Wendell Berry points out that what we’ve done to our rural communities over the last 100 years is a form of colonialism. Colonialism, as we all know, is the subjugation of a people for the purpose of extracting their wealth from them. And the very first project of colonialism, as Edward Said points out, is to devalue everything the colonized person knows and believes, and to replace it with the culture of the colonizer, so that when you debase and humiliate and destroy the colonized person, rape his land and take its riches, they’ll believe you are doing it for their own good. Could there be a better way of describing what has happened to millions of farmers over the last 100 years? They’ve been told they were hicks and rednecks, that their profound knowledge of their craft and their place was less valuable than professionalized knowledge coming out of agricultural colleges and cities, and their children were encouraged to have contempt for their parents‘s knowledge and to leave for the cities as soon as possible. We told the children of farmers that what people in cities had was knowledge, and what they had was ignorance. Their forests were logged, their minerals mined, their soil stripped, their economies destroyed, families broken apart and towns converted into bedroom suburbs.
This part really struck a chord with me, as it's an attitude I've encountered a lot living in the city. Of course, I might be more aware of it because I long to return to my "redneck" roots. :D
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