onelovebmx
Some people feel the rain. Others get wet.

What does colonization "look" like?

owning-my-truth:

image

(Image description: Black & white print of white British men having their feet washed by a black African man in an African village)

As a child of diaspora from a colonized nation (Nigeria), colonization is something that I know and feel personally, but the image of it only revealed itself to me in stark relief in a dream I had last night.

I spent a year before this in Taiwan teaching English as part of America’s neo-imperialist machine to spread our language and culture and subsume and eventually destroy local identities and languages abroad. I was placed in a Taiwanese aboriginal community which was all the more damning, and it took me many months to understand my place and role as a colonizer in this setting causing damage every single day I walked into the classroom.

It didn’t matter that I was black and experiencing antiblackness, I was still a Westerner spreading our imperialist language and hurting the community which had embraced me with open arms as a “foreign looking” foreigner. I had Western privilege even if I didn’t have white privilege as well like my colleagues. 

Understanding my Western privilege and the damage I was causing to the community and kids that I was working with (many of whom could not understand or speak their indigenous languages due to their own colonization by Japanese and Han Chinese over the preceeding centuries) was incredibly difficult to say the least, and it broke my heart to know how much I was hurting these kids that I had grown to care so much about.

I did what I could to minimize the damage after self-examining and seeing these things for what they were. I collaborated with professors and local teachers to create a community based cultural empowerment and art project for some of our students meant to promote their local language and culture—the same languages and cultures which I was helping to subsume during my day job. The project won national recognition, and the kids will soon get to be featured on the national stage in Taiwan for doing a project in which they personally explored and told the stories of their lives and community using tools we provided them to aid in their exploration. A positive message to send to kids in a community that faces tremendous amounts of institutionalized discrimination and marginalization within Taiwan to this day.

But at the end of the day, I was still an outsider and a colonial agent there hoping, praying that my work there could “cancel out” some of the damage I was at that point contractually locked into dealing for a year as an English teacher (I completed my grant in July). What was the net impact? What does colonization look like and how can I tell how much damage versus good that I did?

There is now a new teacher at my school- a pretty white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes. I’ve heard that my students love her, and I also can tell that she doesn’t have an understanding of her role there as a colonial agent which is just further compounded by her whiteness, making the damage she is doing in an already vulnerable indigenous community as an “English teacher” all the more damaging. I saw a picture on facebook of her working with some of my former students, them crowded around her smiling and laughing, and immediately my heart sank and shattered. I was devastated not that they had found a new teacher that they liked, but that the cycle of colonization was just perpetuating and exacerbating itself.

*******

Later that night I dozzed off and suddenly I was in the midst of a vivid dream.

One of my students, Jesse, who I had seen in the facebook picture crowded around the white teacher smiling came up to my dream self, and he looked completely normal and happy. I was happy to see him when he suddenly rolled up his pant leg to reveal a ghastly scene.

His leg was covered with deep, open gashes that went down almost clear to the bone. Red with fresh blood along the length of the cuts, but old enough that the blood did not poor or gush— it just stayed smiling sinisterly at me with a pinkish-red gleam. The gashes were everywhere I looked up and down the length of his leg- vertical, horizontal, diagonal slashes going every which way tearing and contorting his leg into a mangled mass. And in between his flesh was discolored and beginning to gangrene and rot.

All of this on a body that outwardly looked completely healthy and “okay.”

My dream self was horrified and immediately called my collaborator on the cultural empowerment project I had done in the community in a panic. I wanted to know what I could do to help him. If there was anything that I could do to help.

But it quickly became clear from our conversation that there was nothing that I could do to help.

And then that part of the dream abruptly ended.

When I awoke I realized that this was all a metaphor for colonization. For not just the damage I had done to these students I cared so deeply about, but which, as I’d seen in that facebook picture of them with their new white teacher, has only just been compounded many times fold this year. You do not solve a problem caused by colonization by adding more colonizers to the mix, even ones like me that might “mean well” otherwise. 

It was also so clear from his outward health but the tremendous scars that laid right beneath the surface (when he pulled up his pant leg) what colonization really looks like. It is not always a physical manifestation, but the longer and far more damaging legacy is internalized and shows itself in different ways.

The loss of language, of customs, traditions, a way of being, living and seeing the world.

That’s only some of what colonization strips the colonized of in the metaphysical domains of our minds and spirits. These are some of the same losses that I’ve incurred as a child of diaspora from a colonized nation and which I perpetuated during my own time abroad as an English teacher.

This is the ugly face of the colonization and destruction that links and binds so many of us together across space and time.

I will just end with this quote from Chimamanda Adichie which encapsulates these ideas so well, as it’s so important that we all understand what colonization “looks” like and the tremendous damages and losses which are incurred under any and all colonial regimes: 

"[He] was dangerously wrong to quantify the effects of colonialism and to reduce it to land. This does not diminish the enormous practical and emotional significance of the loss of ancestral lands. But the truth is that the losses associated with any unjust government— and colonialism was an unjust dictatorship—cannot be limited to those things that we can measure. The losses are more nuanced: the loss of language and stories, the loss of a way of being and a way thinking, the loss of dignity, and the loss that comes when succeeding generations inherit those losses."

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Commonwealth Lecture 2012

Those more nuanced losses are arguably the most damaging and lasting legacy of colonization, and those were the same scars which my dream self found on my former student hidden right beneath the surface. 

And that is what colonization looks like. 

(via owning-my-truth)

thinksquad:

On Wednesday, Barack Obama used his powerful pen to effectively ban AK-47s, and other Kalashnikov Russian-made imports, indefinitely. This will include the import of parts and accessories so it affects current owners as well as those looking to make a new purchase. Under Executive Order 13662
bathsabbath:

piscula:

skooth:

bhavatarini:

myblacksexuality:

poetofwar333:

#cleopatra with the nose knocked off. I wonder if people still think she was European like the movies betray…

I still think it’s one of the most desperate things whites have done to blacks and to black history. The disrespect is outrageous. They came to our country and mentally could not fathom how these black civilizations could be so great. They literally rode through our lands and shot the noses off of our statues. Why? So that the statues would no longer resemble the African people and they could LIE about the origins of Egypt and countless other civilizations. It was a widespread practice. It’s why statues of Pharaoh’s and their wives have no noses. It’s why the Sphinx has no nose. When I was in middle and high school, we were taught that the noses had fell off due to time and poor craftsmanship! They have literally tried to teach us that our ancestors were shitty builders of noses just to hide their malicious destruction of our heritage. European fears of African peoples had to come from somewhere. I want to know what part of the history is missing. There’s something that they don’t want to be told.

The shade is real

i was taught that the noses fell off as well and actually continued to believe this. in retrospect this makes no sense, considering greek/roman statues pretty much always have intact noses whereas egyptian ones are always conveniently missing theirs. thank you for pointing this out to me, i hadn’t even made that connection until now.

The bolded was me too and I am seriously embarrassed that I never even thought about how that could be false.

Damnnn. I hate myself for not realizing this.
    I hate myself even more, since I know the ancient Egyptians created their sculptural works with the idea of permanence in mind. They were literally built to last throughout the afterlife. Notice how the majority of their monumental sculpture is stone-bound, without any protruding elements or breakable appendages. That’s because many of these sculptures were intended to house the life-force (Ka) of those they portrayed. Of their favorite materials were basalt and diorite, both extremely hard stones that were incredibly difficult to carve. Meaning a nose just doesn’t “fall off” because of “poor craftsmanship,” you would literally have to take a hammer to it. Fuckers.
sandycarson:

Houston, TX. July 2014
vicemag:

Eric Garner and the Plague of Police Brutality Against Black Men
If you haven’t heard about Eric Garner yet, let me fill you in. He was a 43-year-old father of six who lived in Staten Island, and he died in the street on Thursday after as many as four New York police officers choked him and slammed his head on the ground. The NYPD told the Associated Press that they stopped Garner because he was selling untaxed cigarettes, something he’d been arrested for before. However, witnesses who spoke with local news website Staten Island Live have basically said that’s bullshit. Ramsey Orta, who was on the scene and shot a now infamous video that is making the rounds, can be heard in the clip saying that all Garner had done to get bothered by the police was break up a fight.
In the video, Garner denies any wrongdoing and asks why he’s being hassled. “Every time you see me you want to mess with me,” he says in an exasperated tone that most men of color across this country can relate to. Garner, who was 400 pounds and has been described by people who knew him as a “gentle giant,” suffered from chronic asthma and police claim his death was the result of a heart attack suffered during the arrest.
Police say that Garner made a “fighting stance” and resisted arrest. Which, based on the video clip, is complete nonsense, considering we can see him pleading to the officers, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!” before going completely silent as several officers pile on him.
The video of Garner’s death is disgusting, but I can’t say I was shocked or even outraged the first time I watched it. At this point, as someone who’s read and written about some of these stories time and time again—and who’s had firsthand experiences with the way cops treat black males—this kind of reprehensible shit is not surprising at all. After so many cases like Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell, you start to feel desensitized by the seemingly insurmountable injustice that plagues communities of color.
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WHY ARE YOU READING THIS, IT’S THE WEEKEND, GET OUT OF HERE, #GOAWOL
— (via wearegoingawol)

prettyboyshyflizzy:

beerycee:

Uhmmmm can we take a second to think about this? Like what the fuck.

But its just a coincidence right over 100 of the top researchers just shot out the sky coincidentally
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