Tyson mentions many ethnicities when she discusses Post Colonial Theory in her book Critical Theory Today. Although African
Americans were one of the more popular groups mentioned, many groups have experienced various types of oppression throughout the world.
Native Americans lost their land to England Colonial powers; they still continue to struggle for freedom to this day as do Africans.
In fact, many Native Americans fought along side African slaves so that African
Americans could break free of American Colonial powers in 1800’s. Many African Americans made
high rank in Native American nations (or the more inappropriate term often used “tribe”)
and led many warriors in battle. It’s hard to give a history lesson on Native Americans and not mention Africans if you know your history! Puerto Rico is another country which is still controlled by
the United States and so are the people of Hawaii who were also conquered but now are one
of the 50 “states” in the U.S.
However, we should be careful not to mix “apples with oranges” when talking about the
Irish. The Irish were colonized and forced to leave their land because of the potato faminine. However, it is hard to
compare this with other forms of colonizations that were of a far more brutal nature and that still exists to this day.
There were millions of Irish people who died of starvation and they opted to come to the
United States for a better life. However, Tyson’s primary model for post colonialism
(African Americans) were kidnapped from a continent in which they did not want to leave.
Many have failed to do research and educate themselves concerning the horrors of the
Trans Atlantic slave trade where tens (maybe even hundreds) of millions of Africans were
taken as slaves and many were thrown overboard as extra cargo. The land they were snatched from was colonized so the families
that were left behind were slaves in their own communities. No, they didn’t have to pay “unfair taxes” on their land-
these people were “property”. They had no say in how their government was run and due
to not having permission to farm on their own land, many Africans also died of starvation
and they still continue to do so as we speak! African are still feeling the effects of Post
Colonialism and even though many countries in Africa are supposedly “independent” European Colonial
powers still have their hands on the continent. They continue to take from the continent
while failing to give anything back (even the Irish), primarily through the diamond trade. Africans produce the resource
and see no currency in return! People are ignorant to say that the Irish
were colonized longer than the Africans when the colonization has never stopped in Africa!
It’s the poorest continent in the world with a 60% poverty rate.
In addition, the Irish were not persecuted in America like the Native Americans and
African Americans. African Americans were slaves in Africa and they were slaves in
America as well. Almost every county in Europe and across the world has had black African
slaves which have done their labor for them. This can not be said for any other race of people on the face of the earth! In
fact, many of the Irish were slave masters who helped the trade advance at a very fast
pace. The Irish also had there own black slaves! The Irish were apart of the KKK,
they were overseer’s and masters, and members of the government who helped create laws that
help keep slavery going long after it was suppose to be over. If one watches the movie
Roots (based on the true life history and ancestry of Alex Haley, author of the Auto biography of
Malcolm X) one can see an Irish slave master whipping a slave until he repeats the name
in which the master gave him!!
Long after the European slave trade had ended, there were laws stating that blacks did
not have the freedoms of other Americans. This is also one of the reasons for the
turbulant 60’s because Blacks, Native Americans, and Latinos were still being treated as
second class citizens. The Irish were not apart of the civil rights movement or AIM
(American Indian Movement) because it was without a doubt that they were on the side
of the colonizer.
I do understand the point that the Irish make concerning the trouble of their people but
Tyson chose the “best” example of post colonialism. She might of also taken into
consideration the victimized that people endured abroad as well as here in the United
States. The Irish were not victimized here in the
United States and this may be part of the reason why she chose other groups.
In addition many would like to believe that everything is fine with everyone (especially African Americans) but Native
Americans and Blacks still face trouble in this country despite our popular
belief in Affirmative Action. These groups still have to work “twice as hard” as others to reap the same rewards as everyone else.
This topic (Post Colonialism) should be taught in high school English classrooms so that the youth can be educated on all aspects of American history.