Lecturer/ Doctoral Student
University of Alberta
Decolonizing Black Spaces in Academia Through Anticolonial Literacies of Resilience-Resistance-Liberation
To colonize Black Africa, self-imposed White saviors misrepresented Black Bodies as uncivilized but intriguing; vicious but tamable; subhuman but functional; docile but untrustworthy; or childlike but cunning. This miseducation legitimized the need to subjugate Black Bodies and spaces through cruelty, love, and civilization. In this paper, I suggest that White colonialism required cruelty to mitigate the perceived viciousness of Black resistance to racial oppression while love was necessary to entice or reward Black sell-outs who exchanged their ancestral land, language, or culture for a mythical semi-Whiteness. Furthermore, civilization was presented as the indispensable first step to salvation that Black minds will never attain unless they pledge undying fealty to White subservience on Black lands. This paper explores the futility of using White colonial literacies to nurture Black resilience or resistance without first carving out a Black space (Dei, 2020) where African indigeneity can exist free from the colonizer’s gaze (Fanon, 1967). I suggest a pedagogy of counterpointed resilience-resistance-liberation which is not chronological, since Chronos is a Greek God, but rather cyclical across time, space, and relations as espoused within my Kigandan concept of okweberaramu. This Indigenous African philosophy refers to the way of being and living your life by claiming self-governance of your body, mind, spirit, and space by declaring that you are self-sufficient within oneself, by yourself, for the good of everyone and everything. As a Muganda (a tribe in Uganda), my decolonization started at the same time as my colonization because my childhood initiation into Eurocentric formal schooling in English was preceded and accompanied by Kigandan informal schooling in Luganda. Just like White explorers never discovered Africa, since it was never declared to be missing, White inclusivity education cannot decolonize Black spaces because they have always existed within and around Black Bodies, and do not require any discovery.