Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Western culture has a Orientalist mindset and it is most clearly seen in film. It is very common to picture the enemy of a country as evil in movies. For example, Nazis during WWII or Russians during the Cold War. It is also common for Middle Eastern people, especially men, to be pictured as bad guys and this has only increased since 9/11. For example in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana finds himself accidentally arriving in India. A tribesman takes him into his village where the he learns of a Kali-worshiping group that has taken the village children as slaves at a palace near by. Upon arriving at the palace, the food served includes monkey brains, a snake with beetles inside, and many other foods that are supposed to be cultural but really aren’t real dishes eaten in India. The palace is also secretly hiding a cult that is still practicing inhumane rituals for the Hindu goddess Kali. This depiction of Indian culture and religion isn’t factual and warps people’s perception of the country and culture. Because Middle Eastern people are made to be the bad guy in films, this stereotype becomes ingrained into society both consciously and unconsciously. To overcome this Orientalist mindset, we need to not let our preconceived generalizations cloud our judgement when we learn about the Middle East or come in contact with Middle Eastern people. The assumption that they are all bad and terrorists is unrealistic as well as completely untrue. By having an open mindset, we can begin to diminish these stereotypes.