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
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Instead of using individuals of European descent to do their bidding, European colonizers employed Africans to delegate tasks and to carry out punishments. Africans were thus forced to impart brutal and harsh treatment on their own people, causing the lines of allegiances to blur and the division of Africans to commence.
The psychological effects of colonialism are best examined in Edgar Canisius’ account of the rubber industry in the Congo. Canisius, an American businessman working for a rubber concession company, presents a first-hand account of the mistreatment of Africans inherent within the exploitative industry of rubber. Evidence of the system of racial hierarchy permeates the text, from the selection of native headsman to the identification system of tags. Canisius recounts that since each village had to collect a quota of rubber, a native headsman was chosen to ensure that the quota was reached. Europeans selected a native from the village and assigned them the responsibility of delegating the rubber collection and imparting punishment on the villagers who failed to reach their quota. Evidence of this hierarchy is also witnessed in King Leopold’s Ghost when Hochschild describes a rebellion by the Budjas, an African tribe. He states that the European force assigned to quell the rebellion contained fifty African

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