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Yes, it's October 9th. A little late on a post deserving of yesterday.

We'd like to point you to a book by a Gavin Menzies, who wrote a controversial work about how imperial China must have discovered America before Christopher Columbus.

For us to seriously introduce the 1421 hypothesis would border a bit on overflowing yellow pride, but the point is this:

The spirit of Decolonization Day (formerly known as Columbus Day), is to recognize the imperialist aggression that New World explorers like Columbus instilled in the conquest of the Western Hemisphere. This way of thought, that other native cultures are more naturally more barbaric than their own, led to the displacement, enslavement, and eradication of these native peoples. Hence, there is little rationale in celebrating the conquest and oppression of other people of color.

This type of thinking is not lost on this society today. That privileged, wealthy professionals are more "entitled" by their net worth to inhabit new gentrified establishments in poorer neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves (typically communities of color) is the 21st century version of Columbus' aggression. We must be able to see this.

(This blog post had long lost its track. But to bring it back, consider this.) If Gavin Mendies is right, we can be sure that the Chinese discovered America first and didn't bother to exterminate the natives. (Would Chinese explorers have enslaved an entire native people for the purposes trade and colonization? There is strong evidence that Chinese seamen also reached Africa and created unoppressive, mutually consenting communities.) We hope that all of this makes you think a bit about racial dynamics, aggression and, ultimately, racism.

So now you know why you heard that word racism shouted so often from Low Steps yesterday.

4 comments:

  1. D said...

    "This type of thinking is not lost on this society today. That privileged, wealthy professionals are more "entitled" by their net worth to inhabit new gentrified establishments in poorer neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves (typically communities of color) is the 21st century version of Columbus' aggression."

    Except in the first case you're talking about richer people displacing poorer people from areas where they don't have any claim to the property, and in the second place you're talking about a genocidal, forceful takeover of land. I'm sorry, but just because you've rented a place for a long time doesn't give you any entitlement to continue living there as economic conditions of your neighborhood change.

    "Would Chinese explorers have enslaved an entire native people for the purposes trade and colonization?"

    Probably not, but then again China has never had a problem with cheap labor. Based on the fact that China only abolished slavery in 1910 and there are still new discoveries of Chinese being enslaved by other Chinese to this day, it doesn't seem like the country as a whole is any less predisposed to it than any European nation.  

  2. David said...

    "I'm sorry, but just because you've rented a place for a long time doesn't give you any entitlement to continue living there as economic conditions of your neighborhood change."

    I would encourage you to learn about the causes of gentrification. Tenants can increase rent. New owners can change the makeup of nearby businesses. Universities can claim eminent domain.

    "Probably not, but then again China has never had a problem with cheap labor."

    I'm talking about ancient China and their explorers. True, they might have also employed their own slaves, but they were a civilization that never abolished slavery within their own society and then forced it upon others.  

  3. David said...

    Oh, and having to rent where you live does not mean you have no claim to the property. Whole communities have a right not to be evicted from their homes because of subconscious conceptions of entitlement that rich people have.  

  4. dsc said...

    not to exempt the chinese from the equation...there is a history of an extensive tributary system, not to mention encroachment into territories like mongolia, tibet, and taiwan.

    what i'm really saying is, no historic power has ever achieved that sort of status without some sort of imperialism or other, whether political, socio-cultural, economical or otherwise. which is why decolonization day is so important--we have to continually remind ourselves of the systems of power that have been, are, and might be...  


 

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