Sociological Imagination: Western’s Undergraduate Sociology Student Journal

Article Title

War of the Words: The Impact of Language in the Quest for Colonization and Liberation


This essay explores how language plays a crucial role in race relations. Language is used as a form of social control by dominant groups, constructing ideologies that benefit some and disadvantage others, creating hierarchies both among and within groups, and “othering” various groups of people. In his two texts, Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth, Frantz Fanon argues that the problem with these ideologies is that both Whites and Blacks believe them. Fanon explores the issues of racial identity and ideology and asserts that violent revolution is the key to decolonization in the Third World. He continually contends that it is not possible for colonization or decolonization to exist without some form of either psychological or physical violence. Yet Fanon contradicts himself, hinting that violence may not truly be the key to liberation as he continually suggests – he also mentions the importance of non-violence and the political education of the masses in the process of decolonization, thus undercutting his own argument.

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