To what extent should we embrace the perspective(s) reflected in the source?“It is difficult to give an objective balance sheet on colonialism. Those who contend that it made no positive...

To what extent should we embrace the perspective(s) reflected in the source?

“It is difficult to give an objective balance sheet on colonialism. Those who contend that it made no positive impact are as dogmatic as those who present it as the salvation of Africa. What is unequivocal is that it was an imposition of alien rule. Whatever may have been its pulses and minuses, colonialism was a dictatorial regimen that denied people’s rights of self-determination. It brought death, pain and humiliation to millions of its victims” --Tunde Obadina


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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The quote is wonderful in bringing out the fundamental challenge in discussing the narrative of history.  For nearly every event in historical discourse, there is a "consensus" point of view matched up with a "conflict" narrative.  In this arena, individuals have to assess which elements of both are valid.  Certainly, this dynamic is present in the discussion of colonialism.  The source is accurate in its idea that the tendency for zealous dogma on both sides is present.  In this intellectual retelling of the "culture wars," both sides see the issue in singular monologues, as opposed to examining what principles in multiple narratives can be taken to form a more comprehensive understanding of historical consciousness.  The quote is accurate in bringing out this tendency.  At the same time, I think that it is difficult to argue that there was an imposition of cultural values and political practices from one realm upon another.  Colonialism presented itself as a structure that, for the most part, did seek to repress movements for self- determination.  In Africa's case, the development and fostering of the slave trade would have to be something included in the balance sheet of assessing colonialism and I could not argue that this is not a valid point.  These points would suggest to me that the source can and needs to be embraced in starting or contributing to the historical discussion about colonialism.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that it is impossible to deny any of what is in the quote.

It is surely possible to argue that colonialism did some good for the places in which it was practiced.  However, it is not possible to argue against the idea that it was a system that denied people their rights.   It may be that Americans and Europeans were better equipped to rule a number of countries than the inhabitants of those countries were.  However, that does not mean it was right.  A country has no right to treat another country like a bunch of children, denying them the right to rule themselves, no matter how badly they might rule.

So, colonialism had its plusses and minuses, but it was clearly a dictatorial system imposed on people which robbed those people of their rights.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I agree with most of what the quote says. The worst part of colonialism was that far away countries showed up with weapons, enslaved people that they thought were inferior, and began to pillage and plunder to their hearts' content. Then they installed themselves as the new legitimate government and enslaved the people. Lovely.

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