- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

The Censorious Left’s Latest Mania: ‘Decolonizing’ Everything

At Northern Michigan University, students can discover how to “decolonize” their diet. That means learning “about where the common foods and ingredients come from, what a ‘decolonizing diet’ is, and how they can incorporate the diet into their daily lives.”

Meanwhile, the editors of the American Historical Review [1] have announced plans to decolonize the journal and confront its “past lack of openness to scholars and scholarship due to race, color, creed, gender, sexuality, nationality and a host of other assigned characteristics.”

In the UK, London’s School of Oriental and African Studies has announced plans to “decolonize” its degree courses following high-profile student campaigns such as “Why is My Curriculum White?” that are critical of “the domination of white ‘Eurocentric’ writers and thinkers.” Last year, students at Reed College [2] protested the Eurocentrism of their Introduction to Humanities course. At Yale University [3] students petitioned for the removal of a course in Major English Poets that featured, surprisingly enough, mostly white men. Thanks to their efforts, that course has now been downgraded to optional.

The fight to decolonize Harvard led to the removal of the Royal family seal [4], for fear that it might “evoke associations with slavery [4].” At the University of Oxford [5] a plaque honoring Cecil Rhodes, the British imperialist who established the Rhodes Scholarships, has been taken down. At Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, professors can take a course in decolonizing education in order to “understand indigenous perspectives in the history of colonization to contemporary realities in Canada. [6]” All around the world, universities are decolonizing courses, buildings, libraries, and reading lists.

The drive to decolonize is not confined to academia. In the UK we have discussions about decolonizing health care [7], translation, and feminist art [8]. There are campaigns to decolonize architecture [9] in the United Arab Emirates, the media [10] in New Zealand, design [11] in Mexico, bookshelves [12] in South Africa, and seemingly the whole of Alaska [13]. Throughout the U.S. we’ve seen the removal of Confederate monuments [14]. Clearly, we have many unresolved issues with the past. But too often the rush to decolonize evades a discussion of history and instead paints everything that happened before today as irredeemably racist and wicked—in need of obliteration rather than discussion.

Last year, the journal Third World Quarterly [15] published an article in which Bruce Gilley set out “The Case for Colonialism.” Those who read the piece criticized it for shoddy scholarship and historical inaccuracies. But most of us will never know how it measured up, as the publication was soon withdrawn following threats to the journal’s editor. In the UK, Oxford University’s Professor Nigel Biggar [16] wrote a newspaper article arguing that people should not “feel guilty about our colonial history,” and as a consequence received a critical letter from over 200 colleagues and scholars condemning him as “an apologist for colonialism.” Biggar said: “There is a view that people with views like mine are not to be reasoned with, but only to be silenced.”

Preventing all discussion of colonialism erases, rather than confronts, the past. Indeed, the logic of the decolonize movement is that colonialism is not a legacy of history but a malignant impact upon the present. This sleight of hand allows campaigners to equate past invasion, murder, oppression, and exploitation with being made to sit through a lecture on Kant or Shakespeare in an expensive and elite institution.

The move to decolonize is not based on a nuanced critique of the West’s historical legacy. We cannot have a discussion that asks how and why colonialism occurred, and considers its impact then and now, because the conclusions have already been decided for us. Rather than questioning the past we must remove all trace of it from our universities, architecture, and food. We must start history afresh.

change_me

This Year Zero approach is inevitably censorious. It’s about removing monuments and articles, not adding to a national debate. Campaigners might claim they want to expand and diversify reading lists and university courses, but this is often disingenuous. When teaching time is limited, including new content means removing material elsewhere.

All teachers, professors, editors, and town planners should review what gets taught, written, and constructed. To teach the same courses year in, year out, without question, does students a disservice. New research may lead to a re-evaluation of material that had previously taken a central place within the curriculum. Knowledge should not be set in aspic but considered in new contexts. The problem with the decolonize movement is the basis on which it asks us to make these judgments.

The drive behind decolonize pushes us to consider the worth of art, literature, and all forms of knowledge based on biology rather than on intellectual merit. Instead of looking at what Hegel or WEB Du Bois, Audre Lorde or Sylvia Plath, have to offer in terms of beauty or truth, we are asked to make crude judgements based on sex and skin color, with white and male being bad, black and female being better. We are asked to start by assuming that knowledge carries no universal truth or relevance, that ideas can only ever represent and speak to particular identity groups.

Decolonize campaigns present black people and white people as two distinct groups with nothing in common. No books or facts or ideas can transcend this racial divide and be equally relevant to all. In this way, the decolonize movement entrenches racial thinking. It promotes a racist and patronizing view that black students can only learn if they see themselves, in a most basic and biological form, represented in the curriculum. This is to suggest that black students can only learn “black knowledge”; in other words, black students can’t learn Kant or Shakespeare.

Decolonize presents black people as bearing the scars of history and white people as benefiting from inherited privilege. In reality, wealthy students at elite universities have access to opportunities denied to youngsters from poorer families—irrespective of skin color. The presentation of all black students as victims and all white students as privileged masks the real inequalities with us today.

Ironically, the decolonize movement is colonizing more and more areas of life. As it does so it introduces an uncritical disdain for the past and a censorious, intolerant approach to the present. It entrenches racial thinking and presents a debilitating view of black people as burdened by historic victimhood. We do need to engage in a critical and open-minded debate about the legacy of colonialism—but the decolonize movement moves us further away from the likelihood that such a dialogue will take place.

Joanna Williams is the author of Women vs Feminism: Why We All Need Liberating from the Gender Wars [17].

91 Comments (Open | Close)

91 Comments To "The Censorious Left’s Latest Mania: ‘Decolonizing’ Everything"

#1 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 24, 2018 @ 5:35 pm

Or ask any untouchable and you’d understand they too have benefited

Lots of ‘untouchables’ died during the famines caused by British mismanagement of the economy, you know.

#2 Comment By Dave Z On February 24, 2018 @ 5:40 pm

If they really want to de-colonize their diet, they should start by eliminating about 90% of it in order to reach the level at which they’d be eating without western European technology. They could complete their cultural transformation by eschewing their use of indoor plumbing and all electronic devices, both inventions of western Europe and the U.S. No cheating by reading any books, either: western civilization invented the printing press. When they’re completely done, then I could perhaps begin to take them seriously. Of course I can’t imagine how I’d find out about their accomplishment, since they’d necessarily demand that they have no media coverage (sorry, all modern media derive from western Europe’s discoveries).

#3 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 24, 2018 @ 5:40 pm

“Decolonizing” the diet is a movement across Indian Country back towards healthy eating, emphasizing pre-contact foods and more importantly, getting all of the wheat based carbs and junk food out of your diet. It includes eating the “three sisters” (corn, beans, squash), berries, tomatoes, fish, lean meats, and such

You do realize that “corn” is a high carbohydrate food too, right? And that Mesoamericans probably ate a more carbohydrate-heavy diet than Europeans due to their lack of domesticated animals? (Dogs and turkeys and a few smaller ones, but no large beasts of burden).

It’s also unclear to me why you think “wheat based carbs” are any more objectionable of a food item than corn- wheat is a more nutritious and higher-protein grain than rice or corn, or for that matter more than most staple grains with the exception of millet.

Sugar, I’ll give you. Sugar isn’t great for anyone.

#4 Comment By LFM On February 24, 2018 @ 7:28 pm

Hector_St_Clare writes in response to me, “Um, no. Africans are in general quite optimistic about the future- this seems to be a general attribute of African cultures. You can argue that they shouldn’t be optimistic based on material circumstances, but happiness and optimism about the future is mostly a subjective thing which often has relatively little to do with material circumstances.”

As the original comment appeared to be addressing material circumstances, including such matters as segregation, poverty and persecution, I am puzzled that you should switch to non-material circumstances as an indicator of the well-being of African or American black people. I mean, I do not know if their happiness or satisfaction was ever recorded at the time, but is it not possible that they managed occasionally to be happy even under the unpleasant conditions of the past, if that is what we’re talking about?

Scientist 880’s comment made sense within its confines but left out some significant issues. Yours does not even have that quality.

#5 Comment By The Scientist 880 On February 25, 2018 @ 7:12 am

LFM,

You don’t know any black people well clearly, so you’re clearly uninformed as to their feelings about the future. How can you comment on that which you know nothing about?

#6 Comment By The Scientist 880 On February 25, 2018 @ 7:21 am

Rick,

What are you talking about? Colonialism was about exploitation period. You also can’t ask a modern person of colonialism was worth it because they aren’t the people who had to pay the price of living through it. Most people in colonized countries would answer your question of was colonialism worth it with a resounding no. No one likes taxation without representation. No one likes being dominated and having their cultures destroyed intentionally or being intentionally infected with small pox. This is common sense.

#7 Comment By Weldon On February 25, 2018 @ 7:42 am

“The latest”. Aww, that’s cute. I love it when op-ed writers suddenly discover a word.

Decolonization studies and practices started about 50 years ago.

#8 Comment By Joe On February 25, 2018 @ 9:00 am

The end goal of “decolonialization” can only be the elimination or overthrow of the United States. The most radical, extremist ideologies are tolerated on the left by useful idiots in the societal elite. Since the 1960s, the far left has been patted on the head, laughed at and indulged. If that does not end, western civilization will. Because that is what they want.

#9 Comment By Andy Chapelle On February 25, 2018 @ 9:12 am

I hit the exit ramp on this piece after the very first sentence. It’s Northern Michigan University. There is no North Michigan University.

#10 Comment By CapitalistRoader On February 25, 2018 @ 9:37 am

Yes! Just look at what the Brit’s did to Hong Kong. Turned a peaceful, healthful, technologically advanced place into a third-world hellhole.

Singapore too!

#11 Comment By Jeff Campbell On February 25, 2018 @ 10:04 am

The “decolonization” movement (largely) attracts the weak. I think Nietzsche would have used the term “ressentiment” to describe the attitude of these losers. It is a bit sad, of course. Thinking that the removal of a course or a statue will effect any kind of substantial change is a bit like the young boy dressing up as Spider Man for Halloween and expecting to thereby gain superpowers. Although I (sort of) understand why these pathetic creatures agitate for their silly goals, we do them no favors by going along with their delusional approach to life.

#12 Comment By Male Matters USA On February 25, 2018 @ 10:28 am

The people believing an idea, the more authoritarian they become, bolstered by the numbers of supportive people.

#13 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On February 25, 2018 @ 11:35 am

You don’t know any black people well clearly, so you’re clearly uninformed as to their feelings about the future. How can you comment on that which you know nothing about?

Earlier in the thread, you mentioned the slavery of Jews in Egypt. Do you know any ancient Hebrews or ancient Egyptians?

#14 Comment By Henry Miller On February 25, 2018 @ 11:53 am

For much of the world, especially Africa, “decolonising” it roughly translates to throwing off any semblance of civilisation.

Maybe barbarity is all the “decolonisers” are capable of.

#15 Comment By MM On February 25, 2018 @ 12:33 pm

Sci-880:

What do you know about the history of academic freedom at universities?

How can you comment on this topic if you’re ignorant of such things? : )

#16 Comment By Alan L Hubbard On February 25, 2018 @ 1:15 pm

With all the silliness going on with PC language and thoughts, and “decolonization” of everything I’m glad, as my good friend Judy says, that I’m near the end of the first stage of the nitrogen cycle and will soon not have to put up with such tripe. I’m so upset that I feel like overeating, but I don’t know what to eat now, and I would go in the bathroom and cry but then again I’m not sure what bathroom is appropriate to use…. I’m so conflicted.

#17 Comment By EliteCommInc. On February 25, 2018 @ 1:18 pm

It’s hard to lean in the direction of my political opponents on what colonialism is and the purposes and impact of its application. It’s hard to where to jump in, but there is a lot of reactionary comments that are a bit stunning.
The identity as officially understood did begin in the 1950’s. It did not begin in the US. it’s roots go back to African black leaders ho began asserting their rights as the citizens of the various colonial powers: France, great Britain, Belgium . . .

Whatever it’s intent in the US, African identity in the Us can be traced as far as Marcus Garvey and earlier, but beyond creating a social foundation for Muslim’s from which to grow. Identity separate and apart form the country was focused on blacks as citizens. I think a look at the history indicates that a fairly positive leaning direction. Most of the violence in the country about color has been directed at blacks . The problem as I read , is that not many here understand why skin color issues have salience as a generalizable dynamic. By a segregating the population using nearly all of the country’s resources, the country one of the systems that could be examined historically obtain consistent data and experience. And that could be said whether one was black in Charlottesville, NYC, Dallas, Detroit, or San Francisco. The interactions between blacks and whites were embedded not just in socioapthy but policy. The refusal to assimilate blacks in the colonies as well as in the colony of the US created the avenue of a search for identity among blacks. The 1950’s is also the period when “christianity” started to lose salience among black populations as it became clear that no matter how “christ like” the dominant population would never graciously or with christ like humility embrace blacks regardless of their civility, save of course for a select few.

It’s 2018 and many of you actually believe that blacks in Africa were largely cannibals — good grief.

#18 Comment By Youknowho On February 25, 2018 @ 1:21 pm

Rick

If you want to know what the colonized think about colonialism, ask the Irish. Be prepared for strong expletives.

#19 Comment By Joe On February 25, 2018 @ 3:19 pm

Jeff Campbell:

I disagree. The dismissive attitude you display does nothing but enable the continuation of what is, at its core, a racist, revolutionary, totalitarian Marxist movement aimed at the overthrow of the United States. It has made enormous progress, and now holds enormous power at the highest levels of US institutions. We just had a president for 8 years in Obama who subscribed to it. The media, academia and the Democratic Party are completely controlled by it, and business has almost completely surrendered to it in fear. If it is not combated as forcefully as it is being promoted, the country will fall, and soon. You have to be living in a bubble to laugh this off as a trifling fringe movement.

#20 Comment By hamous On February 25, 2018 @ 3:42 pm

Weldon says: “The latest”. Aww, that’s cute. I love it when op-ed writers suddenly discover a word.

“Decolonization studies and practices started about 50 years ago.”

Aww, that’s duplicitous. The author actually said “The Latest Mania”. And that’s exactly what “progressives” do – latch onto a concept, run it into the ground, then move onto the next blitheringly idiotic meme of the day. BLM, metoo, microgression, safe space, blah blah blah.

#21 Comment By R Ami On February 25, 2018 @ 5:09 pm

One good way to start “decolonizing” their lives is to give all the technology they use, from lighting up a lightbulb to using their cellphones…and while at it, stop driving cars and flying airplanes…no medicine for them, or medical advancements. Do way without aspirins and antibiotics.
In fact don’t open books or go to Harvard…it is all stuff made by white people, specially men.
Stupid people.

#22 Comment By Plato’s Cave On February 25, 2018 @ 7:10 pm

This is to suggest that black students can only learn “black knowledge”; in other words, black students can’t learn Kant or Shakespeare.
Wm. F. Buckley used to lament the fact that black extremists objected to Bach for the same inane reasons.
Are we soon approaching Orwell’s dark vision of 1984? i.e. “Every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

#23 Comment By Steve On February 25, 2018 @ 8:18 pm

The most proficient article about what’s happening in our society and delivered exquisitely.
It’s almost like a sanitization of the past. Pretending it never happened and that nothing ‘good’ ever came from Colonial times.
I guess it makes liberals and educational institutions (one in the same) feel better about themselves.
And it gives those poor non-white skinned victims a way to wallow in their pity while forfeiting the drive and desire to do something about where they are today to improve their lives.
Sad.

#24 Comment By DakotaKid On February 25, 2018 @ 9:16 pm

They should decolonize these Universities by refusing to take western money. Let us help them in this endeavor of decolonization by not giving any of that dirty colonial money to universities, not from the states and not from the federal government. Let them finance their own antics.

#25 Comment By LFM On February 26, 2018 @ 6:45 am

The Scientist 880 writes in response to me, “You don’t know any black people well clearly, so you’re clearly uninformed as to their feelings about the future. How can you comment on that which you know nothing about?” All I said, in fact, was that it would be a surprise to me if black people were as optimistic about the future as you claimed, and by that I meant only that this is not the impression I get from the statements of African-American public figures. (Think of Michelle Obama proclaiming that only the election of her husband had given her hope for America.) The black people I know in Canada, where I live, are indeed mostly optimistic.

I also pointed out that your original comment regarding the improvement in black people’s status and fortunes was US-centric. It didn’t take into account the lives of black people in places like Nigeria or South Africa.

#26 Comment By The Scientist 880 On February 26, 2018 @ 7:10 am

LFM,

“I also pointed out that your original comment regarding the improvement in black people’s status and fortunes was US-centric. It didn’t take into account the lives of black people in places like Nigeria or South Africa.”

This is an American website. Unless the article is specifically talking about a foreign nation, of course it’s US centric. When people are talking about changing the curriculum in college to teach students about the contributions made by blacks Asians and Hispanics, obviously we aren’t talking about Nigeria. Let’s not be deliberately obtuse here this is easy to follow.

#27 Comment By Egypt Steve On February 26, 2018 @ 9:26 am

Funny how conservatives remember certain things about leftism that most leftists have long since forgotten, and suddenly discover things that have been around for ever, labeling them the “latest mania.”

For the first phenomenon, I offer “Saul Alinsky,” whom this 57-year-old liberal extremist had never heard of until he suddenly became the bete noir of the right after Obama’s election. For the second, I would observe that I’ve been hearing rhetoric about “de-colonization” for decades.

#28 Comment By Interguru On February 26, 2018 @ 10:28 am

I grew up working class white. As I look at my old neighborhood swept with diabetes, obesity, and opioids, I see we are colonizing ourselves.

Of course, that is from an ethnic identity viewpoint. From a Marxist perspective, the upper class is colonizing the lower class.

#29 Comment By Lert345 On February 26, 2018 @ 1:22 pm

People have been ‘colonizing’ each other for thousands of years.`

If the upset only occurs when white people do it, then the offended should get a refund from whoever taught them history.

#30 Comment By Interguru On February 26, 2018 @ 1:25 pm

@Rick,

“What are you talking about? Colonialism was about exploitation period. You also can’t ask a modern person of colonialism was worth it because they aren’t the people who had to pay the price of living through it. Most people in colonized countries would answer your question”

The industrial revolution was a Dickensonian horror for those living through it. Exploitation by the 1% of the other 99%. We all benefit from it, with longer healthier lives and material abundance. Was it worth it?

#31 Comment By EliteCommInc. On February 26, 2018 @ 1:57 pm

“Do way without aspirins and antibiotics.
In fact don’t open books or go to Harvard…it is all stuff made by white people . . .”

Tell me you don’t believe that medicinals are a white people’s invention. And you might want to actually take a look at the history of inn inoculations and where the idea is first derived and from whom.
__________________

” . . . western civilization invented the printing press. When they’re completely done, then I could perhaps begin to take them seriously.”

But writing was introduced into civilization 6,000 years ago on the African continent. I doubt they will be concerned about your seriousness, when contesting so frivolously.

I take it the next contend will be about toilets which would not exist without the development of aqueducts and plumbing which aren’t western inventions either.
__________________

“Please stop virtue signaling. This forum is for intelligent debate not for the Ideologically possessed to play status games.”

and

“I doubt you are Christian and you just used this space to take a swipe at Christians? See you in church?”

I am going to defend a christian’s right to be disappointed in their country and their fellow christians. A nation claiming to uphold christian values — a deeply conservative ethos —

Has two obligations at work here:

1. to act as christ
2. when in error acknowledge it

Both are conservative principles

Oh, it is rumored they are principles of faith and practice of christians , so I am told.

#32 Comment By The Scientist 880 On February 26, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

Interguru,

“The industrial revolution was a Dickensonian horror for those living through it. Exploitation by the 1% of the other 99%. We all benefit from it, with longer healthier lives and material abundance. Was it worth it?”

Would you sign up to be shot by private armies and mangled in heavy machine accidents all so someone born 60 years after you could have a better life? This isn’t even a fair question because the person actually living through this kind of horror show can’t even bank on the idea that things will be better in the future because there was no reason to think things would improve. Feudalism persisted for hundreds of years with the poor going centuries with zero improvement in their living standards. I didn’t pay the price for industrialization so asking me if it was “worth it” will obviously lead to a resounding yes vote on my behalf since I got benefits and the costs were born by other people. A better question would be would I be willing to live through industrialization as a poor worker, or through slavery as a slave or through Jim Crow so that my decedents could have a better life? My answer to that is absolutely not. I have one life and I have no interest in sacrificing in that way for anyone.

#33 Comment By LFM On February 26, 2018 @ 3:02 pm

Scientist 880, I am not being obtuse. After all, the use and abuse of the concept of “decolonization” is the subject of the post above, and thus all peoples who have been affected by colonization are relevant to it. What struck me about your comment was that it referred to ‘black people’ without qualification, which is a rather colonialist thing to do.

#34 Comment By Ed On February 26, 2018 @ 8:11 pm

Of course you can find talk here and there about “decolonization” in the past. Fifty years ago that talk referred to newly independent African and Asian states. The Black Panthers and SDS applied that talk to the US. Academia began to turn towards post-colonial and subaltern studies about thirty years ago.

But I don’t recall undergraduates getting deeply into talk of decolonization or arguments about it reaching the general public until much more recently. I’d say Williams is right about focus on decolonization being a recent thing, whether or not one wants to use the word “mania.”

But leaving aside the undergraduate activists, we can’t talk about American history — the Revolution, the Founders, Westward Expansion, the Civil War — in the way we once could, or our parents could. People in some groups are going to view our past as colonialist and imperialist. I don’t see how that can change — barring some kind of catastrophe that requires all American pulling together.

#35 Comment By Interguru On February 26, 2018 @ 10:22 pm

@The Scientist 880

“A better question would be would I be willing to live through industrialization as a poor worker, or through slavery as a slave or through Jim Crow so that my decedents could have a better life?”

During the world wars of the last century, tens of millions of men marched towards death, sometimes an almost certain death for the sake of their descendants. Most were conscripts but some were volunteers. I admit that war is not the same as a Dickensonian mine or mill, but there are some who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the future good.

#36 Comment By Zigzag On February 27, 2018 @ 4:38 am

Would i live through hell for my son to have a better life? Hell yes i would. Thats been the driving force behind human endeavours for centuries, and what made America especially unique. No wonder the left wants to tear it all down.

#37 Comment By The Scientist 880 On February 27, 2018 @ 6:56 am

Interguru,

“During the world wars of the last century, tens of millions of men marched towards death, sometimes an almost certain death for the sake of their descendants. Most were conscripts but some were volunteers. I admit that war is not the same as a Dickensonian mine or mill, but there are some who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the future good.”

No that’s not even remotely the same thing. They were conscripted but their countries were at war. They themselves and their children feared subjugation if they didn’t defenf themselves. If you were a factory worker living an s tenement and working 12 hour’s a day, 6 days a week, nothing in world history would lead you to believe things would be better for your children, and they weren’t since the kids were going in mines and getting black lung just like daddy.

#38 Comment By The Scientist 880 On February 27, 2018 @ 6:59 am

Plato’s Cave,

Buckley used to argue that white southerners had a right to use terroristic violence against blacks in order to maintain white supremacy because whites were more civilized and deserved to rule even if it was undemocratic. He was the definition of a racist.

#39 Comment By The Scientist 880 On February 27, 2018 @ 7:09 am

Ed,

“But leaving aside the undergraduate activists, we can’t talk about American history — the Revolution, the Founders, Westward Expansion, the Civil War — in the way we once could, or our parents could. People in some groups are going to view our past as colonialist and imperialist. I don’t see how that can change — barring some kind of catastrophe that requires all American pulling together.”

The reason you didn’t hear this decolonization talk 50 years ago is because the university system and all other institutions of power were almost exclusively white back then.

Who is this “we” you speak of? It’s always been clear to non-white people what these events you mentioned were like. This isn’t s new development intellectually, it’s just new that these groups have a voice in society now.

#40 Comment By Northern Observer On February 27, 2018 @ 9:39 am

This fetish for de-colonialism will pass, it simply can’t keep a straight face or maintain the moral high ground. Given the vast numbers of de-colonization failures; the corpses, the wealth destruction, the political tyranny. The burden of proof lies squarely with the de-colonizers to prove the moral necessity of their project. Where is the good? Where is the benefit? For whom and from whom? The more you know, the less you believe in decolonization as a legitimate endeavor.
The most coherent excuse I’ve ever heard for the failures of decolonization is that it took place when Marxism was in vogue and hence the new regimes were illiberal in economic and political orientation and failure was baked into the cake – a final insult to the colonized that their liberation would be stillbirths as it too was colonized by European ideas of “resistance” and “liberation” That being said, shouldn’t a competent national elite, one that claims the moral supremacy of revolutionary violence, be capable of choosing a competent ideological frame on which to build the future? It’s enough to make you believe that history is just a series of mishaps and errors.
The great leftist moralist of today had best look clearly and measure carefully in what they choose to keep and what they choose to toss; they are liable to obliterate some ‘white’ practice or institution that they need for tomorrow, their racist worldview making them incapable of seeing the value of a thing beyond the skin color of its inventors. That is absurdity and the tragedy of de-colonization, that it can’t judge things usefully because of its racist frame, and that it enacts the very thing it claims to overturn.

#41 Comment By kevin on the left On February 28, 2018 @ 7:16 pm

“But leaving aside the undergraduate activists, we can’t talk about American history — the Revolution, the Founders, Westward Expansion, the Civil War — in the way we once could, or our parents could. People in some groups are going to view our past as colonialist and imperialist”

This,is of, course, abject nonsense. A quick perusal of say, the Amazon bestseller list for the American revolution reveals that it is completely dominated by completely orthodox works devoted to the founders and their genius (even ignoring the O’reilly and Kilmeade products in that list..)https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Revolution-Founding-History/zgbs/books/4871

What you are actually complain about is that “we” can’t talk about the Revolution and the Civil War like “our” fathers talked about them, without other people arguing with “us” and offering their own takes on the matter. In others words, snowflake much?