The Negro and Language – Frantz Fanon (1952)

1946-1989, Black, Colonized, Date, History/Theory, Subjectives of Refusal, Theory

In this chapter of one of his most important works, Frantz Fanon establishes the way that identity is manifested through language, and the way that language is perceived by others in a way that enables them to push identities onto others. In his discussion, Fanon focuses specifically on how black people are conceived by white people, observing that black people change their language around white people as a direct result of colonialist subjugation. By this, Fanon means that colonization conditions individuals to believe that mimicking the behavior of the colonizer will award the colonized individual opportunities that he has previously been barred from. By replicating the linguistic behavior of the oppressor, colonized individuals indicate that the have successful adopted a culture.

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