Sunday, April 20, 2014

Race vs. Ethnicity in Colonialism (Mamdani)

When the colonizers colonize another state, they distinguish themselves as a superior race to the the colonized (25). They separate between the native and the nonnative in a hierarchy that politically constructs race identity. Within the native race, the inferior race, the colonizers construct ethnic groups through the imposing of customary laws (25). Colonialism enforces racial and ethnic divides among what were previously nation-states (more or less) and then when the colonial power leaves, the divisions are still in place making it difficult to reconstruct a nation-state, which Mamdani considers to be the most fitting form of  government. In order for the colonized state to regain its status as a nation-state it must first un-divide ethnic lines and then un-divide race lines in a system that has already adjusted socially and economically. In Rwanda the untangling of these colonial-imposed divides becomes especially hard because the race and ethnic divides overlap, making it impossible to go about un-dividing ethnicities and races in the prescribed way.

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