Sunday, July 21, 2024

Colonial Hangover and The ‘White Man’s Guilt’

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The Colonial Era was a trying time for all civilizations on earth. A few power-hungry nations used heinous and contemptible ways to manipulate the freedom of several nations. They divided the world into ‘Have’ or colonies and ‘Have Not’ or colonizers. The ‘Have Not’ willfully exploited the ‘Have’ for their resources. The entire game of colonization was an attempt by the ‘Have Not’ to become a ‘Have’ by looting their colonies. Thus, the colonizers betrayed the trust of friendly nations and used divisive politics to attain power one nation at a time. Consequently, the colonizing nations built empires on the back of the colonies.  

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Indians believe they were the only nation where the colonial era destroyed civilizational roots and beliefs. However, nothing can be further from the truth. The Colonial Era destroyed the entire African continent, the Indian- Subcontinent, the Americas, China, South-East Asia, and the Caribbean. The greed for power and hunger for resources led the deprived European continent’s ‘White Man’ to blindly conquer foreign lands. The current social trend is that if you are ‘White’, you owe an unpayable debt to society. Therefore, the end of colonialism divided the global population into two groups again, the ‘Colonial Hangover’ group and the ‘White Man’s Guilt’ group.

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Colonial Hangover:

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The years of oppression under a colonial power have left indelible marks on the people of the colonized nation and their spirits. The superpowers of the colonial era used many underhand techniques to dismantle the local belief systems, forcefully impose Christianity, and destroy the self-esteem of the citizens of their colonies. These actions ensured that even though the population of colonized nations was present in numbers, their spirit to fight back was broken forever. Consequently, they effectively lowered the scope of revolts and aggression against themselves.

Additionally, the colonizer left their colonies under crippling debts by looting their resources and instilling draconian systems in their place. These acts have left the erstwhile colonies with a “Colonial Hangover’ syndrome.

Indian Subcontinent:

The colonial legacy of British rule in the Indian subcontinent left a lasting impact on its society. The divide-and-rule policy continues to culturally influence the local population of the region. All Indians also suffer this ‘Colonial Hangover’ even today. The Indian population strives to prove that they are equal to their colonial masters. This  drives modern Indians to emulate the British in dress, language, morals, and political beliefs. The British Raj reshaped the political, economic, and social fabric of the Indian Subcontinent. Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis, and others faced a legacy of a crippling scarcity of resources, clashes among religious groups, an inherent slave mentality, a servile acceptance of supremacy of the ‘White’, and an awe of the White Man.

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African Continent:

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The African nations experienced colonial rule by European powers, such as Britain, France, Portugal, and the US. Even today, the resources of Africa are covertly exploited by their erstwhile colonizers through militant groups and puppet governments. The ‘Colonial Hangover’ in Africa is characterized by the socio-economic inequalities among the rich and poor. Moreover, the linguistic and cultural suppression has created a dark chasm in the societies of Africa. The ethnic divisions encouraged by the colonizers have resulted in political instability and ethnic clashes within many African nations. The colonizers prevent progress of African nations by using underhanded strategies to manipulate militant groups within the region.

Southeast Asia:

Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines were once colonized by European powers, primarily the Dutch, British, French, and Spanish. These countries faced a breakdown of societal systems, forced conversions, and the destruction of self-esteem. The colonial legacy in these regions can be observed in their language, legal systems, education, and economic disparities.

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The White Man’s Guilt

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While the colonial era ended in the 20th century, its echoes are felt in the “Third-world Countries” struggle for recognition and progress. The ‘Have’ regions were turned into husks of their former self. They were successfully made ‘Have Not’ by their oppressors. However, the annals of history mark all European and US citizens as a ‘White’ race that specialized in oppressing the weak. This harsh, but true, reality gave birth to the “White Man’s Guilt” concept. This term refers to a feeling of guilt or responsibility that Europeans and white US citizens feel. The history of colonization and exploitation often shows the “White” subjugating and oppressing “Non-White” populations. These ‘Whites’ hope that they can make amends for their abuse of power and privilege by their forefathers. 

Lately, the non-whites to assign blame to all white people in any skirmish on the basis of this ‘guilt’. The latest racial profiling bill passed in the USA under the guise of caste equality is a testimony to ‘whites’ making amends to the ‘browns’. The gender ideologists, the black activists, and the propagators of dissent are using ‘White Man’s Guilt’ as a free pass for themselves to expect preferential treatment. Even those in power make decisions based on this guilt. For example, the European Union allowed refugees into European nations to assuage this ‘White Man’s Guilt’. Consequently, the oppressed Africans are ready to dance on while Europe burns. 

The trend of racial hate against a white person is on the rise.  Even those who have never enslaved or colonized anyone are being targeted by delusionals in hope of reparations. Thus, the white population of the colonizing nations is feeling the heat of reverse-oppression. Moreover, they are too guilt-ridden to fight back against any accusations.

Conclusion

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The blot of colonization is impossible to be erased in the minds of the oppressors and the oppressed. However, assuaging guilt through self-destruction policies like affirmative action, preferential hiring, diversity admissions, and undue reverence of refugees is incorrect. The colonizing nations’ population should accept that their forefathers did reprehensible acts in their search for gains and power. However, they need to stop overcompensating for it. Acceptance should not translate into over-the-top behavior.

The colonized nations need to remember their past to learn from their mistakes. They must learn to stand on their own accomplishments and not demand recompensation from the white man. Their focus should be to rebuild destroyed family systems, educational beliefs, and harmony from the grassroots. 

Each society must rebuild the relationship of trust and friendship as equals; not as oppressors and oppressed. Colonialism can only end when the world stops justifying its existence. And oppression should end with the oppressor. The oppressed should rise above acts of moral ransom against the oppressors. That may be the only road to the much vaunted ‘World Peace.’ 

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