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elchiang's picture

When I was working at Haffner the other day, I was making Nigerian Banana Chicken. While I was scooping banana mush onto the chicken, several different full time staff passed. The chef I was working with talked to another full time staff member who was from Africa, though not Nigeria, if he recognized the use to bananas with meat. This staff member found the concept foreign as well. Later on, the staff member approached the manager asking why we did not have African soup for the African bar. He complained that the African bar had no foods that he identified as African. He said that these were still American foods. We found out further on in the conversation that the recipes are found on the Internet for the African bar at Haffner.

            How can we not perceive arrogantly? From Childhood and Postcolonization, we see how colonization has touched every aspect of modern life in the world. I particularly think of how Western standards of beauty and the emphasis on the Western world has affected women around the world. In Asian countries, plastic surgery is a norm in order to create double eyelids and pointier noses. The movie made by Chris Rock, Good Hair, reveals the extent to which African American women go through to have straight hair, or Westernized hair. To be honest, I sometimes categorize Caucasian people, subconsciously. I realized this because there are certain white people that I feel more comfortable around than others. This is because some people, I do not define by their race while others I do. The people who are more than their race to me are open to different cultures and the world. For others, it is not their fault that they have not been exposed to different people but that does not stop me from feeling more or less comfortable. This is where I perceive arrogantly.

            I am humbled when I realize all the products I use that have been tainted by neocolonization. Modern day slavery is very real and is especially rising in Asian countries. In this way, I am the arrogant one who still uses a laptop when the material used to make this product went through many unwilling hands. Looking back to the example of the African bar, it shows that the Internet gives us access to so much knowledge. However, sometimes this knowledge makes us think that we can continue to be arrogant. I am arrogant as well as an arrogant perceiver, this makes me very complex and hopefully gives me more loving understanding. 


alesnick's picture

not shying away from pervasive impacts

Moving as you do in your post from preparing a meal to conceptions of beauty to slavery shows powerfully the pervasiveness of postcolonial arrogance.  How can education help us/others work with and through the arrogance as it recurs, in ourselves and in our worlds?

pyiu's picture

Modern Day Slavery: The

Modern Day Slavery: The Result of Neocolonialism and Arrogance

Esther, thank you for touching upon the topic of modern day slavery. As I was reading the "Childhood and Postcolonization" text, modern day slavery was a very prominent topic on my mind. There was so much within the article that I felt resounded loudly with why modern day slavery exists and why it continues to be perpetuated. In addition, your post makes me reflect upon how closely postcolonial thought is linked to arrogance, which I believe is one of the main reasons for why modern day slavery thrives. 

In explaining the attributes of colonialism and imperialism, authors Canella and Viriru, use words such as "subjugation, and control of one group of people by another" (p.14). These terms sound eerily similar to the words I would use to describe slavery. Moreover, as the authors describe the economic undertone driving colonialization and imperialism, leading to neocolonialism, we see a major causal factor of (modern day) slavery - economic power. "The neocolonial system simply shifted the power from control by military force (political society) to a condition in which control is maintained by a particular cultural, ideological, and economic elite who are complicit with the international capitalist system (civil society)" (p.17). Nevertheless, the authors give some hope to the situation: "Postcolonial critique challenges the boundaries of economics, politics, and culture to combine the social sciences and the humanities, creating a mixture of activist, hybrid discourses that are embedded in action. Discussions of neocolonialism begin the conversation, but postcolonial critique generates the possibilities" (p.18). In other words, in beginning these conversations about neocolonialism, I hope that our we're able to generate postcolonial critique that results in action. 

Thus this brings me to my connection between modern day slavery and arrogance. In the past few years the awareness of modern day slavery has been slowly but surely increasing. Considering the magnitude of modern day slavery with 27 million slaves, I feel that the world's outrage to such a phenomena should be equally as large. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case. As we talked about the differences between arrogance and ignorance the other day, the topic of modern day slavery constantly revolved around my head once again. While I can see some people still being ignorant and unaware of the situation, I feel that many more choose to be arrogant and unwilling to find out more about modern day slavery because of the inconvenient truth that we would have to do something about it once we knew (e.g. become more conscious consumers). This is especially true on the international level since countries may view the end of modern day slavery as a loss of capital. Thus it's my opinion that most people are arrogant about the issue of modern day slavery; they don't want to know the truth and in doing so sacrifice their comfort both physically as well as morally. Therefore, once again, I hope that conversations will begin and end in action (my word from the first day of class).

P.S. As a member of the group looking into NGO work in Ghana it'll be interesting to look into the work of microfinance NGOs to see if its possible to use capitalism to do good.  

alesnick's picture

conversations that begin and end in action

I appreciate this focus on the link between knowledge and change.  As knowledge of slavery grows, changes in consumers' (our) ways of living need to change.  Interdependence sounds a key note here . . . how can humans grow more attuned to this in/as our lives?