Unpacking Decolonization Bullshit in Seven Easy Lessons — Introduction
I recently came across an article promoting decolonization of the Americas. The cynic in me sees decolonization as one of those efforts cooked up by misguided, communist Sociologists to punish white people for having successful ancestors and hobble the people responsible for almost every scientific, technological, and industrial advancement of the last 600 years. Not surprisingly the author describes herself in social justice jargon (i.e., multiracial, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, prison abolitionist). However, to be fair, I’m not in favor of institutional systems that prevent people from achieving their full potential, so I was willing to hear her out. As I feared, it was typical Sociology claptrap, littered with social justice buzzwords (e.g., stolen land, dispossessed nations, Turtle Island, settler state, occupied territories, violent nationalism, Islamophobic, xenophobic, refugees, migrants, Indigenous sovereignty, etc), but failing to be much more than something someone can use to cut white people down a peg and feel justified that their failed life is really because of institutional colonialism (or something). Yes, it was fairly well nauseating. 🤢 🤢 🤢
If you’re a self-loathing white person who can’t sleep at night, burdened by the fact that slavery existed — even tho your family emigrated from Ireland in 1885 and never even saw a slave, much less owned one — give decolonization a try. It will bring on the tears that will sob you to sleep. It’s a how-to guide for cucks who feel guilty for no good reason, but still want to feel a little bit justified in continuing to occupy land they’re fully aware was stolen from peaceful, prayerful indigenous peoples by genocidal, settler rape brigades rather than doing the logically consistent thing and moving their ass back to Europe (or Africa … that’s right African-Americans, you’re not indigenous either!).
However, if you’re a rational human being who doesn’t hate yourself for transgressions real or perceived that you didn’t do and didn’t directly profit from, join me as I destroy this decolonization bullshit.
The following seven-part series will deconstruct several decolonization concepts outlined in the original article, namely:
- All land is Indigenous land. Regardless of where you live, you’re occupying stolen land.
- “Who are you calling a settler?” Just because some settlers migrated to the U.S. to escape oppression, we benefit directly from the dispossession of Indigenous peoples.
- We are not a nation of immigrants. Africans were brought here forcibly as slaves and Indigenous peoples were already here.
- “What are we supposed to do, move back to Europe?” No one’s seriously advocating this … yet.
- “I’m worried that if Native governance is restored, I will lose rights, land, property, the freedom of movement or speech.” The author does not specify what a decolonized future will look like, but they “believe that relations among all people and the planet will be more livable for all when the sovereignty of peoples who have been guardians and stewards of this land for tens of thousands of years is fully restored.”
- “It’s just not practical.” The author argues that lots of things seem impractical, but we should not “remain within the purview of this terrible settler state that we all agree is founded on and sustained by anti-Blackness, slavery and its afterlife, Indigenous dispossession, and other projects of colonial, capitalist, and imperial accumulation.”
- Territorial acknowledgements — The author encourages settlers to “begin to reflect on the relationship to the land on which they reside” and forms relationships “with Native peoples whose land you are on.”
Before I explain why decolonization is bullshit, we need to define colonialism. According to Maile Arvin, “Settler colonialism is the social, political and economic system that Europeans brought with them to this continent that turns land into profit, dispossessing Native peoples from the land through forced removals, military massacres, genocide, sterilization, and forced assimilation (among other tactics). Settler colonialism requires an ongoing violence against Native American people.”
Wow, that’s awful. 😦 Decolonization, in turn, refers to the “removal of the domination of non-indigenous forces” within the geographical space and different institutions of the colonized, in addition to “decolonizing of the mind” from the colonizers’ ideas that made the colonized feel inferior.
So, just to make sure I have this straight …
My ancestors brought with them social, political, and economic systems that displaced indigenous people by force and result in continuous violence against the same. Therefore, I need to purge society and my brain of these oppressive systems and ideas in order to free indigenous peoples from the tyranny of my existence.
Arvin’s definition of colonialism and decolonization implies Marxist idealism that everyone has the same innate potential to succeed and the only thing keeping indigenous populations from thriving are the social, political, and economic systems that made settlers wildly successful. For the sake of argument, let’s just assume there are no significant group differences in cognitive ability (there are).
If the social, political, and economic system that Europeans brought with them to this continent enabled them to all but conquer the entire planet over the course of 400 years, why wouldn’t that cultivate success in indigenous populations as well? If you have a recipe that results in award-winning cakes, it works every single time you, but you give it to someone else and their cake turns out awful, maybe the problem isn’t the recipe. 🤔
This is not to suggest there is no value in critiquing society from the anti-colonial perspective. Historically there have been oppressive colonial regimes solely concerned with extracting wealth from indigenous populations without much return on investment from the perspective of those colonized. Perhaps it’s worthwhile to review the following points from the author’s social justice fever dream “to put our talk into practice and participate in building a livable future for this planet and its inhabitants”. I have a hunch it’s just a diversion to soothe the aching hearts of the irrationally sympathetic and logically deficient, but we won’t know for sure until we critically examine the proposed model of decolonization.
With that said, let us begin.