Edward Said - Compare and Contrast

Topics: Culture, Western world, Western culture Pages: 7 (1109 words) Published: October 20, 2013
page 1

“Discuss the role Cultural Exchange plays in the formation of an individuals identity”

Research Paper by:
Nicole Y. Herma

Compare and Contrast:

This paper will discuss how Eastern civilization has affected the Western culture and how they

differ in society. Also discussed will be how orientalism, by Edward Said, has played a role in

cultural studies in which he has challenged the idea of orientalism. Discuss the future of

eastern and western societies and where the American culture stands today. Also discussions on

how this effects our individual identity and Freedom.


With the start of European colonization, the Europeans encounter the “less inferior”

developed countries of the East. It was found that their civilization and culture was very exotic

which established the science of orientalism. The Orient is a vast region, one that spreads across

a multitude of cultures and countries. It includes most of Asia as well as the Middle East. The

culture of the Orient has not been and is not inferior to ours, they are not incapable of

developing an economic base for their culture. It has been noted that India has more gifted

students than we have students. There are individual cultures throughout the Orient which

are re-surging and no longer depend on western direction and leadership, they simply are no

longer going to listen. Said writes that the implications of the fabrication of how Western society

is developed. This implication, as suggested is more rational, flexible, and superior than the rest

of less “inferior” countries..[2]

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The Native Americans have been brought to their knees. Our colonization of this country

destroyed the indigenous peoples and resulted in a cultural change of enormous

proportions. America’s influence around the world is fading and becoming more expensive to

direct. We cannot expect the same results as Manifest Destiny in eastern civilization to become a

part of our control. How much more can we spend on an army? Taxes are going up and our

middle-class in non existent. You will reap what you have sewn; this is a staple quote that brings

to mind how the Individual identity has slowly been divided.

The oriental countries and culture quite possibly is poised to certainly dominate certain

areas in the world and we could be brought to our economic demise. The separation of the

western and eastern societies is indeed a different breed. Our culture in modern day society is

based on a melting pot of different cultures and individualism. The Orient has Kurds, Muslims,

Hindu, not only are they vastly separated in religion, their culture is completely different from

country to country. Taking over the eastern civilization with western leaders can no longer be

effective. For example, the King of Saudi Arabia gave $10.7bn, and earmarked more funds for

education and social welfare amid popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world. The U.S. is

not able to allocate such an allowance to our citizens, why? America could be in danger of

loosing it’s economic, cultural, and individual power amongst eastern civilizations.

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Growing up and finding your identity in America is about prestige and money. In the

oriental societies, it’s about religion and culture. The vast differences no longer stand up in

the western societies as being superior, we simply do not have the power or the people.

India has turned their country around to take most of our jobs that can be outsourced over the


Racism to a lot of people, and also to me, means when you step back and really

look at this view in books, art, and films; therefore, as a white person, you can become

immune. Said shows all of us how wrong we are to fictionalize “entire” groups of people, while

also presenting this fiction as some sort of reality....
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