Sunday, May 6, 2018


Middle Eastern and Asian culture, much like other cultures that we aren't naturally exposed to, are taught to us in the most basic and stereotypical ways through the media and brief interactions that we might have. Seldom do we immerse ourselves in the lifestyles and cultures of people different than us, so we take the easy information, rather than seeking legitimate and intelligent information. Edward Said says this in his description of the term Orientalism. Orientalism is Western Cultures prejudice interpretation of the East. 

One of the many ways that we find ourselves educated on Asian and Middle Eastern cultures are through movies. A large part of the problem is that as people without exposure to real Eastern culture, and especially young people, movies that offer some sort of an explanation through entertainment often leave a deeper message. So when a young person is watching Aladdin, for example, it becomes more than just entertainment because it's often their only exposure, and they minds are so impressionable. By creating a place in Aladdin or in other movies like Mulan or Doctor Strange that is mystical, and in some cases barbaric, it becomes the only image that people have for the Eastern world at all.

What's even worse, is that this is not something as Westerners that we do exclusively to people who are halfway around the world. We are exposed to a limited and unfair interpretations of the culture and lives of different people who live in our country, states, and even communities. Our worlds are limited by the labels that we have associated with us because of our physical characteristics. These limitations then prevent us from reaching out and exploring the differences between us all, and keep us bound to the appearances that people can see from the outside. It's something that we do not do just along Western and Eastern culture, but race, class, gender, sexuality, and religion in our own neighborhoods.

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