Certain colonial logic entrenches the ideals of racist values. For this reason, we, as consumers of our surroundings, must holistically examine the context of what we take in. Living in western centric societies such as Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Australia and the like, we’re mandated to take part in primary and secondary education. For this reason, a large portion of our lives is spent in school. Approximately 1,300-1,600 hours to be exact (depending on the school system).
This large portion of our days reaffirms neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the concept that our brains mold to the environments, concepts, and ideas we’re presented. Our education systems perpetuate neuroplasticity.
Colonialism is a set of institutions, practices, and techniques to view others. From this statement, let’s first examine our history courses. The history curricula of the U.S ‘inadvertently’ glorifies western civilization. Although we can’t expect evenly distributed lessons for the entirety of the world, to casually deny the history, validation, and humanization of African civilization is to encourage the narrow-mindedness of students. To touch on the grandiose Egyptian civilization within a week, and devote months to the Boston tea party is to denounce the ingenuity, wisdom, and resilience of the African diaspora. Not only is this problematic, but to use Egypt as the sole representation of Africa is misleading. Not to mention that Egypt being a part of Africa is often times averted. And after all, Africa is the land of the impoverished, uneducated, and HIV afflicted.
Slavery, however, is the most overt mention of racism within our history lessons. With this in mind, we have become distracted when it comes to analyzing the mechanism in which colonialism is and was implemented. Our courses fail to dispel the myth that slavery was justified. Justified as an institution looking to the other as inherently less than.
Oftentimes, the strongest rulers in our history lessons were solely portrayed as western and Europeans who expended dominance over the entire world. Strong, with its positive connotation, described such rulers, while the barbaric means of achieving their power were often ignored. For this reason, leaders such as Christopher Columbus remain glorified without acknowledgment of the draconian methods of violence, slavery, and religious persecution imposed on the indigenous.
Because our education system fosters a glorified apathy for colonial mechanisms, acknowledging the problematic nature is not enough. It’s only by becoming conscious consumers of our education, asking questions, and challenging rhetoric, that we can foster a shift in our history courses. And from there, we can look into other institutions—the media, and sciences— for their mechanisms of utilizing neo-colonialism.