Orientalism was a result of the western scholars partitioning the world into “them” and “us.” They divided the world in the western and eastern. The eastern world was dubbed the orient, and they considered and still consider the orient as less civilized compared to the western world. They fail to recognize the cultural differences for what they really are and see the differences as a failure or lack of civilization on the part of the people hailing from the eastern cultures. I have had my share of orientalism when interacting with my friends in America. I grew up in Palestine, and the country is considered oriental given its geography and culture. The western people assume that the culture and religion of my country are inferior just because they do not understand them.
Most of the instances of orientalism that I have faced have taken place when I am having conversations with my American friends. Once, we were talking about the roles taken by men and women in my home country. My friend assumed that the women are oppressed just because they do not take on the same occupations or roles at the home as men do. In America, there are no clear-cut expectations for the genders. People from my home culture would be appalled at the lack of distinctions and expectation of gender roles in America. What the Americans view as progress, people from other cultures might perceive as retrogression. Orientalism is often dismissive of other cultures while pedestalizing the western and Eurocentric culture. It uses cultural metrics from the western world to judge other cultures.