Something Called Colorism

colorism

My previous posts addressed the issues of post-colonization and the lack of development in Africa. The posts were a reflection about who was behind the lack of development and why. For my final post, I will be addressing the lasting after affects of post-colonialism that has also stunted development in Africa, but has nothing to do with money or greed. It has everything to do with lasting psychological and sociological affects on the indigenous people. It’s something called colorism.

According to Baruti (2000), colorism is a global prejudice that people of African ancestry have toward each other and seemingly use against or to the advantage of themselves and others with relatively similar complexion. Herring (2004) also defines colorism as “discriminatory treatment of individuals falling within the same ‘racial’ group on the basis of skin color” (p. 21).

Colorism has caused a social division among tribes in Africa. Due to colonization there is this perception that lighter skinned Africans are  Black seen as superior to their darker skinned brothers and sisters. For example the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The Europeans who colonized Rwanda turned indigenous Hutus against immigrant Tutsis. The Tutsis had more westernized features thus they were granted higher positions in society. The darker hutus were taking revenge on the Tutsis who had been favored and been in control for the longest time during colonial rule simply because they were lighter and more Caucasian looking. This genocide was caused by colorism used to maintain social order thanks to European imperialist.

European imperialists are to blame for bringing the “lighter skin is righter” mentality to indigenes of colonized lands in Africa. Pre-colonial colorism indoctrinated non-European populations with harmful racial ideologies. So, it wasn’t enough for the Western world to invaded, pressure, conquest, and colonize due to European nations scramble for African. It wasn’t enough for these once colonies to face poverty and be forced to take huge loans from theses wealthy western countries to sustain their countries leaving them with foreign debt. It wasn’t enough for the indigenous people to unwillingly give up their land to foreigners. It wasn’t enough. So, the Europeans instilled modern Western racism; light skin became a symbol of wealth and class.

Acknowledging the implications of pre-colonial colorism is the next step to ending this ideology. Some do not recognize that this ideology is wealth-based and encourages color prejudices. This ideology fail to see the role of social conditioning.

Works Cited

“Global Colorism: An Ethical Issue and Challenge in Bioethics.” Voices in Bioethics. N.p., 09 Sept. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Compass, Sociology. Sociology Compass 1/1 (2007): 237–254, 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2007.00006.x The Persistent Problem of Colorism: Skin Tone, Status, and Inequality (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

“Real Differences: History, Inequality and Oppression.” The Origins of Conflict in Rwanda. N.p., n.d. W

Land Grabbing in Africa: The New Colonialism

african-farm

In my last post about post-colonization in African I discussed dependency theory and how it was a way for former colonizers to continue to exploit their former colonial countries with economic dependence. Essentially, trapping poor countries by large debts which prevent them from developing. To understand how Africa was trying to unscramble itself from foreign debt we have to look at land grabbing. “Land grabbing is the buying or leasing of large pieces of land in developing countries, by domestic and transnational companies, governments, and individuals” -(Stopafricanlandgrab).

I see land grabbing as a step towards re-colonization in Africa. Like the 19th century colonization, the new wave of land grabbing is well-intentioned. It is also well-planned, in the same way the 19th century colonization was by European powers of the time. But, this time around the African Union is complicit in this new plan. Introducing the “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa” and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).The  African Centre for Bio-Safety has labelled the plans as a “new wave of colonialism” (Mwesigire, 2014). The plans includes direct foreign investment in agriculture, allows the use of genetically modified seeds, and allows land ownership laws to favor these foreign companies. This takes away major opportunities from small-scale farmers. The foreign companies who will grow food for their own consumption are disempowering local farmers. How? They are essentially controlling their lives by turning them into consumers of products they cannot produce. Also, these genetically modified seeds the foreign companies are using are destroying the continents sustainability.

In Lorenzo Cotula’s book The Great African Land Grab? (2013). Provided evidence about the current situation by focusing on a handful of countries where land inventories have been conducted: Sudan, Nigeria, Mozambique, Liberia, and Ethiopia. The evidence Cotula provides about these five countries show that 10 million hectares of land was taken from the citizens and given to investors between 2004 to 2009. Also, a study reviewed in Cotula’s book showed that about half of all the land acquired in Africa between 2005 and 2011 was by Western companies; with European companies leading the way. This is a situation that resembles the colonial era land grabs.

In Ethiopia it was reported that the government has forced tens of thousands of people off their land, and given it to ‘investors’ in 2012. That land was bought Saudi Arabian and Chinese investors with the intention to grow rice and export that rice to their countries. Also, in Liberia, around 169,000 hectares had allegedly been given to the Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) (a British palm oil company) by the government, without consulting over 7,000 people of the Jogbahn clan who have lived on the land for several generations.

As a result of the growing situation, the first Africa Conference on Land Grab is being organized at the Pan African Parliament. The goal of this conference is to halt the recolonization of the continent.

Works Cited:

“African Land Grabs; We Cannot Expect Companies and Financiers to Regulate Themselves.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 13 Mar. 2015. Web

“The Land Grabs in Africa You Don’t Hear about.” Africa Is a Country. 13 Nov. 2015.

“Land Grabbing in Africa, the New Colonialism.” This Is Africa. Web

Cotula, Lorenzo. The Great African Land Grab?: Agricultural Investments and the Global Food System. Print.

“Stop Africa Land Grab – The Global Movement to Rollback Africa Land Grab.” Stop Africa Land Grab – The Global Movement to Rollback Africa Land Grab. Web.

Dependency Theory

African-Plea-Reducing-Foreign-Aid

In my most recent post about colonization to post-colonization in African I ended with this sentence “Africa is left to unscramble itself.” To understand why; we have to look at dependency theory. Colonialism allowed wealthy western countries to “take” unclaimed territories or “their colonies” for material benefits. Now, these once colonies face poverty and are forces to take huge loans from these wealthy western countries (their colonizers) to sustain their countries. Leaving them with foreign debt. (Foreign debt: A debt that a country, an organization in a country, or a resident individual in a country owes to those in other countries.)

Therefore, dependency theory is a way for former colonizers to continue to exploit their former colonial countries with economic dependence. This is the main cause of poverty not only in Africa, but globally. Dependency allows countries to develop at an uneven rate. Why? Because wealthy countries have exploited poor countries in the past and continue to do so today through foreign debt and foreign trade.

In Alfred Ndi’s article “Why economic growth theories became a fiction of development in postcolonial Africa: Critiquing foreign aid policy as discourse” (2010), shows how “economic growth theories that had been applied do not bring a higher per capita income or GDP and social progress to Africans, but rather lead to underdevelopment by using dependency, power and new ideologies.” – (Nielsen)

Poor countries are trapped by large debts which prevent them from developing. Africa received $540 billion in loans from these wealthy western nations such as United States. This was done through the World Bank and IMF. Today, African countries have currently paid back $550 billion of their debt, but due to compound interest African countries are still in $295 billion in debt. Since, African countries are constantly paying off debts they are unable to develop economically or socially. Leaving theses countries to continue to remain undeveloped. Although, opinions about dependency theory are biased. Dependency theorists think “economic aid is not necessarily the key to reducing poverty and developing, but rather debt relief may be a more effective step.” Meanwhile, others think that aid encouraged Africans to move further and on the other hand some of the scholars regard aid as a way to construct Africa’s ‘dependency’ from the west.

Through unequal economic relations with wealthy countries in the form of continued debts and foreign trade, poor countries continue to be dependent and unable to tap into their full potential for development.” – Boundless Sociology

Works Cited

Author: Jorgen Ulff-Moller Nielsen. The Effects of Colonialism on African Economic Development (n.d.): n. pag. Web.

Author: Martin Odei Ajei. Africa’s Development: The imperatives of Indigenous Knowledge and Values

“Dependency Theories.” Boundless Sociology. Boundless, 21 Jul. 2015. Retrieved 01 Apr. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/global-stratification-and-inequality-8/sociological-theories-and-global-inequality-72/dependency-theories-428-8541/

Scramble for Africa

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During the 1870s and 1900s, Africa faced military invasions, diplomatic pressures, and eventually conquest and colonization due to European nations scramble for Africa. African nations tried to resist against the colonization of their countries and foreign domination by essentially fighting against their colonizers. For example in 1889, Italy claimed Ethiopia as an Italian protectorate. Ethiopia’s Emperor Menelik II was against European imperialism and would NOT allow his country to fall under European rule. This lead to the Battle of Adowa on March 1, 1896, and Ethiopia remained independent. Although, this was not the outcome for most African countries. By the early twentieth century much of Africa had been colonized by European powers. What was the Europeans need to colonize?

In “The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent”, author Thomas Pakenham, an Anglo-Irish historian, states that the “untold riches” of Africa integrated the interest of the greedy. In particular King Leopold of Belgium, who stated “I do not want to miss a good chance of getting us a slice of the magnificent African cake” (Pakenham,1992). What I found interesting about this book was the fact that Pakenham indirectly states what motivated European imperialist into Africa. There were three factors, economic, political, and social.

The economic factor of colonization was due to the economic collapse of the slave trade, and the expansion of the Industrial Revolution (Pakenham, 1992). As previously stated in Pakenham’s book Africa was “untold riches” and with the boom of trade during the Industrial revolution there was a demand for raw materials. This made Africa the “profitable plug” for the Europeans economic growth in trade. This was the primary motivation for the European scramble for Africa.

The political factor was; the European power struggle. Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Britain, and German were essentially competing for European political power (Pakenham, 1992). The nations thought one way to demonstrated national supremacy was through possession of territories world wide, including Africa.

The social factor was the last fundamental component. Colonization lead to social problem developed, as a result of people not being able to absorbed the new capitalist industries. This resulted in poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and social displacement. A possible resolve that was discussed was “surplus population”. Surplus population is a quantity or amount in excess of what is required or in other words you have more people than food, clothing, shelter or jobs to take care of them. This will eventually override the economic factors led to the colonization of other parts of Africa.

So, what was the most damaging impact of the European takeover of Africa? I think the people. Think about it, they were rejected and replaced by the European way. They witnessed countries take what it wants, leaving destruction behind and Africa to unscramble itself.

Works Cited

Pakenham, Thomas. “The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent.” (1992): 193.

“Book Review: The Scramble for Africa.” Royal African Society. N.p., 21 Nov. 2012. Web. http://www.royalafricansociety.org/book-review-scramble-africa#sthash.qv0SOoHM.dpuf

“Surplus Population Definition, Surplus Population Meaning | English Dictionary.” Surplus Population Definition. N.p., n.d. Web.

The Colonization of Africa: The Dark Side of Globalization

Colonization

1.) The action or process of settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area:

‘Africa boasts a tradition of higher education institutions that predate Western colonization’…‘the European invasion and colonization of the Americas’

2.) The action of appropriating a place or domain for one’s own use 

~(oxforddictionaries)

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I am interested in the affects of post-colonialism in Africa. I am interested in learning more about the rich continent of Africa and its mental enslavement and visual impact by the insatiable greed of the Western world. This includes the lasting affects of colonization and globalization.

Colonialism in Africa was seen as “the dark side of globalization”. Why? Due to the insatiable greed from the Western world to insert there dominance not on the “indigenous people”, but against other western countries. Ultimately, it seems as if the destruction of a continent was over one big pissing contest. A pissing contest that lead to present day affects of poverty, limited manufacturing, Civil War and ethnic violence. One example of the Europeans creating conflict among ethnic groups that had not existed before is the Belgian rulers of Rwanda- Burundi. He insisted that everyone carry identity cards saying whether they were Hutu, the ethnic majority, or Tutsi, the minority that had ruled the Hutu (petrimoulx).

Now, thanks to colonialism and globalization Africa; the riches continent is seen as one of the poorest. We forget that Africa is the mother of humanity. We forget that Africa is the cradle of the first human civilization. Africa was always the “first world” NOT the “third world”. Paupers robbed of their lands and riches.

“The question of robbing natives of their land is not whether it is right or wrong to plunder their land, massacre and exterminate the Hottentots, the Kaffirs…the simple question is will it PAY? But if the Bible and the missionary stands in the way of this one thousand per cent profit…If in short, they cannot promote the great work of converting a nation of shop-keepers into a nation of millionaires,…gun powder will produce a more efficient gospel for the purpose of our system of civilisation.” (R.U. Kenny, Piet Retief, Cape Town and Pretoria: Human & Reason, 1976 page 77)

Colonialism used the denial of African history to establish the necessity of white men to bring innovation and technologies in the colonies (Tangie, 2006). However, colonization obstructed the development in Africa and left scars of corruption and political instability (Nielsen).

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My goal for future blogposts is to use article and book sources I found from Google Scholar beginning with P. Duignan, LH Gann, 1975 book titled Colonialism in Africa 1870-1960, I will then use M Mamdani, 1996 book titled Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism, I also found an article that I have looked into that may be used later on in future post titles (Cambridge University Press) After Colonialism: Imperial Histories and Postcolonial Displacements. All of these sources will help me backup the fact that Africa’s culture and people have been exposed to involuntary change, which has left a trace in their current political, social, and economic actions.

Works Cited

Mamdani, Mahmood. Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism. Princeton University Press, 1996.

Prakash, Gyan, ed. After colonialism: imperial histories and postcolonial displacements. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995.

The Impact of Colonialism on African Life (n.d.): n. pag. Web.http://petrimoulx.pbworks.com/f/Chapter10section3.pdf

Pambazuka. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2016. http://www.pambazuka.net/en/category.php/features/82579

Jorgen Ulff-Moller Nielsen The Effects of Colonialism on African Economic Development (n.d.): n. pag. Web. http://pure.au.dk/portal-asb-student/files/41656700/alexandra_hrituleac_thesis_1_dec.pdf

Duignan, Peter, and Lewis H. Gann. Colonialism in Africa 1870-1960. Vol. 4. CUP Archive, 1975.