The Effects of Ignorance

According to Edward Said’s Orientalism theory, western culture promotes a mindset where aspects of Middle Eastern cultures are perceived as strange or inhumane. Specifically Europeans and Americans contribute to this trend, as they are largely disconnected from Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. Ironically, these are the areas of the word where knowledge and awareness of surroundings are said to be highest. Proper information about these cultures is scarce in America and Europe, which pushes the foreign culture even further away, contribution to Orientalist mindsets.

The consequences of such a mindset are clearly represented in daily events. The ignorance toward other cultures has disadvantages that negatively effect relations between countries. In situations of foreign affairs, militaries act in response to the unknown, to protect their country. Ignorance is the primary reason for a majority of negative relations between countries. America’s portrayal of Middle eastern countries in the media after the events of 9/11 are an example of this. For some, the sight of anyone representing similar Middle Eastern cultures triggers a sense of threat. This fear is reflected in the political debates regarding immigration laws over recent years in America. Ignorance of the culture causes some Americans to generalize everyone of those cultures, and exclude them from their definition of an ‘American’. This is just one of the many issues that can and do arise from Orientalist mindsets in modern day.

To move beyond this burden, it will be most beneficial to incorporate knowledge of foreign cultures into daily activities in America and Europe. As it is, there is little representation of these cultures in positions of power, which makes it difficult to spread information about it. If people and artifacts of Middle Eastern and Asian cultures are shown and represented as much as American and European national achievements in every day life and politics, the world will be a much more educated and peaceful place.

One thought on “The Effects of Ignorance

  1. LucaL

    This is really interesting. I think it can definitely be applied to Lunana as well. The villagers and their way of life is initially viewed as primitive, but they end up teaching Ugyen so much about their culture and how to survive in a location like that.


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