Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Because Colonialism and Immigration are Basically the Same Thing

It’s common knowledge that birth rates tend to be higher in economically less developed places and lower in economically developed ones. For example, the birth rate in Italy is so low that the government offers money for fecundity. On the other hand, Niger, among the poorest countries in the world, is also the country with the highest birth rate, has the highest rates of illiteracy, and ranks sixth for infant mortality (the country also has a very high general death rate, ranking 7th in the world).

One could argue that it’s also common knowledge that, amongst the more diverse of ‘western’ nations, such economic trends continue to play out. Apparently that’s angered some white British folk – Melanie McDonough, writing for Britain’s Telegraph, complains of the inequities of the birth rate in her country, saying:

The people most likely to take their [groups which promote reproduction] views to heart are the agonised Anglo-Saxon liberals, for whom excess fecundity is never going to be much of a problem in the first place. They don’t seem to cut much ice with the Somali mothers you see in West London.

Right…because that’s so problematic. Oh noes, the world’s turning brown!

The comments, of course, are no less racist. Ms. McDonough, like many Brits and Americans alike, would simply love it if the “native whites” of their countries would start reproducing and the immigrants slowed it down a bit, or even stopped altogether (somehow reminds me of the Israeli attitude toward the Arab birthrate – “but they just have so many BABIES!“).

My favorite comment, however, is this one:

Think how Europe’s former colonies felt being dominated by a minority – now think replace “colony” with Britain. We want a place we can call our own, be ourselves, and want the right of self-determination – is that a familiar mantra? The problem when it comes out of the mouths of whites it’s racist. When it comes out of the mouths of non-whites though it is an inalienable right – a virtue.

I have to say, I really love it when white people compare the migration of non-whites (immigrant minorities) to wealthy countries to the colonization of other lands by whites as if those two concepts were simply reversals of the other (kind of like when white folks bring up “reverse racism”). They are no such thing: One involves wealth, power, and privilege, and the other – more often than not – involves escaping a place with few opportunities for one where there is (at least theoretically) more opportunity and freedom, and often very little power at all.

But hey, what do I know?

(Side note: If this kind of thing is interesting to you, I highly recommend my new favorite blog, Stuff White People Do, in which a white man deconstructs racial stereotypes, often snarkily).

7 Comments

  1. Ah, what Ms. McDonough is apparently missing is that nobody is telling the white folks to not reproduce, not have babies. They have the same freedom in this regard as the Somali women! :)

  2. Ah, the wonderful Telegraph. The Telegraph who’s criminal (former) proprietor Conrad Black let his wife Barbara Amiel spew her Israeli nonsense, and Melanie Phillips put pen to paper to slur every non-white face she could find – especially if they happen to be Muslim. Londonistan is the name of her book. She’s another one of the “Britain is being colonised by these immigrants” school of thought. It’s a shame she and her friend McDonough are too thick to realise that many of the Somalis of west London who she crosses the road to avoid were born in the UK. But they’re brown, so clearly they can’t be British.

    “We want a place we can call our own, be ourselves, and want the right of self-determination – is that a familiar mantra? The problem when it comes out of the mouths of whites it’s racist.”

    Wow. Just wow. Seriously – I’ve heard these sentences come out of the mouths of the BNP’s fascist thugs, almost word for word. (We want a homeland, a place to call our own.) McDonough, you’re in good company.

  3. I found this blog reading of falafels. I read about 5 of your prior posts thus far. It is very interesting. I hope you don’t mind my opinion on the above article…
    I think those offended by remarks considered “racist” take equal responsibility in perpetuating the absurd, with those making the remarks. Indeed their position becomes quite suspicious when the remarks are not directed towards them yet they “sympathize” with to whom the remarks may be addressed. Clearly “white people” do not exist. Nor do “brown people”. Expressing sympathy for one because they are offended by a statement that doesn’t make sense is like taking sides for no reason. I don’t understand this. The term ‘racism’ has remained undefined for quite some time for the individual. Why would the individual reduce themselves to a term used for simplifying a world filled with free beings, into groupings for studies that can only be used as statistical curiosities. It is as though someone had insulted “your” sports team. Quite a few drinks would have to precede offense being taken. Unless you’re not very clear-headed to begin with…

  4. how is colonialism and migration the same thing

  5. “I have to say, I really love it when white people compare the migration of non-whites (immigrant minorities) to wealthy countries to the colonization of other lands by whites as if those two concepts were simply reversals of the other (kind of like when white folks bring up “reverse racism”). They are no such thing: One involves wealth, power, and privilege, and the other – more often than not – involves escaping a place with few opportunities for one where there is (at least theoretically) more opportunity and freedom, and often very little power at all.”

    I agree with this statement on the basis of how colonialism and immigration from post-colonial nations are different because of the difference in power dynamics however if you remove the power dynamics from the equation what you have is still the same thing; that is the erosion of one culture by another. European colonialists sought to impose their cultural values on subalterns during colonialism. Modern subaltern immigrants to Europe are an erosive force that is forcing Europeans to change their traditional cultures as accommodation for their immigrants. In that way, colonialism and immigration are the same. Even if you remove the cultural erosion factor from the equation, the two can still be equated simply by the fact of large numbers of people from one culture going to live in a far away country of a different culture. In that way colonialism and immigration are exactly the same. In fact, simply by the measure of human migration, the effects of immigration are far greater than the effects of colonialism because in many cases the number of subalterns immigrating to live in Europe far outweighs the number of Europeans who actually migrated to colonized nations (With the exclusion of the Americas). Furthermore, after colonialism many countries sought a policy of total expulsion of all Whites who had settled in their countries during colonialism, whether they were closely connected to the power structure of colonialism or not. If the expulsion of Whites from colonized nations following colonialism is considered justice, how then is it considered injustice for Europeans to oppose immigration of subalterns?

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