English 216: Notes for Chapter 8

“Race,” Racism, and Representation

  • “race”: ideology that characterizes skin colour as significant
    • Storey’s quotation marks are meant to show that it’s a spurious division
  • xenophobia: fear of the unknown, the alien, the “other”; xenophobia ≠ racism (see below)
  • racism: ideology that claims “races” of people can be categorized as inferior/superior
  • white supremacy: ideology that claims Whites (Europeans) are superior to all else


Ideology of Racism: Its Historical Emergence

  • created to rationalize/justify actions beneficial to the British Empire
  • slavery: characterize Black bodies as inhuman, beasts of burden
    • rationalizes wealth acquired through slavery
  • colonization: claims the British are naturally better at governing, valourizes colonization
    • claims colonized subjects are like children who need to be raised up
    • rationalizes imposition of colonizer’s religion as “enlightenment”


Edward Said, Orientalism

  • Self/Other relationship: defining the Self by defining the Other as its opposite
  • Orientalism: the (European) ideology that separates Europe from “the Orient”
    • i.e., Europe defined itself by projecting itself onto the “Oriental”
  • the Orient: everything East of Europe, from Egypt to Japan
  • ideological fiction: a story or collection of false ideas that embodies the ideology
    • succumbing (“going native”): Whites transformed/driven mad by native culture
    • imposing (“mighty whitey”): Whites “naturally” dominating native culture


Vietnam Movies as American Orientalism

  • war movies: Foucault’s regimes of truth, produce the meaning of the Vietnam War for US
  • narrative paradigms: kinds of stories America tells about its war in Vietnam
    • betrayal: of soldiers and by politicians, generals, and civilians
    • inverted firepower: lone soldiers against “horeds” of Vietnamese soldiers
    • Americanization: war as defining moment for US, Vietnamese people ignored
      • imperial narcissism: Vietnam as mere backdrop for exclusively American story



  • cultural construct, not biological
  • absence of ethnicity/race, non-raced, “normal”; what everyone else must measure against


Anti-Racism and Cultural Studies:

  • ethical obligation to learn to “live with difference” (Stuart Hall)
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