Orientalism

After watching Michael’s presentation on Orientalism yesterday, I was very intrigued by learning that the definition of Orientalism is viewing something as different and/or believing that others should help change the view of something, but feel they do not have to help themselves.

An example that was mentioned in class yesterday was global warming. Big companies have a significant impact on the environment, but keep telling the general public that we need to change the ways they live, when they are doing nothing themselves to change the ways they operate. I did not think the explosion that happened at the refinery last year until someone mentioned in class yesterday that the heading for it was something along the lines of “Thankful that nobody died.” Yes, it is a very good thing that no lives were lost during this explosion, but it was not mentioned that how bad this explosion was for the environment.

This made me think of Orientalism between different races, and how many people in society view other races differently, and how other races have practices that other races find strange. When I first looked at the cover of Rasselas, I saw that it was written by Samuel Johnson, and it made me think if this was going to be a personal attack on another race. I found out that is was not, but it was very rare for others from Britain to write about other races, especially since they really had no idea what other races practice. After Michael’s presentation yesterday, it made me realize that what I was worried about was Orientalism.

What I am getting at is races (especially ours) and especially back in the 18th century, always felt that other races should change to be like them. An example of this would be the Europeans coming to Canada and wanting to Christianize the Indigenous people that lived there because they thought their practice was savage. The Europeans never thought that maybe since we have come to their home, maybe we should change to live like them, or come together and teach each other about our ways. So, this made me realize how much Orientalism affects us every day.

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