Updated: May 24, 2022
Introduction & Overview
This little one grew up to become a decolonizer. Have you grown up to become one too?
What does it mean to decolonize?
How does one become a decolonizer?
Why is decolonization necessary?
When I share with people that I am a “Specialist in Decolonization” there is always a pause on the receiving end of that statement. Sometimes the pause is followed by a “wow, that’s interesting” or a “I really like that.” Other times the pause is followed by “what does that mean?” or “I don’t get it.” But most times the pause is followed by further silence, and deep processing stares. Decolonization is not a term that we use broadly or freely in any part of the world. It is charged and triggering – counter to the positive stories of colonization and colonialism we were taught in school as a result of who has had the privilege of telling history over the last 500+ years. Textbooks in almost every part of the Atlantic world have taught how amazing Columbus, the Conquistadores, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, the Portuguese Empire, the Spanish Empire, the French Empire, the Dutch Empire, the British Empire, the list goes on and on, were. To decolonize from the “positive” effects of colonization that we have been acculturated in is dissonance to many ears – and a lot of the time those aren’t just white ears. We have no declarative definition of which we can point to describe the reasons why colonization is detrimental to humanity, and the process to move beyond it. Decolonization is that declarative step on truly eradicating the disease of conquer and colonize white supremacy and evolving from its effects.
Decolonization, according to a specialist, is the breaking down of antiquated systems, structures, ways of thinking and acting, in order to build back better, anew, and create spaces and places that work for us all. In our application of decolonization on a global scale, we base it in the last 500+ years of western European colonization and imperialism, and eventual US globalization. Decolonization disrupts the monocultural perspective that “white is right” or that there is only one way to engage in the world, spread throughout the globe through western European colonization. Decolonization is the way people are able to embrace and build new systems, structures and mental models focused on the infinite way of being – the multicultural way of being – leading to true equity, inclusion, the appreciation of diversity, and the movement from a culture of individualism to a culture grounded in collectivism.
The Making of a Decolonizer is an exploration of the above concepts embedded in my personal story, journey on becoming a Specialist in Decolonization, and the process I go through to remain one every day. Through these series of posts, I will share my evolution as an individual on a personal quest for global liberation.
Follow along! The next post is just around the corner.
Get deep, get complex, and tap into why decolonization matters to you.
It is time to decolonize the world.
With Love, Shaunda
As of May 2022, The Making of a Decolonizer series have been moved to https://www.shaundalewis.com/themakingofadecolonizer.