Racism and Colonialism According to Mojzes, Zinn, and Churchill

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About this sample


Words: 1494 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2020

Words: 1494|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Mar 19, 2020

In his book “Balkan Genocides: Holocaust and ethnic cleansing in the twentieth century,” Mojzes (2011) presents a comprehensive, detailed and balanced account of the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing, and genocides experienced in the Balkan Peninsula during the 20th century. When referring to the Balkans, the author includes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, the European part of Turkey, and Slovenia. Mojzes (2011) places these events in their correct historical contexts, laying bare the common misunderstandings of these genocides some of which have not been acknowledged to date. He notes that there were three major contributing factors that led to these genocides especially during World War II, which was the climax of the genocides and ethnic cleansing. These forces included enormous and powerful ideological systems that governed various strong armed forces and mighty governments. They included Nazi-dominated Germany, in unity with the Italian Fascists who conflicted with the Marxist-inspired Soviet Communism that had a temporary friendship with the Western capitalist democratic nations. There are also other small ethnic groups or nations that were regularly at war with each other as they shifted from being enemies to allies or allies to enemies. Smaller European nations such as those located in the Balkan Peninsula found themselves indulged in these confrontations either by being victims of these powerful brutal confrontations and occupations or by supporting and collaborating with various military takeovers.

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As a result, millions were killed, tortured, imprisoned, displaced, raped, wounded, robbed and their homes burnt. Mojzes (2011) also notes that there is an assumption that Genocides were as a result of plans made by powerful leaders such as Stalin, Hitler, and Mao Zedong among others. For this reason, religions or entire nations are left out of the genocide blame game, which is not true. Mojzes (2011) highlights how ethnoreligiosity uniquely contributed to the ethnic cleansing and genocides in the Balkan region. He defines ethnoreligiosity as a certain symbiotic merger that combines ones religious and ethnic heritage as a way of offering a sense of collective and personal identity. The role of ethnoreligiosity to the Balkan genocides and ethnic cleansing is highlighted by the extent of ethnic cleansing during Yugoslavia’s Wars of Disintegration. The ethnic stratification that was prevalent in the early 1990s resulted into a rivalry, whereby neighboring ethnicities or nations saw each other as rivals or a threat.

The differences in skin color, language, eye color or hair color became the basis of determining how people treated each other. There was a conflict between politicians and religious leaders, as they sought to defend their people. Mojzes (2011) notes that despite the fact that these events came to pass, some loitering issues between various Balkan religions and nations are still prevalent. These issues need to be addressed by understanding the past holocaust, ethnic cleansing, and genocides in the Balkan Peninsula. Zinn (2015) in his excerpt “Columbus and Western Civilization” evaluates the American’s history from a perspective of a Native Americans. Native Americans were also referred to as the “Arawak Indians” by Christopher Columbus since he thought he was in Asia. To be able to achieve his aim, Zinn used Columbus journals and another extract to study American’s history, since there were no other scholarly materials. To many Americans, Columbus was a hero or the man who discovered America. However, Zinn (2015) paints Columbus as a ruthless, greedy and questionably navigationally incompetent. Columbus was not special or heroic as many historians have painted him to be. His major aim was to acquire as much wealth and gold as he could to make his employers and financers back in Spain happy. Zinn refers to some prominent and famous scholarly and historians to make his claims against Columbus. For instance, he refers to de las Casas to prove that even in 1490s Columbus was known by some Europeans as a brutal person and a murderer. Zinn (2015) affirms that Columbus initiated the cruelty and brutality against humans of different ethnicity that was witnessed throughout American history.

According to the author individuals such as Columbus ought to be held responsible for various genocidal crimes that happened in their time. Moreover, Zinn (2015) notes that there has been a problem when it comes to how some issues are presented in some history textbooks and other works. He notes that some history textbooks have painted the picture that every American is alike and common independence and freedom unites everyone. He insists on the need to acknowledge the difference and division that has been present between Americans such as the division between the powerful and the powerless and the rich and the poor. The author also points ought that historians should not be over-reliant on what took place, but also to focus on rectifying persecution and marginalization that was prevalent in the past. It is for this reason that he notes that it is important for us to realize that Western industrialization was greatly linked to the persecution and marginalization of indigenous people located in the New World. Rather than focusing on the North American colonization idealized vision that is usually reviewed by many history texts, the author focuses on the bitter facts about the brutality of colonization. Zinn uses various quotes from various Native Americans to reveals the greed for wealth and property that English colonizers possessed, which resulted into the use of violence and brutality against the Native Americans.

In “The Law Stood Squarely on Its Head: U. S. Legal Doctrine, Indigenous Self-Determination and the Question of World Order,” Ward Churchill address land issues facing America Indian community. Churchill illustrates how various laws that have been put in place by the US to help Americans continue to fail miserably when used to address various issues facing Indigenous Americans. He highlights what the US has done to the Native North Americans, who continue to struggle for freedom and property, challenges with various cultural issues, their repression, and resistance and other struggles with Indian ideologies. The author’s major claim in this excerpt is how the US has been able to dispossess American Indians of their indigenous land. Churchill notes that through the exploitation and misinterpretation of the Doctrine of Discovery and the Rights of Conquest, the US has been able to acquire more than 97. 5% of the American Indians indigenous land. He noted also the role of various opinions provided by the fourth US chief justice John Marshall when it came to land issues. Marshall oversaw several important cases on indigenous land including Fletcher v. Peck case in 1810, Johnson & Graham’s Lessee v. McIntosh case in 1823, and the Cherokee Nation case, which played an important role in shaping the land laws that are still in use in the modern era. Natives were prohibited from practicing their spiritual practices, forbidden from learning their native languages and American Indian youngsters shipped off to secluded boarding schools.

As Churchill points out, these actions towards the American Indians was similar to culture genocide. Another major idea covered by Churchill (2002) is on the continued possession of illegally-acquired land by the US, which he indicates that its evidence that the US is still a “rogue” state or an internal colonial territory. He further asserts that the US relations with various indigenous nations are an illustration of its racist, culturally arrogant and shrewd legal system. This is evident in the US performance and pronouncements in various states such as Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait, and Nuremberg among others. Churchill highlights how the US has continued to use its economic and military superiority to influence international laws and bodies. Churchill refers to the US rejection of the language aspect of the United Nations Draft Declaration involving the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as an illustration of the fact that the US makes its own laws as it proceeds with its business. Churchill notes that it is important that we return to the core aspects of the law that have been ignored by the US if these issues facing indigenous communities is to be addressed. In conclusion, the three readings have addressed different aspects in relation to the course topic ‘racism and colonialism.

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In the first reading, Mojzes (2011) evaluates how racism was prevalent in the Balkan Peninsula in the twentieth century. Individuals s discriminated others on a race basis, which resulted in deadly ethnic cleansing and genocides between different ethnicities. In his case, Zinn (2015) highlights the colonization and racism that was prevalent in North America, which was initiated by Columbus. Columbus and his predecessors discriminated against the Native Americans (“Indians”) as they sought material gains. Zinn also points out how the Europeans colonization in North America led to the western civilization witnessed in the modern era. Finally, Churchill in his reviews how the US has exploited American Indians. The US has grabbed the American Indians land and discriminated them when it comes to various cultural rights. The three readings provide deep and comprehensive information on racism and colonialism both in Europe and North America.

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Racism and Colonialism according to Mojzes, Zinn, and Churchill. (2020, March 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
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