Students in U.S. history surveys come away from their lessons on World War I with one conflict fresh in their minds: How could Woodrow Wilson, a president who advocated segregation and famously screened the racist film Birth of a Nation in the White House, also have been an architect of the League of Nations and a champion of the self-determination of colonized people in Africa and Asia?
In this episode, we speak with Adom Getachew, who casts Wilson in a different light. She argues that the people who developed ideas of self-determination were instead anti-colonial elites from colonized nations. Wilson worked against their aims and tried to reestablish racial hierarchies and white dominance. These anti-colonial thinkers fought for decolonization as a means to fight global white supremacy and capitalist exploitation of the global South