Orientalism was defined by Edward Said as “a political vision of reality whose structure promoted the difference between the familiar (Europe, West, ‘us’) and the strange (the Orient, the East, ‘them’).” This theory of differences in culture and lifestyle turned into differences in personality and lead to many grave stereotypes.
And the saddest part is that these are still around today. This has become extremely evident with the Coronavirus Pandemic, an outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China.
I am a firm believer that if people are surrounded by people, especially those in leadership, saying something, they will begin to think it is normal or okay. And this is a huge issue when President Donald Trump refuses to call the virus by it’s name, and instead calls it the “Chinese Virus.” Not only is this incorrect, but it is also giving everyone else the go ahead to blame China for this outbreak.
Throughout the country, and even the world, this has promoted many stereotypes of Orientalism and racism towards people of Asian heritage. This is a major issue because this type of hurtful behavior and discrimination cannot continue. It has been around for way too long and it is time for everyone to take a step back and stop blaming other people for issues that are very hard or impossible to control.
This new form of Orientalism brought on by the pandemic is putting our whole world a few steps back and not moving the people and humanity in a good direction. It is up to us to promote a different outlook on people from different places; one that is more inclusive and understanding.