Orientalism

I found it interesting to research orientalism because it isn’t the same as how most people define racism. When thinking of racism, most people associate hate with it. But orientalism is sort of the opposite of that. Orientalism is more of badly placed and odd admiration. It depicts Arab and Asian culture as exotic, yet still pegs them as the “other”.

In my various classes, we have had multiple units on racism towards African Americans. It has been covered in history classes, English classes, and even biology classes. But my classes have never talked about racism toward any other group of people. It does make sense to focus on racism towards African Americans because of the terrible history of slavery and Jim Crow laws in the U.S. But I think that we need to expand the conversation about racism toward any group. Racism towards Muslims increased after 9/11, but I have never had any discussions about that. And now with COVID-19, there is an increasing amount of racism towards Asians, yet there haven’t been any discussions about it. I can see how people could dismiss orientalism as being nice or being fond of a different culture. Because people usually associate racism with hate, and orientalism is sort of the opposite, many people might write it off. Despite this, orientalism is still racist, just in a different way.

Before reading GOST and doing my own research about orientalism, I didn’t know much about it. After doing research, I realize that orientalism is more common than I though, but I just didn’t notice it before.

2 thoughts on “Orientalism

  1. Lily D

    This is a good explanation. I was a little confused with the term because most of the time people associate orientalism with racism towards eastern culture.

    Like

  2. Karim A.

    This reminds me of the conversations we had at the beginning of the year about mutual recognition, and many were confused about how labeling people as the “other” could possibly be harmful. I think orientalism is a good example of how that can happen!

    Like

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