Orientalism: “Normal” and the “Other”

While I try to keep up on social issues, especially those that greatly affect citizens in the United States, this is my first time putting extensive thought into orientalism and its effects on our perceptions of the world. Having a general understanding of orientalism, which I hope to deepen and expand, I feel that it stems from similar ideologies that many social issues stem from; the idea that one group of people is “normal” while the rest of the population is considered “other.”

With orientalism, a divide as been created between what people consider”Eastern” and “Western.” Throughout Gandhi, this classification is used to separate characters and governments, and is often used as an explanation or excuse for unjust treatment towards those who are part of the “other.” At one point in the film, a character says, “We westerners have a weakness for these spiritually-inclined men from India.” In this quote alone, the audience is, again, presented with the idea that there is an “us” and a “them.” It removes the agency of those he is referring to and implies that those who take part in unfamiliar religions are more of an “exotic” spectacle than anything else.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s