Tag Archives: neocolonialism

Waiting For Krypton: Education Post for Media Diversity UK

Lee's depiction of DC Comics' Superman and Batman.

Lee’s depiction of DC Comics’ Superman and Batman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The opening scenes of the documentary Waiting For Superman depict education reformer/charter school advocate Geoffrey Canada as describing one of the saddest moments in his life. When he learned that Superman was not real, he was distraught because there was, in Canada’s words, “I was crying because there was no one coming with enough power to save us.” From his perspective, DC Comics’ Clark Kent/Superman “just shows up and he saves all the good people,” “even in the depths of the ghetto.” As a fellow comic book fan, I would have to question whether Mr. Canada knows the story of Superman, and the criticism thereof from the likes of one of his allies for justice, Black Lightning (Jefferson Davis, who, in one rendition, just so happens to be a public school principal) , who noted that Superman may be Kryptonian, but he is still white, and avoids the Suicide Slums (the poor side of town where Metropolis is).

I want to lay aside that criticism, and talk about the idea of power, and what it means in eyes of education reformers. As I quoted Mr. Canada above, he was distraught that there was no one with all of the power to save what Geoffrey Canada calls “failure factories,” or schools in predominantly impoverished neighborhoods that primarily feed the community drop-outs and/or felons, and yes these are communities that are of predominantly black and Latin@ American populations. These “failure factories” are what stifle economic growth, deprive corporations of an educated workforce, and communities of stability. From the perspective of philanthropists such as Bill Gates (from the documentary and his history of being active in the Education Reform movement), children receiving education is for the purpose of the workforce, so that multinational corporations can keep up with global competition. In Waiting For Superman, the topic of power is not discussed again until we see education reformer/charter school advocate Michelle Rhee at work, who was given “broad powers” to make sweeping changes. The issue of power is an interesting topic, and to see it discussed explicitly in these two instances are what caught my attention. Where does power come from? Who has it? What does it look like?

For the rest of the essay, please go read Waiting For Krypton: Race, Ableism and Education Reform

Intersectionality And Peacemaking: Class And Naming NeoColonial Empire #TheNewPacifism


World empires and colonies in 1898, just befor...

World empires and colonies in 1898, just before the Spanish-American War, Boxer Rebellion and Boer War (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I talked about sex sex sex, and today,  I want to talk about money and power.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV

Many Pacifists really don’t like to talk about power. It’s like they are allergic to it. As persons who desire to be peacemakers, we need to have conversations about who has power (well all of us do really), but who has used their power to set up systems of domination. In high school history classes, we learn that after World War II, the United Nations made a push to “decolonize” all of the populations of People of Color that a few European countries had oppressed for decades. Sometimes this was done by treaty, and in some instances, war, and in the case of places like India (cough cough, and the USA), non-violent protests.

Simultaneously, the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were deeply involved in a Cold War, which consisted of espionage, the tactical maneuvering of nuclear weapons, and lots of education-as-propaganda (One Nation, Under God added to the pledge for ex.). Interestingly the move to put “In God We Trust” on the American Dollar (which god? did he endorse racial segregation and lynching?) I say was a move of great significance. Rather than sending missionaries overseas, the U.S. sent businessmen, to spread the good news about America’s free market (which just so happened to be sustained by an oppressive apartheid system). The Almighty Dollar had become the center of USian society, and it’s exportation through the use of exploitation of workers here and abroad that continues today which makes neocolonialism alive and well. Even symbols of resistances, like the Guy Fawkes mask are made in factories in the Two-Thirds world, and Time Warner owns the image, so, here’s your sign. But that’s what is so special about contemporary postcolonial empire, isn’t it? That the multi-national corporations own everything, including their opponents!

Empires after World War Two are defined by economic activity and the political coercion of developing nations to accept oppressive neo-liberal reforms. One embodiment of postcolonial empire is that of the university setting. Education has become learning the minimum amount of knowledge we need so we can get a good job and move up in the world. Colleges and universities in the United States exist to sustain the mainstream status quo by implementing desired virtues one ought to have in the “real” world. For example, issues pertaining to responsibility, networking (sororities and fraternities, for example), as well as tolerance for human diversity are part of the morality behind university life; what is hidden from view is neocolonial corporatism, that is, that these values are necessary to maintain the economic system currently in place. Mammon is hidden; we do not see it. A New Pacifism must confront structural sin, and that includes the hiddenness of mammon.

Christians in general are really good about condemning greedy individuals and “Wal-Mart” philosophies like a certain article about marriage that trended earlier this week. The funny thing about these “Wal-Mart” philosophies is that they never get around to confronting companies like Wal-Mart and their bad histories of gender and racial discrimination, or their horrendous record on workers’ rights. But hey yall, Black Friday is just around the corner! The devastating impact that economic violence has on generations of families must be addressed. In order for cycles of poverty to be broken, the New Pacifism must open up its definition of violence to include the oppression of the impoverished. The DOLLAR must become viewed as the representation of institutionalized greed. Because God has given us power to defeat “The Powers,” New Pacifists must dismantle the lies and false hopes of neoliberalism. Peace theologian John Howard Yoder rightly argued in the Politics of Jesus that once a believer is part of the Kingdom of God, private property rights are no longer absolute as they are in capitalist societies, for we are obligated to give it all up. The New Pacifist must be willing implement non-violent principles into economic practices for the sake of liberating the downtrodden.

Pray For Diamonds And Gold


English: Paparazzo Presents a photo of televan...

English: Paparazzo Presents a photo of televangelist Pat Robertson taken during his February 12, 2006 Operation Blessing visit to Victory Fellowship Church in Metairie, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two weeks ago, televangelist Pat Robertson was caught profit-lying about African Americans, and endorsing the idea of a forthcoming race war. Well, it seems Pat has a good idea what black bodies should be used for: mining gold and diamonds for his Operation Blessing! For those unfamiliar, Robertson was a supporter of Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, and vocally defended the man who was found guilty of a number of human rights violations. There have been a number investigations into Robertson’s Freedom Gold, which had deals with Taylor. Robertson admitted several years ago on his own 700 Club that he did indeed have financial interests in Liberia, his foray into neocolonialism was for the greater good: he just wanted to be able to broadcast and minister to more people around the world through private means (even if this meant, oh supporting a murderous dictator and just a little earning money under false pretenses [that’s both lying and stealing for those keeping count of the 10 Commandments at home].

Last week, and probably in the near future, there is going to be a documentary shown for world audiences to see: Mission Congo, exposing Robertson’s lies in the 1990’s, lying and stealing money from folks, claiming that the funds would be aiding Operation Blessing and refugees in Rwanda, but instead, the monies were used to finance Pat Robertson’s diamond mining expeditions. Robertson has been investigated by the state of Virginia, and was discovered to be a fraud, but the attorney general decided to look over this imperialist “blemish.”

These neocolonial activities overseas as well as Robertson’s habit of coming up with ponzi schemes lead me to doubt the sincerity of Robertson’s promoting placing the Ten Commandments in public schools and state courts. Why should we agree to a public policy of publicly endorsing religious precepts Pat Robertson chooses not to follow? #IJS

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