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Colonialism And White Privilege

What is Colonialism

Colonialism refers to the process of exerting authority over another nation (Kozlowski & Weber, 2009). It also relates to the total control of a dependent people, country or society by a colonial power. The primary objective of colonialism is to exert political and economic influence over individuals who are dependent. Colonialism was experienced in several countries in Asia, Africa, and America from the beginning of the 15th century. The colonizers were mainly European countries, and they dominated the economic activities in these countries. The primary objective of the colonial masters was to exploit the economic resources of the colonies. Besides, they wanted the colonies to depend on them for support. Various factors prompted the European countries to establish colonies in different regions of the world. These factors include economic, political, social, and strategic reasons.

Economic Factors of Colonialism

Industrialization began in Europe before other continents. The Europeans also considered themselves more civilized than the rest of the world (Kozlowski & Weber, 2009). Most of the European countries such as Britain, Italy, Spain, Portuguese and France were looking for raw materials such as raw materials to service their industries. Besides, the countries that they colonized were endowed with a variety of natural resources such as minerals which were not exploited. As such, they saw colonization as the best option that they could use to exploit the economic resources of such countries, especially in Africa. The colonized countries also provided cheap labor for in the industries. The European countries also wanted a market for their surplus manufactured goods. Colonies were seen as the best alternatives that could provide a market for such products. Besides, they wanted to establish trade links with other parts of the world by investing the surplus capital they had in other less civilized countries.

Social Factors of Colonialism

The rapid economic development in Europe compared to other regions of the world led to rapid increase in population. Besides, mechanization which was used in various industries replaced human labor. As such, there were rising unemployment rates and crimes in Europe. This prompted the European countries to look scramble for colonies in various parts of the world to settle their surplus population and reduce crime rates in Europe. Countries such as Britain opted to settle their surplus population in South Africa, Canada, New Zealand and America. Germany and Dutch also followed suit and encouraged their people to move to other continents including Africa, Asia, and America. On the other hand, the European missionaries wanted to spread their religion in other parts of the world. Such ministers included John Ludwig Craft and David Livingstone among others (Kozlowski & Weber, 2009). They were used as agents of colonialists as they invited other Europeans to follow them and colonize. For instance, the missionaries used their authority to wipe existing religions such Islam in some areas which they occupied. The European countries also wanted to spread their culture to other nations in the world. Colonialism was the only alternative that they could use to exert their social influence to other parts of the world.

Political Factors of Colonialism

Various political factors in Europe encouraged Europeans to extend their authority to other regions of the world. For example, the Franco-Prussian war between Germany and France.  France lost some of its rich provinces of Lorraine and Alsace to Germany.  This situation forced France to compensate for her loss in Africa. It established various colonies in West Africa and conquered different countries such as Senegal and in Central Africa. Acquiring more colonies was also viewed as a national prestige. The European countries struggled to obtain more colonies as possible to express their power and dominance in Europe. The rivalry between various European countries such as France and Germany also hastened the process of colonialism. France and Germany had involved themselves in several wars. They further included Britain, Italy, and Portugal. Both the countries wanted to be viewed as the strongest in Europe by extending their authority in other parts of the world.

Colonialism began in Africa during the Trans-Atlantic Trade. Gradual colonization was experienced around the Coastal regions in areas such as Zanzibar (Kozlowski & Weber, 2009). The Arabs were the first foreigners who moved to Africa. Later, the European countries took over and colonized various parts of Africa. Most of the European countries were opposed to African cultures, and they dismantled the existing traditional government structures. The colonial powers barely provided food, sanitation and other social amenities to Africans. They viewed themselves as superior compared to other races. This prompted Africans to fight against colonialism to regain their lost glory and dignity. Other countries such as India and America also organized different movements to fight colonialism.  Colonialism had adverse effects on the lives of the local people. Most of the European countries did not support equality for other races. Besides, they did not allow interracial marriages and exploited the economic resources of the colonies. Their primary objective was to exert power and influence over their colonies.

The white privileges are the advantages that are given to the white people and denied to the people of other colors without purpose, for the belief that the whites are more superior to the other races. This perception is common in the white dominated countries. The white privilege is, therefore, a preference for the white skin in the society’s and it serves several functions that are considered to be an advantage to the white people (Rothenberg, 2008). Some of the duties of the white privileges are that it provides the white individuals with the perks that they do not deserve, which are denied to the people of other colors including the blacks. The second function of the white privilege is that it creates more advantages in the society for the whites. Lastly, the white privilege also plays a bigger role in shaping the world.

The white privileges give them perks that they do not deserve to be given. This is because it happens coincidentally that certain things in the society happen to work for their natural color. This might be because the products are manufactured in consideration to their color and thus making it appear like it’s a natural advantage to them. For example, the color of the band used in covering a fresh wound will suit the white skin. Most shampoos are in favor of the white people’s natural hair complexion. It might appear like this advantage looks natural or coincidental but it might also be true that the manufacturers might have developed such items in consideration with the white skin while neglecting the existence of other colors and this is a way of making the white people feel superior or naturally suited. The given perks might, therefore, be dangerous at some point because they are likely to cause mayhem particularly in the instances when the white person who is used to receiving such perks misses them. He or she may think that the society is being unfair to them. An example is a situation where a white man goes to a hotel and misses the type of shampoos that are meant for his hair. He would then begin thinking that those people are unfair to him because they have ignored his white superiority.

The white privileges also give the white people an extra advantage over the other colors (Rothenberg, 2008). This happens in things that the white people do not encounter or have to deal with. For example, it is perceived that all the white people are intelligent, they are financially stable, and they do not get harassed by the police officers on the streets. This is because it is perceived that the white people are not lawbreakers. Even though such advantages are accorded to them without asking or demanding to be given such privileges, trouble may rise in situations that they are not given such benefits for they think it reasonable to be given such treats. It is, therefore, obvious that certain things are targeted towards some people with the different color to that of the whites.

The white privileges have also played a great role in shaping the world. It has done this by transforming the way people view the white and the way in which the whites also see the world (Rothenberg, 2008). It is because all the major contributions towards changing the world are attributed to some of the white individuals. Therefore, this can be a way of illustrating their superiority and dominance over the other colors. A mere white person who sees the same attributes will, therefore, adopt the same feeling and think of himself as a superior human race as they are represented all the world through their great deeds that are lacking in the people of the other colors. As a result of the white people being in control of the world for a very long time i.e. during the colonization era, they have taken that advantage to decide on the things that are valuable and exciting in different areas such as education. The rest of the people are, therefore, forced to work by this standard set by the white people without questioning the validity of such choices.

However, things are beginning to change and sooner or later what is called the white privileges might be thrown into in existence (Rothenberg, 2008). This is because, through the advances in knowledge acquisition, people with the other colors are beginning to realize that there is little that should be attributed to the white color other than being treated equally to the others. The white color perception should, therefore, be scrapped off as it’s a drawback to the significant progress that is being made in the world today. The white people should, therefore, stop demanding for such attributions as it creates more social distance in the world.

Community represents the political and social networks that bring people, communal organizations and leaders together. Understanding the social networks in the community is essential since it allows the leaders to come together to appoint or elect people who can lead them and take the community to the next level. The social networks are what make the community to remain together since it allows leaders to understand the behavior patterns of their people (Bruhn, 2005). The community also represents a geographical location occupied by particular individuals who share common interests and perspectives. Besides, computer mediated communication can also be used to define a community. These are people who belong to a typical social group and share certain conflicts. Individuals who belong to typical social group form a virtual community. The community also refers to a group of people who share common interests and beliefs (Bruhn, 2005). For instance, different religious groups share commonly believes. As such, they belong to the various communities. Such communities include the Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists among others.

Colonialism and white privilege have had various effects on race relations in diverse communities. For instance, during the apartheid regime in South Africa, the locals (Africans) were barred from interacting or socializing with the whites. This was extended to the provision of social amenities. Africans were restricted from attending various schools or seeking medical care in some hospitals. Colonialism and white privilege have had both negative and positive effects on race relations. For example, during the colonial era, Africans and other races were not allowed to marry. The whites considered themselves as superior to other races. White privilege allowed whites to get whatever they wanted making them develop colonies in various parts of the world. The whites did promote equality among different races. White privilege made other races to view themselves as inferior. They could not interact with the whites and confined their relations to people of their race.

  • Bruhn, J. G. (2005). The sociology of community connections. New York, NY, Springer.
  • Kozlowski, D. J., & Weber, J. L. (2009). Colonialism. New York, Chelsea House.
  • Laforteza, E. M. C. (2015). The somatechnics of whiteness and race: colonialism and mestiza privilege.
  • Rothenberg, P. S. (2008). White privilege: essential readings on the other side of racism.             https://www.overdrive.com/search?q=03980BEF-FA50-4E02-AD08-514B0688B302.
  • Wolny, P. (2005). Colonialism: a primary source analysis. New York, NY, Rosen Pub. Group.

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