On scrubbing up and being shiny

Perhaps a majority of people feel there’s little advantage in educating oneself compared to the feeling of moral superiority one can have by not educating oneself. Educating oneself takes time, often money, and substantial effort to move oneself from a state of ignorance to one of being able to understand complexity. Being moral superior takes a certain amount of confidence that one’s views predominate within a particular cultural matrix. Would you change that easy position of feigned superiority for one that is considerably costly?

I find that people of the English speaking world have also invested quite a lot of energy in the belief that their countries are no longer ‘colonial’ (like they assume mine was). They know better. They would never do a thing like colonialism, not them personally. It’s not that they would feel comfortable speaking to an actual black person — they wouldn’t — they just think that I should learn better manners when making reference to them.

There are specific forms of jargon that one absolutely needs to be able to refer to “the other” in a way that separates one from seeming to have any mean, colonial intent. I have to learn this from these good people, otherwise I’m still among the great unwashed.


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