Foreground: small Knitted Corny. Back Row: Lord Cornwallis and assorted fellow POM
(Persons of Material) gathered together in a poignant last stand for colonialism.
Standard Bearer: Edward of Bristol Harbour
Attr: Corny's Corner
I know a few things about colonialism. I learned these things from growing up in Kenya, a former British colony. I have always been interested in hearing what other people think about colonialism, the advantages and disadvantages, and how it has influenced the socioeconomic outcomes of former colonies and their peoples.
Now Bruce Gilley’s Studies in Anti-Colonialism, a book series that aims “to raise questions about the normative and empirical validity of anti-colonial perspectives, to stimulate debate and offer new solutions to pressing global problems” has been characterised as a threat to public health: it risks exposing readers to positive views on colonialism.
Many people consider Bruce's work to be interesting and important, advancing our understanding of the world and our place in it. But his books have now been deemed too dangerous for innocent readers to be exposed to, because the series exposes the truth about colonialism and some of that truth might not fit the woke 'social justice' narrative.
The notion that writing on colonial history should be policed by self-appointed guardians of ‘fairness’ and ‘justice’ (as defined and enforced by themselves) and that no academic inquiry into the nature of colonialism should be published unless it conforms to leftist egalitarian diktat, is abhorrent.
The self-appointed gatekeepers who dictate what other people should be permitted to read have justified their autocratic edicts under the new mantra of our age: it’s for our own protection, to keep us all safe and to save lives. The sociologist Frank Furedi depicts this strategy as a Hobbesian trade-off: that freedom must be curtailed to keep people safe.
The public-safety argument here is that if we read Bruce's books, we might feel hurt, and we don't want to live in a world where we might get hurt by stuff we read! That would make us feel very unsafe! The more books published by people we disagree with, the more our lives will be put at risk! We need somebody to protect us, by checking all the books BEFORE they get published, and making sure there is nothing dangerous and life-threatening written in there. By burning all the books that might hurt our feelings, we can all be kept safe and happy. See how that works?
I disagree with that view of public safety, and with its extension to policing books and other academic publications.
Black people who have come up out of colonialism do not need to be protected from the idea that maybe some good stuff emerged from the colonial experience. We know that so many good things came out of colonialism. We were there. That's how we know. We experienced both the trauma and the liberation of colonialism ourselves, and nobody from their blinkered and mollycoddled ivory tower can tell us that what we experienced in the trenches is not true. I know what is true, because I was there and the anti-colonial artists who want to 'decolonise' everything were not. They know nothing about the matter. All they know, is how woke they are, and how important it is to destroy anyone who does not admire the woke way of life.
Anti-colonialist dictators have no idea what colonialism was all about, they just think the idea of 'decolonising' fits well with wokism because it signals all those egalitarian virtues, and that's all they need to know. This is why egalitarianism is a dangerous ideology: egalitarians start by declaring everything to be identikit, and then take up an axe and hack away at everything until the entire universe and all humanity are remoulded to fit with their ideals. There is no reasoning with them, and they will not rest until they achieve their goal.
The news that Africans can make up their own minds about what to read may come as a huge surprise to all the wokerati who are new to the discourse - it is only in the last few years that the woke have discovered, to their growing horror, that there is a place called Africa! Where poverty and hunger and other social ills abound! Wow, they are shocked. They didn't know that. Nobody told them about that.
Wow, who knew colonialism was a thing. Everyone thought Africa was exactly like Wakanda, with scientific and cutting-edge industrial technology that emerged fully formed from the earth, only to be destroyed by the greedy white people who came to mine for gold and destroyed all the African achievements in the process. Now Bruce Gilley comes along with a theory that, actually, colonialism brought all those magnificent advancements to Africa: reading, writing, and science. Even clothes. Gilley claims these didn't exist in Africa before colonialism. Has Gilley not seen the evidence clearly shown in Marvel Comics as to who really built all the schools and hospitals in Africa and saved the women from circumcision and being burned for witches? It was Thoth, Egyptian god of the moon and wisdom. Everyone who has watched Black Panther knows Africans had their own gods to create everything they needed to live in the modern world.
So now, quickly, to make up for lost time, the Wokerati are on a mission to fix the record urgently. Start by cancelling Bruce the Heretic. Then rewrite the history of Africa from scratch. Burn all the books that were previously written since the 16th century. To clear the slate, you understand. Then police all the new books coming through, and thus remake Africa in the Woke image.
We are not persuaded by the new wokist religion, we who are African, because we know what Africa means. We understand what it is, with all its trials and triumphs. We do not come along out of Africa in search of mad wokists who can kindly woke-splain to us all about 'whiteness' and the meaning of colonialism. Nobody can cancel our lives and our own lived experience. We sat in the schools built by the British, we read English literature, we were taught by British teachers, we sang Jerusalem in the brushland of the African savanna (only marginally green and pleasant), and we know what we think about all of that. We have formed our own view of the matter, thank you.
We may be black (yes, it's a trial) but we managed to figure this out all by ourselves, like actual human beings with brains and reasoning abilities (I know, shocking!) We are the living testament to what colonialism achieved, and nobody can cancel us or force us to reset ourselves to fit the New Woke Order.
Life is a balance of good and evil, and the idea that some good may emerge from difficult circumstances is a self-evident truth. And so it is with colonialism. Once you realise that life is complex (who knew!), you can relax and read anything you find interesting and insightful. Read what you want! It’s a free world, my friend. You will enjoy life much more if you think for yourself and decide for yourself what to believe.
Fly, you fools! Flee from anybody who tries to tell you what to read and what to think. If they are trying to 'decolonise' your reading list for you, and promising to keep you safe from life, they are not your friend. They are not trying to help ethnic minorities by forcing everyone to 'decolonise', nor do they care if your life is destroyed by their woke experiments - all they are doing is signalling virtue to people like themselves and jostling for power.
Ignore the anti-colonialists. Ignore the equality artists, too, and all other forms of woke creatures who are trying to enslave you. You are just the collateral damage in their petty power struggles. Live your life. Expand your world. Study colonialism from all angles positive and negative. Embrace all the benefits. Quit navel-gazing about the downsides because that's a waste of your precious time - what's done is done and you can't go back in time and rewrite history.
Find out why some scholars think colonialism had more benefits than costs. Coming soon to a bookshop near you. Read it and make up your own mind about the legacy of colonialism. Gilley writes:
If you had to design the world from scratch, because you were God and the universe was giving you a second chance to try and get it right, you probably wouldn’t design a world in which some people enslave others, and some nations build empires by colonising other people. But you aren’t God, and you aren’t redesigning the world. Yes, I know about the great reset folks, but they aren't God either.
Moreover, history shows, that even if you chose a different starting point from which to build a new and better world because you think this one sucks, you’d still face multiple unpredictable problems that would probably be much worse than the problems you were trying to avoid in the first place. You'd find yourself hankering for a world in which the greatest threat you faced was somebody publishing a book that favoured colonialism.
Life unfolds in such unpredictable ways, and not even the wokerati can fashion the world and all its humanity in their own image. Won’t stop them trying, though. But you have a choice, as to how you respond, and whether you will let the anti-colonialism police force their ideologically purged reading-lists onto you.
Scholar, Writer, Friend