Monday, June 13, 2005

Mental Slavery

Slavery, apartheid, and colonization have a whole lot in common, but perhaps their most fundamental similitude is the fact that they were all justified by the premise that the black man was inferior. Slavery and apartheid were unscrupulous, unapologetic exploitations of the black man. Colonization, however, was for his "benefit". The high minded British were motivated by the desire to civilize us and save us from our savage selves. The unscrupulous, and perhaps more honest, Belgians, of course, were not unduly concerned with the appearances; they needed no guise to maim, kill, and plunder. (Hey Belgians, we know what you'all did and as soon as our house is in order, we'll come to collect long over due reparations!! Therefore you have atleast 50 years to raise the money. Fore-warned is fore-armed, so get to it.)
Behind the veneer of benevolence, however, the British were akin to the Belgians; they too were self serving. Even their magnanimity was a selfish gesture intended to assuage their guilt. But perhaps am too hard on the good old British. In spite of their motives, they did after all hope to convert us from our pagan ways, teach us their noble language, and all together make imitations of English men out of us so that when the "extreme makeover" was done, we'd be worthy to serve as maids in their homes!! But we exceeded those expectations and proved to be an unexpected match for our "benefactors". Predicatably we demanded equal treatment; and faced with such impertinence, our benefactors' facades cracked then fell apart: It became clear that the argument for the inferiority of the Black man rested on the colour of his skin. Although they'd have had it otherwise, Caucasians could no longer hide behind guises; their pretexts had fallen apart! Hence the new the new maxim; "All men are equal but some are more equal than others." (RIP Dude)
One would think that with independence we'd have shaken off those condescending shackles. But it's hard enough to free fools from the chains they revere (w'sup Monsieur Voltaire). To expect them to free themselves is fantastic attempt at self delusion.
A few months ago i read a job Post on the campus notice board that advertised for marketing seniors who were interested in working for the the customers relations department of a local mobile phone provider. The only other requirement was an American or British accent. (Yes, you read right, an American or British accent!) To say that i was stunned would be an understatement! That Caucasians are so audacious as to presume that they can condescend to us in our own countries is bad enough. That their confidence is well founded and presumptions borne out is worse still. Why, i wonder did we bother fighting for independence, for our dignity when we would, a few years later, turn around and hand them back to the colonialists on a silver platter. It's a wonder that the British didn't heed Benjamin Disraeli when he said that a colony doesn't cease to be one just because it gains independence. The audacity of such condescension is appalling. But consternation at it pales in light of the fact that the contentious recruitment criteria actually taps into a part of our psyche that is inclined to revere Caucasians. For instance it's not uncommon for white people to get preferential treatment in hotels, restaurants and the like. How else can one explain the fact that a Caucasian male masqueraded as a guest at The Serena for three months before he was discovered to be an imposter. Billie Holiday was right; You can be up to your boobies in white satin, with gardenias in your hair and no sugar cane for miles, but you can still be working on a plantation. Perhaps we are not outraged at condescension because we not averse to it; or are expect it. And if that's the case, is it an offence to our dignity to be treated as we think we ought to be? Are we so blind as to be satisfied with the illusion of freedom? Peace out!


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