Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Published by Monthly Review Press
I bought this for my research paper, sometimes I do research papers as an excuse to read non-fiction I’ve been wanting to read. But that’s sort of a lie because I did write a paper on Genghis Khan and I had to read Jack Weatherford’s Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World which was boring, the way he wrote it was, I don’t understand why his telling is so popular. And the font was so tiny I would need a magnifying glass, especially at that time because my glasses were way past my prescription, when I got my new glasses finally, the world was so clear and sparkly. My main point is that non-fiction is a genre of literature that I find hard to read due to the way it’s written, I usually prefer historical fiction that is well researched. How do you know if a historical fiction book is well researched and not biased? Does this historical fiction novel sound like a White supremacist wrote it? Are there gadgets and clothing being described that don’t fit the time period? That’s something you can briefly Google, but Google shouldn’t be your main historical source. This is a whole different topic altogether, but it’s also one of the reasons why I’ve been wanting to read more non-fiction, to learn in more accurate and pinned down terms.
Before I even talk about this, here is the definition of Discourse:
communication of thought by words; talk; conversation:
earnest and intelligent discourse.
a formal discussion of a subject in speech or writing, as a dissertation, treatise, sermon, etc.
Linguistics. any unit of connected speech or writing longer than a sentence.
I honestly wasn’t sure what that meant at first and it’s something that I quite commonly see for books about topics that pertain to society. And colonialism is something that affects us in ways we’re not even aware of sometimes, especially if you’re not a privileged White dude.
I honestly feel odd reviewing this, because how do you review this? I know colonialism affects me in my life too, maybe not in a very obvious way, but more in my self-hatred as a kid that still continues on even now. As I became exposed to social justice and began learning about racism in a way you would never learn in school, I notice even amongst family members and people I go to school with, even I have perpetuated it at some point, we all do, things such as Colorism, Anti-Blackness. You notice internalized racism in yourself and everyone else. And what causes that? Some of those things are colonialism and White supremacy. But you as an individual have to learn, take it all down or deconstruct it, in order to overcome it, and it’s a lifetime’s amount of work.
Discourse on Colonialism is a brilliant starter to learn about how it affects people and how the colonizers treat the colonized. It’s not necessarily handy for learning what colonialism is, but it’s handy for knowing how it affects people, especially Black people.
This book is literally the first book I’ve ever read where I didn’t skip the introduction or notes written by Robin D.G. Kelley. He writes his analysis of the book and talks about Aimé Césaire’s life and his start of the Négritude movement. So that part was interesting because I know absolutely nothing about this guy. I haven’t heard of him til I found and bought this book. And his life sounds fascinating to me.
Césaire was a poet and this was also translated from French and came around in 1950. The writing is beautiful and witty, probably because Césaire writes beautiful poetry I would like to read sometime soon. His writing is delicate yet strong and sarcastic. I’m not sure if it’s because of the time period, the French language, or because he’s brilliant, But this is what I’m talking about, this non-fiction is the type of non-fiction I like. A narrative from the author’s mind. Especially when he brings in other writer’s works and critiques them and calls out their racism, he is a powerful writer. Of course, I had to underline a lot of sentences, not only for research, but also because I liked them. And well, this is a very popular non-fiction book so what I’m saying isn’t much different. It’s brilliant and fills the mind.