Europe as a future colony of colored peoples?
Ross warns that Europe could become colonized by the colonial periphery.
Postcolonial theory has long been aware of a master narrative that haunted the European colonial metropolis at the turn of the twentieth century: the threat of reverse colonization. Such narratives involve the infiltration of elements from the colonial periphery into the heart of the metropolis, where their intimate knowledge of the colonizer allow them to challenge, even overturn power relations. These fictional narratives arose most notably in England and reflected a sense of imperial self-doubt, a sense that the metropolis was under threat from the colonial periphery, because its colonial convictions had weakened. They also reflected a racial anxiety: if, as Freud famously argued in Civilization and Its Discontents, civilization is achieved through the suppression of human biological drives, and if Europe legitimizes its colonial project by claiming a more advanced state of civilization than that of the colonized, then it logically follows that the colonized live in a manner truer to biological human nature, more physically robust, more fertile, and more capable of violence. If this is true, what might it predict for the future relationship between Europe and its colonial others? Might they not one day so exceed Europe in numbers and in aggressive virility that they will threaten the very metropolis itself?
Ross doesn’t pen a fictional account of reverse colonization, but the overall structure of its master narrative shines through his entire oeuvre: the “decline of the West” creates the opportunity for the invasion of European space by the agents of the “yellow peril” and the “colored front” (farbige Front). The logical conclusion is the reversal of the colonial relationship: the colonizer becomes the colonized. This idea appears frequently in Ross’s works, but never as more than an indication of a potential threat; he doesn’t work out a more detailed scenario. In the referenced article, Ross gives a general view of the threat typical of his writing:
“The events of the World War and the postwar period have ‘watered down the wine’ of European assumptions of their power, yet the consciousness of a possible Asiatic threat, of a cresting of the colored wave (die farbige Welle) is still only very superficial; for most Europeans, it is impossible to imagine that a white land could one day become the colony of a colored people.
“But such a possibility cannot be simply dismissed as long as the white race continues with its self-fracturing and its underestimation of the colored people. We must awaken to the fact that the political domination of the world by the white peoples, as was most strongly manifested at the turn of the century, was not owing to the mental or physical superiority of the white race, but that, instead, a whole set of factors coalesced that one can almost call arbitrary”.
Only a unified Europe, willing to openly engage in the struggle for the survival of the fittest, can stave off this potential threat.
Colin Ross. Europa — eine Kolonie der farbigen Völker? Deutsche Landpost: 1930 Dec 15.