I am writing a blog about global food marketing http://www.instagram.com/worldfoodunique and find myself troubled how to refer to regions of the world. Almost any terminology is biased, racist, egocentric and just plain wrong.
We speak of a first world but Europe was hardly the first. What’s first then? The economy? Research? Technology? Hardly.
We talk about East Asia but when you are in “The East” everything important is westwards. Towards east is but a huge ocean and a few forlorn islands.
Asians in the UK are Indians. Asians in California are people from East Asia. Inhabitants of “East Asia” hardly think of Indians when they use the term “Asian”. In Latin America, we have a similar situation with “Asiaticos”.
Ah, Latin America. What’s Latin about it? Because their official languages are related to Latin? So are English, German, and many others. Aztec and Mayan are definitely. What’s a “Latino” then?
When the inhabitants of the southern American continent say “America” they mean everything from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska. When Americans say “America” they mean the home of the free, the United States.
We think of “Chinese” as one cultural and racial entity. It is most certainly not. The Han Chinese are the most populous but China has more than 100 other tribes, languages, races and ancestries, from Mongol, Yi, to Manchuria and Viet.
So yes, I have difficulties describing regions in my blogs, not to mention races. If find this problem more pressng than gender issues like He/She/They Cis/Trans etc. Those arejust personal issues. The country and race terminology affects journalism world-wide, disenfranchises minorities, perpetuates stereotype and Euro-American centrism.
I believe we need a new terminology and I a^m trying to come up with one that is less harmful than what we are using now. It’ll be along way.