The Colonial Experience

“In short, these paintings give us a vision of a hierarchical social order in which racial difference is in sync with a whole series of other distinction. Everyone has a place in this panorama of social society but the internal grid divides one social group from another.”

Slavery ended in Brazil in 1888, an estimated amount of four million slaves had entered Brazil. Being African myself, and studying african history has made me become aware of this, but despite the fact that my roots are very much in Africa I knew very little of the slave trade, south of the United States.

And then I watched this video.

I learnt about the whitening that took place in Brazil, the cultural genocide that took place and the deep societal desire to whiten one’s skin, and I felt disgusted. Disgusted, that even today in the 21st century, over 100 years later there are still systemic vices in society to rid people of colour of their colour.

And this is not just in Brazil, it’s everywhere, in Europe, even in Africa. Even between Africans themselves, there is a hierarchy between lighter skinned girls and darker skinned girls. I myself, am a product of my own environment.

For example, I look at my makeup, the fact that I contour lighter under my eyes, the fact that I have to pay significantly more money to find a foundation shade my colour, the fact that I chemically straighten my hair every two months. I don’t believe that I do these things for fun but more as a means of survival. So that I am not judged, so that I am more respected by those around me.

When I look at the pictures, and I see people who look like me undressed, “savage” it shows me how much work has been done but also at the same time how much work needs to be done



Defining the undefinable


Image result for latin america

(Taken from )

I have always found introductory posts to be somewhat challenging. I say not to sound too pretentious but as a means of trying to explain to you that trying to define oneself is a lot harder than one might imagine.

I could start with my name – which would be to you, Danni, to my parents, Danielle, to my birth certificate Gloria. My intended major, History specializing in International Relations, and why out of all the courses that the University of British Columbia has to offer I chose this one. A simple answer to this question is that I don’t know enough about the continent to confidently tell people I can specialize in the realm of “the international” whilst missing a significant world perspective.

I don’t know if this is good enough for an introduction, but it’s certainly a start. One of the most important takeaways from my first class of Latin American studies is that things are quite hard to describe, just as I struggled to define myself, defining Latin America is not simply black and white, its fluid, its everchanging, its uncertain. We as humans like certainty but even though a lot of history s based on fact, it is also important to note that the story changes with perspective.

You see, I learnt most of my history in England, meaning that if you don’t leave the class with the overwhelmingly smug feeling that Great Britain isn’t simply great, you simply weren’t there. I know that this isn’t true, as I’m sure you do also, dear reader, but at least I’m trying to do something about it.




Countries like Brazil, Columbia and Mexico are just a few of those where drugs have transformed into a key industry and whoever controls those controls the nation.

I thought that this video was really well edited with musical interludes which I feel really moved the videos along. I found the information on “Operation Open Arms” interesting, and how it took place before the world cup and how certain regions do things to cover up things on the world stage. Also about how 97 per cent of investigations by the police aren’t actually investigated. I also find it interesting how it was actually money that came out of the United States that led to the war on drugs, rather than as a few politicians say today a result of an influx of immigrants from Latin American regions. However, I believe that this film was not critical of the surface facts it received, the idea of drugs, especially associated with poorer people is systemic and it is believed for a reason. Whilst the following film looked at Columbus from a variety of perspectives, this film did not focus enough on the root causes of the drug problem.


This film was very interesting, and I found the narrative very compelling, as well as the suspenseful mood music as well as the pictorial slideshow. I found it disturbing how when Christopher Columbus came to the Americas he simply claimed the land as his for his king and queen. I also think it is interesting how Columbus felt that he was superior to the indigenous people of the land simply because he had more clothing on. I wonder if this has any cultural links biblically and this is one of the reasons why he thought he was more heavenly. He also traded them broken glass.