Decolonizing Academia – A Master’s Thesis – “#KarlMay’s Legacy: Czech and German “Indians” vs. #CulturalAppropriation”

Karl May’s Legacy: Czech and German “Indians” vs. Cultural Appropriation by Martin Slezák (2020).

A well written thesis, and one of the few were the author actually added my rightful credentials alongside other academics, and added directed quotes. Many writers who have quoted me in the past fail to add my university credentials, referring to me as just as a blogger or an activist, aka someone just complaining about situations.

In western society, with its elitist Eurocentric system of expertise and worthiness to speak on a topic reserved for mostly white males with university degrees made possible due to centuries of privilege and precedence, failure to add the credentials of a person of color is beyond problematic. Whether a honest omission or not, it is clearly known in academia and society that POC are often ignored or minimized, and only slightly more regarded when compared to European peers, if holding a degree. Degrees almost always attain through far greater hardship, and having to battle structural racism within institutions that see them receive lesser marks for comparable work, lack of support from advisory and university staff, plus the microaggressions of curricula, teachers and other students. We see the effects in academic staff retention but also in hiring practices, which are widely discriminatory for a list of reasons.

There is also a distinct patronizing air towards scholars and universities in eastern Europe as well, particularly from far western Europe and the UK. However, on the topic of Native hobbyism, cultural appropriation and cognitive imperialism, I have experienced far more progressive thinking from the east. I have had many more inquiries from people from Eastern Europe not just seeking resources to learn accurate information, but advice on how they can take actual steps to correct misinformation in their education systems and communities. In Germany, there is still a large amount of defensiveness and attempted justification for racist and neo-colonist practices on all levels of society, from the media to the Kita.

This is just one of the many positive examples.

(Personal photo of a magazine, in which there was an article on Indian hobbyists.)

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