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Negrophobia is characterised by a fear, hatred or extreme aversion to Black people and Black culture worldwide. Caused amongst other factors by racism, traumatic events and circumstances, symptoms of this phobia include but are not limited to the attribution of negative characteristics to black, the fear and strong dislike of black men and the objectification of black women.
The hybrid word negrophobia consists of two components: negro and phobia. As such, it literally derives from "fear of black", from Spanish and Portuguese: negro, "black" and from Greek: φόβος, phóbos, "fear". Other terms with similar meanings include antiblackness and blackophobia. However, some publishers have discouraged designating individuals as blackophobes or negrophobes and rather highlight the general epithet that is usually applied to racists.
Although melanophobia is sometimes confused with negrophobia, the former term is more commonly applied to situations involving inanimate objects that are very dark or black. Negrophobia is also distinct from Afrophobia, which is a perceived fear of the various cultures and peoples of Africa and the African diaspora irrespective of their racial origin. Unlike negrophobia, Afrophobia is thus essentially a cultural rather than a racial phenomenon.
Debates over definitions
There are differences in the senses that are applied to negrophobes or the noun Negrophobia. Some senses use the term to describe a discriminatory sentiment towards people who may identify with the black race. Accordingly, the latter sense adopts the notion that a person with Negrophobia believes that his or her race is superior to the black race through xenophobia. However, an alternative definition stays true to the original clinical meaning of the suffix phobia. Thereby, Negrophobia would be associated not with racism, but rather with those who critically fear the black race. In July 2010, a segment on Negrophobia was featured on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.
In Europe, Negrophobia finds its roots in the 17th century due to its extensive historical colonisation and slavery. According to certain sources, the term Negrophobia would have been forged on the model of the word Nigrophilism, itself first appearing in 1802 in Baudry des Lozières’s Les égarements du nigrophilisme. It further reappeared in January 1927 in Lamine Senghor’s La voix des nègres, a monthly anti-colonialist newspaper. The term was later popularised by Frantz Fanon, especially in his works Peaux noires masques blancs and ''Les Damnés de la Terre''. More recently in 2005, an anti-negrophobia brigade (BAN) was created in France to protest against increasing targeted acts and occurrences of police violence. The latter protest movements notably underwent severe police violence in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris during the 2011 and 2013 abolition of slavery commemorations.
Negrophobia and identity
More specifically on Frantz Fanon’s analysis of Negrophobia, the psychiatrist was the first to introduce the concept of black Negrophobia, pointing to the hatred of black people and black culture by black people themselves. Indeed, he asserts that Negrophobia is a form of "trauma for white people of the Negro”. Equivalent to internalised racism caused by the trauma of living in a culture defining black people as inherently evil, Fanon emphasises the slight existing cultural intricacies caused by the vast diversity of black people and cultures, as well as the nature of their colonisation by white Europeans. The symptoms of such black Negrophobia include a rejection of their native or ethnic language in favour of European languages, a marked preference for European or white cultures over black cultures, and a tendency to surround themselves with lighter skinned people rather than darker skinned ones. Similarly, the pattern further includes attributing negative characteristics to black people, culture, and things. Toni Morrison’s ''The Bluest Eye'' (1970) stands as an illustrative novel on the destroying effects of Negrophobia among the black community on themselves. Indeed, the main character, Pecola Breedlove, through her non-reconciliation with her black identity, her black societal indifference and her craving for symbolic blue eyes, presents all the signs of an internalised Negrophobia. She develops an anti-black neurosis due to her feeling of non-existence both within the white and her own community.
While the latter theoretical framework is academically debated, Fanon insists on the nature of Negrophobia as a socio-diagnosis, thus characterising not individuals but rather entire societies and their patterns. Fanon thereby implies that Negrophobia is a cross-disciplinary area of research, justifying that its analysis and understanding may not be confined to the psychological field.
Negrophobia and law
The notion of involuntary Negrophobia is highly debated in the academic and legal arenas, specifically opposing non instrumentalists and instrumentalists. The formers are favourable to the involuntary nature of a post-traumatic stress disorder, thereby defending the uncontrollable nature of a defendant’s actions. This approach focusses on the personal culpability of the individual defendant , thus disregarding any possible social implications. On the other hand, instrumentalists do consider such broader implications, viewing the law as an object of social change and claiming to promote the general welfare by refusing to recognise legal claims damaging the integrity of the legal. This view criticises non instrumentalists for equating Negrophobia with insanity by allowing a person’s racial fear to legally justify and even excuse violent behaviour. Following widespread claims that sane but guilty defendants may exploit the insanity defence to escape long prison sentences , a similar skepticism with respect to defences invoking Negrophobia would result in significant distrust in the legal and criminal justice system, thereby indirectly destroying the legitimacy of such courts.
- Brooks, Adia A. (2012). "Black Negrophobia and Black Self-Empowerment: Afro-Descendant Responses to Societal Racism in São Paulo, Brazil" (PDF). UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Research. XV: 2. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- Rieger, Jeorg (2013). Religion, Theology, and Class: Fresh Engagements after Long Silence. New Approaches to Religion and Power. Palgrave Macmillan US. p. 177. ISBN 978-1-137-33924-9. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
- Afrasia: A Tale of Two Continents – Page 105, Ali A. Mazrui – 2013
- Lincoln: Political Writings and Speeches – Page xxvi, Terence Ball – 2013
- Klaffke, Pamela (2003). Spree: A Cultural History of Shopping. p. 181.
- Kivuto Ndeti; Kenneth R. Gray; Gerard Bennaars (1992). The second scramble for Africa: a response & a critical analysis of the challenges facing contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. Professors World Peace Academy. p. 127. ISBN 9966835733. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
- Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law – Page 492, Rüdiger Wolfrum – 1999
- Ubuntu, Migration and Ministry: Page 88, Elina Hankela – 2014
- Black Soul, White Artifact: Fanon's Clinical Psychology and Social Theory p 73, Jock McCulloch – 2002
- Maddow, Rachel (July 21, 2010). "Scaring white people for fun and profit". MSNBC.
- "Negrophobia", published by St. Martin's Press and written by Darius James
- Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America, An academic book written through the New York University press.2
- Negrophobia: A Race Riot in 1906, by Mark Bauerlein with Encounter Press.3
- American Heritage Dictionary 4
- Une Autre Histoire. "Négrophobie". une-autre-histoire.org. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
- Anthony C. Alessandrini (3 August 2005). Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives. Routledge. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-134-65657-8.
- Maleki, Nasser and Haj'jari and Mohammad-Javad (2015). "Negrophobia and Anti-Negritude in Morrison's The Bluest Eye". Epiphany: Journal of Transdisciplinary Studies. 8: 69. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- Armour, Jody David (1997). Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America. New York, London: NYU Press. p. 64. JSTOR j.ctt9qfpg3.
- Armour, Jody David (1997). Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America. New York, London: NYU Press. p. 65. JSTOR j.ctt9qfpg3.
- Armour, Jody David (1997). Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America. New York, London: NYU Press. p. 66. JSTOR j.ctt9qfpg3.
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