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← “It’s Part of their Culture” - Reading Nick Cohen in the light of the Jaipur affair [Also in Polish]

calvinchan's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by calvinchan

I find myself on the receiving end of strange looks whenever I defend Western values or Enlightenment principles. They never say it but the vulgar insinuation is clear: you're not White, or Western by heritage, why are you defending values that are not your own? And of course, I get even stranger looks from Asians when I criticize our own culture on the grounds that we have much to learn from the West. For instance, many from Hong Kong found it regrettable that we should be "handed back" to China (as if we were a piece of cake) in 1997 because we cherished the liberal values brought by the British. These sentiments were and still are derided as treacherous, servile, masochistic worship of the "dictator" and "colonizer". Somehow, we are expected to abandon a meritocratic standard when it comes to values and morality. It is a "betrayal" to adopt the values of the West and the Enlightenment even if they are superior and we should all be proud of our own provincial and potentially barbaric tradition regardless of how wrong it might be. I think this sentiment - that it is a betrayal to one's people to adopt Western values - is quite powerful and I suspect it's the same that infects many (perhaps Muslim) non-Caucasians who see the supremacy of Western values but feel a bit uneasy criticizing their own background/heritage/culture.

Thu, 02 Feb 2012 08:03:44 UTC | #913707