Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I've only learned in the past year or so that the word "Oriental" is now considered derogatory. (It wasn't when I was a kid, to the extent that the Chinese family of a friend of mine had an "Oriental Market" -- their term.)

I say this to preface a problem I'm encountering with a memoir I wrote a few years ago, but still hope to sell. My parents collected what we called "Oriental rugs," which came from all over Asia from Turkey and Bessarabia to Persia (not Iran, because they collected antiques) and Azerbaijan to Samarkand and China.

I have a problem calling them Asian rugs, when we didn't call them that at the time...and I also have a problem with causing offense when no offense is intended. So the question is: is the problem with the term Oriental confined to its use in describing people, or does it apply to objects too?

For people, I use the ethnicity of origin or ancestry.

Thanks for any insight you can give me.


Siri Kirpal