Wednesday, September 23, 2009

fail to see how colonialism still poisons their conceptions of africans

swpd reader Victoria wrote the following email, which makes such a good and important point that I asked if I could reprint it here. If you have further suggestions, please do leave a comment, and I'll add them to this post.

After the backlash [in the comments] -- which I'm sure you're quite used to -- from the jungle-themed white savior music video, I thought it'd be good if people actually knew a little more about Blacks than just their interactions with them at present.

I think it's important that people understand more background than just "slavery" when it comes to Blacks. The only way Blacks are portrayed to Americans, unless they take a specific course documenting more, is as the descendants of former slaves. White Americans are never informed that we and our white ancestors from all over Europe have been screwing with Blacks and Africa long before we decided to drag them across the ocean to work on our plantations. Most white people are unaware that all the European countries gathered one day and literally divided Africa up amongst themselves (Scramble for Africa) without ever consulting anyone from Africa, without any thought that they were dividing them with lines that did not exist before. So tribes that were once just neighbors to one another were now being forced to live and work together.

They don't hear about how we enslaved them in their own countries and forced them to build railroads up, down and across Africa, or the way we told them it was for their own good that we were there, the way we introduced a religion and totally demolished theirs as best we could, the way we treated them like animals instead of people. White people don't hear about that sort of thing. We see our times in Africa during those days much like the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney World -- adventurous! Taming the wild! What we don't hear is how we tried to "tame" what we considered wild men (and women).

White people aren't told that Africans in all countries (not just the ones where their skin is lighter and their hair has a looser kink to it) had structure, rules, deep beliefs and traditions passed down since the dawn of man. White people are only told of how their ancestors tried to conquer Africa to make it "better". White people who don't know any better still hold the belief that Africans are savage, crazy-dancing, violence-loving ignoramuses. Hence the reason that video didn't appear the least bit racist to some people. And the reason they are still in the dark about why Africans fight in wars with each other to this day. We're all "save Africa" this and "save Africa" that, but we're the ones who put them at odds with each other in the first place.

Here are some books and short stories that helped me understand various African perspectives a little better.

Both of these novels are great for showing how structured and UNwild Africa was before the White man arrived on the scene and how whites demoralized them in the name of capitalism, Christianity, and control.
Short stories:
  • "The Museum" by Leila Aboulela (illustrates how colonization is justified even today -- and how it's not always easy to take on the burden of being the person who's going to teach the white man how to understand, and how not all Africans are big, scary, and black)
  • "Columba" by Michelle Cliff (illustrates how the colonized are often left without a feeling of identity or a closeness to their homeland -- also helps people to remember that Jamaica was indeed a British colony. It wasn't always the picture of Bob Marley, dreadlocks, and marijuana that many Americans like to imagine it as)
  • "The Gentlemen of the Jungle" by Jomo Kenyatta (allegorical story of colonization told in a way that even children can understand and relate to).
I have a few others, but I think those are good jumping off points. And I think your readers have many other books people could read that paint the story from the perspective of the people who were colonized, not the same old remorseful "you were slaves, that was bad, we're sorry" point of view.

I just think people don't realize what colonization is and what it does to people both while it's happening, and AFTER it happens, after the white men are done setting up shop there and leave. The way people are lost, their culture's depth forgotten and what the decades, scores, centuries of being told that they are inferior does to them. The only ways to understand that is to either get to know these people, which most Whites are not willing to go out of their way to do, or to read about them. And given the curriculum in America, it would require people going out of their way to do even that.

Do you have any reading suggestions to add to this list? Or any films, or other sources?


  1. Love the blog macon. :)

    Great post from Victoria.

    Another reading source I would recommend is Yurugu: An African Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior by Marimba Ani.

    I have to warn people though; it is not a light-read by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn't specifically focus on European colonialization but rather touches on it in it's grand purpose to unmask the workings of global white supremacy.

    We have to remember that in Europe's efforts to colonize the world, they also "colonized" the world's information, painting Europe as the shining beacon of good and rightousness and the rest of the world as dark, savage, and in desperate need of enlightenment in all aspects of life.

    Here is a great review of Yurugu. It's one of those books that if it doesn't outright change your life, it will most definitely alter the way in which you look at the world and the world's history.

  2. Good post, great point, great readings thank you. I have a film to add: Bassek Ba Kobhio's The "Great White" of Lamberene." It's about Albert Schweitzer, and it reveals him to have been paternalistic and egotistical, an an ironically apt stand-in for the whole white colonialist mindset. It's from the mid 1990s.

  3. THank you so much for this post, Victoria.

    Although it doesn't quite fit the criteria, I would add the French film "Chocolat" [which, I hasten to add, is NOT the "other" Chocolat--the movie about Juliet Binoche making chocolate etc.] I think it's one of the most complex portrayals of colonialism I have ever seen. It doesn't fit the criteria, because it is told from the perspective of a white person, but because that person is an impressionable child, it avoids the usual problematic tropes.

  4. Great book that everyone should read, Adam Rothschild's "King Leopold's Ghost".

    I really like this post. I am from from West Africa (Liberia to be exact) and have grown up and lived in America since I was 9 (I'm 24 now). Americans always ask me to speak something African. (unaware that African is not a language let alone a nationality). I tell them I only speak English as I am from Liberia and sometimes I just don't answer the question because I then get bombarded with stupid questions like, "So do people really live in trees?"
    Or this time when this guy said to me, How come you don't speak French, I have a friend from the Ivory Coast which is also in West Africa and he speaks french?"

    Anyway, sory I've gone off topic....but read Rothschild's book, it an eye opener.

  5. Sorry that was Adam Hochschild, not Rothschild.

    Full title,
    Adam Hochschild, "King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa".

  6. Really? ALL European countries? Does Europe only consist of 3-4 countries? And what about Turkey, who's a Middle-Eastern country? It occupied Egypt, Lybia and Tunisia.

  7. This is great. Do any of you guys have any book suggestions on pre-colonial African history? I started reading this long book on the history of Africa but it is extremely dry and I don't think I can make it through it. Something with a sort of general overview. Thanks

  8. Awesome. I'll be reading some of these soon.

    But in the meantime, I couldn't resist to mention how this happened in Asia too. Here's an old political cartoon depicting the scramble for China:

    Many national boundaries in Asia, particularly Southeast Asia today is pretty arbitrary too - in many cases the boundaries are based on who they got colonized by.

  9. Pleco beat me to it, but I want to second the recommendation on King Leopold's Ghost. It is a comprehensive history of the Belgian colonization of the region now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It does exactly what so many histories fail to do: it humanizes the people that were victimized by Belgian aggression and shows how the people of the Congo resisted colonization. And it reveals the full spectrum of Belgian brutality.

  10. Great Post. Also, @Whitefish, apparently you've missed the point. Stop derailing.

    IMHO, "Save Africa" efforts nowadays are just the newest form of colonialism, veiled with shallow compassion. Such compassion is built on a sense of white superiority.

  11. I'm really pleased to see some recommended reading and films. Of course colonization has happened all over the world and certainly not just to Africa. My email was in response to a specific post which featured Africans. I do appreciate the books and films depicting colonization in other places. Thanks!

  12. "...we treated them like animals instead of people."

    This is like saying, "we treated them like dogs instead of golden retrievers."

    People *are* animals. We like to deny this and say that we are separate in order to justify speciesism and horrible acts of cruelty against other earthlings, but the fact is that we are one of them, and the sooner we realize this, the better.

  13. "Freedom Child of the Sea" is a great children's book - compassionate, brave, and centered around the enslavement of Africans.

  14. scarlet, there's no denying that people treat animals like 2nd class citizens and themselves like they are rungs above them. Do I feel this way about animals? No. Is the comment based on reality and thus conjures imagery of treating someone poorly? Yes.

  15. Know what, Scarlet? Shhhhhhhh.

  16. My reading suggestions - things by Ifi Amadiume, Mojubaolu Okome, Oyeronke Oyewumi, Catherine Acholonu, Basil Davidson, Fuambai Ahmadu, Richard Shweder, Nana Darkwah.

    Thanks for this post Macon. I read a comment online once that black people should get over that they were stolen from their "little villages" in Africa because we are so much better off than current Africans. In other words a) Africa was nothing before colonialism b) most Africans are currently miserable and c) while denying the Shoah (I never say THE Holocaust as there have been many holocausts) is beyond the pale, the holocaust of perhaps over a hundred million blacks being killed outright or dying as a result of beatings, rape, torture, inhumane conditions, overwork, etc. should actually be celebrated.

  17. Whitefish: Turkey is also a European country. It is both European and Asian. Its main city, Istanbul, is on the edge.

    In mentioning European countries' colonialism in Africa, don't forget the USSR. They colonized Ethiopia and Angola. The Ethiopian famine was specifically engineered by them. They left behind the miserable legacy of socialism (one of the worst nonsense ideas ever created by Europeans), which still reaps many deaths on the continent.

  18. Cod, your comments about the famine in Ethiopia are so interesting. Could you please say more or give me the name of a book I could read to learn more? Thanks.

  19. unable to admit the extent of our past transgressions, we fill our textbooks and the inquiring, unsuspecting minds of our youth with fairytales and half-truths. to keep them ignorant, we monopolize the curriculum in schools in such a way that self-definition is nearly impossible for students of color. we hold in high esteem the efforts of white men, while we continually marginalize the contributions of black men. we promote self-hate because we exclude the african american experience as though it has no value or serves no purpose. instead we falsify and embellish and hide our self-serving motives behind a banner of ideals we feel compelled to honor only in times of convenience or necessity. and we do all this because we can.

    i write about this and other issues pertaining to the afro-american, mulatto experience on my blog at

    i invite anyone who is interested to check it out.

  20. Great post!

    I would recommend How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney.

    I'm back in Ghana now, and it's clear to me that colonialism has also poisoned africans'own' conception of themselves, other Africans, and the rest of the world in general as well. I mean, I actually had a cousin tell me that black Americans should be thankful for their ancestors having been enslaved.


  21. @ Pleco-

    But you live in Africa with like the animals and stuff right? Can you do an African dance for me?

    My favorite questions ever.

  22. Cod is God:

    No, Turkey is not a European country. Only 5% of its territory is in Europe, and that part actually belongs to Greece, only the Turks colonized it.

  23. Awesome. I am bookmarking this page. I barely know anything about colonization aside from "it happened" and am glad to have a few books to look for now.

  24. For a great analysis on how Africa became in a state that it's in post-colonialism check out Basil Davidson's "A black man's burden: Africa and the curse of the nation state"

  25. Book:

    Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda Tuhiwai Smith

  26. P.S. I'm noticing a trend here. Someone metnioned "Eastern Europe" i.e. Turkey.

    I'd like to add, "some" parts of Eastern Europe are now finally being "accepted" to be included by the European Union only recently due to their obvious belief that EU (i.e Western Europe) was superior, therefore Eastern Europe inferior.

    They too were both colonized during the British and USSR reign. So lets not paint the world black and white, we must accept that Colonization happened and still happens in the most grotesque form...including to "white people"....even if they only recently became "white" in the broader sense.

  27. All this is one of the reasons why I proposed to teach an African Studies course at the two most recent schools I have been teaching. It is wonderful to be able to teach the students the history of the continent (though some are shocked to learn that it is not a country -- a continent with 50+ countries inside that can fit the mainland U.S.A. more than 3 times)

    Kaffir Boy is more about apartheid South Africa, but still shows some of the affects of imperialism.

  28. "we must accept that Colonization happened and still happens in the most grotesque form...including to "white people"....even if they only recently became "white" in the broader sense."
    It happened to "true" white people as well. What was the Roman Empire doing if not colonizing most of Europe (and parts of Africa and iirc Asia as well)?

  29. @Blue Maco--

    The Romans' expansion of their Empire was not like modern day Colonization in any way. True, the Romans expanded their geographic boundaries to include many different groups of people, different religions, etc.

    However, the Romans traditionally did not overwhelmingly occupy the lands that they conquered--at least in a way that caused the majority of the indigenous people to give up their religions, their culture, their possessions, and their basic way of life.

    During colonization of African and Asian nations, the opposite was true, and even when the ruling nation would release possession of a formerly-held colony, the long term effects of systematic oppression and misuse of natural resources could not begin to be undone for generations.

    And the systematic tyranny that people were held under has unfortunately created a legacy of oppressive dictatorships that continue to this day.

    That's a gross simplification of the answer, but you get the point i'm making, right?

  30. Wow,

    This is a timely post. I'm African, and a few days ago I was hanging around with a few people, a coupe of them whites from Ireland. Turns out the Irish guys grandfather had immigrated from South Africa to Ireland a couple of decades ago. One of the guys lamented to me that his grandfather said that Africa used to be a paradise but now it had 'gone down the tubes'. He also seemed to agree with that sentiment. My bullshit meter went off and I asked 'Paradise for whom!'. South Africa in the 80s may have been paradise for whites but not for anyone else (especially black). I never did get my question answered, in fact, he seemed startled at my reaction. Even though the guy seemed nice enough, that statement pretty much put paid to any desire to get to know him better.

  31. @dezzyl18

    Co-sign on Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda T. Smith. It's about Indigenous peoples, which covers African nations, and focuses mostly on American Indian and Aotearoa/NZ. I'm reading this book for a class and my mind is blown every chapter.

    Smith also cites a lot of Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire, and bell hooks. Some of my favorite topics/ideas that I see mirrored in the comments are legacies of colonialism in education and "colonization of the mind."

  32. For a lovely allegory of European colonialism in Africa, try reading Babar!

  33. Sorry everyone, but I really don't see a huge problem with Africa being "carved" up by those who came in and took over. To the Victors go the spoils... isn't that the phrase?

    Lands and cultures have been swallowed up by more dominant or advanced cultures since the beginning of man. It's been happening for thousands of years and will continue to happen until we finally wipe ourselves out.

    In Africa's case, the Europeans were superior in culture, organization, and technology, and summarily conquered and used the people of Africa as they saw fit.

    The same goes for America and the Native Americans. They were inferior technologically and were "rubbed out" by the Europeans.
    None of this means that their cultures were not very rich in their own right.

    But let's be honest. The descendents of slaves from Africa can hardly be called "African" anymore. In my opinion, they should be called Americans, period. (I'm so tired of all these bullshit labels that only serve to promote separatism and conflict.) They are so far removed from those old cultures not only geographically, but mentally and intellectually, that they would never be accepted back. Nor would they ever consider going back to their true roots and actually living the life that was before their forefathers were brought to America, even if it was possible.

    It's the nature of Man in general to expand, conquer(colonize), and assimilate.

    What do you think is happening right now? With the influx of Mexicans in the US and interracial unions, the White man will eventually be phased out anyway, and a new race/culture will be dominant on the planet. Eventually all the races will be a mish mash. It's not something to fear, or be angry about, it just will be.

    And even then, once mankind becomes one race, I'd wager that some groups will feel slighted or persecuted in some fashion or another. And maybe, even then, they will have forums like this one that will feed their perceptions, and perpetuate their biases rather than actually fixing them, or learning to move beyond them.

    Worrying about color and race and what has happened in the past is a waste of energy. The more you lament, and dwell on racism, the more power you give it. In the grand scheme of this planet, all of us are just a minor blip of a moment. Nature, and time will move on and solve all these problems for us. We will all be forgotten, as will racism, and then what will all your angst's have accomplished?

  34. Lurk more, 'brother'. You have much to learn.

  35. Brother of another color,

    I don't exactly know your racial or ethnic background but one thing seems clear. That you don't understand nor seem to have made an attempt at understanding Race and therefore Racism. That it hasn't affected you to the point of becoming fazed by it.

    If the world really was not that fazed, and we were all becoming one "race" instead of discussing, we'd be all singing cumba-ya because there would be no problems and we'd be more then happy to get caught up remaining colonized, or be systematically disenfranchised.

    For you to say, colonialism has happened for centuries on end as a justification for us to...whatever, get over it, its the way it not only a sad excuse but an excuse that people use to stand by when genocide happens and colonialism (we call it neo-colonialism now) happens again.

    It is not a matter of, "i'm bigger, stronger, therefore I can take over". No, I'd like to think the human race has advanced itself better to know not to use such reasons (although, one can argue it happens in different forms, capitalist transnational corporations). The whole point of blogs and discussions such as these are to understand and learn that the concept of, i'm bigger badder and therefore can take your land, resources and systematically disenfranchise you, never was and still isn't Right or Justified. Matter of fact, it always was is still is WRONG.

    Colonialism happened and still happens mostly cause people stand by and do nothing....half the time they were and are uninformed and ignorant. It isn't a game to be won and the victor gets all...the Human race has become a tinny bit more advanced mentally, instead of just know that it is WRONG, or atleast I'd hope so.

    So you're concept of...big deal, so and so played the game and won and therefore deal w/ the very reason why peoples lives, rights, lands and identities are taken.

    And this whole idea of this "ultimate race" in the future fuzed with "everything" you have in mind....have you examined in which fashion you see it...and does it possibly look something like what or who you're used to (something western-like)...thats a scary thought that you'd merge and negate all of the worlds cultures and mush them into this "homogenized" version of the human community, in what really is the white-picket fences ideal white families we see on TV.

    And correction, the "Mexican's in America's", Half of the USA is Mexico, it was STOLEN by the USA and the reason they are pouring into the States in the first place is due to the NAFTA agreement which disenfranchised poor South-Americans including Mexicans. Not to mention the American companies (esp Oil) forcefully entering Amazonian indigenous peoples lands, setting up camp and poising their drinking waters.

    I'd suggest you pick out a few of the books suggested here and get to educating yourself and hopefully you'll realize you're whole 'enlightened' view of all this in actuality is ignorance.

  36. Dezzyl,

    1. FYI, I am white. However, being that I live in a sizeable city in which, in recent years, I have become the minority, please do not be so quick to judge my knowledge of race and racism.

    2. I never said there weren't problems to deal with in society, I'm just tired of people using racism as a begin-all end-all excuse for troubles that plague our society today.

    3. I also never said that colonialism and genocide were ok, or right. I merely stated that it is history, and fact. Atrocities were committed, but you cannot change the past. And I hate to burst your bubble, but the Human race is in it's infancy and has not deviated terribly from it's conquering and/or violent nature. 9-11 should have showed you that. Until we advance a few hundred generations more, "bigger and stronger" will be the deciding factor in most World scenarios. Case in point, Iran and North Korea are flexing as we speak.

    4. I never said "ultimate race, western-like and white picket fences" with white culture in mind. I said white people will be phased out. The world will be shades of brown in the future. And yes, if mankind survives that long, all the current different cultures will fade to obscurity and new ones will take their place. It is inevitable. The Roman Empire lasted 1,000 years. What, of their actual culture, still remains intact? And what of 1,000 years from now?

    5. Mexico. Once again. History and fact. The USA assimilated and absorbed that expanse of land. Sorry, not giving it back. You are right though, big companies should take more care with their dealings in the region.

    Lastly, I am sorry, but reading the books suggested here, informative as they are, will not change what has been. Also, if your definition of "enlightened" means nit-picking day to day life and worrying about how many PoC are in food or clothing commercials, or how PoC are portrayed in movies; then I will hold on to my personal vision of a better world were people aren't so trivial and paranoid about skin color and how they are perceived because of it.

  37. Oh Brother!

    I am white. However, being that I live in a sizeable city in which, in recent years, I have become the minority, please do not be so quick to judge my knowledge of race and racism.

    So are you suggesting that just by virtue of living in a large city and being the minority, that you know about racism? That you don't need to read books about it or peruse articles, listen to lectures? Just because you're a minority, you know about it?

    I never said there weren't problems to deal with in society, I'm just tired of people using racism as a begin-all end-all excuse for troubles that plague our society today.

    What do you have to be tired of? "Those darn blacks, always talking about racism. Damn that's exhausting!"

    Give me a break man. Cry me a river. Here you go, let's let history be our guide. For over 200 years, blacks have been claiming that they are the targets of racism. Here in 2009, we can look back and go through our history books and see that yes, they were correct. 100% of the time. And on the flip side, whites have historically been saying that racism wasn't a problem. And 100% of the time, as history has dictated, we have been wrong. That given, what makes you think that all of a sudden here in 2009, you're perception of racial matters in America is correct? And that suddenly, the majority of blacks and white anti-racists who claim racism have all suffered mass delusion?

    See 'Brother', you're the reason racism persists. Arrogant whites who think they have it all figured out and that racism can be solved by ignoring it. Guess what, whites have been ignoring it since the 1600's and it hasn't gotten us anywhere. Time to change the playbook, dontcha think?

    3. I also never said that colonialism and genocide were ok, or right. I merely stated that it is history, and fact. Atrocities were committed, but you cannot change the past.

    You cannot change the past but you can learn from it. Only a total dipshit keeps banging his head against the wall and expecting a different result. At some point you have to understand "This isn't working" and take a different course of action.

    When you are cooking on a stove, do you grab the bare pot with your hand? No because at some point in your past, you realized that touching hot metal will burn your hand. The past is a valuable asset, not some irrelevant concept best ignored. The root of ignorance is ignore. Keep that in mind next time you're so willing to ignore something.

    And because the ripple effects of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, and the white supremacist history of this country are still felt today, history CAN'T be ignored.

    For instance, you have the FHA and VA loans of the mid-twentieth century that were racially restrictive and resulted in 15 million or so white families receiving over $120 billion in home loans. This was how the white middle-class was created. And these loans were all but off-limits to blacks. Same with the GI Bill. Sure, blacks could fight and die for their country, but couldn't receive loans once they got back home.

    You may say, "Aww shucks but that was 50 years ago!". But then you would be ignoring that all of that wealth which was created based on racist policies, has been handed down to descendants and is a big factor in explaining why white families have a greater net worth than black families, even when the family income of black families is larger.

    Why should we "move past racism" when a recent EEOC report, noted that in 2007 there was a 12% jump in race-based discrimination complaints in the workplace relative to the previous year (almost all of which were filed by persons of color): bringing the number of such complaints to their highest level since 1994? Try telling those people, "Look, sorry you're receiving crap at work because you're black. Get over it."

  38. 2006 saw the largest number of race-based housing discrimination complaints on record, and according to government and private studies, there are between 2 and 3 million cases of housing discrimination each year against people of color. Try telling those people, "Look, sorry you're being steered away from homes in predominantly white neighborhoods by slimy real estate agents, but the whites in those neighborhoods are afraid of blacks and think the value of their homes will decrease. So go look for a house somewhere else. No racism here."

    A recent Harvard study concluded that job applicants with white sounding names stand a 5-times better chance of getting a callback than an applicant with a black sounding name, even when their credentials are identical. Be sure to tell those blacks, "Look, if your family had continued naming their children white European sounding names, instead of trying to reclaim your African roots by giving you a unique name instead of one a slave master might have given you, you might have gotten that job."

    4. I never said "ultimate race, western-like and white picket fences" with white culture in mind. I said white people will be phased out. The world will be shades of brown in the future. And yes, if mankind survives that long, all the current different cultures will fade to obscurity and new ones will take their place. It is inevitable.

    I agree that this world will increasingly turn brown, however I disagree with you that culture will not last. White culture, at least in America, can be defined precisely by the [b]lack[/b] of culture. Unless you call grilling out, watching NASCAR, and spending more than you earn "culture".

    Most African nations have a very strong culture. Asian nations have a strong culture. Many European nations even have a strong culture. America as we know it has existed for a fraction of the time of the rest of the world. So while our supposed "culture" may be easily lost, I don't think other countries will have that problem. Their cultures have already survived hundreds and in some cases thousands of years.

    The Roman Empire lasted 1,000 years. What, of their actual culture, still remains intact? And what of 1,000 years from now?

    You can't be serious. You really DO have a lot of reading to do my friend. But perhaps you define culture as a mask to be hung on a wall. Or a statue of a long forgotten deity to be placed on a coffee table. A song passed down from father to son. Culture is [b]a lot[/b] more than that.

    Roman philosophy has as much influence on Western societies than Greek philosophy.

    Roman architectural influences are visible all over America.

    Roman politics and law are the biggest influence on the government of your own country for Christs' sake! The founding fathers modeled the US federal government after the Roman Republic.

    Anytime you go to a football game or a baseball game or hockey game, you're occupying a building directly influenced by the Roman colosseum.

    Without Rome, Christianity wouldn't have been spread anywhere near as much. Roman pragmatism also allowed for the mixing of religions and incorporating aspects of conquered peoples' religions such as Greek and Christian.

    Pax Romana and the justification for it were a direct influence on 19th century European colonialism.

    I could go on and on but damn man, make this easy on yourself and me by reading a book. Preferably one with more words than pictures.

  39. Also, if your definition of "enlightened" means nit-picking day to day life and worrying about how many PoC are in food or clothing commercials, or how PoC are portrayed in movies; then I will hold on to my personal vision of a better world were people aren't so trivial and paranoid about skin color and how they are perceived because of it.

    Enlightenment is understanding the true nature of things.

    And based on your post, you are way, way off base man.

    But if you truly feel the way you do, why are you here? You'll gain nothing from this website. You're closed off to learning many truths which it is evident you are grossly ignorant of.

  40. @Pleco,
    I just have to comment.
    This... is a revelation. Lo these many years, it never occurred to me that there might actually be more than one white American so clueless as to ask a foreign-born brown person about living in trees! This is a bizarre thing to feel solidarity over, but there it is. I'm not alone!

    I will never ever forget a schoolmate asking, upon learning that I'm Jamaican (I've been a permanent US resident since the age of 3), "what it's like to live in trees." We were young, but I was absolutely appalled, and we were the same age, so... yeah. A real slapped-in-the-face-by-ignorance moment, and a painful memory to this day. And it's not like this was 50 years ago or something; it was 1987.

  41. I was going to suggest "King Leopold's Ghost," but I see that Pleco already has, and I'd like to second that nomination. It's been seven years since I read it, and I still think about it regularly.

    "Guns, Germs, and Steel" is another book I highly recommend. It's non-fiction, and I'm only about one-quarter into it, but the author states very clearly early in the book that his purpose is to turn traditional (i.e. racist) notions of why white Eurpeans have been able to conquer the world (hint: it's not because white people are genetically superior).

  42. Race, Religion and Sexuality the three subjects that raise deep discussion and heated passion in us. This is because they are about our existence. Whoever threatens an existence of another human being creates negative emotions, i.e. violence,uncomfortable feelings, etc. This blog is like a mirror for us; and this particular posting is part of an ongoing hospital. We all need these types of "hospitals" for our earth and lives to be HEALED.
    Nelson Mandela is another good example...


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