia. Therefore Russia is European or Eurasian, but not Asian; those in Kazakhstan are considered like Turks genetically, but are considered Central Asian by geography. Some peoples living in Eurasia are Asian, and some are not. Very confusing.

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  • We consider Asian a race not a people from one continent. African is also a race. Arabs are also a race, and they're from the Middle East because they are not as far east as other Asian countries.

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  • Why do Europeans scoop everyone together under one label? An Indian is not "asian." An Iranian is not "asian." A Saudi or Syrian certainly isn't "asian."

    Typically, people in Iraq and west of Iraq (but south of Turkey) are referred to as middle eastern, people in Iran are referred to as Persian, people from India and Pakistan are Indian and Pakistani respectively, but east of that people are more likely to be referred to as "asian."

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  • lol and Americans call Hispanic/Latino as a race

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