Decolonization, racial capitalism, and epistemic violence

Decolonization involves the deconstruction of colonial ideas, Western privilege, European imposed values and beliefs on Indigenous people. Settler colonization and racial capitalism continue to marginalize non-white people via modern-day plantations (i.e., public housing developments, trailer parks, and ghettos), low-income employment, and dead-end jobs with white-owned businesses. Epistemic violence on the emotions and minds of non-white people has hindered many from realizing their full potential and greatness.


According to the Faculty Collective for the Decolonizing Humanities Project (2020) at William & Mary regarding decoloniality:

Decoloniality is not a means to reject the scientific, medical, social and ethical "advances" of the modern era tout court. It is, rather, a way to explore colonization, settler-colonialism, racial capitalism (particularly as it grew out, in full racializing force, with the enslavement of black Africans), modernity, and, most recently, neoliberalism and necrocapitalism and the ways in which they have displaced an array of modes of living, thinking and being in our natural world. Decoloniality reveals "the dark side of modernity" and how it is built "on the backs" of "others," others that modernity racializes, erases, and/or objectifies. (main page)


Settler colonization and Racial capitalism, for example, is at the root of the creation of settler states globally. Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United States are a few settler-colonial states where the colonizers came to stay, permanently occupy the land, and declared sovereignty. The settlers dispossessed Indigenous people of their land, natural resources, cheap labor, and inventions by these colonizers; there were continuing post-colonial elimination campaigns of the indigenous people and any challenges. Although racism preceded capitalism in Africa and other colonized locations, racial capitalism involved coercive power, new economic oppression methods, dehumanization, and so on. It is a system utilized by white individuals and institutions to use non-white people to gain social and economic value.


The decolonization of paradigms and social knowledge must remain a continuous priority because Eurocentrism has dominated both research and academia. There remains a shortage of academic programs in higher learning institutions that focus on non-white people history, culture (subcultures), and so on; the lack of diversity in the academic community, including the K-12, is an on-going issue as well. Non-white students learn from the Curricula and syllabi created based on Eurocentric perspectives. Held (2019) wrote, "To decolonize research paradigms and methodologies is to include Indigenous ways of knowing in academia, that is, to teach them, to use them in research, to value them as equal to Western approaches to knowing and to creating knowledge." (p.2) Non-white social theorists are providing different post-colonial perspectives on modern society and its social issues. Far too many Eurocentric ideas, methods of teaching, curricula, and so on have been imposed on non-white people to appease White people's comfort (especially the white male). The dismissal or neglect of non-white/western perspectives only adds to the importance of destroying Colonialism's remnants and analyzing the contemporary social problems of non-white people globally.


Non-white people should continue to confront epistemic violence whenever it reveals itself. Indeed, it is invisible to the naked eye; however, it can kill the mind and spirit of a people who are not members of the white race. Epistemic violence continues to mentally oppress and make non-white people feel bad with Eurocentric ideologies, mental weapons, criticism, and blatant disregard for anything that wasn't produced by the white man. Heleta (2016) wrote, "Two decades after the end of apartheid, the curriculum at South African universities is still largely Eurocentric, rooted in the colonial and apartheid dispossession, looting and humiliation of Africa and its people." (main page) Epistemic violence seeks to keep non-white people from knowing their real history, culture, and greatness; victims of epistemic violence lose control of their own identity, representation, and perception. It creates stereotypes and prejudices towards others. From the removal of the noses on Egyptian sculptures, the four Black women in the movie "Hidden Figures" and their impact on Space travel, the Black inventors of various everyday items we use, and so on verifies that Black people are great people. We continue to be epistemically attacked, tormented, and tortured in the music industries (i.e., Rap and RnB genres notoriously) via the white copyright owners of Black music creations and productions. Hollywood continues to epistemically torture our non-white minds with the negative portrayals of non-white people. Tired comedies to make white folks comfortable and laugh, or it's the stereotypical gang, drugs, or some other socially and spiritually draining image of non-white people. Sadly, we are still seeing too many Kunta Kinte situations in which some non-white people become Toby's for Hollywood, the music industry, and Corporate America.


Conclusion

To repeat, Decolonization involves the deconstruction of colonial ideas, Western privilege, European imposed values and beliefs on Indigenous people. Racial capitalism, at its best, doesn’t do a service to anyone; actually, it serves white supremacy more, even as it tries to remedy past mistakes. It decodes how even when we achieve, Racial capitalism always succumbs to its base unconscious agenda. Epistemic violence against non-white people can end in the work environment after discrimination against body types, skin tones, and hairstyles to an end. Epistemic violence in educational systems from K-12 to higher learning institutions when the remnants of colonialism are unpacked, deconstructed, and discarded.


References

Faculty Committee (n.d.). What is Decoloniality? Retrieved from https://www.wm.edu/sites/dhp/decoloniality/index.php

Held, M.B.E. (2019). Decolonizing Research Paradigms

in the Context of Settler Colonialism: An Unsettling, Mutual, and Collaborative Effort. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 18, 2, DOI: 10.1177/1609406918821574 journals.sagepub.com/home/jib

Heleta, S. (2016). Decolonization of higher education: Dismantling epistemic violence and Eurocentrism in South Africa. Transformation in Higher Education, 1(1), eight pages. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/the.v1i1.9







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