Around the globe the agrarian south is coping with the effects of a long history of colonization by the industrial north. In Africa, Latin America and South Asia, societies now free of the yoke of colonialism are trying to establish their cultural and political identities. Because the colonial powers spent decades, or even centuries, indoctrinating the natives with the belief that their native cultures, languages and histories are inferior to those of the industrial colonizers, the societies seeking to emerge from the legacy of colonization must find a way to overcome its stifling effects. In those parts of the world dealing with these issues, this is called the post-colonial era.
As part of the colonization process, the colonizers emphasize, exaggerate or even invent the vices of the colonized, while ignoring or minimizing their own, or even somehow transforming them into virtues. Colonizers insist, in both overt and subtle ways, that they are morally superior to the colonized, and manipulate their version of history to create evidence to support their claim. They denigrate the language and popular culture of the colonized, as inferior to their own allegedly superior language and “higher” culture. Adoption of the language and culture of the colonizer is presented as a means of lifting the ignorant colonized to the superior status of the colonizer. Of course, the resources of the colonized agrarian societies are appropriated for the benefit of the industrial colonizers. The colonized are told that this is for their benefit, will help them “progress” and enable them to substitue capitalism for their native economies.
As I studied post-colonialism recently, I began to wonder if we really have to look to Africa or Latin America to find it. Might we see it a little closer to home?
Think about it.