Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New York Law Bans Use of ‘Oriental’ in State Documents

On September 8, 2009, New York Governor David A. Paterson signed legislation to ban the use of the term “Oriental” in reference to persons of Asian or Pacific Islander descent on all “forms or preprinted documents used by state government, public authorities or municipalities.” The redactions are required by no later than Jan. 1.

Governor Paterson said in a statement: "The words we use matter. We in government recognize that what we print in official documents or forms sets an example of what is acceptable. With this legislation, we take action against derogatory speech and set a new standard. The word ‘oriental’ does not describe ethnic origin, background or even race; in fact, it has deep and demeaning historical roots. I am pleased to sign this legislation and remove the phrase from preprinted forms and documents."

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