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On the Idea of Colonization – Religion and Politics

There are so many interesting, exciting and worthwhile things about getting older. Granted, there are some bad as well, but that’s probably true with just about everything you can name this side of Heaven.

One thing that happens is that one gains experience. This results in a number of different things, but one of them probably should be, that one should be quick to listen and slow to speak. That’s a lesson hard (and sometimes not well) learned for many. It’s been a hard one for me, though I think I have gotten better at doing this over the course of time.

One thing that makes this so significant is, one realizes he or she must take time to analyze what is said. One must work to understand where others are “coming from” and what they mean by what they say—two things that are definitely not always “in sync.”

In doing this, one (hopefully) comes to understand what others have correct and what they don’t have so correct. One can also examine the integrity of a presentation and help others—if they are willing to hear it—to spot anomalies like cognitive dissonance (the tendency towards non sequitur-ness of the process by which ends are achieved).

As usual, it may seem like what I’m saying here has little to nothing to do with the subject of this article. The reality is though, it has a great deal to do with it.

You see, there is a tendency for folks to fail to consider the ramifications of the concept of colonization—most particularly when it occurred more than two hundred years ago.

This brings me to my first point about the idea that people like myself are “colonizers.” You see regardless what my great-great-great grandparents did, I was born in the United States, and have lived here for the majority of my life. As such, expecting me to “de-colonize,” would pretty much require that I move from where I’m now living, which is, and has been for most of my life, my home. Further, I have never lived in any of my former or present home(s) illegally.

I wasn’t born where my ancestors were, I was born here, in the United States.

This is the first of many points I could make about this, but allow me to make just one or two more.

There are a good many folks who are making the claim that others should “leave their country” who have at least partial ancestry from the supposed colonizers. Even if one consider that some of them were “forced to unwillingly foster children to their colonizers,” still, the childen of such unions have questionable claim to the land at issue.

Equally importantly, a good many of the relationships in question were not “forced,” but entirely consensual. In such cases, the children technically have little standing to claim citizenship in any country.

One final point. History is absolutely replete with instances where one group “colonized” the land of others, sometimes by force, sometimes not. In fact, so common is such behavior, that it could certainly be termed “normal” in about every group of whom I’m aware.

The reality is, pretty much every group of people has at least encroached on the land of their neighbors—even more, entirely taken their land without supposed “right” so to do. What’s more, many groups have stretched their “colonization” to far more distant lands.

And I might say, even if Africans were dragged to the U.S . in chains (some where, some were not, but let’s assume for argument’s sake that all were), that doesn’t somehow magically give them any more “right to” the land upon which they now live, than the people who dragged them here.

Then again, their ancestors, just like my own may be considered colonizers, but just as with myself, the further away from the “colonization event” and the generation who came to the place where their families could lay no claim, the less you can continue to count them as colonizers and the more you must consider them native, regardless even fairly recent history.

In the end, the idea of colonization as an evil by default is questionable to begin with—the further back you go, the more questionable. By the way, this also goes for counting people in the modern day slave holders. Even if my ancestors held slaves (and it turns out that, as far as anyone is able to tell they didn’t), I never did and further, I would not do so. Nor for that matter, do I agree with the treating of any group of people as “second class citizens,” except it be as a result of actions, rather than things that cannot be controlled, like familial origins.

In the end though, the significant point about all of this, is that folks who were born in a given country—regardless the origin of their ancestors, are native to that country, the further back a generation was born in the country in question, the less able you are to argue that their ancestors citizens of the country of any ancestor’s origin.

Keeping in mind that you can make that argument for “anchor babies,” the difference would be that my forebears entered the country in which I live legally.

You may choose to argue that according to “modern laws” they would not have been considered legal, but this argument is specious, since attempting to apply law retroactively except where it exonerates people, is considered “bad form” just about everywhere.

So, in finality, the concept that I am a “colonizer” is ridiculous on the face of it, regardless the acts of my family long gone. And that certainly applies to the majority of people for which folks attempt to apply the term.

I would love to hear from anyone who can explain to me the “fly in my ointment,” though I’m doubting this will happen any time soon.

Okay, I think this is a good place to “close.” As such, may your time be good, and thanks as usual for reading.

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