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Phillip Wade Wilson

A Small Place : Vituperation of Colonialism

Throughout the text, I found that colonialism is brought about in the negative light that many times I feel it is overlooked. In my educational career, especially in history and language classes (both foreign and English), the negative impacts of colonial rule are almost always denoted as something much less severe than what it actually was. In her writing, I feel like she explains the numerous ways that colonialism impacted her life, thoughts, as well as political and economic aspects of Antigua as a country. 

What stuck out to me the most is the way in which education in Antigua and in America are similar. As I stated previously there have been numerous times where the awful roles that colonizing powers of the old and new worlds have been downplayed. She explains how this happened to her as well. It made me think about how I have been taught to understand certain concepts about the creation of America and its subsequent ways of continuing to hide its hideous past. She explains that the ways in which history is crafted, by the winners, has seriously damaged the ways in which people all over the world have been and will be able to see themselves. 

To me, I find this extremely concerning not only in this aspect but in the inherent ways that local people are overlooked and not taken into account their full context. As we learned with Iyer, there is a way to escape the tourist gaze in certain ways but we will never truly be able to understand a place or its people without being one ourselves. In Kincaid’s novel, it is clearly evident that this is the case. Even taking a look at the larger picture, outside of her world, the West has always done an excellent job of taking advantage of less fortunate peoples and even industrializing nations as a whole. 

Just look at the lives of the tourists that come to visit Antigua. Ti escape boredom they come to this island nation, yet disregard the hardships the people have to face and look at it with this glamour for the impoverished peoples present. It is quite honestly, sick. I remember on my trip to Belize a few years ago we were on a bus tour going into the mountains and dense forest to cave tube and on the bus ride we passed a very small house a few feet x a few feet and my mother pointed it out and showed it to me. I found it extremely sad that people anywhere in the world have to live like this and I think it instilled me to want to change the world for the better and break the cycle of poverty wealthier nations impose on poorer; however, my mother wanted to take a picture of it because she had never seen something like it before and glamourized the life of the poverty in Belize. And when I explained how it was awful she was taking photos of it she told me I was ungrateful for my “blessed life” rather than seeing how rude it is to pinpoint the less fortunate and photograph them for self-posterity. 

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