Narratives In The Postcolonial Binaries

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Narratives exist in nearly every aspect of our society. The influence and power that these narratives can have on people are infamously represented by the persecution and death by firing squad of Jose Rizal, a Filipino martyr who wrote two novels1 which exposed the Spanish faults during the colonial period. Said (1994) observed that nowadays, it is impossible to be “purely one thing,” due largely to imperialism, which has resulted in the “mixture of cultures and identities on a global scale”; however, “its worst and most paradoxical gift was to allow people to believe that they were only,mainly, exclusively, white, or Black, or Western, or Oriental” [Italics added] (p. 336). This idea ofbeing exclusively something plays significantly into the postcolonial binaries undeniably implanted in our minds. Talib (2002) called these postcolonial binaries as the “rigid division of the world into two categories: the West and the East, the North and the South, the developed and the undeveloped, the First and the Third Worlds, the English and the non-English” (p. 18), them and us, them and the other. What makes these labels divisive is that most of the times the exclusivity of being part of the other is connected to the negativity of being part of that other: East, South, undeveloped, Third World, non-English. For nearly four hundred years, Filipinos were made to believe that they were the other: the other of the Spaniards and the Americans (Arong, 2011)

The aftermath of World War II

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