Orientalism Essay

3494 Words Jan 31st, 2015 14 Pages

James Berardino

Canon Formation 2B: Orientalism

Final Copy

Orientalism can be best defined as an ill-conceived notion that befalls the ignorant and misconstrues their perception of most, if not all, people belonging to a race or ethnic group that is different than their own. It does so in a manner that perpetuates the perception of individuals from different races, cultures or ethnicities as grotesque, frightening or somehow inferior in the eyes of individuals who have already completely assimilated themselves culturally into the pre-existing social strata of the region in which they inhabit. In other words, orientalism is a social “virus” that is often perpetuated, or “spread”, by fear of the unknown; a
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These subjects are key to learn about in order to become a more culturally aware and tolerant person, as well as to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past that could’ve been avoided otherwise. In addition to education, it is imperative that people of all colors and creeds from around the globe begin to adopt a more secular perspective of the world around them while staying true to themselves and their roots. Once such a perspective is adopted, one can obtain newfound concern and consideration for the everyday occurrences and tragedies across the globe and can officially call themselves a responsible citizen to both their global and local communities. One of the more prominent ways in which orientalism can misconstrue one’s perception of a different ethnic group is by immediately highlighting, or exaggerating, the differences in physical attributes and characteristics between oneself and a member of a different ethnic group, if any, and using those differences to generalize, or define, the entire ethnic group. These differences are then often embellished upon in an attempt to victimize and belittle people of different ethnicities or cultures. Such treatment can, often times, rob an entire race of their pride and sense of cultural identity, ultimately causing them to deny themselves and

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