What does decolonization mean?
When I was initially introduced to this concept, I was in the first year of my Bachelor’s degree in my Introduction to Sociology class. This passionate and wickedly smart woman waltzed into the room, taking our breath away as she began her story. She said that we were here to learn how to decolonize our literature, our thoughts, our minds. We would learn how to critique the ideas that were presented to us and reflect upon their implicit meaning and positioning in the wider society- to understand and remember the foundation upon which our social structures were built.
The first few times we spoke of it, I genuinely had not a single clue as to what the concept entailed. Decolonization? Colonization? (Being raised in Texas, there was definitely no talk of colonization). Slowly over time, I learned it to be a complete reworking of the way in which we were raised to think, function, and imagine the world. You have been presented a concept- where did this concept originate? By whom? For what purpose? Who holds the power? What is the role of historical context? Decolonization in education is a process by which it is necessary to reflect on the systems that we are a part of and the privileges, or lack thereof, that different groups hold. It is an acknowledgement of the white supremacist and patriarchal system that facilitates our lives and experiences in this society.
In addition to learning about decolonization, I was faced with the task of recognizing my role and responsibility in the colonized system. This role is constituted of and determined by my identity, which can be explored and understood through the consideration of my positionality. Since this is my first blog post, it seems fitting that I would take a moment to do just that.
I am a 19-year-old white bisexual able-bodied ciswoman with access to higher university education in an international setting. I am consistently working on understanding my place in this world, knowing that there is infinitely more to learn and unlimited room to grow. My goals of writing in this blog consist of reflecting on my whiteness, combating my internalized heteronormativity and biphobia, as well as continuing to listen to people’s stories and experiences, specifically those of marginalized groups.
Whether this blog includes personal vignettes or literature reviews, I hope we can create a space where people use this platform to further our decolonization efforts and to build a community of people that coexist in powerful validation and recognition of each other’s lived experiences. I’m excited to see where it goes.