Frantz Fanon's Theory Of Cognitive Dissonance

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According to Frantz Fanon, cognitive dissonance occurs when “people hold a core belief that is very strong [and] when they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted [so] they will rationalize, ignore or even deny anything that doesn’t fit with that core belief” (Fanon 1952). In Anthropology and Egalitarianism: Ethnographic Encounters from Monticello to the Guinea-Bissau, Eric Gable explains a core belief held by Jefferson in which “the negro” had an “absolute and unbridgeable inferiority” while Indians were the equals of white people in intelligence and morals. Jefferson went to great lengths to reinforce his belief in the biological inferiority of black people to white people (Gable 2011). …show more content…
He noted the differences in the sizes of the mammals and the culture of the Native Americans. He believed that Native Americans were weak due to what he interpreted as a lack of ardor, or passion. He saw them as feeble beings that were a degenerated version of “humans.” The weak and feeble humans were examples of why America was in a degenerative state. The theory of ardor refers to the idea that “civilizations were dependent on the channeling of male ardor.” Since Native Americans, according to Buffon, lacked enough male ardor, he found it unlikely that they could construct a civilization that had lasting importance. Thomas Jefferson disagreed with Buffon’s idea and instead believed that the lack of passion Native American’s had in areas concerning women and family may be a beneficial quality rather than an indication of inferiority (Gable 2011). According to Eric Gable, Jefferson uses what is known as cultural relativism when analyzing the differences he saw in Native Americans and European …show more content…
He looked at the lack of ardor in the Native Americans as a product of culture. On the other hand, Jefferson saw African people as inferior due to their overabundance of passion. He saw them as being driven by their own lust and passion. He believed this indicated that they needed to be controlled by white people because they were unable to control themselves. Unlike with the Native American’s, when Jefferson was presented with evidence that contradicted his theory about the inferiority of African people, he refused to accept such evidence. He believed black people were incapable of intellectual processes on the level of white people. Even when poets such as Phyllis Wheatley and Ignatius Sancho emerged during his time, Jefferson remained firm in his belief of black inferiority. As Thomas Jefferson noted, “misery is often the parent of the most affecting touches of poetry. Among the blacks there is misery enough, God Knows, but no poetry”(Gable 2011). He responds by questioning their authorship, dismissing them as poor poets or crediting their intellectual merit to

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