UPDATE: President Obama signed this bill, H.R. 4238, into law on May 20, 2016.
Legislation Removing Term “Oriental” from Federal Law Headed to President After Senate Approval
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans applauds the Senate for passing legislation to remove "oriental" and other antiquated terms from federal law. This legislation would replace dated terms that remain in federal law with Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, African American, Hispanic, Native American, or Alaska Natives.
The bipartisan bill (H.R. 4238) was sponsored by Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY) and Ed Royce (R-CA) and unanimously passed in February. With yesterday’s passage in the Senate, the bill is headed to President Obama’s desk and is expected to be signed into law.
“We are very pleased that the full Congress approved the removal of the derogatory term ‘oriental,’ as well as other outdated terms, from federal legislation once and for all,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “These terms bring to mind dark times in American history, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II. We thank Representatives Meng and Royce and Senator Hirono for their leadership on this issue and the entire Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus for its support. We look forward to the President signing this bill into law so that the government’s language is respectful and accurate.”
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.