Posted by: asmith60 | April 18, 2011

4/18/11

Before I suggest possible solutions to the problem of Orietalism, I would like to first define my opinion of a “solved” situation. It is unrealistic to hope for a solution that eradicates all stereotyping between societies. As I said in a previous blog post, stereotyping is, to some degree, part of the human condition. By saying that I mean that all humans at some level are going to stereotype just because they are human. So a solution to this situation would entail reducing the amount of stereotyping and giving people a more educated view of the world.

The first step to solving this situation is to better inform the people. I believe that the cause of such widespread Orientalism is irrational fear. It is reasonable that people are slow to accept another society that is different from their own. The problem is rather than learning about this different society, many people choose to believe whatever they hear and spread it. This fear is has a virus-like effect. The more people fear Middle Easterners, the more likely they are to tell others. The solution is to stop encouraging the fear and start better educating the masses. This would require cooperation from the mainstream media. If I had to guess, I would say that most people derive their opinion of Islamic people based off of what they hear by word of mouth and what they see on the news. I believe it would make a huge difference if the news would just do a 180 and start portraying people from the Middle East as our friends.

Again, I don’t think Orientalism can ever be truly done away with. However, I do believe that it can be reduced to a minor societal problem as opposed to a widespread, insurmountable obstacle.

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Responses

  1. Hey man like the topic for sure, especially that you’ve narrowed it down to Iran and United States. I think that’ll be easier to research than the whole middle east cause as we’ve discovered they’ve each got their unique culture. I think that steortyping serves a purpose in society to a degree, but when it becomes extreme and no exceptions are allowed that’s when it becomes a problem. For example, in matters of national security I think its probably a good idea to be a little paranoid and assume that a nuclear program leads to nuclear weapons. But from an every day functioning of society learning about cultures and attempting to step into their shoes and see life from their perspective a bit is definitely a necessary thing in order to break down any of these walls. And when it can begun to be accomplished at an individual level there begins to be hope on a national level. Good luck w/ the researching.

  2. I also like your topic (not just becuase that mine is also Orientalism…). I agree that education is key to success in this topic, and I firmly believe that it has to start early. You would be disgusted by some of the things I have been reading and by how many powerful people are targeting children to think a certain way. However, a book called Rethinking Popular Culture and Media had a lot of good ideas in it to promote education about and respect for other cultures. It’s mainly about early education, so it may not be completely relevant for your topic. One thing the book keeps discussing is the term “critical media literacy.” It may be beneficial to you to look into it.


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