Racial difference, The colony, and Orientalism

That the Orient is a social construction, something completely man-made is really interesting to me, although not necessarily new. For me, what I’ve been thinking about lately is what Said references at the end when he cites Raymond Williams–that by recognizing that certain things are socially constructed, hopefully people can progress in the “unlearning” of “the inherent dominative mode” (28). I realize that we were only able to read the Intro from Orientalism, and that perhaps Said addresses this in the rest of his text, but how do y’all think we can “unlearn” the modes in which we were taught? I think it’s a good starting point to know that what we’ve been taught as objective is actually socially constructed, but what I struggle with personally is moving beyond this–how does one move past simple awareness and begin to see things from a new perspective if he/she has seen a certain subject from a specific view point for so long? How does one throw off the colonization of language?

Also, I’m not quite sure how to connect this thought with the previous thought, but I think the idea of intersectionality is really interesting–that one cannot talk about ethnicity without addressing gender and sexuality is something I find to be very true. What do y’all think of this and how do you think intersectionality affects how we read? Do people ever rank the importance/relevance of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, religion, ability or other examples of diversity when they are reading? How does our (mis)understanding of one of these aspects of identity affect how we understand a person as an individual? How does it affect our understanding of a group of people?

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