I’m really sick of hearing the term “Asian.” Since it applies to 60% of the world’s population, it adds virtually no information. An Asian could be Chinese, Indian, Russian, Saudi, Filipino, Mongolian, Thai, Israeli…you get the idea. When people say “Asian,” though, they are usually referring to race, specifically the race characterized by dark, smooth hair and an inner eyelid fold. Since these traits are only possessed by a subset of Asians, what label best captures this distinction? “Oriental” means “eastern,” and thus suffers from the same vagueness as “Asian;” furthermore, who is eastern and who is western is entirely subjective. I therefore propose returning to the term “yellow.” Some find this term offensive, but why? Because nobody is actually yellow? Well, neither are “white” people white, nor “black” people black. Furthermore, recall that “black” was considered highly offensive not long ago.
Since there’s little biological basis for race, I think the concept ultimately needs to be done away with altogether. This clearly won’t happen for a long time, however, so why not avoid confusion in the interim?