Impact of Colonial Ideology

Orientalism, a term coined by Said (1978) is used to describe a series of false assumptions underlying Western attitudes towards the East. As Said says that it is a “Western way for domination, restructuring, and developing authoritativeness about the Orient” (p. 3) It is based upon the differentiation made between people from the Orient and the Occident (mainly France, Britain, and America). Thus, one of the major impacts of colonization has been the creation of this divide between the people from the ‘West’ and those from the ‘East’, with the latter portrayed as alien, backward and in need of Western help and guidance. Little (2002) discusses how colonialism leads to orientalism which in turn was used by countries such as the US to justify its imperial ambitions. For example, as Little (2002) mentions, the result of orientalism was that it leads to:
“diplomats, oilmen, and soldiers who promoted and protected US interests in the Middle East during the twentieth century converted these earlier assumptions and racial stereotypes into an irresistible intellectual shorthand of handling the “backward” Muslims and the “headstrong” Jews whose objectives frequently clashed with America’s.” (p. 9)
Another major influence that the process of colonization had on human relations was that it created situations that lead to ethnic differences, rivalries, and disputes amongst the colonized population. For example, when the Soviet Union colonized the Ferghana Valley, they divided the population into different groups and ethnicities, creating a divide among people who had previously lived together as one. Slim explains how such a tactic leads to a situation where artificial differences were created, where the Soviets were consulted and seen as the arbitrary, problem-solving force. Hence, the conflict that was created between the groups worked to the advantage of the colonizers, making it easier for them to rule the colonized people.