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Free Research Essay on Colonialism Essay Sample

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Colonialism is a concept where a group of persons dominates and suppresses another group. The dominated group is subjected to a new population which settles permanently on their territory while pledging allegiance to their original homeland. The new arrivals are referred to as colonists and they normally subject the locals to hard labor and use almost all their resources. On the other hand, postcolonial refers to the period after the end of colonialism where the locals are granted independence and freedom (Kohn, 2006). In this research essay we shall critically engage the statement that "it is the corpus of experience called colonialism that really created the conditions of possibility for a postcolonial conscious" with reference to the works of Franz Fanon.

Colonialism Experience in Relation to Postcolonial Consciousness

To begin with, Fanon argued that the actual process of colonialism put the natives in a situation that they felt not needed by the society. The tribes-men and the peasantry were so dehumanized by the actions of colonialism to the extent that they were no longer able to express their own thoughts. He was a critic to the colonial discourse yet he understood that the colonizer and the colonized found themselves in a complex relationship because the natives appeared to have been silenced but in reality they were not completely silent. The colonialism came in pretence of a new way of life and based on totalitarian concept but in reality was based purely on force by preferring a military procedure whereby the European and the natives were differentiated (Gibson, 2003). The actions of the colonizers were too intimidating to the extent that the natives became conscious of their nature even after their leaving.   


According to Fanon's criticism, there was a very high possibility that the natives could easily become part of the culture of the colonizers. In fact he recognized that at the pre-colonial period there was need to decolonize the minds of the natives because they were so influenced by the colonizing culture. This meant that the removal of not only the colonizer but also their insidious nature.  The process of colonialism brought more effects due to the fact that it brought both the destructive and good policies. They were destructive due to their oppressive nature but on the other hand laid the foundation for western culture which transformed positively the lives of the natives. The problem that Fanon seeks to resolve is that of releasing the possibilities that colonialism influence had brought about the natives experience of consciousness (Ahluwalia, 2001).  

In his works, Fanon characterizes the natives colonized as having experienced the death of their original cultures and having internalized inferiority complex within their souls. He explains the process by which the colonialists destabilize the psyche of their subjects making them look miserable and of no value to the society. In fact the colonization according to him dehumanizes the colonized to the extent of rendering them no to belong to the human population by some proclaims which included "black man is not a man". His works captures the deep hostility which is caused by colonialism making the subjects conscious of colonialism even during postcolonial period (Ahluwalia, 2001).

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The process of colonization has an effect of stealing the legacy of the natives, taking their patents and ownership rights and corruption of their culture. These elements are so important to the colonized natives and to after the oppression, there is an absolute need that they are decolonized. The damages that were caused by colonialism are so deeply rooted to the natives that it becomes so difficult to be removed in their consciousness. The interrupted culture is not easy to be resumed and if achieved it will not achieve its original pure state before colonialism. At this point Fanon recognizes that decolonization will not only involve anti-colonialist crusades but rather a target towards the original native culture (Sekyi-Out, 2003).

The works of Fanon emphasized on education to decolonize the natives because the influence of colonialism was so engraved in their minds. They were ever conscious of their past and the oppressions they experienced. Fanon clearly states that the process of educating the masses was critical to the needed transformation to release the possibility of consciousness caused by colonization. The masses should be taught that everything depends on them and that failure or success was entirely their responsibility (Ahluwalia, 2001). Their going forward or backward did not depend on the colonial past but rather on their own current power and abilities. The natives should realize that by being independent then they should remove their beliefs in the culture of the colonialist and develop themselves on their own.

Fanon further argued that this decolonization through education could lead to the eradication of the colonial power dominion as well as the establishment of a new national culture which the people become integrated. The real effect of education is the restructuring of the consciousness which is the key to decolonization. By stating this, he clearly meant that there was a strong possibility of consciousness caused by colonialism and as such required to be eliminated. Therefore it is not enough that the process of decolonization is done without the actual removal of consciousness through the decolonization of the mind (Ahluwalia, 2001).

There has been criticism on the work of Fanon who is seen as a theorist who can only be conceptualized by viewing his identity as a problem. Gates found an interesting trend of Fanon's work that it was both oppositional as well as postmodern. This is due to the convergence of the problems colonization with the formation of the subjects through developments. This is because it was not enough for Fanon that decolonization was achieved but rather wanted liberalization. It was through liberalization that not only the black was freed but also the whites were released from the actions. This is because a white man was viewed as the perpetrator of colonial actions and that consciousness required to be eliminated in both the whites and the black in order to achieve a true liberalization (Ahluwalia, 2001).

The end of colonialism gave rise to independents as well as the new leadership. However, the new leaders faced the influence that colonialism had brought to the natives culture. There was consciousness brought about by colonialism causing the inability to foster the original national identity. This problem tampered with the euphoria of independence with the realization that their identity had actually been lost to colonialism. The task of developing their nations as well as the need to adopt modernization has not been achieved by many leaders to the expectation of their populations. This has led to leaders retreating back to the authoritarian rule typical of colonialism. This has led to studies that seek to identify the terms which are appropriate to the postcolonial period for the natives. Fanon urges the colonized natives to value their socio-economic, historical and culture views while recognizing that imperialism as well as globalization has penetrated virtually every continent and has a potential of influencing its culture (Ahluwalia, 2001).

Since Fanon analyzed the Algerian revolution, he been criticized as being neither a Muslim nor Algerian and as such could not understand the culture of Algeria, Arabs or Islam. However, in his response, Fanon stated that lived experience is empirical in which one does not have to belong to a certain culture to understand its plight. The work of Fanon shows that he identified himself as Algerian during revolution. He was interested in understanding the problems of colonialism and its effects on the natives. The work he did depended on the intellectual consciousness of separateness which colonialism achieved. The issues that Fanon was trying to address have ironically been used to criticize his work. The problems he dealt with included; black consciousness, national consciousness pitfalls, inferiority complex and the ideas of modernity and tradition. The critics have argued that Fanon is a tribal chief and on the other hand an authoritarian who did not tolerate ethnic difference. It is further argued that Fanon overestimated the degree change in gender relations and he was a conservative of culture who upheld traditions to the latter. The critics concluded either that Fanon had too much or too little influence on the events in Algeria (Gibson, 2003).

It is a fact that the colonization experience created a possibility of postcolonial consciousness among the colonized natives. There is a common perception that colonization brought progress and modernization. However, it also brought about problems to the colonized by affecting their minds totally to adjust to the new colonial regimes thus leaving their culture. The colonialism brought about modernization yet tapping the traditional modes of power to rule. This is because colonialists used all means possible to erase the culture of the colonized but retained some elements of culture that made it possible for them to sustain its rule. Thus the interactions of both the colonizer and the colonized had a fundamental transformation of both cultures. These changes affected the consciousness of each culture to the extent of postcolonial era and the process of decolonization of imagination can only be effective if both the colonized as well as the colonizers were involved (Ahluwalia, 2001).

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