Post-Colonialism Reflective Essay
The historical attempts of Europeans to claim lands that are not their own and forcibly take them from previous owners have created a repeated scenario of fierce conflict between the colonizers and the colonized. This scenario is seen so often in history that it has become a sort of universal theme, a fact not missed by writers and filmmakers. In both The Power of One and Pocahontas, the colonization of an existing culture creates tension between the colonizers and the colonized. This tension creates prejudice, and the prejudice often manifests itself in violence, whether it is the violence of a culture acting on their prejudices or the violence of a culture responding to the prejudice of another. The former, as well as the prejudice itself, is a part of the post-colonial theme of Othering; the latter is a part of the theme of Anti-Colonial Resistance. To explore these themes further, I will use my previous examples, The Power of One and Pocahontas, to show that the tension caused by colonization often affects cultures in a similar manner.
The Power of One is the story of an English boy named P.K. growing up in South Africa during the apartheid. He has no prejudice against the colonized cultures in South Africa because the nanny that raised him was a Zulu, one of the colonized people. Because of this, he is able to see that the prejudice of others is wrong, and he is appalled by the things that many of the colonizers do to the colonized people as a result of their prejudice. The belief that most of the colonizers hold to – that the colonized people are inherently inferior to their own race – is the post-colonial theme of Othering. In these situations, the people of the colonized culture are seen as sub-human creatures that don’t deserve the same rights or compassion we bestow to the rest of our species. A character that gives us one of the best examples of Othering in The Power of One is Sgt. Bormann, a sadistic prison guard who is extremely prejudiced. He repeatedly beats the black prisoners, including P.K.’s friend Geel Piet, for little or no reason. Bormann once said to Piet, “Your day will come and it will be as black as your bloody soul.” This quote demonstrates that Sgt. Bormann considers Geel Piet and all other black people to be fundamentally corrupt and immoral. He perceives them as different from himself, and thus assumes that they are bad because he equates himself with good. It is this Othering of the colonized culture that makes him so cruel towards the black prisoners.
The people of the colonized culture do not usually accept the colonizers invading their land, especially if the colonizers are blatantly prejudiced against them. Their defiance of the colonizers’ rule is the post-colonial theme of Anti-Colonial Resistance. This resistance can be anything that challenges the systems put into place by the colonizing culture. In The Power of One, P.K.’s friend Geel Piet secretly defies the...