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Cultural Humanism and Exclusion

Frantz Fanon’s chapter titled ‘On National Culture’, from his book ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ relays the ways in which colonization created a distinctly dehumanizing effect on the colonized individuals and societies. Fanon coined the term, ‘colonized intellectuals’, which may seem slightly outdated but illustrates a class of cultured individuals within colonized countries that acknowledges the recognition of national culture and the right to its existence (Fanon, 2005). Fanon’s work still holds merit for arguing against racism, colonization, and other exclusionary notions through unique methods and sources.

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His thesis is formulated on the basis that colonization was not only exclusionary for outcasting and ignoring colonized nations but by stifling or desolating their cultures and diversity. Fanon held what some may consider a controversial opinion, in which he argued that the formulation of certain generalizations such as black culture in the United States is unrealistic. He thought this was due to the fact that all black people could not have universally shared traits, and the only true unifying feature would be their own definition in relation to white people. This hypothesis can and has been debated, but there is beneficial knowledge in the acceptance of isolated diversity and inclusion outside the influence of colonizers that should be brought to attention.

Fanon’s thesis concerning cultural humanism can be interpreted as a way to approach the ethics of identity, and in turn, diversity and exclusion. Though much previous writing, even by the likes of Huntington and Kant has tried to understand the variety of cultures, much of the analysis was still Euro-American-centric, nationalistic, and essentialist (Mba, 2018). Much of these approaches are no longer relevant in our understanding of the complexity of identity in relation to culture and diversity. However, Fanon’s approach argues for the equality of all cultures, but also raises that all people have equal claim to the appropriation of any culture.

This may sound appropriate in theory, but in practice is controversial, especially in the cases of appropriation of the culture of minorities or marginalized groups. Still, Fanon’s ideology of cultural humanism upholds justice and equality of all cultures which is an essential aspect of addressing issues of diversity and exclusion.

The misidentification and exclusion of certain religious and cultural groups continue to occur, such as in the case of Islamophobia. Recently, the Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum, or the ICYF, held a two-day seminar titled “Youth Global Action Countering Islamophobia” (Yeni Şafak, 2021). The conference targeted much of the misinformation and association with terrorism that is led by Islamaphobic individuals, especially with sources in the Western world.

The situation is reflective of Fanon’s thesis concerning the stifling influence of ‘colonizers’ or other influential groups, which can misinterpret or exclude a culture based on their own biases. Islamophobia manifests in the Western world and returns to Muslim youth, which changes their own perspective on their own culture. What this cycle creates is a division of cultures, an exclusion that is driven by disrespect towards a culture by not understanding it on a level that is given to one’s own culture. It stunts the diversification that can be seen in global culture and hinders coexistence and inclusion.

Cultural stifling and exclusion can begin to manifest issues in social infrastructures such as employment, education, healthcare, and political settings. It starts to form situations in which populations begin to experience difficult access to resources of their own culture as well as the resources that are unquestionably provided to cultures favored by a nation’s majority (González, 2017). The educational limitations that are first experienced by these groups begin to overlap with other socio-economic hardships, such as deprivation of social and governmental resources, unemployment, housing issues, and a myriad of other challenges. The exclusion or inequality of culture affects every aspect of a nation’s infrastructure, diminishing its effectiveness and progress.

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Works Cited

Fanon, Frantz. The Wretched of the Earth. Grove Press, 2005.

“Islamophobia hinders coexistence of diverse cultures, says Turkish official.” Yeni Şafak. 2021. Web.

Mba, Chika. “Conceiving global culture: Frantz Fanon and the politics of identity.” Act Academica, vol. 51, no. 2, 2018. Web.

Ana Marta González | PASS Plenary Session 2017 | Day 1.YouTube, uploaded by Casina Pio IV, 2017. Web.

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