Colonialism Trough Maps!!!
It is easy for us to become trapped in political and ideological propaganda; it seems that no matter which way we turn, the system is always a few steps ahead of us. Having planned for our frustration and search for answers and truth, the system creates many pathways of distraction and confusion. It seems that every foot that we travel on the path of knowledge, the system forces us back at least halfway (and oftentimes much more), introducing confusion and guiding us back onto the road that they have made for us to follow. The system plays this game so well that we, as its victims, do not even realize when we fall into a trap or conditioning that has been set for us. This is what has been happening with the World Map.
Yes, the world map. While it seems so straightforward and free from corruption, this important educational tool has been successfully used to give our children and ourselves an inaccurate picture of the world and our place within it. This tool of socialization and education has been very effective in promoting the Eurocentric ideology that has been the basis of "modern" education worldwide. What most teachers, students, and parents see as a simple educational tool may be, in reality, one of the system's most effective tools of propaganda. Young children are taught geography and history with the almost exclusive aid of maps, and high school and college level educational courses rely heavily on maps as well. In the United States, the most common map used until today is the Mercator projection that was developed in 1569 by Gerhard Kramer, a native German. This map was valued for its navigational accuracy because straight lines on this map are consistent with compass bearings. Yet the Earth is a sphere, and no map can present a sphere perfectly - one must choose which aspect to preserve: size proportions (equivalency) or shape (conformity). The Mercator map preserves shape, thus greatly distorting land area and size - it preserves the shape of continents and countries, but sizes become distorted as you move away from the equator. The equator is placed 2/3 of the way down the map, showing Germany in the center of the world. The Northern hemisphere (the "developed" world) appears disproportionately large, giving Europe and North America an enormous size advantage, while the Southern hemisphere (the "developing" world) appears disproportionately small. Meanwhile, the Peters Map, within the controversy surrounding it, has proven itself to be a very important map as it shows land area just as it is, banishing the advantage the Northern Hemisphere had grown accustomed to with the traditional map. Yet this map is virtually unknown to us and our children, as the Mercator projection (or copies of) remains the map of choice in the United States for school systems, newscasts, and most other purposes.
It is normal that Europe and North America would promote the Mercator map because the faults of the projection benefit Europe and North America. The colonizers of the world are shown in the center of the map, and their landmasses are shown much larger than their actual physical dimensions. Meanwhile, Africa, a Black continent, is shown much smaller than it really is - Greenland appears to be the same size as Africa, but in reality, Africa is fourteen times bigger than Greenland! South America is shown to be smaller than Europe (South America is almost twice the size of Europe) and India is shown to be equivalent in size to Scandinavia (India is three times the size of Scandinavia)! The size and placement advantages of the Mercator map are solely to the advantage of the predominately White areas, while the areas where people of color predominate are at an enormous disadvantage.
Many other map projections have been created, yet we remain unaware of their existence because of the advantages of the Mercator map to the current system. The Peter's Projection, however, has gained worldwide acknowledgement and use, yet many of us in the United States have not even heard of this important map. Introduced by historian Dr. Arno Peters in 1974, this map immediately caused a whirlwind of debate and controversy. The Peters map, unlike the Mercator map, keeps the land size/area true and sacrifices land shape. Thus, Africa, India, and South America are shown in their true proportions to the rest of the world, and the Northern Hemisphere no longer has the false size advantage over the Southern Hemisphere. And for the first time, the misrepresented country sizes of the traditional map were brought to public awareness, changing the way the world was viewed.
Dr. Peters challenged the world, and the European world took that challenge, denouncing the value of his projection. Many of his claims about the map were shot down, and it was called "perverse and wrongheaded" and "mischievous" in miscellaneous articles. It comes as no surprise that the system would do its best to kill this map, for it doesn't succumb to the view of the world that the system is promoting. Instead, it shows how small Europe and the United States (the "White" world) really are in comparison to Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Asia (the "Black" world). The system sees it as dangerous, as it promotes a more realistic view of the world in regard to land size. Those who criticize and devalue the Peters map seem to be those who are benefiting from the faults of the traditional (Mercator) projection. The Peters map has also challenged the way we see the atlas, as an atlas has been made using only the Peters projection. Traditional atlases consist of many maps of different scales, and most give more pages to Europe and North America. For example, the NGS Atlas gives both Africa and the UK three maps, yet Africa is about 20% of the Earth's land area while the UK has a minute .16% of the Earth's land area! Peters, however, uses a uniform scale throughout the atlas, giving the reader a true sense of country and continent sizes in relation to the world. He gives less space to Europe and more space to Africa and China simply because Africa and China occupy a much larger space in the world than does Europe. The Peters Atlas has, of course, also met with much resistance, yet his social agenda for both his map and his atlas stands strong.
Our children are learning about the world in a classroom - a classroom that most likely uses the Mercator map and atlas. Our news reports show "traditional" (Mercator) maps, as does most of the media. It is rare that a student, young or old, uses a globe for his/her learning experience; in fact, most people will tell you that they cannot remember ever using a globe in school more than once or twice! The constant bombardment of the Mercator map on our children (and on us as adults) leads to a false view of the world and our place within it. Subconsciously, we begin to believe that the Northern Hemisphere (the "white" world) is more important than the Southern Hemisphere (the "black" world), giving power to the system and its practice of oppression and domination. The World Map is a very important tool of social conditioning. Peter's social intent in releasing this map was to fight against the Mercator projection as it "overvalues the white man and distorts the picture of the world to the advantage of the colonial masters of the time." It is time we begin to educate ourselves and our children rather than relying on the schools (the system) to do it for us. The Peters Projection World Map is a great place to begin.
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