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Thread: slanting eyes

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    #1

    slanting eyes

    I've just read, to my surprise, that describing East Asian people as having slanting eyes is offensive. Could you please tell me if it is indeed so? If I understood the explanation, it's offensive because it's inaccurate. Well, of course it's inaccurate, just like calling my skin white, but, as far as I know, very few people would consider that offensive. I understand that it may be offensive in English, but I'd like to know for sure whether it is or not. I'm not sure I trust the opinion I mentioned above.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: slanting eyes

    I think the offensiveness stems from the fact that 'slanting' has the idea of 'not straight', 'not level. It's tied up with the old racist attitide that little people with slanting/slant eyes, yellow skin and a silly sing-song way of jabbering must be inferior to upstanding. decently white-skinned people with honest-to-goodness eyes who spoke God's language - English.

    The facts (that people from East Asia do not have slanting eyes, that their skin is not yellow, that literature was being produced in Chinese 700 years before woad-wearing warriors in Southern England were trying to fight off Caesar) did not seem to bother the people who held these strange ideas.

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    #3

    Re: slanting eyes

    Thanks. I haven't heard this in English a lot, which may be why I was unaware that it's offensive. I'm really surprised by this, but I can understand that expressions like this have a potential of becoming offensive. This one simply hasn't in my language.

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    #4

    Re: slanting eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Thanks. I haven't heard this in English a lot, which may be why I was unaware that it's offensive. I'm really surprised by this, but I can understand that expressions like this have a potential of becoming offensive. This one simply hasn't in my language.
    That may be because Poles did not have the contact with Chinese people that British and other European governments, traders and soldiers had. The attitude of these people to the 'inferior' race was shown by the way that they simply grabbed parts of China for themselves. In these parts, Chinese people were tolerated as cheap labour, but had no rights. Legend has it that sign such as this were posted outside parks, and public buildings.

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    #5

    Re: slanting eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    That may be because Poles did not have the contact with Chinese people that British and other European governments, traders and soldiers had. The attitude of these people to the 'inferior' race was shown by the way that they simply grabbed parts of China for themselves. In these parts, Chinese people were tolerated as cheap labour, but had no rights. Legend has it that sign such as this were posted outside parks, and public buildings.
    Yes, I know about that, and that is probably the reason. In general, a Polish person visiting America or Great Britain is in for a big surprise. We hear things of course, but Poland is almost homogenous not only racially but even ethnically as a result of the war and the forced and unforced relocations after the war. So racism is not a big part of our lives. We have to find other reasons to hate one another for, and we do.

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    #6

    Re: slanting eyes

    Oh, I've just realized...

    I'm sorry if anyone interpreted the above as an accusation of racism. I didn't want to say that a Pole going to America or Great Britain will see a lot of racists. What I meant was that they will notice a lot more talking about racism, arguing about racism and anti-racism laws.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 08-Aug-2012 at 16:44.

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    #7

    Re: slanting eyes

    Don't worry, BC. I found your post good-hearted and mildly amusing.

    b

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    #8

    Re: slanting eyes

    Such a reductive and inaccurate description as "slanting eyes" seems only a hair's breadth away from the intentionally derogatory and undeniably offensive term for Asian people, "slopes".

    not a teacher

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    #9

    Re: slanting eyes

    NOT A TEACHER


    Hello, birdeen's call:

    Yes, I believe that here in the United States, it is offensive to refer to someone as having slanting/slanted eyes.

    I believe that a few years ago, a young American celebrity of European ancestry was roundly criticized when she used

    her fingers to stretch her eyes in order to mock Asians.

    It is interesting, however, to note that people are not necessarily offended by the phrase "almond-shaped eyes."

    For some people, that phrase sounds exotic, especially when applied to females.

    P.S. Today the term "colored people" is highly offensive, but "person/people of color" is completely acceptable.


    HAVE A NICE DAY!

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