simone elisabete

Self-decolonization process

I think I had a similar experience growing up with the Internet to many non-native English speakers. I grew up knowing only my mother tongue (Portuguese, in my case) and gradually learned English during my teenage years, not because of English classes and school, but because of (mainly) North American media (films, series, music) and a North American content (websites, blogs, social media, videos). It was great and for sure I've had my life defined by all this amount of English I have stored in my brain - I mean, this blog is a great example of that)

The problem is that it became the norm for me. Once I got comfortable with English, my default setting became to always look for content in English first and, in fact, rarely looking for content in Portuguese, no matter what the subject was (with the exception of very Brazilian things). And to be honest, this kind of sucks. I'm Brazilian, living in Brazil and surround by fellow Brazilians, and yet I rely so much on things that come from elsewhere whereas I could find it all here, easily.

So this year, I'm trying, in a way, to decolonize myself1. I'm trying to be more attuned to what people from my country (or other Portuguese-speaking countries) produce and how I can set them as my standard references. It has actually been embarassingly difficult so far, because it's so ingrained in me that content in English has more prominence and therefore more quality. I mean, maybe that was the case 15 years ago, but it isn't anymore. Together with another ingrained feeling of the complexo de vira-lata2, decolonizing myself will take a while. I gotta go one step at a time, or better yet, um passo de cada vez.

  1. I see the irony of writing this in English in my all-English website, leave me alone!!

  2. Also known as the Mongrel Complex. Of course I’m not generalizing here, and I’m sure my own insecurity problems have a big weight on that, but it is a widespread feeling, unfortunately.