According to the theory of Internal Colonialism, many minority groups, especially racial minorities, are essentially colonial peoples within the larger society. Blacks mostly, would be considered victims of this theory within American society. From the beginning of slavery unto now, Blacks are a colonized people in many areas of American life. Four conditions mark this situation, which are:
1. The "colonial" people did not enter the society voluntarily.
2. The culture of the "colonial" people has been destroyed or transformed into a version of the dominant culture.
3. The "colonial" population is controlled by the dominant population.
4. Members of the "colonial" people are victims of racism; that is, they are seen as inferior in biological terms and are oppressed both socially and psychologically.
This is why Black Americans, Native-Americans, and Jewish-Americans react with such anger to suggestions that they may be different from other populations on measures of intelligence or any other biological trait. They have seen such notions used to rationalize slavery or genocide and hence are not willing to let them pass as harmless speculation or "value-free" science (Kornblum, Smith 2000).
Although these characteristics describes colonial peoples everywhere, it extends to show that societies that have created colonial or "ghettoized" populations within their boundaries also develop a "cultural division of labor" in which the subordinate group is expected to perform types of work that are considered too demeaning to be done by members of the dominant population.
For instance, the South African institution of Baaskop was (and in some parts of the nation still is) an example of this phenomenon. It is a set of norms specifying that lower-status, physically exhausting work is appropriate for Blacks and higher-status work is appropriate for whites, and that whites should never accept "black" work nor allow themselves to be subordinated to blacks.
This concept is not only a reality in South Africa but also here in America, yet under disguise. Not as blatant, the practice of whites doing certain jobs and Blacks and other minorities doing harder, more physical or less intellectual work, is an unmentioned reality. A perfect example is in professional sports. The going issue is that the sports profession is not allowing more Black or other minority coaches in football or basketball because of this very theory. It also goes on in the corporate world and in work force, not to mention institutions of higher learning and even churches (whites are very reluctant to sit under a Black pastor).
Positioning and segregating Blacks into this modern day system of Internal Colonialism is a psychological crime against humanity. Whites would never admit to this nor can they comprehend this practice as something structurally instituted by them. Instead, they project themselves as innocent, fair and square-dealing people who are merely offering minorities a piece of the American pie. Minorities are supposed to accept this idea and the practice of whites being better at certain occupations and positions in society than they.
Are the segregated ghetto communities of Black and Hispanic Americans a product of internal colonialism? The answer to this question depends on whether the residents of those communities are able to achieve upward mobility. According to ecological theories of intergroup relations, such mobility should occur naturally in the course of a group's adaptation to the culture and institutions of the larger society. The eventual outcome should be the existence of racially and ethnically integrated communities.
If integration depends on how well minorities adapt in the larger cultural and institutional society, this would occur naturally if the dominant group allowed it naturally. However, in America this has been the problem throughout history unto now. Resistance, on the part of the dominant group, which is a part of Robert Park's cyclical model theory of intergroup relations below, hinders progress in cultural assimilation. That model consist of the following stages:
1. Invasion - One or more distinct groups begin to move into the territory of an established population.
2. Resistance - The established group attempts to defend its territory and institutions against newcomers.
3. Competition - Unless the newcomers are driven out, the two populations begin to compete for space and for access to social institutions (housing, jobs, schooling, recreation facilities, ect.); this extends to competition for prestige in the community and power in local government institutions.
4. Accommodation and Cooperation - Eventually the two groups develop relatively stable patterns of interaction. For example, they arrive at understandings about segregated and shared territories.
5. Assimilation - As accommodation and cooperation replace competition and conflict, the groups gradually merge, first in secondary groups and later through cultural assimilation and intermarriage. They become one people. A new group arrives, and the cycle begins again.
The extent to which assimilation will occur remains an open question. There is not always a steady progression from one of these stages to the next. Moreover, accommodation, cooperation, and assimilation do not occur in every case. The ecological model fails to explain why and how groups compete for power and under what conditions they eventually come to cooperate. Nevertheless, the model presents a general picture of the stages that culturally distinct groups often go through over time.
The racial atmosphere in America between Blacks and whites are wedged somewhere at stage two in some areas of the nation and stage three in others. In addition, accounting for the class structure of America society, lower-income Blacks are struggling with stage two while middle-income Blacks are competing at stage three. Overall on the racial spectrum, stage four would best describe the circumstances. Based on an unwritten agreement, and might it be added an agreement drawn by white America, minorities find themselves neutralized at the point of acceptance to the segregated and stereotypical lifestyles of the popular, political, and economic culture in America.
Internal Colonialism of Blacks and other minorities is a reality is today's society. Regardless of the attempt by Hollywood and the media to portray race relations as a nearly resolved issue, the practice is clear by the housing pattern across the nation. Minorities are clearly segregated from whites and not voluntarily but by intension on the part of whites. In basically every abstract area of society whites continue to reign as supreme, especially on the economic end. Only intellectually, psychologically, and spiritually are they losing their superiority. And in the end, it will be by the latter that they fall in the other areas.
Source from: Sociology in a Changing World; Kornblum, 2000.
© Aug. 2017
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