Fanon: the Relationship Between Colonizer and Colonized

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Samantha Steerman
ANTH 428
Fanon Essay
Due: January 23, 2012
First Draft

The relationship between the colonizer and the colonized is rocky at best. No one understands this dualism more than someone who is on both sides. Frantz Fanon was a man who wrote for the interest of the colonized, yet had experiences from both perspectives. Fanon was a man of mixed races who grew up understanding a life of privilege in France. Studying psychiatry, he had a unique perspective on the relation the colonized and the colonizer. Due to his past position as a psychiatrist in a hospital that treated colonized people dealing with the devastating effects of colonization, he had some rather strong positions on this relationship. This position led Fanon to write “Wretched of the Earth”, a piece which advocates a call to violence by the colonized. Fanon’s position is that because the physiological effects are so negative from being colonized, a revolution must happen. This revolution (decolonization) must be violent. It is the only way decolonization can be successful.

The physiological effects of colonization can be devastating. As seen throughout history, the colonizer often demands integration at the very least of the people they are attempting to colonize. In many cases, total annihilation of the people that the colonizer is attempting to colonize occurs. In the United States, we have examples of both. Native Americans were both assimilated into white culture, and they were also blatantly killed in Indian wars for their lands. Although there can be some positive effects from colonization, the overwhelming majority would be considered negative. Fanon could not agree with this more.

In his piece titled, “The Wretched of the Earth”, Fanon talks explicitly about the economic position of the colonized. He describes their physical world as being “a disreputable place inhabited by disreputable people... It is a world with no space; people are piled on top of one...
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