UPDATE: The story on Hornets.com has been edited to remove any offensive language.
Earlier this morning, writer Alex Wong discovered a post published on the Hornets' official web site with some unfortunate language in it. The story was published on Nov. 2 and focused on the buzz around the Hornets' opening night. But when the post got around to Jeremy Lin?
There is a blurb just below the writer's byline that reminds us that the opinions and views of the writer do not necessarily reflect those of the Hornets' organization. However, the post presumably received a stamp of approval from a team of editors before it was published online. And even if it didn't, I'm surprised no one caught this until now.
If you weren't aware, "oriental" is pretty darn offensive, especially when describing people.
Many academics in the fields of sociology and Asian studies have chronicled the history of the word, and how it was used to divide and oppress Asian Americans. John Kuo Wei Tchen, program director of Asian/Pacific/American studies at New York University summed it up: "With the anti-war movement in the '60s and early '70s, many Asian Americans identified the term 'Oriental' with a Western process of racializing Asians as forever opposite 'others'."
In fact, a handful of states have already banned the word from appearing in legislation or official government documents, including Washington and New York.
Luckily, some people were able to find humor in the story.
We don't know who the writer is, and it's entirely possible — likely, even — that they were unaware of the negative connotations associated with "oriental". However, I hope the uproar this story has caused helps educate people — the writer included — about how words can be offensive to others, even if they're not offensive to you.
It's just common courtesy.