by Moe Kimura
We learned about the superiority of whiteness in the Philippines. This superiority comes from not only the value of people but also colonization by white countries. The effect of these countries remains still now, after decades. From these things, I think about “white hegemony”. As we learned in this class, superiority of whiteness is not only the thing in Philippine but all over the world. I wonder where the value comes from. It seems to be many reasons, but I will state the one of them, the value comes from the white powers especially west Europe and the United States, which controlled the whole world in the 19th and 20th centuries.
First, I would like to mention English. At present, English is the most popular language all over the world and it’s regarded as “the world’s common language”. We, Japanese students, have to study English from elementary school and other many countries have similar situation, I guess. These happen although the native-speaking population of English is not largest in the world. The population of native-speakers of English is the second largest (over four hundred million people) in the world, after Chinese (over one billion people). In spite of this, English is the strongest language all over the world. In my opinion, English is so strong not because it’s so easy to learn but because English-speaking countries have power, especially the United States, of which the origin goes back to the Britain, the country of English. Britain expanded its power during the 19th century and colonized many countries. The United States was not the colony of Britain but its “history” was started by English people (I can‘t mention Native American people in this text). So the United States is an English-speaking country. As you know, the United States has huge power today. Other countries which are non-English-speaking have to adjust to the United States. So, English is spreading not because it is the greatest language in the world but because strong country use English.
Same thing can be said about skin tone, I think. Values of western countries which colonized other countries affected to countries they colonized like the Philippines or some African countries. I think, if the South Africa or another African country were the strongest country in the world, dark or black skin would be superior to light skin. In my opinion, white or light skin tone is popular so much not because it looks beautiful for every single person in the world but because it is the standard of those who have power in the world. I would like to call this phenomenon “white hegemony”.
List of countries by population Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population
Sekainobogojinko Ministry of education, culture, sports, science and technology Japan (n.d.) http://www.mext.go.jp/b_menu/shingi/chukyo/chukyo3/015/siryo/06032708/003/001.htm
Statistical Summaries Ethnologue.com (2009) http://www.ethnologue.com/ethno_docs/distribution.asp?by=size