AAS1 - Under the Mask Liyuan Gao(lg342 Under the Mask...

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Under the Mask Liyuan Gao (lg342) Under the Mask People often argue that at the core of any civilization, the principal of self-preservation in the name of the “greater good” should override the need to protect the rights of its constituents if needed. This argument in itself isn’t terribly irrational if we contend that civilization plays an essential part in the day to day lives of the “greater good”. However when the scope of “self- preservation” is so broad and ambiguous that anything offending the common masses can be grouped in the list labeled A Danger to Society , then we have a problem. Furthermore, when these kinds of rationalization can be made by the governing structure with respect to parts of its own constituency or by an economically or militarily dominant society with respect to another, then the results can be and historically are disastrous. For centuries, the western world seemed almost like a school boy; bored of his own affairs, he would go about his day daydreaming of the girl sitting across from him in class. As such, a western idealization of the east invented a fantastic place called the Orient, a place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories and landscapes, and remarkable experiences(1). And as if still a dazed school boy unwilling to do his multiplication tables, the west began creating a caricature of the east. She is cute and petite, but she doesn’t seem to be able to afford the same quality of clothing that the west is typically attuned to. Her hair doesn’t seem as kempt as that of the west and her simplistic responses to the teacher’s questions always lacked a certain air of sophistication. But despite all of these shortcomings, perhaps if the west were to help her along, she would become quite the girl for him. This caricaturization of the east isn’t really what the east actually looks like, only what the west believes the east to look like, but due to the inherent bias of the west, one can see how easy it is to rationalize that all of the cultural differences between the west and the perceived east are flaws and how it could be in everyone’s best interest if the altruistic west were to help the east
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Under the Mask Liyuan Gao (lg342) out and transform it into the western ideal. And Orientalism is just that: a façade of altruism or self-preservation used as justification by the west to exploit its relationship of militaristic and economic dominance with the east. As “innocent” as the west’s intentions may have been, it is unjustifiable for the west to use Orientalism or any other means to rationalize colonization and exclusion, even if one holds the value of the utilitarian good as the ultimate responsibility of the government. To support this argument, one should look to the formation of the identity categories “Oriental” and “Asian American” in both their differences and similarities in their goals and their historical contexts.
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AAS1 - Under the Mask Liyuan Gao(lg342 Under the Mask...

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