bell hook’s “Rebel’s Dilemma” at first confused me. I didn’t know what decolonization really was, and she kept repeating the term as if repeating it would actually make such a thing possible. Now, finally knowing what it is, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s an impossible goal, for Ms. hooks or anyone else.
Decolonization, essentially removing the influence of those who colonized a group and returning to that group’s natural roots, is a noble goal; however, it is simply unrealistic. A group is forever tainted by those who have tried to change them, be those changes for the worse or better. African Americans, while they may want to return to Africa or embrace their culture and heritage (and there is nothing wrong with that goal), will still retain something about the group that colonized them. They could be in full tribal dress and still think like a white person, still retain even mentally a piece of their oppressor.
This article reminds me about how when slavery became illegal, some slaves went back to Africa, but many went to either predominantly white England or different parts of America. Once someone has changed, they are changed forever. Perhaps if dominant cultures could find more of a way to embrace cultural differences (like teaching to different nationalities in ESL), there would be less of an issue both with decolonization and with lack of ESL teaching.