Fanon on Language and White Supremacy

Black Skin, White Masks

In one of Frantz Fanon‘s earliest works he writes about language and cultural hegemony:

A white man talking to a person of color behaves exactly like a grown-up with a kid, simpering, murmuring, fussing, and coddling. It’s not just one white person we have observed, but hundreds…To speak gobbledygook to a black man is insulting, for it means he is the gook. Yet, we’ll be told, there is no intention to willfully give offense. OK, but this is precisely this absence of will-this offhand manner; this casualness; and the ease with which they classify him, imprison him at an uncivilized and primitive level-that is insulting.

If the person who speaks to a man of color or an Arab in pidgin does not see that there is a flaw or a defect in his behavior, then he has never paused to reflect. (Fanon, 14-5)

Source

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Richard Philcox. New York: Grove Press, 2008.

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