The Washington Post

The Oriental country

The word “Oriental” has meant different things in English (though all, naturally, related to “the East”). The “Orient Express,” for instance, went to Istanbul, but in more recent times, the “Oriental” in America largely referred to East Asians (though it has now largely fallen out of favor). For an interesting legal twist on that, see Ritchey Produce Co., Inc. v. Ohio Dept. of Adm. Serv. (Ohio 1999), in which a business owner claimed an affirmative action racial preference offered to “Orientals” on the grounds that he was Lebanese. The court rejected the argument, concluding that “Orientals” referred to East Asians; see Part VII of the opinion for a longish discussion.

There is only one country, however, that has the word Oriental as part of its name. What is that country?

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.
Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.