Europeans used the term “Orient” to describe the peoples and the places of Asia and the Middle East. Europeans believed that due to their better understanding of the history of a culture, and their superior culture, they needed to dominate other cultures in order to improve them. While it was widely accepted prior to the nineteenth century, the term now has created tons of criticism. The effects of Orientalism on American society created foundation for conversations between American people and Asian people. Some researchers say that orientalism is over, but its effects on society sat that the fact it is far from over. The debate over Orientalism continues in the United States, especially after the events of 9/11. According to researchers, “in many ways it has just begun”.
Right now, I think Orientalism will be shown a lot more due to Covid-19. I mean we already have our president calling it the “Chinese virus.”
In my life, I have seen many different occasions of Orientalism. Sasha Baron Cohen’s 2012 film The Dictator portrays the Middle East in a racist and offensive way that may be taken seriously. A scene that really brought me there shows The Dictator giving a speech to the citizens of Wadiya, where the crowd cheers in response to his command that they will not stop their building of nuclear weapons. He then continues his speech by declaring that the nuclear program is peaceful, but instantly bursts into laughter knowing that what he just stated is false. This implies to the American belief that Iran was constructing weapons of mass destruction. I’d say Orientalism is still alive.
One thought on “It’s Still Here”
As I’ve mentioned in a few other comments, a film like The Dictator is supposed to be satire, but as we know, if you do not provide alternative representations to show they the hyperbolic stereotypes you employ are not true, you are not changing much.