We tend to think that colonialism is a system of the past in the same way we think of racism. Both words are used interchangeably to describe the undertaking of Europe in the global world.
Depending on the region that Europe(western) infiltrated to secure resources; their victims may say either word to explain the history. For example, my friends from Africa say, “Colonialism” to describe Europe’s invasion in Africa while friends-and-family in the United States and Caribbean may use, “Racism” to explain slavery.
I have grown accustomed to hearing both phrases, which I have concluded are polysemic and have the same history attached.
Different archives show the process of colonization through capitalism, law, and culture.
An article on thoughtco.com, explained how colonialism is implemented. The article defined the term as, “Colonialism is the practice of one country taking full or partial political control of another country and occupying it with settlers for purposes of profiting from its resources and economy.” It goes to say that it is not easy to separate imperialism from colonialism since both acts are forceful and influential(paraphrase).
What struck me about the article is the oftentimes, fallacious conclusion that says colonialism has dissipated. For example, the writer states this, “While colonialism is no longer so aggressively practiced, there is evidence that it remains a force in today’s world.” The system of colonizing other groups is still on-going and is directly associated to history. Consequently, it is still “aggressive” since violence is mostly used to keep the momentum of provincial possession in-tact.
Native-Americans still fighting for land ownership and recognition are met with military usage by the U.S., and Canada. That the maintenance of property attained in the different phases of colonial rule is always under protection from agents of the protectorate.
Europe and the United States are colonizers to African-Indigenous people globally. Both have historical and imperialistic tactics which have resulted in land take-over and an education system that teaches Europe’s languages as the preferred method of communication. Also, the geo-political system that was created by the writers of the Constitution in America is the “Law-of-the-land.” As a result, the cultural presence of white-supremacy(Eurocentrism) still defines the systematic ideas in the country, and gives white Americans more socio-economic advantages than other groups.
The article further states that, “In the process, the colonizers—sometimes forcibly—attempt to impose their religion, language, cultural, and political practices on the indigenous population.”
In 2021, Canada unmasked a mass grave with over 1,000 remains of children that was funded by the country. This school was one of many learning institutions which are responsible for converting Indigenous children from their native definition to take on another identity. Many Native-Americans have come to know these schools as being both state-operated and religious.
These clear examples are clear visuals of how colonialism operates, but it doesn’t fade. Currently, the colonial powers of Europe still lay claim to their interest-driven locations across the globe. These lands share a common background storyline of how colonial law started, escalated, and consolidated their protectorates.
Countries in Africa are still struggling to remedy the problems, which are in place because of Europe’s presence on the continent. Christianity has saturated many African countries with its dogmas while African spirituality has suffered. France still has a strong military station in countries like Mali and Chad with both countries’ citizens speaking french, in addition, to other native tongues.
Finally, while many would like to assert that the brutality of Europe’s engagement in the global world is past tense; the evidence shows a continuation of a colonized journey. Essentially, colonization maintains a legacy of its own and its hegemony is carried through by the descendants of colonial predecessors.