The Psychological Impact of Colonialism on the Victimization of Africans

The Psychological Impact of Colonialism on the Victimization of Africans

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The psychological impact of colonialism on the victimization of Africans


While the economic and political damage of the scramble for Africa crippled the continent’s social structure, the mental warfare and system of hierarchy instituted by the Europeans, made the continent more susceptible to division and conquest. The scramble for partition commenced a psychological warfare, as many Africans were now thrust between the cultural barriers of two identities. As a result, institutions for racial inferiority became rooted in the cultural identity of the continent. This paper will expound on the impact of colonialism on the mental psyche of Africans and the employment of the mind as a means to seize control. I will outline how the mental hierarchy inculcated by the Europeans paved the way for their “divide and conquer” tactic, a tool essential for European success. Through evidence from a primary source by Edgar Canisius and the novel, King Leopold’s Ghost, I will show how colonial influences heightened the victimization of Africans through psychological means. I will culminate by showing how Robert Collins fails to provide a holistic account of colonialism, due to his inability to factor in the use of psychological warfare as a means to the end. By dissecting the minds of both the colonizer and the colonized, I hope to illustrate the susceptibility of African minds to European influences and how psychological warfare transformed Africans from survivors to victims during colonialism.
Africa’s struggle to maintain their sovereignty amidst the encroaching Europeans is as much a psychological battle as it is an economic and political one. The spillover effects the system of racial superiority had on the African continent fractured ...


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...he malleable nature of the African psyche and how susceptible it can be to foreign influence. From the inception of colonialism, Shanu was straddling between two cultural identities; however the strain it placed on his psyche consumed him, ultimately leading to his suicide. .
While Collins does a succinct job of examining the economic and political factors that heightened colonization, he fails to hone in on the mental warfare that was an essential tool in creating African division and ultimately European conquest. Not only was the systematic dehumanization tactics crippling for the African society, but also, the system of racial hierarchy created the division essential for European success. The spillover effects of colonialism imparted detrimental affects on the African psyche, ultimately causing many, like Shanu, to, “become victims to the white man’s greed.”

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