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Asian people,[1] Asiatic[2] or Asian Continental Ancestry Group[2] is a demonym for people from Asia. However, the use of the term varies by country and person, often referring to people from a particular region or subregion of Asia.[3][4] Though it may be based on residence, it is also often considered a "race"[5] or an "ethnic group".[6]

In the United States, Canada, and Australia, the term refers most commonly to people of predominantly East Asian or Southeast Asian ancestry; however in the United Kingdom and Anglophone Africa, the term refers most commonly to South Asians.[7][8] In other countries, the term is applied to all people from Asia in general. In the US, however, Middle Eastern and Central Asian people are usually not considered Asian peoples.[9]

Regardless of these regional definitions, some people insist that anyone from Asia is logically Asian.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Definitions by country

Korea and Japan

As early as 1920, Japanese and Korean elites had a conception of Asia as the civilization of the East in contrast to Europe.[10]

Malaysia and Singapore

In Malaysia and Singapore, their three largest ethnic groups, Malays, Chinese, and Indians, are all considered Asian.[11][12]

United States

Main article: Asian American

Earlier Census forms from 1980 and before listed particular Asian ancestries as separate groups along with White and Black or Negro.[13] Previously, Asian Americans were classified as "other". [14] But the 1980 census marked the first general analyses of Asians as a group, combining several individual ancestry groups into "Asian or Pacific Islander." By the 1990 census, Asian or Pacific Islander (API) was included as an explicit category, although respondents had to select one particular ancestry.[15][16]

In North American English, Asian "is used to refer to people from the Far East"[17], however, government classifications has come to include include South Asians. In 1930 and 1940, Indian Americans were a separate category, Hindu, and in 1950 and 1960, they were classified as Other Race, and in 1970, they were classified as White. Since 1980, Indians, and all other South Asians, have been classified as part of the Asian race[18]. Professor Madhulika Khandelwal, while serving on the National Board of Asian-American Studies, accredits Indian American activism as the catalyst for the 1980s U.S. Census re-classification of Indians.[43]. Respondents can also report more specific ancestry, such as Chinese, Taiwanese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Pakistani, Laotian, Thai, Asian-Indian, Cambodian, and so on, including "Other Asian". Someone reporting these ancestries but no race will be classified as "Asian". Turkish Americans were the targets of anti-Asian hysteria during the "yellow race crisis".[19] Unlike South Asians Middle Eastern Americans and Central Asian Americans have not yet lobbied to be included as Asians by the US Census.[20] However, some Asian American organizations do include Central Asia and West Asia/Middle East in their scope. [44] [45]

Template:Regions-Asia.png

According to Sharon M. Lee in her 1998 publication, for many non-Asian Americans in the United States (in 1998) Asian American means Oriental, Chinese American or Japanese American. This is due to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants being the first Asian immigrants into the United States.[9] Today, with the increasing demographic of Korean Americans, South Asian Americans and Southeast Asian Americans the definition among United States citizens of who is Asian American is expanding.[21]

United Kingdom

Main article: British Asian

In the United Kingdom, the term "Asian", though it can refer to the continent of Asia as a whole,[22] is more commonly associated with people of South Asian origin, particularly Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans.[23] The UK usage of the term "Asian" is reflected in the "ethnic group" section of UK census forms, which treat "Asian" and "Chinese" as separate (see British Asian).[6] Most respondents to the UK 2001 Census of non-Chinese East Asian and Southeast Asian descent chose to write-in their ethnicity in the "Other Ethnic Group" category rather than the "Other Asian" category, reflecting the association of the word Asian in the UK with South Asian.[24]

The United Kingdom, Anglophone Africa and Anglophone Caribbean are places in the Western world where the word "Asian" is used primarily to identify people from the Indian subcontinent. Due to the term's contested definition in British English, the use of the term "South Asian" is used for clarity in discussions in the United Kingdom on colonialism, discrimination, and migration[25] or when the content of its parameters may become mistakenly conflated with those of East Asian descent. [26]

Canada

Main article: Asian Canadian

In Canada, Asian refers to people from the Far East, Southeast Asia,[27] South Asia,[28] and West Asia[29]. Like the United States, in Canada the term Asian generally refers to the East Asian Canadians since they were the first Asian immigrant groups into Canada.[30]

Template:RegionsofAsia-Central.png

Australia

Main article: Asian Australian

Notably, the Australian Census includes Central Asia, a region that is often considered to be part of the Greater Middle East.[31] The Australian Census includes four regions of Asia in its official definition. Defined by the 2006-2011 Australian Census, three broad groups have the word Asian included in their name: Central and Southern Asian, South-East Asian and North-East Asian. Russians are classified as Southern and Eastern Europeans while Middle Easterners are classified as North African and Middle Easterners.[32]

Anglophone Africa and Caribbean

Further information: Asians in South Africa and Indo-Caribbean

In parts of anglophone Africa, especially East Africa and South Africa, and in parts of the Anglophone Caribbean, the term "Asian", though it can refer to the continent of Asia as a whole,[33] is more commonly associated with people of South Asian origin, particularly Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans.[34]

The United Kingdom, Anglophone Africa,[35] and Anglophone Caribbean are places in the Western world where the word "Asian" is used primarily to identify people from the Indian subcontinent, although in South Africa, Asian can refer to East Asians as well.[36]

New Zealand

New Zealand's census called Statistics New Zealand defines the Asian to include people of Chinese, Indian, Korean, Filipino, Japanese, Sri Lankan, Cambodian and Thai ancestries.[37]

Norway

Statistics Norway considers people of Asian background to be people from all Asian countries, including Turkey.[38][39]

Definition by individuals

Paul Thomas Welty

Paul Thomas Welty in his book The Asians Their Evolving Heritage[40] claims that Asians refer exclusively to people of the "South Asian Subcontinent", "Southeast Asia" and "East Asia" (pp. 21).[41] The staple food of Asians is rice or wheat (pp.30)., but other common foods include barley, millet, corn, sorghum and sweet potatoes. Asian culture has been predominately influenced by the civilizations of India and China and the influence of Islam (pp.54). Asian people frequently live in large family systems often incorporating three generations under one roof, (pp.55). Asians have long valued education and literacy and have lived in societies led by a scholar class (pp. 365).

South Asians have characteristics in common (pp. 61). South Asians are a religious people who share the commonality of having been under British rule, (pp. 61). Due to their location between the Middle East, Europe, and other parts of Asia, they have come into contact with various other cultues, making their culture an amalgam of different cultures (pp. 61).

East Asians have characteristics in common (pp. 153). East Asians are connected by the commonality of Chinese cultural influence as well as Indian philosophy (pp. 158). East Asians are also mostly farmers except for modernized Japan (Welty, pp. 158).

Southeast Asians have characteristics in common (pp. 323). Southeast Asians are influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Confucism (pp. 326). Southeast Asians share the family system, poverty, and respect for teachers and learning (pp. 327). Due to the geography of many islands and coastal territory, Southeast Asians have been influenced by Indian, Japanese, Chinese and recently American cultural influences (pp. 329).

Sudha Ramachandran

Sudha Ramachandran, writer for the Asia Times, claims that China and India vie for the status of Asia's "mother civilization"[42], but Indrani Bagchi who is also a Times Asia writer claims that India is the heart of Asian civilization because it is the origin of Buddhism.[42]

Keith Lowe

Dr. Keith Lowe, race-relations expert for the Canadian government,[43] claims that Asian people refer to Central, South, Southeast and East Asians.[44]

Orientals and the Orient

The term "Oriental" (from the Latin word for "Eastern")[45] was originally used in Europe in reference to the Near East. It was later extended to the rest of Asia, but came to refer to Northeast Asians and Southeast Asians in the 19th and 20th century US,[46] where most Asians were Chinese (and later Japanese and Filipino). By the late 20th century, the term had gathered associations in North America with older attitudes now seen as outmoded, and was replaced with the term "Asian" as part of the updating of language concerning social identities,[47] which critics have derided as political correctness.[48]

Marginal Inclusion

West Asians

The name Asia is probably derived from ancient Assyrian.[49] It therefore originally referred to the regions now called "West Asia" and "Central Asia", the Sinai Peninsula to Persia and Asia Minor to Arabia. To the ancient Greeks, Asia usually referred to the Persian Empire, while to the Romans, Asia was a small region or, later, province at the Western end of Anatolia (now Turkey).

Clovis Maksound, Director for the Organization of Global South, argues that the term "Middle East" is a Eurocentric term denoting the region between Europe and East Asia, because it denies the Middle East's connection with Muslim North Africa.[50] In English parlance, Western Asians like Turks, Iranians, Cypriots, and Arabs,[51] and the Central Asians of the former Soviet Republics are not referred to as "Asian" by United States government agencies. The Canadian government uses "West Asian" in its statistics; however people from the Arab countries are counted in a separate "Arab" category. [52] [53]


Russian Federation

Most of Russia's huge territory is in Asia, though the majority of its population is in Europe and ethnically Slavic. Depending on context, Russian citizens may be considered European or mixed according to their individual ethnic nationality, ancestry, or appearance[How to reference and link to summary or text].

The territorial regions of Russia that are in Asia (eg. Irkutsk and Amur) have a significant indigenous population. In the Russian language, minority nationalities such as Buryats, Tuvans, Yakuts and others are Rossiiskiy or Rossiyane (citizens of the Russian Federation regardless of whether they are ethnic Russians), rather than Russkiy (which refers to ethnic Russians whether living in the Russian Federation or elsewhere).

The word Eurasian is also often used to describe Russia's position in the world.

See also transcontinental nation[54]. Russians are generally not included in the term "Asian".[55]

Pacific Islanders

In normal usage Asian does not refer to the people from the Pacific Islands who are usually called Pacific Islanders.[56] The term "Asians and Pacific Islanders" or "Asia/Pacific" was used on the 1990 US Census.[57] As late as 2001, they were consided by most Americans to be the same racial group as Asians due to a perception of their implicit contrast to "whiteness".[58] However, in the 2000 US Census, many Pacific Islanders did not consider themselves the same social identity as Asians, and classified themselves separately.

References

  1. "Asian". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary.
  2. 2.0 2.1 United States National Library of Medicine. Medical Subject Headings. 2004. November 17, 2006.[1]
  3. Aspinall, Peter J. Oxford Journals. Journal of Public Health. 2003. October 26 2006. [2]
  4. Lee, Sandra S. Mountain, Joanna. Barbara, Koening A. The Meanings of Race in the New Genomics: Implications for Health Disparities Research. Yale University. 2001. October 26 2006. [3]
  5. Barnes, Jessica S. and Bennett, Claudett E. The Asian Population:2000. 2002. September 1 2006. [4]
  6. 6.0 6.1 National Statistics. Ethnicity. 2005. August 27 2006. [5]
  7. Color Q World. Clarifying the Definition of Asian. 2005. October 1 2006. [6]
  8. The New Oxford Dictionary of English. 2001. New York: Oxford University Press.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Lee, Sharon M. Population Reference Bureau. Asian Americans Diverse and Growing. 2006. September 10 2006. [7]
  10. Menon, Sridevi. Duke University. "Where is West Asia in Asian America?Asia and the Politics of Space in Asian America." 2004. April 26, 2007. http://socialtext.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/24/1_86/55.pdf
  11. 44th IFLA 2007 World Congress - Malaysia -Truly Asia
  12. The paradox of low body mass index and high body fat percentage among Chinese, Malays and Indians in Singapore
  13. 1980 Census: Instructions to Respondents, republished by Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota at www.ipums.org Accessed 19 Nov 2006.
  14. Lee, Gordon. Hyphen Magazine. "The Forgotten Revolution." 2003. January 28, 2007.[8]
  15. 1990 Census: Instructions to Respondents, republished by Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Minnesota Population Center, University of Minnesota at www.ipums.org Accessed 19 Nov 2006.
  16. Reeves, Terrance Claudett, Bennett. United States Census Bureau. Asian and Pacific Islander Population: March 2002. 2003. September 30, 2006. [9].
  17. http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/asian?view=uk
  18. Campbell Gibson and Kay Jung, Historical Census Statistics On Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For Large Cities And Other Urban Places In The United States Working Paper no. 76 (2005); see footnote 6 in paper
  19. Arab American Institute. Not Quite White:Race Classification and the Arab American Experience. 1997. September 29 2006. [10]
  20. Arab American Institute. Not Quite White:Race Classification and the Arab American Experience. 1997. September 29 2006. [11]
  21. Lee, Sharon M. Population Reference Bureau. Asian Americans Diverse and Growing. 2006. September 10 2006. [12]
  22. Color Q World. Clarifying the Definition of Asian. 2005. October 1 2006. [13]
  23. British Sociological Association. Equality and Diversity. Language and the BSA:Ethnicity & Race. 2005. October 26. [14]
  24. Gardener, David. Who are the Other Ethnic Groups. 2005. October 27 2006. [15]
  25. Aspinall, Peter J. Oxford Journals. Journal of Public Health. 2003. October 26 2006. [16]
  26. British Sociological Association. Equality and Diversity. Language and the BSA:Ethnicity & Race. 2005. October 26. [17]
  27. Asian Canadian. 2000. September 29 2006. [18]
  28. South Asian Observor. Asians take Longest Route to Enter Spain Illegally. 2006. September 29 2006[19]
  29. '2001 Census Visible Minority and Population Group User Guide' http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/Products/Reference/tech_rep/vismin.cfm
  30. Aspinall, Peter J. Oxford Journals. Journal of Public Health. 2003. October 26 2006. [20]
  31. World Atlas.com The Middle East. September 30 2006. [21]
  32. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Standard Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups Second Edition. 2005. August 20 2006. [22]
  33. Color Q World. Clarifying the Definition of Asian. 2005. October 1 2006. [23]
  34. British Sociological Association. Equality and Diversity. Language and the BSA:Ethnicity & Race. 2005. October 26. [24]
  35. Sinha, Gayatri. Diatribe or art? The Hindu. 2002. September 29 2006. [25]
  36. University of Maryland. Assessment for Asians in South Africa. 2003. September 29 2006. [26]
  37. Statistics New Zealand. Asian people. 2006. December 4, 2006.[27]
  38. http://www.ssb.no/vis/english/subjects/02/02/20/innvutv_en/main.html
  39. http://www.ssb.no/vis/samfunnsspeilet/utg/200604/10/art-2006-10-10-01.html
  40. Welty, Paul Thomas. The Asians Their Evolving Heritage Sixth Edition. New York:Harper & Row Publishers, 1984. ISBN 0-06-047001-1
  41. "The region called Asia in this book stretches from Pakistan on the west to Japan on the east and from the northern borders of China to the southernmost boundaries of Indonesia."
  42. 42.0 42.1 Ramachandran, Sudha. Asia Times. "India has its own soft power: Buddhism." 2007. July 9, 2007. [28]
  43. Ontario Multicultural Association. "Speaker Biography: Dr. Keith Lowe." 2007. July 29, 2007.[29]
  44. Asian Heritage Month. "Credits." 2007. July 29, 2007. [30]
  45. Cawley, Kevin. University of Notre Dame. Oriental. 2004. September 29 2006. [31]
  46. Hu, Alan. Model Minority. On Asian and Oriental. 1993. September 29 2006. [32]
  47. Bartleby.com The American Heritage® Book of English Usage. 2005. September 1 2006. [33]
  48. Friedman. Haladina. The Politically Correct Handbook. 1992. September 1 2006. [34]
  49. Think Baby Names. Origin and Meaning of the name Asia. 2006. September 9 2006. [35]
  50. Katz, Elizabeth. Virginia Law. Democracy in the Middle East. 2006. September 9 2006. [36]
  51. Lee, Sharon M. Population Reference Bureau. Asian Americans Diverse and Growing. 2006. September 10 2006. [37]
  52. http://www.statcan.ca/english/research/89-621-XIE/89-621-XIE2007003.pdf
  53. http://www.google.com/search?q=west+asian+site%3Astatcan.ca
  54. Russia in Global Affairs. Russia as a European Nation and Its Eurasian Mission. 2005. September 30 2006 [38]
  55. American Heritage Book of English Usage. Asian. 1996. September 29 2006. [39]
  56. American Heritage Book of English Usage. Asian. 1996. September 29 2006. [40]
  57. Census '90. Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States. 1990. September 1 2006. [41]
  58. Lee, Sandra S. Mountain, Joanna. Barbara, Koening A. The Meanings of Race in the New Genomics: Implications for Health Disparities Research. Yale University. 2001. October 26 2006. [42]

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