7 Apr 2014

Truth and Reconciliation Story Illustrates Colonization of the Mind


As I was reading through news articles a few days ago for one of my posts, I came across this story about an Aboriginal man who, as a kid, kept aggressively scrubbing his skin while taking baths. His mom caught him one day and asked why he was scrubbing so hard. His answer: "I don't want to be an Indian. I want to be white." I'm sure this narrative has recycled itself thousands of times over, especially when social institutions are constantly ramming in the myth that being white is better than being an ethnic minority.

On top of that, these social institutions want minorities to adopt the white culture and disown their family's culture and traditions. It does this by painting ugly images of minority cultures and spreads this propaganda via education, media, religion etc. This is what colonization of the mind looks like.

Take for example the colonization of Aboriginals by Europeans. A social studies class will teach you that Europeans came over to North America and traded with "Indians." After a while, the Europeans began to like the land and tricked the "Indians" into giving it to them for very little. Some opposed the trade, and as a result, many died in battle. But at the end, the Europeans got the land.



Then, residential schools were created where Aboriginal children were abducted by "school administrators" to attend a special Eurocentric school. Here, they were abused and forced to absorb all things European, and vomit out all things Aboriginal. After many years, the schools closed down, the government apologized and gave the Aboriginals money, and that is it -- everything is resolved.

But the social studies class didn't teach anything about the legacy that all of these atrocious events left behind for the Aboriginal peoples; they don't teach about how that genocide is affecting Aboriginals right now. Instead, most teachers will just show videos of Native peoples bumming around the streets, asking for spare change or looking for booze and drugs, or receiving help in rehab centers, and then ask the students if they are moved by the scenes.

Oh, and they'll show videos and share news stories of the horrible living conditions on reserves, but will never tell you why all of this is happening. As a result, students will think that the Native peoples' bad situation is self-inflicted.

So when young First Nations children see this, of course, they are going to feel shame and disgrace and want to be white, as, if they were white, they would at least be represented fairly and correctly in the media and history books, instead of being told that they are worthless pieces of meat. Social institutions are prejudiced when it comes to non-white people's history, culture and representation, and it needs to be fixed, not only for the health of Aboriginal children but all minority children.

What are your thoughts on this? Share them below.

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