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Orientalism
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Posted 5/22/14

Cellory wrote:

Last I checked no Asianphile is going to want to tear anyone's asian ass in two. Seems to be a diametrically opposed attitude in fact.

And I did not say it was harmless, I said it was fairly harmless. As in relation to the real issues of racism and prejudice. You might not eat dog meat, but many Chinese do. Granted, it is still a small part of the population, but there you go. It may be a stereotype, but it is one based on some truth. Just as weeaboos have mistaken beliefs based on an Anime or Manga. It is not that Akihabara is not an Otaku paradise with girls dressed as Maids, it is just that it is not to the degree that many Manga or Anime portray it to be.

I guess I would just rather deal with the actual racist and prejudice attitudes than spend valuable time and energy that could be going to that cause worrying about Weeaboos. In a perfect world one could deal with both, but in the real world time and resources are limited, so it makes sense to focus, at least for now, on the bigger issues than the smaller ones.
In a functional world one could deal with both. After all, by talking about orientalism I am also talking about real issues of racism and prejudice. Resources are limited so is brain capacity, perhaps you should spend more of your valuable time and energy opening your mind.
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Posted 5/22/14

FlyinDumpling wrote:
In a functional world one could deal with both. After all, by talking about orientalism I am also talking about real issues of racism and prejudice. Resources are limited so is brain capacity, perhaps you should spend more of your valuable time and energy opening your mind.


I am not the one insulting others. Nor making assumptions on how open someone's mind is.

How is Orientalism talking about real issues of racism and prejudice? Orientalism, at least as far as the link you provided, would appear to largely deal with a combination of idealism, misconceptions, and stereotypes. As opposed to racism and prejudice. It would also seem to apply primarily to the Middle East and India as opposed to East Asia and Southeast Asia. If you want to expand the scope that is fine, I am just saying it does not seem to be the working definition as provided.

In any event, while stereotypes and misconceptions are kissing cousins to racism and prejudice, I would argue they are not the same thing. They may both be offensive to the listener, but a misconception is much more in line with a misunderstanding. Racism and prejudice are deep seated beliefs in how a group is, and is largely negative. Misconceptions and stereotypes can also go both both ways. A lot of people in the West have a belief that Asians are better in Math and Science than the West. And that is an incorrect, although largely positive, stereotype because it is not like Asians are any different than folks out West. It is simply a difference in both the education system and how parents view their children's education by emphasizing Math and Science over things like Music and the Arts and even free time.

Classifying Weeaboos and people who have an idealized (if rather incorrect and overblown) view of Asia, and racist and prejudiced people as being the same does not seem to be very tolerant in my opinion. Note that I am not saying they are not necessarily both offensive to the listener. However, the degree to which they represent something like racism and prejudice varies by a lot. We all make mistakes and we all have mistaken assumptions about things.

To me, Weeaboos and Asianphiles have a romanticized and distorted view of Japan and Asia but it is also a largely positive view. People with deep seated racist and prejudiced views of Asians, on the other hand, are just hateful people and are a far more insidious problem.
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Posted 5/23/14 , edited 5/23/14

Cellory wrote:

I am not the one insulting others. Nor making assumptions on how open someone's mind is.

How is Orientalism talking about real issues of racism and prejudice? Orientalism, at least as far as the link you provided, would appear to largely deal with a combination of idealism, misconceptions, and stereotypes. As opposed to racism and prejudice. It would also seem to apply primarily to the Middle East and India as opposed to East Asia and Southeast Asia. If you want to expand the scope that is fine, I am just saying it does not seem to be the working definition as provided.

In any event, while stereotypes and misconceptions are kissing cousins to racism and prejudice, I would argue they are not the same thing. They may both be offensive to the listener, but a misconception is much more in line with a misunderstanding. Racism and prejudice are deep seated beliefs in how a group is, and is largely negative. Misconceptions and stereotypes can also go both both ways. A lot of people in the West have a belief that Asians are better in Math and Science than the West. And that is an incorrect, although largely positive, stereotype because it is not like Asians are any different than folks out West. It is simply a difference in both the education system and how parents view their children's education by emphasizing Math and Science over things like Music and the Arts and even free time.

Classifying Weeaboos and people who have an idealized (if rather incorrect and overblown) view of Asia, and racist and prejudiced people as being the same does not seem to be very tolerant in my opinion. Note that I am not saying they are not necessarily both offensive to the listener. However, the degree to which they represent something like racism and prejudice varies by a lot. We all make mistakes and we all have mistaken assumptions about things.

To me, Weeaboos and Asianphiles have a romanticized and distorted view of Japan and Asia but it is also a largely positive view. People with deep seated racist and prejudiced views of Asians, on the other hand, are just hateful people and are a far more insidious problem.
Orientalism is the result of European imperialists who felt inspired by the cultures of the people they have colonized. In turn, they created multiple forms of art, writings, and paintings depicting what colonizers thought those people were portraying. As a result, what was created was a misrepresentation of the colonized, or orientalism as we know it today. Those who are susceptible to orientalism are people of color such as Native Americans, Black people, Asians etc. The reason why I mentioned asianphiles/weeaboo specifically is so that it would hit closer to home as reflected on the material on this site. The origins of orientalism is a combination of racial intolerance and cultural confiscation. Orientalism continues today when people use racial stereotypes while being disconnected from the real cultural context such as when cultures are exotified, or when certain ethnicities are sexualized to be made more enticing to the distorter. Traditions becomes warped and people's identities becomes erased. Pretty deep seated stuff considering European colonization started as early as the 15th century. Also,

What is unintentional racism?
What is a real racist?
Can you be racist?
Can I be racist?
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Posted 5/23/14
I'd say they are something like orientalists, but it's hard to tell.
Both are a bit hard to classify objectively. Racism is negative right? But depending on who you ask, racism might be justified, or seen as right or normal, or harmless, when in reality it isn't. Like a person not wanting to sit next to a person of another race because it makes them feel uncomfortable. This might seem really harmless and without malice to the person who is uncomfortable, but from a third party's viewpoint, isn't this racist?
Is orientalism the same way? Are people being harmed? Does wanting to sit next to a person because they are a different race classify as racism if the end result is the same? Can we separate the two by saying one is about exclusion and dislike, while the other is admiration and emulation?

It looks different to different people too. Avril Lavinge's Hello Kitty music video was called out for being racist and derogatory, but it what does it look like to Japan? Is it a harmless, and maybe even enjoyable homage to their culture? Who gets to decide whether it's racist or not? Do we see Japan's sometimes ignorant portrayals of other races as racist, or just uninformed?

Or in countries with an almost only one race, what can we call it when they glorify one person for being a different race? If China has this one black performer that they celebrate simply for the fact that he is black and can sing in chinese, even though he isn't more talented than native performers, what do you call that? What do you call it when they put together a show with all of their foreign looking performers, even when none of them are from the same place, or even remotely related except for the fact that they're all not chinese?
Is that racist? Even though it's positive?
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Posted 5/24/14
I feel like weaboos are accidentally racist in the fact that they pretty much disrespect the culture and country that they "love" so much. They don't mean to be racist, but the very weebish ones who speak in broken Japanese but don't actually bother to learn it, or the ones that wear cheaply made costume versions of traditional Japanese clothing, kind of are. They disrespect Japan by pretending to know fluent Japanese, which they "learn" from anime, or sometimes even make up some crap about them being half-Japanese, or whatever. I don't even care as much if they are just speaking the language badly or wearing cheap replicas of traditional wear, but I draw the line at pretending to be Japanese as I find that extremely racist and I think would badly offend any Japanese people. I know it would offend me. They don't mean to be racist, but just because they don't mean it in a bad way doesn't mean it's not offensive to someone of that race or that it's not bad. If they actually took the time to learn about the real culture of Japan and really show respect towards it then it wouldn't be racist, but, they don't, usually.
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Posted 5/24/14
Weeaboos like Japan for the wrong reasons while Japanophiles like Japan for they're culture overall. Weeaboos like/idolize Japan strictly for anime and manga because nothing else matters. That is just how I see it though.

Otakus are people that obsess over ANYTHING far as hobbies go. Anime and manga does not apply to Otakus only.
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Posted 6/11/14 , edited 6/11/14

Good discussion here, however I'd like to point out a few things, having spent a year studying Orientalism at uni.

Firstly, it's a highly broad, umbrella term which encompasses lots of different views and thoughts, which are often quite complex and difficult to interpret. Any attempt to simply narrow things down into "racism and that's that" isn't a correct approach to discussing Orientalism.

It's important to understand exactly why people are Orientalist and contextualize the word. Really, remove the 'orient' and you'll notice that this 'ism' is something almost every single person unwittingly practices when they picture, discuss or visit foreign continents and countries. For instance, something almost everybody ignores today is the much louder and currently more prevalent 'daughter' of Orientalism, Occidentalism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occidentalism
^How many times nowadays do you see people saying "Eastern ways are..." or "the Orient is..." compared with "the West"?

To not misuse this 'ism', you need to identify it not as an offensive label that you can use as a weapon in debate to highlight racist activities, but rather as a double-edged sword because we all can't help but harbour thoughts that are structurally identical to Orientalism, just often based on different places or collections of places.

Essentially, Orientalism was practised around "the Orient" (using it for convenience) long before these places were colonized. What it in its basic form consists of is really an attempt to understand and interpret alien places by comparing and contrasting them with our own native environment, whatever that may be. The only escape to committing Orientalist thought is to categorically refuse to recognize any differences in behaviour, norms, culture and attitudes when you're living somewhere else. It's to singularly avoid any type of generalization - yet this essentially means the same thing because a culture is not a monolithic, concrete object that can simply be given a characteristic - we can't help but generalize on a culture or people if we say something about them.

What Said could target in the nature of Orientalism was the fact that it went hand in hand with real colonization of 'the Orient' by Western states, and often complimented it as what you describe - cultural confiscation and judgement through which Westerners could justify their rule and objectify peoples from 'the Orient'. Racism, xenophobia and bigotry often accompanied historical Orientalism (particularly given that these were times when such views were widely held by the majority) yet by no means are they hand in hand, unless you wish to argue that any attempt to describe/portray a culture, people or aspects of them, you're being a racist, a xenophobe or a bigot.

A person saying "Connichiwa" to Asians in the street is not committing Orientalism, he's just making the ignorant mistake of assuming that they're Japanese.

However, your example from FMJ is interesting. By definition the entire movie - made by a Westerner peering into Vietnam and portraying it in picture - is an Orientalist artifact, so yes that would be a part of it, but here - as Cellory has been saying - that example has a very real basis in the historical use of prostitutes' services by American soldiers in Vietnam. Indeed, Orientalism usually finds a root in real events and experiences.

The fact is that when people see something they interpret it, and within any interpretation is judgement. When people hear "Italy" and pizza, mopeds, the mafia, Roman architecture, renaissance paintings or an imagining/memory of Italian countryside come into their head, they're doing the same thing and continuing it. See how flawed it is to construe it as mere racism, or to focus only on the West --> East version in this post-colonial, globalized world?
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Posted 6/11/14
It's stereotyping Asian culture basically. So a lot of it weighs on how you feel about that.

Personally, I don't mind it that much. There is nothing especially degrading about liking fried chicken, being good at math, or saying "ey" (Canadian) a lot. It's mostly tongue in cheek humor and isn't born from a place of hate.

Buuuuuuuuuuuut of course, stereotyping can definitely turn into racism very, very quickly.

Just be mindful and know your audience. If you are around an Asian kid that really hates it when you speak Engrish as a joke, then just let it go. It's not a big deal.
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Posted 6/11/14

BigDaddyDelish wrote:

It's stereotyping Asian culture basically. So a lot of it weighs on how you feel about that.

Personally, I don't mind it that much. There is nothing especially degrading about liking fried chicken, being good at math, or saying "ey" (Canadian) a lot. It's mostly tongue in cheek humor and isn't born from a place of hate.

Buuuuuuuuuuuut of course, stereotyping can definitely turn into racism very, very quickly.

Just be mindful and know your audience. If you are around an Asian kid that really hates it when you speak Engrish as a joke, then just let it go. It's not a big deal.


I agree with you, save that historical Orientalism was actually mainly concerned with North Africa, the Middle-East, and India. All of these were collected under the mantra of 'the Orient', yet for Europe they were far closer and more historically connected. In many Orientalist texts you can find biblical references, because Europeans liked to think of 'the Orient' as a timeless place which had remained torpid and not followed in industry and progress as had Western Europe, so in approaching 'Eastern' countries with a romantic outlook they enjoyed witnessing 'biblical' scenes in Egypt or pretend glimpses into the past in Morocco. AFAIK China and Japan were still too distant, 'virgin' (having not suffered penetration to the same degree as these nearer places) and alien to be 'recognized' or identified in such a way.

Orientalism as word has become quite historical itself, as one can no longer approach such a multitude of different sub-continents as a vast continuity. Really, what OP is talking about is ignorance, ignorance which is inevitable when we discuss distant places we don't know enough about. Thing is, even "Neo-Orientalism" still concerns the Middle East more than anything else, so I think OP is trying to appropriate the wrong word for the purpose of his diatribe.
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Posted 6/11/14
Illiteracy and erotica is the Asia in people's imaginations. It was based on real life events, a person watch a movie of an Asian prostitute who didn't know English, and a Vietnamese guy who knew Karate.

People stereotyping Americans as fat, stupid and lazy doesn't actually suppress them when their military bases is located in nearly every country in the world.
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Posted 6/12/14

You have entirely missed the point.
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