Cultural conditioning or as the British historians Niall Ferguson calls it the use of Soft Power to control hearts and minds and make them do what you want them to do. This concept came back to me while I was watching the 1939 movie Gunga Din, a story about the exploits of colonial Great Britain in India. Growing up in post-colonial Jamaica as in most other colonial countries meant for the most part we inherited the mind-set that White Great Britain was right and we native people were useless and worthless without them. This is what the British spend over 350 years beating into us as a means of control.
Farmers in India were forced to grow opium instead of food crops. Millions starved to death for Britain's drugs trade.
I first watched the movie Gunga Din in the early 70s and hated the East Indians fighting the civilised British and cheered on the white empire as it imposed its military might on the savages. I felt the same way as a young child watching most British colonial propaganda movies from Tarzan to Zulu, they were some of my favourite genres as a boy. The Savage mud-coloured natives who needed the white man to protect them from themselves. These British colonial films wanted us to believe that they had a God given right to govern over what they called primitive native population and a God given right to own native resources. They made me as a young boy in post-colonial Jamaica believed that they the British had that right and that they were a force for good.
The reduction of the North American Indian population from an estimated 12 million in 1500 to barely 237,000 in 1900 represents a"vast genocide
As a boy I also hated Native American Indians in those old cowboy movies, they were the enemy, savages to be wiped out. Pesky redskin savages trying to kill white people who just wanted to live because I was made to believe that those White people had a God giving right to native land. Playing Cowboys and Indians as a boy, I never wanted to be the Indians and that role was reserved to boys lower down on the pecking order as the price for friendship and a chance to play. I found nothing wrong with John Wayne saying the only good Indian/Injun was a dead Indian. In fact I thought it was a badass thing to say about savages whose life I clearly saw no value in.
So young, so stupid, so ignorant and naive was I but at that time our history made it look like we were the lucky ones for being enslaved and should thank the British for enslaving us. I was a product of my society and education system created by the British.
As a young boy I was paid to go to the movies, I had two sisters with whom I was in conflict with whenever I got bored. So my father came up with the plan to give me money every Saturday morning to go to the 10 AM matinees to see the double and triple bill features. I remember going to the Matinees at The Carib and Regal to watch old colonial movies and listened as the entire audience erupted in cheers, clapping like idiots when the white colonial forces turned up to slaughter the native savages, Africans in Africa, Indians in India and Arabs across Arab lands, aborigines in Australia and native populations in almost every country on the face of the planet, none was spared the military might of White Europeans.
The forgotten concentration camps in South Africa where the British sent black people during the Boer War. A minimum of 20,000 people died.
So good was the British colonial system at beating the self-worth out of us, so perfect was the brainwashing that we hated the various versions of ourselves and of our experiences being played out on the big screens and in real life. We were told by the British that we were no-good and that we needed them to take care of us and to be good we needed to be less of who we are and more of who they say we are. The very idea that black people got a reputation of being lazy and don't want to work was created during slavery a period of force labour by people who have slaves because they did not want to work.
25 Dec 1831, Christmas Uprising, Jamaica: 60,000 enslaved Africans led by Samuel Sharpe resist British who responded by executing hundreds.
The British colonial system was not a system that helped in the development of human self-worth. That was the last thing the British wanted the people they ruled over to have. Because one minute you have self-worth and the next you start demanding freedom and equal rights. If we believe that everything about us is wrong, that we are useless and worthless and everything about them is right and as such we cannot live without them taking care of us, then we will relinquish all control to them and thank them for the scraps from their table and count ourselves lucky to get those scraps from our benevolent British Masters and Rulers.
1090 Kenyans were hanged by Britain for opposing colonial rule which stripped the most fertile land from them & was given to white settlers.
A lot of Jamaicans opposed independence, opposed the fight for equal rights and universal adult suffrage simply because they believed in the superiority of White British and they believed that everything about us black people was wrong. My own black grandmother, bless her and love her loads was against independence and black empowerment. My grandmother was a royalist and loved her white English queen. Growing up our house was littered with Royal memorabilia. The picture of the Queen on the wall and on the plates in the cabinets. Her favourite pastime was collecting various Royal memorabilia, anything with a British Flags, Royal insignias and pictures of the royal family, they were all over my house growing up. My Grandmother regarded everything white to be right and superior and black people inferior and not to be trusted. My Grandmother saw black people through the eyes of the white colonial class, she was a product of her society and the perfect example of British foreign policy.
Plundering most of the world and building your nation off the back of it. With an obligatory whine about immigration. #BritishValues
I do not know the origin of the terminology "anything too black not too good" but I can imagine it being said first on the plantation as the whip cuts across the slaves back after which Jamaicans adopting it and run with it. That is conditioned behaviour created after over 350 years of Britain beating the self-worth out of us and us into submission.
For me it was not until the 1970s, the period of my enlightenment characterized by the movement of social development and fight for egalitarianism that I at least started developing more self-worth and started seeing the world differently. Declaring that we are more than a blasted beach, God damn it, we are a country! We are valid people equal to all and should be proud of who we are. It was a period of social re-engineering trying to reverse over 350 years of colonial brainwashing. I love history, always have and adopted it very early in school. But it was not until college when I was introduce to my West Indian history professor that I really became captivated by it. The British version of West Indian history was rubbish, it was yet another use of soft power to control hearts and minds. It was not real history but British Propaganda design to make themselves look benevolent. If all you know is the British version of West Indian or Colonial history then you do not know West Indian or Colonial history.
Murdering Fuzzy Wuzzies
I now know that the natives were not the savages but defenders and that the invaders were the real uncivilized savages while proclaiming how civilised they were. I now know that the natives were only fighting for their very survival, for their freedom and culture, their very lives and that the invaders only wanted to murder and enslave them while taking their resources, so wicked and disgusting were their hearts.
These days Even though I know how these old colonial movies will end, I know the British will slaughter and enslave the native population but now I cheer when the native people rise up kill the European invaders and now see these movies as tragedies. A documentation of the wicked and evil act that one set of human beings inflicted on another set of human beings out of greed. What was once Soft Power used to condition hearts and minds now serves as documentation to the greatest evil that ever spread across the planet like a plague. It is now Soft Power but with an opposite effect conditioning hearts and minds to see them for what they are and to fight oppression.