Uncolonizing Decolonization

Tres Rosa
5 min readApr 18, 2021


One of the ways to tell a colonial values narrative is the use of, anti name your color.

I’m seeing a resurgence of anti name your color after we in the FB group Global Decolonization Initiative, brought awareness to the harm anti name your color has on collective liberation. We brought such sharp awareness to anti name your color that for a time, anti name your color was not used as often, or in the weaponized ways it once was used to silence voices of color across color lines.

We brought awareness to how the term itself is based in oppression and supremacy rather than collective liberation and now, with anti name your color coming back again for a whole new group of woke warriors, the need for this conversation is necessary to reveal exactly what anti name your color is meant to achieve.

In this work, you’ll get pissed- pissed at history- pissed at white people- pissed at colonialism- pissed at old friends, pissed at people you don’t know- its the anger of grief that grips people beginning this work and is one that invites vulnerability and surrender to any new narrative that is as angry as you might be.

This brings in an opportunity for predators who pick up on the people who don’t know yet about the underbelly of cultural shifts like this to be swayed into old colonial narratives, repackaged as liberation.

For example- the anti name your color narrative:

When a group- any group uses anti name your color and does not call anti name your color for what it is- colonized thinking, colonized values, oppression by way of supremacy based language by weaponizing race. The collective liberation aspect of this work is whittled down to finger pointing, infighting, and race based attacks by way of lateral violence.

You know who does that?

White supremacists.

When I saw that the article “Decolonization is not a Metaphor” by Tuck and Yang was critiqued by two people who are not only silencing Indigenous Voices while using “anti name your color” rhetoric I knew, something was greatly amiss.

The want to use decolonization as a catchy buzzword that anyone can make contrite “I wAnT tO DeCoLOnIzE mY EyeBrOwS” is not only an affront to the actual decolonization efforts of Indigenous people globally- it’s also exactly what colonized people do to yoga and shamanism.

Anyone can do yoga!

Anyone can be a shaman!

Anyone can decolonize!

Anyone can be any culture they want to be!!!! If you decide to be Indigenous- put on a headdress you bought online and BAM see you at the Pow Wow.

I wAnT tO dEcOLonIzE mY bAtHrOOm!!!!!

Making decolonization into a metaphor SPITS on all the people who have DIED working to decolonize their countries, nations, and territories from colonial rule.

Making decolonization into a metaphor SPITS on all the efforts of people who are doing the work to protect sacred lands from being further DESTROYED by the colonial empire.

Making decolonization into a metaphor places Indigenous people as SUBSERVIENT to the whims of the settler/colonist once again, by continuing the oppression of Indigenous peoples on the lands Indigenous people are OF.

Just because a settler doesn’t like what an Indigenous person says in relation to decolonization doesn’t make them “anti name your color” it makes YOU anti Indigneous.

Using anti name your color rhetoric is not based in collective liberation, it is based in SELECTIVE liberation and that is about as colonial as one can get.

So no- miss me with your anti name your color when those three fingers are pointing right back at you.

How do we resolve this?

The process of being colonized for some like myself is an unpacking of 600 years of colonization- for those whose origins are of Turtle Island, 500 years, those that came to Turtle Island under brutal circumstances 400 years of unpacking colonization.

There are many traumatized people that now have a voice who are speaking from platforms based in selective liberation due to the deep indoctrination of colonialism. People who are just emerging from hundreds of years of being silenced are now parroting colonial based narratives such as- “we must be free first before anyone else can be free”. Once silenced, still traumatized, people see a narrative like that, glom onto it and say- yea yea lets free this one demographic while the rest of the demographics still suffer oppression only now its double the oppression cuz if anyone says anything about the continued oppression, they are anti name your color.

We must move past anti name your color rhetoric and look to each other to move forward in collective liberation cuz if you are oppressed ALL OF US ARE OPPRESSED.

Indigenous people suffer from the oppression of invisibility and being silenced.

Black people suffer from the oppression of visibility and being silenced.

Asian people suffer from the oppression of being the model minority and being silenced.

Latina/o/x/ people suffer from the oppression of not being enough this or that and being silenced.

So tell me- when someone tells you that you are anti name your color what does that do?


You know where silencing came from?


You know what anti name your color is?


So next time someone tells you that you are anti name your color, you now know the words are not coming from a place of collective liberation.

Collective liberation is when we meet our oppressions and do everything in our powers to dismantle the systems of oppression TOGETHER.

Collective liberation is non indigenous people helping Indigneous peoples efforts of decolonization.

Collective liberation is NOT colonized people telling Indigneous people they are anti name your color. Why? Cuz decolonization is specific to peoples OF lands that have been and still are being colonized.

And yes- when you look up countries that have decolonized, you will see decolonization is FAR from a metaphor.

What people who are on stolen land can do to uncolonize, is to help facilitate the decolonization efforts of Indigenous peoples OF the land.

To truly decolonize is something I’m sure very few of you reading this are willing to do.

There can be no openness to decolonization- there can be no flexibility- there can be no making decolonization a contrite plaything to make money off of and be keynote speakers at symposiums at how to decolonize community colleges.


Cuz academia is INHERENTLY COLONIAL. You can not decolonize something that is colonial at its core.

That would be making decolonization contrite and takes away from the brutality, the severity of what decolonization is.

Which is what colonizers do right?

Take something that holds so much power and dismantle it to make it small- easily manipulated- and a toy that can be tossed around for colonial fun and games.

“I wAnT tO dEcOlOnIzE mY dOg FoOd”

So next time someone tells you they want to decolonize their diet, their wardrobe, or their western interpretation of yoga- you know that person has no intent on decolonizing anything and are actively participating in the erasure and oppression of Indigenous peoples of the land on a global scale.

Colonizers be colonizing…and if you can be anything, don’t be a colonizer that colonizes decolonization.

#uncolonize #endsupremacynow #listentoindigenousvoices #gdiriseup



Tres Rosa

Fierce Boriqua, Educator, Author