Decoding Decolonization

flock of birds flying
Zain Murdock
December 7, 2023

Colonization is the exploitation, control, subjugation, and displacement of indigenous peoples and their land. Not every country responsible for colonization is European, but between 1492 and 1914, Europeans colonized and displaced over 80% of the world. 

Coloniality refers to European ways of knowing and being, like anti-Blackness, capitalism, and ableism. 

So, if that’s colonization, what’s decolonization?

Decolonization requires liberation for indigenous peoples:  cultural, political, economic, and environmental self-determination. To get there, we need to unlearn the way coloniality shapes our behaviors.  That unlearning is decoloniality

However, the ultimate goal is more than changing our thoughts.

Decolonization means colonizers no longer have a dominating influence on indigenous peoples and their homes. But colonizers benefit from colonization, and don’t have a moral imperative to relinquish their power. 

So powerful thrusts towards decolonization, like the Haitian Revolution, had to be strategic and violent.

From Haiti and the U.S. to Palestine and Sudan, many of us are colonized peoples, despite having rights or independence on paper. 

Imperialism, or countries exerting power on others for political and financial gain, keeps oppression  alive.

As the people call for decolonization, those in power will justify their wealth and comfort at our expense. They’ll criminalize and silence us, or co-opt and weaken our movements. 

But colonization hasn’t existed forever. And with our collective power, it won’t continue to.