The Negro and Psychopathology-Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon first deals with the relation between family and society. Family is the structure that shape society. Then he gives the example of the Europe.

“In Europe there are close connections between the structure of the family and of the nation. As the child emerges from the shadow of his parents, he finds himself once more among the same laws, the same principles, the same values. Because both the nation and the family have a order in which the authority of the father is essential. Therefore, a normal child that has grown up in a normal family will be a normal man. There is no disproportion between the life of the family and the life of the nation”

That is to say, an European child doesn’t face any trouble to adapt himself to the society he lives in.

What about a Negro who gained a submission to a university in Europe? How can we explain the fact that the Negro have coalesced round him without any confliction?


Fanon gives an example of a black schoolboy in the Antilles. The black schoolboy is exposed to ‘a world’ created and shaped by white men; therefore, he identifies himself with the white men. The young Negro adopts a young man’s attitudes. When in school he has to read stories of savages told by white men, he always thinks of the Senegalese. The Negro lives in Africa, the Antillean conducts himself as a white man, but the truth is he is a Negro. He faces this reality once he goes to Europe. After this experience he will learn that the Negro includes him as well as Senegalese.

Fanon states that the Negro doesn’t make himself inferior, but he is made inferior…

The Negro’s family doesn’t fit European society as the white child’s family does. Therefore he have to choose one of them; his family or society. He chooses society (white and civilized) and reject his family (black and savage.)

Nonetheless Negros are different from white man; for example, they are far from Oedipus complex because they have a matriarchal family structure.

As a result, Fanon quite simply states this: “When the Negro makes contact with the white world, a certain sensitizing action takes place. If his psychic structure is weak, one observes a collapse of the ego. The black man stops behaving as an actional person. The goal of his behavior will be The Other (in the guise of the white man), for The Other alone can give him worth. That is on the ethical level: self-esteem.”

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