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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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.2