When is the ‘O word’ offensive and when is it not?

SHARE When is the ‘O word’ offensive and when is it not?
chicago_generic_07xx18_2.jpg

Beginning this month, Chicago’s Oriental Theater is now the James M. Nederlander Theatre. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

Josina Morita is correct in stating that the word “oriental” should never be used in a racial context. By itself, however, the word is benign. Should those of us, including Morita, call for an end to the use of the word “occidental” when referring to Westerners? Linguistics can be perplexing.

Mike Koskiewicz, Portage Park

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

When will it end? Now the Sun-Times lets Josina Morita of the Joint Asian-American Caucus demand the banning of the “O” word (Oriental). This word has existed for a thousand years, referring mainly to anything “Eastern” as opposed to “Occidental.” The dictionary definitions show nothing negative in the term. To the contrary, the second definition is, in part, “Glowing.. of superior quality… often used in grading gems…”

Before the word Oriental is banned from the lexicon, let’s take a vote on it.

Tom Sharp, Uptown

The Latest
Everything at the business — inventory, machinery, equipment, vehicles — was “a total loss,” in the fire, one family member said.
The Cubs beat the Giants 6-5, as Hendricks allowed one run and two hits in 5 2/3 innings
Chicago Pride Fest, the new ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ musical and a Billy Joel-Stevie Nicks concert are among the entertainment highlights of the week ahead.
This festive, dreamy dessert was first prepared to celebrate a cricket match at England’s prestigious Eton School in the 1920s.
The Bears’ upcoming season looks like it’s going to be fun. That’s up to Eberflus, though — on the field and at the microphone.