The threat of transferred education

Ross opposes education of the colonized, because it threatens to undermine established barriers of race and class.

Although Ross understands white rule in Africa to be the result of an arbitrary set of historical factors, he also entirely rejects any ethical mandate to treat all of mankind equally. Instead, he consistently calls for Europe to protect its own interests, whatever the cost to non-Europeans. This includes maintaining the ‘colored races’ in subjugated positions so that their labor might be most easily exploited and any challenge to Europe’s access to their space and resources precluded.

As a result of this ‘Europe first’ mandate, Ross opposes educating the colonized, or indeed, transferring any knowledge, technology, or aid to them (See The threat of transferred technology). In this article, he specifically criticizes the project of educating the black population in South Africa:

“Today, the eminently decisive question is whether Africa—at least in part—will remain ’white man’s land’ or whether this continent will fall completely back into the hands of its native population. This danger doesn’t emanate from the weapons, spears, and knives that some natives still carry. No, the black tennis player studying at the Negro university Fort Hare that I photographed is incomparably more dangerous. He doesn’t just have a command over the knowledge of the whites, but also over its social polish and its sport. And he will thereby understand that he is being cast out of the white paradise; he will have no field of activity for his white education. And his social and athletic abilities only serve him in the small enclave of the indigene university. Outside of this space no white person treats him as an equal. Indeed, he’s not even allowed to enter the train car for ‘Europeans’, but must instead ride with the coloreds, regardless of how dirty and uncultured they may be. And this will ultimately drive him to the path of the agitator and trouble-maker”.

Kristin Kopp

Colin Ross. Die schwarze Gefahr in Südafrika. Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. 1926 Sept 26; 1237-1238.

Topic: Colonialism
Case: Geopolitics

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