SHOP FROM EAST & SOUTHEAST ASIAN ARTISTS

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WHY SHOULDN'T YOU CALL US 'ORIENTAL'?

“In a sense the limitations of Orientalism ... follow upon disregarding, essentializing, denuding the humanity of another culture, people, or geographical region.”


Edward W. Said, Orientalism

The word 'oriental' is defined as "of, relating to, or coming from Asia, especially Eastern Asia"

(Merriam-Webster).

The word today, is too commonly seen in popular culture and the media as a sweeping generalisation of East and Southeast Asia. 

It is a lazy attempt to generalise a region made up of many different countries and cultures. The word contains many implications of fetishisation; of cultures that were previously ridiculed, now seen as exotic and trendy.

"In short, Orientalism is a Western idea projected onto Eastern culture and in turn Oriental is a Eurocentric word projected onto people of Eastern Heritage."

Alice King, Resonate

What can you say instead?

Be genuine in wanting to learn more about our cultures rather than accept the general 'oriental'.

Be specific! Figure out where in particular you are talking about.

Is it Vietnam, Korea, or Japan?

It's okay if you didn't know. Now you do! We are all unlearning and relearning.