When I say, “colonial”–what comes to mind?
No? Maybe you thought of a bunch of guys dressing up for Civil War reenactments. You want to know what I think of?
Randy from A Christmas Story screaming, “Oh boy, that’s mine! A fire truck! That’s mine!” about everything under the tree on Christmas morning!
It seems like just about anything is up for grabs these days, especially if you’re from a dominant group. If you’re white, you can be black. If you’re a man, you can be a woman. You truly can be ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE.
Good job, fellas.
We all deserve the freedom to live our lives the way we choose. But like our ancestors failed to do, perhaps we can be a little bit more thoughtful when stepping into uncharted territory.
Is it possible to extend our critique of colonization to the social sphere? Can people from a dominant group intrude upon, colonize and ultimately rob other groups of their private spaces, customs and culture?
“Iron Eyes Cody,” maybe better known as The Crying Indian, was actually the son of Sicilian immigrants but lived much of his life as a Native American. He was committed to living this way and even raised his children as Native Americans, instilling in them a deep respect and reverence for the culture. Is this disrespectful? What about the white woman from the NAACP who presented herself as African American?
Or Caitlyn Jenner?
Is this different from Europeans establishing colonies in other countries? How is it different? When is it not okay for people from a dominant group to become part of another group?
Might we look at these people as examples of white and male privilege?
“No! We have to accept all people!”
That’s what the colonists said too–it was their right to take over the land, the people, their customs, everything. Might it also be possible that men can colonize women or whites can colonize non-whites? If being Native American is nothing more than a look and certain practices, can anybody be Native American? Is being a woman nothing more than having breasts and a vagina? Do you have to dress a certain way to become one? What about women who don’t?
Perhaps there’s more to being Native American, African American, a woman. There is something about being born into that group, being viewed as a member of that group by outsiders, being treated a certain way because you’re a member of that group that is all part of the experience that makes up the identity. So, what gives a member of a dominant group the right to become a member of a non-dominant group?
I don’t know all the answers by the way.