Decolonizing the mind

March 26, 2021

As I develop my political thinking more and more throughout my college experience at Brandeis, I have become increasingly supportive, and aware, of the importance of decolonization as a remedy to the human rights terror that plagues our modern world. While liberal thinking has gained popularity and dominance, the effects of historical colonialism still has real life effects on the psyche of marginalized identities around the globe; a key aspect of oppression that is rarely addressed to the degree it deserves. 

Particularly, South America, South Asia and much of Africa exist as physical and psychological responses to the remnants of European colonization. South American countries, and its population, exemplify a direct response to the socio-economic condition of colonialism. Their economies, industries’ reliance on raw materials, societal issues and institutionalized colorism are aspects of society that are ingrained due to the role colonialism played in the histories of these states. Consequently, regardless of whether colonialism exists to this day or not (which it does through neo-colonialism), all populations deriving from colonized lands psychologically inherit European notions of marginalization. 

Due to the global colonization that European powers enacted, we exist in a world in which European thought on the self and society acts as a default. We live in a world where institutions like the United Nations, and the idea that there are “superpowers,” exist due to European colonialism and the psychological ripples it has had across marginalized countries. Evidently, the Global South has insisted on rejecting this notion, and does so extensively through a rejection of Western “liberalism” and a use of violence against capitalistic and Western institutions. However, these instances of rejection of the West are oftentimes interpreted to be the Global South being “self-destructive” and consequently a harm to their own geo-political positions in relation to the growing powers of the global north. 

Evidently, in order to effectively restore order to the world, decolonization is a must, and it must be done on a psychological level. European ideas on capitalism, manifestations of “democracy” and individualism must be questioned and dismantled. Such notions interpret the self and “being” through a lens of European centrism and superiority, in which non-white identities subconciously reject and cannot fit into. A reversion of society and ideas of what being are are necessary to dismantle the European superiority and white privilege we are accustomed to as being a normal facet of multicultural society. 

Too often, Black and brown populations interpret themselves in a society through the identity that has the most power. However, this exact circumstance is the psychological remnant of colonialism, and its answer is decolonizing the mind. Consequently, the Global South functions without thought of Western powers as a response to simply existing and interacting with life. However, it is their situation and circumstance in relation to other populations on this earth that is a direct result of Western states continuing to exploit the global south as a resource-farm through neo-colonialism. Decolonizing structures of thinking about who the person is and how we should interact with each other in society is necessary to deconstructing the idea that Western economic systems and government set ups are the only correct or efficient forms. 

Decolonizing the mind and society should start from a prioritization and glorification of African, indigenous and Asian notions of community, identity and interpreting one’s self. We must revert thinking of capitalism as the superior economic system, American democracy as the most wholesome government or the ideas of individualism and social mobility in order to effectively address why racial and ethnic minorities exist. A glorification of the community and spirituality is necessary to once again interpret the self as a part of a larger system in which the Global South is not up to the constant exploitation of Western states in their quest for dominance and capitalistic greed. Decolonization of the mind is necessary for the success of the Black, brown and indigenous identity and will be painful for Western States, nonetheless it is imperative to creating a harmonious global community and society that is not plagued by colonialism’s obsession with hierarchy, superiority and an exploitation of others. 

Menu Title