Reading the compendium with colonial texts (Jamaica Kincaid and Haunani Trask) did two things to me: It gave me knowledge of something I didn't know anything about before, and it made me feel uneasy. .
Jamaica Kincaid's text A small place takes the reader on a trip to her native country. To many Westerners, the name Antigua means adventure, white beaches, blue sea - the stereotype bounty commercial. This is also where Kincaid lets the reader begin, but soon she lays out small hints that this paradise certainly has its snakes, and that I, the reader, is a potential one.
The short-story is extremely well written. It's amazing how Kincaid manages to enhance all the things that her country is sought after for, and at the same time she shows how the same things lead to destruction. She portrays a lot of paradoxes, like how come the roads are so extremely bad when all the Antiguans drive in brand-new cars - and she poses the paradoxes as if they where questions from the reader: "You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder", she says rhetorically. .
The story transitions from looking at the island, from admiring its beauty to being presented with its flaws and unjust systems that seem to favor tourists over the native population, to looking at the tourist. She is turning the tables and from pointing to the patronizing westerners - the tourists - who "look at the things they can do with a piece of ordinary cloth" and "marvel" at the hole "they squat down at", she points to the fact that western customs seem just as "backwards" and strange to Antiguans. .
Another text that has made a deep impression on me is Haunani-Kay Trask's historical overview of Hawaii. I've no previous knowledge of Hawaiian history. In my A history of the United States (Philip Jenkins) Hawaii is mentioned in two sentences, but only that it was claimed and later added to the US. All other knowledge of Hawaii is definitely Americanized, stereotypical: Elvis live, hoola-girls, a playground, another Cuba.