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June 30, 2008


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The term "oriental" is NOT offensive. It's a word. It's JUST a word. It has a meaning, but stripped OF that meaning it has no bearing what. so. ever.

Think about it.


Say what you will about the false diagnose, that's intolerable; but is it really that rephrensible that she refers people living in Asia as "orientals?"

Is it really that offensive? What's the big idea REALLY?

It's as if you would call a black person a "black person." Suddenly that's wrong, immoral, a racial slur to conform and divide. No, today the term is "African-African" - as if that isn't equally as divisive.

And even if you don't live in AMERICA, at which sake the term shouldn't even be applicable, people still like to be called "African-American," because that's the "politically correct" term. What a crock of poo.

In fact, I'd say this whole "race" thing is all just a crock of poo. Why? Because it doesn't make ANY SENSE.

Take people living in Europe - countries like Russia and Sweden is considered "white" countries, while Spain and Italy is not. At which point you stop yourself to ask why, and the answer is "because that's how society deems them to be."

Sigh, this reminds me of the time when my son was first born and the nurse referred to him as a half breed. My husband is Japanese and I'm Caucasian. Anyhow I was so shocked by the comment I didn't know what to say.

The ONLY thing I wear my crocs for is to clean out the barn!
We have adopted from China and I cant tell you how ticked it makes me when I hear... "wow her english is so good!" Ya think?! She has been here since she was a year old! People can be so ignorant!

Whoa, I really had no idea that "oriental" had a negative meaning! But wouldn't "Asian" include Russia, the 'Stans, India, etc.?

Good luck on the new midwife. I encourage you to have a home birth. While I didn't totally decide until about 32 weeks, I had my twins at home and it was wonderful. Don't let the doctors intimidate you with scary stories.

Ugg - I don't blame you for being wary...hope you find someone normal soon...

BTW - I read your link and THANK YOU. I hate crocs with the burning intensity of a thousand suns.

I really hope you find the midwife you deserve. Ick. I am almost 29 weeks and just decided, like, yesterday to switch to a midwife assisted homebirth. I love the act of changing one's mind. It's freeing.

I wish you the best!

I haven't been paying attention since I've been up to my ears in newborn lately - but I wanted to let you know that my insurance wouldn't let me change providers after my 28th week. That's how I ended up stuck with the asshole who nearly ruined my VBAC. People wondered why I would stay with a doctor who ultimately tortured me into a 38 hour labor and ALMOST cut me open again.... but I didn't want to stay with him at all. Stupid insurance just wouldn't let me out of that situation because I didn't figure out that he was an anti-VBAC dickhead before the 3rd trimester started.

I don't know if you already have that part figured out, but if not you might want to check with your insurance company on their "policies."

First of all, I must give you props for, hands down, one of the best descriptions I've ever read: "a health professional who's worth her weight in cervical mucus"


Secondly, what a freakin' moron. As someone with a health resume that makes the average OB/GYN retreat into her shell, I can relate. Use her until your 28 week appt and then find a new one.

LOL well I guess Oriental would be better than being called Whoreiental right?

In regards to your pee post below, my daughter started potty training (her own choice!) at 14 months old. She also had dry diapers during nap and at night. Some people thought it was crazy for her to be able to train so young, but she did.

I actually had to grab a video as proof (don't worry its 100% work safe)



that's awesome, but only in a time-warp, Charlie Chan sort of way. You can't really come back by caller her Occidental and have the same impact. I recommend pollack, dago, or kraut.

That's just as ignorant as people who refer to any Hispanic as a Mexican.

THAT is just brutal. I can't believe it.

Run! Run! Far. far away. I had someone catching my baby who I did not like, and it really does not enhance the whole birthing experience. The chick on the other end of my vagina forgot to mention that I was pushing wrong, and it was not until I asked how to push correctly that the baby came out. Good thing I asked, or I would still be pushing.

Good Lord.

And she's still qualified to practice?

Sorry you had to experience that. Unfortunately, times haven't changed that much for many people.

Once again I'm left,amazed at the fact that it seems to me there is an astonishingly high number of people in health care with NO people skills. Why is it that so few are schooled in 'bed side manner' or at least common manners? Yeesh. Perhaps you (in all your gobs and gobs of free time between manicures and eating bon bons) could write her a letter in an attempt to educate her about some of the issues you've been dealing with while under her care (or lack there of.) If nothing else, your bad experience could be useful to make her a better midwife, or at least give you a place to put your angst and use it in a constructive way. Or perhaps just print off a few copies of recent blog posts accompanied with your request to have your records transferred.
Hang in there mama!

Dontcha just feel sometimes that you've been sucked into some time warp vortex? Last week a vice president at my company told me to go talk to that Oriental guy who works next to the colored kid. WTF.

Duh! She's dealing with pregnant hormonal women, too? Not a good look - smiles!

My husband is 1/2 Filipino, 1/2 white. He was raised in the Philippenes so he has an accent. A lot of people assume he's Mexican, because he doesn't look Asian. On the other hand, his Filipino friends were shocked to hear that I can "cook Asian."

Our 2 sons are pale with light eyes, and our daughter is dark like us. I'm about 1/4 Native American, so we were pretty surprised ourselves that the boys are so light. A lot of strangers ask us if the boys are ours, and some friends look at me with their eyebrows raised. Like they're saying, "Mmm-hmm. You may have fooled him, but we know what you did."

It's so frustrating that people define you by the color of your skin.

By the way, my husband calls himself white. Is it just me or should he be proud of his heritage?


My 100% Chinese mother uses the word "Oriental" too. It is used pretty much as an outdated word for East Asian. I don't find the word "Oriental" to be offensive or derogatory, just outdated. Why do we have terms differentiating between "rugs" and people for Asians but not for other races and ethnicities anyway?

Anyway, I'm 100% Chinese yet I have been asked if I am 100% white, Indian, and Brazilian.

I'm 1/2 Japanese 1/2 Mexican... I like to call myself Japsican... I tend to cringe when I hear the word Oriental when describing people... I think I've really only used it when talking about rugs... Most other things I even use Asian... No idea why... I just don't think I've cared for the word Oriental itself...

Sorry she's such a PITA... I hope you find someone totally cool when you're done with her...

My parents are from the "Oriental" generation. They are constantly asking me "What are we supposed to call them again?"


At least their intentions are good.

Joey: I can understand Asian vs. Oriental being a non-issue when you are, well, in Asia and so keyed into the specific nationality.

When I moved overseas to the UK, I lost one ethnic identity, but gained another. I'm a typical US mutt, enough Native American to check that box when in US. Was very startled to be filling out paperwork here and not have the option.Their minority counting system includes various Asian options, various African-(fill in the blank) options, all based on former Commonwealth countries. Irish are a minority that get a box, but not Welsch or Scots. And in one place, they were defining what kind of white you are (mediterranean, northern)

It's not that I expected them to be counting Native Americans, just that I briefly didn't know what to put, because I don't think of myself as 'just white', I'm white and_____________.

I went with the Irish option, I'm that too.

In the Ft Lauderdale airport last month, two giggly women at the rental car counter asked me if I was near the Oriental baby who wouldn't stop crying.

"Asian," I said.


"Asian. I'm sure you don't mean anything buy it but Oriental is derogatory."

Although I was smiling you could tell they were mortified - more so that I called them out on it. Etiquette Bitch strikes again.

And is happy to give that midwife a piece of her mind for you about how you behave towards patients who, really, should be more to you than clients. Argh. People!

What the hell? Doesn't she know that Oriental now refers to rugs, not people? Jeez. Don't walk, RUN, away from her.
I wish you luck finding another midwife.

That said, I do know the difference between Oriental and Asian. One refers to an express train. The other to a billion-plus humans.

I'm not always aware of what the correct terminology is, or what is offensive, and I do goof up.

However, when I do goof up, I try to at least apologize. And most often, that's enough for the offendee to graciously extend...uh...grace...and the whole event becomes a learning moment.

However, I will not apologize for my Crocs. They are the only shoes that keep my Morton's Neuroma in check. Love me; love my lime green shoes. ;-) xxoo

Actually, mentally retarded is okay when it's not an adjective. So, technically it's person with mental retardation -- not mentally retarded person.

Just like it's child with autism, not autistic child.

And I'm just a fan of the generally woman centered midwife model of care. I know that there are great OBs out there, but I'm looking for a midwife for now. My first daughter was with an OB and while she was okay, the difference between her and my midwife was HUGE.

Geez. I'm not sure how you didn't just grab your panties and walk on out of there. She is a piece of work.

Sometimes I think it takes that last straw of ignorance for us to act. I knew I needed to switch pediatricians, but it wasn't until he actually started talking to me about my "boobs" that I knew it was way past time. Medical terminology indeed.

as far as I know handicapped is a broad term, but mentally retarded is still used to describe people who have an IQ below 70, among other reasons, yeah it's not socially acceptable to run around calling people names and labels should be given by mental health professionals....anywho-did she not read your chart? THAT is the bigger question. Every medical record(re:babies) I have ever filled out asked about my heritage, if I was of any ethnic backgrounds whatsoever-just so they can push that quad screen on ya. Is that just in MN? Oh, and since small children wear crocs, isn't it about time the adults stop altogether?
Best of luck and you could refuse the one hour glucose test, why spend more time there than necessary? hee hee

If you want to ask anything about home birth, email me. I had my first son via natural birth in the hospital, and my second at home in my very own bathtub with a midwife. I would NEVER go back to the hospital (unless there were complications, obviously, I'm not crazy, and home birth is not crazy even if it isn't for everyone). I will tell you all the wonderful gory details if you want to know anything.

While my OB has always been on his best behavior with me, he did tell my neighbor that "gravity had not been kind to her". Eck. And she is in AMAZING shape!

You are so right--you should be able to trust your midwife. Definitely find another one---do not settle until you find someone you click with--(medically and personally).

My first child was a c-section, and I chose to have my second at home (waterbirth) with a midwife. The woman I chose was a Certified Nurse Midwife--she had been a labor and delivery nurse prior to getting a PhD in something related to midwifery.

My experience was awesome. She was able to read my needs (throughout the pregnancy), assuaging my ridiculous constant fears over every little thing.

I am telling you all this (not to brag about my good experience) so that you know you can and will find someone you respect and trust.

I visited with quite a few that I did not like (and I left crying from one that I despised).

Hang in there; trust your instincts. :)

I would have reached my limit long ago. If patience is a virtue, well, welcome to sainthood! I'd kick this midwench to da curb.

Mentally retarded (MR) is the approved medical terminology- oriental however-eeek.

Oh man... Wow. Yeah, I think you should definitely cross her off YOUR list!
:) Becky

Holy frick...

Ok, so even MY very blue-collar, mechanic husband who is very cracker bred white knows that oriental is WRONG....he corrected his mother the other day, "Mom, that's a rug. ASIAN, that's the person...." Of course, the ... was not particularly PC, but seriously, if HE can get it, this midwife DEFINITELY should have gotten it, like 20 years ago.

I'm sorry.

I'd second Angela's recommendation of Dr. Vanessa Biggs, associated with Piedmont Hospital. While I'm not seeing her for my current pregnancy, she was my GYN before I changed insurances, and she was GREAT!! I've had lots of GYN issues, and she is wonderful to work with, understanding, believes in keeping patients INFORMED and part of the decision making process, and managed to put me at ease when medical conditions were freaking me out. If insurance covers her practice, and it's not too inconvenient for you, I would check her out.

My dearest bestest friend in the world is 1/2 Chinese and 1/2 Caucasian.

Her extended In-law family said, upon meeting her, "Wow! Your English is so good!"


Good luck finding a new HC Pro. Operative word being "Pro"

Newish reader and curious... why are you insisting on seeing a midwife and not a doctor?

What the heck? That's all, just what the heck? Good luck finding someone new.

I don't get how she ignored your specific use of the term Asain to describe yourself. I mean, I'm so uneducated on what terms are appropriate, mainly b/c I live in Crackerville, but I def keep tabs on how a person refers to him/herself.

Also, how does this midwife not recognize that pregnant women tend to be sensetive and not bone up on her manners. "Crossed your name off the list." is at best very undiplomatic. No apology? YUCK YUCK YUCK!

i had a home birth here in new orleans, and i would do it ten more times. it was a great experience...i'm also terrified of hospitals. but i was just looking at a long list of states where it is illegal for a midwife to attend a home birth. i remember states like iowa (and others where the medical industrial complex reigns) on there, but i think i also saw georgia on the list. aren't you in atlanta? anyway, it might not be an option - just a heads up.

can I cheer you on for a home birth midwife? I wish I could have a home birth but my clotting disorder means I have to be at the hospital. This way I can live vicariously through you.

the term oriental makes me think of top ramen and fried noodles. I'm klassy

Joey from the Phillippines-- I am not an Asian (IANAA? Hehe) but I had a serious long-term relationship with a filipino man a couple of years before I met my husband, and so I do know what you're talking about in terms of people in the Philippines using the term. Over here in the U.S., "oriental" is not really considered to be a slur so much as an inappropriate, outdated term. Kind of like saying "Colored people" to refer to African-Americans. It's not usually meant as an insult; it's just not PC and not what people prefer to be called.

I think the reason the term is considered insulting here is because it recalls a time when there was a lot of discrimination against Asian people and misunderstanding of Asian cultures (not that there ISN'T still, but it used to be worse. Like, internment camps worse). Also, Oriental defines things from a European perspective; it essentially means "From East of us." I think non-European people are generally tired of being defined from a European perspective.

PS. Mulan is totally hot.

Orientals, Orischmentals.

She wears CROCS?

Get the fuck outta dodge, sistah.

(And jiblets? Made me pee.)

I'm a pretty regular reader of yours and have been for a few months now...more of a blogstalker since I haven't posted ... until now. First, being Asian myself, I TOTALLY FEEL YOU here. I've been telling people for years (including my fabulous in-laws) that you don't refer to people as oriental as the term should only be used for food and rugs...just like you said! Ha. Second, this post cracked me up b/c my totally un-PC husband loves to point out that I look like Mulan [eyes rolling]... So yay. Props. great post.

I guess I am one of those that has grown up never having heard of an Asian person being referred to as Oriental! Horrid! I hope you find someone new quickly!

Is there a higher-up you can complain to? I would also suggest you let your insurance company know about her incompetence.

And stop mocking my orange crocs, lady.

Wow, I would expect a medical professional to be up on the correct PC jargon. Generational I get, but if you're in a customer service field... and yes, medical is customer service.
Also, I delivered with an OB, since I'm high risk, and I don't think its that hard to find a good one. Good ones leave returning mama's alone since they know what they're doing anyway.

I seriously just explained the usage of Asian vs. Oriental to my 6yo. Her best friend is Asian and so is another little girl in her class. She just thought everyone with Asian features was from China, so I had to show her a map and point out all the different countries they could have ancestors from. The next day she asked and couldn't wait to get home and find the countries that parts of her friends' family had originated from.

I feel at ease that she won't grow up like your midwife now!

hey.. my dad's an OB in Atlanta and very connected...i'm sure he can help you if you are looking for someone new. let me know :)

Wow that is terrible I can't believe anyone still uses that term. I've had terrible problems with pregnancy health care providers and I am convinced that I could do better on my own than with some of these yahoos. This is my first pregnancy and my first doctor actually yelled at me for being one week late taking a test when I was never informed I had a time limit and it turned out I could take the test anytime within a one month period, she was bitch (sorry for the language but yelling at a pregnant woman hello). Anyway, I'm finally happy with a midwife but it took some time because there are a lot of crap professionals out there delivering babies.


Yes, that would be the third strike. You're obviously not comfortable with her, and I would never use a doctor that I didn't like.

Hope you find someone compatible soon!

wow. I agree with you on the craziness of this. I know I would want someone that I completely trust and feel comfortable with. I don't know your current midwife, and yet I don't feel comfortable with her! And maybe it's my age but I have never heard anyone refer to a person as "oriental." I didn't even know people did that (ok so I'm only 21. I know I just managed to tell everyone that through that statement). I know that it bothers me when people call one of my best friends by the wrong ethnicity (especially when they don't bother too ask- she's Korean). We both had to laugh the one day someone asked her if she was Hispanic (she doesn't look Hispanic at all). Her reply: "No, I'm Korean," except she said it in Korean! They looked confused and walked off. STupid stupid people.

Oh.. I am sorry you are having such a time finding someone GOOD. She sounds horrid.
And then the crocs.. please. ick.

Oh yeah, and the REASON I left the first place last time was similar -- homophobic ignorance from the intake nurse practitioner.

Part of what I liked about Atlanta OB GYN was that after reviewing my chart, Wendy's first question to me was, "Where's Jill?"

I am completely unable to imagine Wendy or Judith, or Dr Vanoyan, using the term "Oriental" in reference to anything other than a rug.

Thanks for clarifying that. Next time I'll have to remember that. Probably it's not so much of an issue over here since we don't use Asian--or Oriental--that much since we're all Asians anyway. :) We pretty much say Chinese, or Japanese, or Korean or whatever.

Anyway, sorry can't help you with your midwife problem since I'm not from there.

And I'll weigh in with my love for my midwife-MD joint practice, Atlanta OB GYN Associates (http://atlobgyn.com/), also associated with Piedmont Hospital. I suspect that's not superconvenient for you, but it is easy to get to from the 75-85 connector.

The midwives are Judith & Wendy; ultimately (c-s after 35 hours) Noah was delivered by Dr Vanoyan with Judith assisting. But I'm with the midwives again for #2.

Also, last time I was pregnant, they were the second practice I went to after having a crap ass experience with the first. I knew I'd made the right decision with them within 1 minute of meeting Wendy.

OMG!!! De-lurking to say I don't even know her and I hate her. Oriental??? Honestly? Sigh.

(Oh, and the Crocs things- they are jibbits)

Just delurking to say, I HEAR YA on the "Oriental" thing. I develop a nervous tick every time I hear it used incorrectly.

Hope you can kick this midwife to the curb ASAP and find someone more knowledgeable and trustworthy!

Love your blog, by the way!

I'm so sorry that you're having trouble with your midwife. That absolutely sucks. I know an amazing midwife here, but she's moving to Tennessee. I delivered my first little one at Piedmont with Dr. Vanessa Biggs. She's amazing. I couldn't have been happier with her. Very low intervention. She's with Atlanta Women's OB-GYN. I've only really seen her though, none of the others in the practice. Didn't so much like the baby nurses at Piedmont though. Maybe they were just so anal because I was a first time mom. Good Luck!

Someone told me YEARS ago - Oriental refers to objects, Asian refers to people. It's stuck with me ever since.

I hate when poeple use the term "Orientals" - I makes me think of a whole bunch of Chiense dudes, in their traditional Mandarian garb...sitting around eating Ramen noodles. uGH...

ASIAN people, ASIAN!

Being of 100% Chinese descent and married to a Filipino guy and living in the Philippines, I never knew that being labeled Oriental is a slur over there. I've always been proud of my roots. I know Oriental means someone from the "Orient" or from the East, or am I sadly mistaken? The Philippines have been proudly calling itself the "Pearl of the Orient". Ouch!

You're back in the ole ATL, right? Not sure if you've checked out OB/GYN of Atlanta (http://www.obgynofatlanta.com/). Their nurse midwife team was AWESOME when I had peanut. It's a bit of a hike to get up there, but I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED my experience there.
Good luck!

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