THE COLONIAL, THE UNCOLONIAL
For hundreds of years, history has been a tool of colonialism, slavery, and racism.
Colonists used history to say that Native peoples had no history. They said, "these people have never done anything worth mentioning. They're basically animals." And in so doing, they used history to take over worlds.
Slave owners used history to say that Black people were slowly being civilized by slavery. The most respected European thinkers in the world theorized that freedom would be "cruel," and so in this case, history was used to protect slavery.
Racists have always used history. At the end of the Civil Rights Movement, people looked around and still saw a terribly unequal society. They tried to push for the changes that were left, but racists responded that these problems had already been solved. They argued that we live in a post-racial society. And so history is used to maintain racial barriers.
Starting today, history will be the tool of decolonization, freedom, and anti-racism.
Indigenous people can use history to condemn the past, so as to pave a way for justice in the future. We need to be able to use history to defend both what is sacred, and what is owed. History should be the tool of building.
History should be the tool for mapping the atrocities of slave-owning countries. Too many empires profited from slavery, and their debt has never been paid. History should be the tool that is used to rectify the past as reparations are sought.
History can be the tool of now. Oppression has gone nowhere fast, and that's partly because in order to fight, we have to know how to fight. History can be our map for what works, and what doesn't. History can be our map for winning the public opinion. History can be used to prove that we DON'T live in a post-racial society, and history can be used to break down those racial barriers once and for all.