Great article from Imara Jones at Colorlines today for those of us trying to raise up impacts of our colonial ancestry:
Much hullabaloo has been made recently about slavery as entertainment in movies like “Django Unchained.” But lost in the discussion is slavery as history, and the simple fact that it was an economic system which seized the economic know-how of Africans in order to construct unimaginable wealth in North America, Europe and throughout the Western Hemisphere. Wealth from the slave trade took Western Europe from being one of the world’s poorest regions to its wealthiest and most powerful in under a century.
Though sadistic and macabre, the plain truth is that slavery was an unprecedented economic juggernaut whose impact is still lived by each of us daily. Consequently, here’s my top-10 list of things everyone should know about the economic roots of slavery.
Read more at colorlines.com
I might also point out that the Idle No More movement is helping descendants of European colonials in Canada to discover untold, untaught history about oppression of First Nations citizens. I could really identify with some of the comments in this excellent OpEd by Heather Mallick yesterday in the Toronto Star, in particular her discovery of how oppressed peoples become invisible in the eyes of the privileged groups:
Most of Canada’s native people live in a misery we don’t even see because we’d rather not know. It’s one of the many drawbacks of living on the reserve, far away from the southern cities that Canadians cling to. There’s no one to hear you scream, as the Irish writer Edna O’Brien once said about rural child abuse in her own country.
If you don’t like Indians getting uppity, try this. Look at the gorgeous, hopeful faces of their children, who don’t yet know they’re headed for a life of blank despair thanks to our idleness.
But we don’t look because we don’t have to. They don’t live where we do. We don’t consider them until they block our passage on road and rail and then we just spray them with the same idle anger we show to other drivers, cyclists and people not inside our own little vehicle.
The rest of Mallick's OpEd is worth reading.