Blog #4 : Decolonization of the Mind

Franz Fanon has to be one of my favorite theorists covered this semester. As a psychology major I can certainly connect with Fanon and his deep need to use psychiatry to heal people of the hurt and disconnection from reality that they experience as a result of colonization. Colonization in the traditional sense can be defined as the taking over of resources and separating a group of people from their culture and removing them from their land. With this colonization there is a creation of two conflicting societies. This shows that colonized people create a double consciousness, much like the one that DuBois introduces us to. With the colonization, a war ensues within the colonized country in order to regain control of their resources.

Not only does colonization entail the taking over of land and resources and way of life, it also takes over ones mind. Here I am extending the idea of colonization to include that in addition to taking over resources, colonization creates an environment for native people in which they feel disconnected from society, invisible, they are not agents in their own culture. The loss of this control, much like double consciousness, creates an alternate reality in which one is not able to adjust and persist in as an autonomous being seemingly in charge of their life’s decisions and dreams. With colonization comes war. This war is internal as well as external. War creates a hostile environment. All in all psychological trauma is the end result.

Thinking back to the video that we watched in class about Fanon, in many of the clips we could observe Fanon working with the most psychologically traumatized patients, and he was able to create a routine for them that was familiar in order to induce a path to healing from the effects of healing. The healing of the individuals in society that experience the trauma of colonization is important in order to drive a history in which an entire nation can recover and move towards creating a social movement that will work to decolonize the minds and the lands resources.

If we think historically to different events of colonization: Christopher Colombus is a classic example. More recent example (and one of my favorites because it displays the will of the people): Zapatista movement (link to history: And another more obvious example can be considered if we think about the “Race for Africa”.

In the “Race” for African Resources (Colonization of Africa) we see a massive destruction not only to the land, but also to native cultures. Linked above is a video from part of a conversation by the Kenyan social activist Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o about the Decolonization of resources and Decolonization of the minds of people not only in Africa, but also around the world. By decolonizing the minds of the people– ridding them of neoliberal ideals, being culturally sensitive, heightening their awareness of the world around them, using language locally– can we work to begin a decolonization movement for the peoples of Africa, and ultimately for the world.


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