Colonial Mentality Syndrome: Description and Implications

October 3, 2014

Colonial Cinema

What is Colonial Mentality Syndrome? How did it evolve? What are the implications of Colonial Mentality Syndrome?

What is Colonial Mentality Syndrome?

Colonial Mentality Syndrome which herewith I will term in abbreviated form as “CMS” can be described as:

1) Acceptance of foreigners (especially Caucasian) and their ways as superior;

2) Attempts to mimic or parrot a foreign culture with the hope of becoming superior like them;

3) At extreme ends, attempting to assimilate physically, culturally and intellectually, in order to become superior foreigners in ones’ native country. CMS derived from Colonialism.

What is colonialism?

Colonialism was practiced between 1500 to 1754. It was carried actively and deliberately under the guise of discoveries and mercantilism which were pretexts for imperialism. During that period, Europeans discovered (invaded) Americas and colonized them. The same fate was shared by Asia which was colonized by Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French. Colonialism was called discovery. But what was there to discover? The Americas and Asia existed alongside Europe all along. If Europeans didn’t know about their existence, then, it was their ignorance. But the fact that after so called discovery, these Europeans colonized Americas and Asia, makes it now a historical confirmation that discovery was just a pretext for imperialism. Though Colonialism is now a past historical era, its positive and negative influences remain in all the former colonized countries. Among these influences is CMS.

What are the implications of Colonial Mentality Syndrome?

Gabones in her article entitled, “COLONIAL MENTALITY: A FILIPINO HERITAGE?” talks about the implications of CMS in Philippines. She writes that as “David and Okazaki (2006) conceptualized colonial mentality among Filipinos and Filipino Americans as a form of internalized oppression, characterized by a perception of ethnic or cultural inferiority. It involves an automatic and unreasonable rejection of anything Filipino and an instinctive and uncritical preference for anything Western or foreign.” Does Pilipino alone face CMS? The answer is, of course not, judging from the implications of CMS. What are examples of implications of CMS especially in certain former colonial colonies?

When there is a rejection of one’s cultural identity as inferior in comparison to foreigners (especially Caucasian or Western), it leads to a cultural identity crisis. As with personality identity crisis, cultural identity crisis can have similar repercussions.

Let me demonstrate it in a fictitious example. Mr. S who is an Asian is send to a Western country called A when he is about to go to college. His parents believed that Western education is superior because they themselves suffer from CMS. While in A, he faced acculturative problems and was treated as a second class human being whose intelligence and aptitude was considered inferior because of his Asian descent. In order to adapt, he picked up A’s culture, habits and accent. He tried to be more Western than Westerners, to be accepted by them.

Then, it happened. One day, a Caucasian teacher told him unceremoniously, hey S, you think that you are an A. You got it wrong friend. You are nothing but *3@*% …, but a *&^%$ #. It was like a thunder strike to Mr. S. All his efforts to be a Westerner didn’t make him a Westerner. At that instance, he hated himself for trying to be a Westerner. But he blamed the Westerners for his predicament.

Upon his graduation, he decided to go back to his country. When he returned home, his parents paraded their “Western educated” son among their family members, relatives and friends. To please his parents, he continued his Western life style while hating Westerners and Western ways. He couldn’t adapt to his former Asian culture because of the expectations of his parents and those around him. He was not allowed to be himself. His Western put-on show had to go on.

Cultural identity crises have overt symptoms. I have seen in certain upper class bars in Country T, the common laughable sights of young adult Ts who attempt put-on Western airs. In their efforts to portray Western behaviours, they made themselves to look more like Asian clowns in Western garments.

I also observe marketing exploitations of CMS in certain Asian “International” educational institutions. Parents who are suffering from CMS are promised “Western bias” educational structure, process, content and standards for their children, in exchange for exorbitant tuition fees. All that are needed in executing this subtle marketing exploitation is the presence of enough Caucasian faces that erroneously represents internationality and quality. But, the top of the cream for parents who are suffering from CMS will be that, at the end of the day, their children’s degrees will only be usable locally. CMS when exploited does make money for unscrupulous business persons.

Thanks to CMS, we have Asian women who are bleaching their skin to have Caucasian-like looks. One should see some these women when they are older, they look like, what the Chinese once called, “white devils.” Thanks to CMS, we also see more Asian women competing to expose as much as possible their mammary glands in public functions, while snipping away as much cloth from their rear ends. They want took like certain Western H… W… stars. And yet, there are persons who think that half-naked indigenous tribes’ women are uncivilized. I think the days will come, when fashion designers in Asia won’t have much designing to do. They will become more of expert snippers.

Thanks to CMS, certain Asian teens think that their fathers are senile old men who don’t understand modern sexuality when they grope their girlfriends in their presence. Thanks to CMS, certain countries are becoming more westernised than their former colonial masters while suffering from worst social and cultural diseases (problems). These examples are overt symptoms of CMS that has been associated with superiority, quality and progress. Are they?

Former colonial subjects (especially Asians) need not lose their Cultural identities to prove their personal or professional worth. Their personal and professional worth lies not in mimicking the West but by being their original selves in creating their own progress, standards and qualities in life, play and work. Are you proud of whom you are or are you putting on a show?



Qualifications: Th. Dip (MTBI, 1978); Th.B. (MBTS, 1982); MSCP (AU, summa cum laude, 2010)

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