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Frantz Fanon Quotes On Race, Language, and Revolution

These Frantz Fanon quotes highlight the philosopher’s thoughts on racism, the dominative qualities of colonization, and the psychological reasoning behind revolution. 

Frantz Fanon was a World War II veteran from the French colony of Martinique. After the war, he studied medicine and psychiatry.

Fanon often treated Algerian and French soldiers and his observations from his clients helped shape his philosophical ideations. He later authored several books that reflect his observations as well as political philosophies. 

Below is our collection of philosophical, thought-provoking Frantz Fanon quotes about race, colonization, and revolution.

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Frantz Fanon quotes on language and communication

1. “A man who has a language consequently possesses the world expressed and implied by that language.” – Frantz Fanon

2. “I ascribe a basic importance to the phenomenon of language. To speak means to be in a position to use a certain syntax, to grasp the morphology of this or that language, but it means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization.” – Frantz Fanon

3. “To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture.” – Frantz Fanon
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4. “Mastery of language affords remarkable power.” – Frantz Fanon

5. “One avoids Creolisms. Some families completely forbid Creole and mothers ridicule their children for speaking it.” – Frantz Fanon

6. “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.” – Frantz Fanon

7. “Everything can be explained to the people, on the single condition that you want them to understand.” – Frantz Fanon

8. “Certain things need to be said if one is to avoid falsifying the problem.” – Frantz Fanon

9. “If the building of a bridge does not enrich the awareness of those who work on it, then the bridge ought not to be built.” – Frantz Fanon

10. “He who is reluctant to recognize me opposes me.” – Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon quotes on race and racism

11. “I am black; I am in total fusion with the world, in sympathetic affinity with the earth, losing my id in the heart of the cosmos — and the white man, however intelligent he may be, is incapable of understanding Louis Armstrong or songs from the Congo. I am black, not because of a curse, but because my skin has been able to capture all the cosmic effluvia. I am truly a drop of sun under the earth.” – Frantz Fanon
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12. “When people like me, they like me “in spite of my color.” When they dislike me; they point out that it isn’t because of my color. Either way, I am locked into the infernal circle.” – Frantz Fanon

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13. “Negrophobes exist. It is not hatred of the Negro, however, that motivates them; they lack the courage for that, or they have lost it.” – Frantz Fanon

14. “The Negro enslaved by his inferiority, the white man enslaved by his superiority alike behave in accordance with a neurotic orientation.” – Frantz Fanon

15. “I, the man of color, want only this: That the tool never possess the man. That the enslavement of man by man ceases forever. That is, of one by another. That it be possible for me to discover and to love man, wherever he may be.” – Frantz Fanon

16. “In the colonial context the settler only ends his work of breaking in the native when the latter admits loudly and intelligibly the supremacy of the white man’s values.” – Frantz Fanon

17. “Anti-Semitism hits me on the head: I am enraged, I am bled white by an appalling battle, I am deprived of the possibility of being man. I cannot disassociate myself from the future that is proposed for my brother.” – Frantz Fanon

18. “Taking the continent as a whole, this religious tension may be responsible for the revival of the commonest racial feeling. Africa is divided into Black and White, and the names that are substituted- Africa south of the Sahara, Africa north of the Sahara- do not manage to hide this latent racism. Here, it is affirmed that White Africa has a thousand-year-old tradition of culture; that she is Mediterranean, that she is a continuation of Europe and that she shares in Graeco-Latin civilization. Black Africa is looked on as a region that is inert, brutal, uncivilized – in a word, savage.” – Frantz Fanon

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19. “However painful it may be for me to accept this conclusion, I am obliged to state it: for the black man there is only one destiny. And it is white.” – Frantz Fanon

20. “When a bachelor of philosophy from the Antilles refuses to apply for certification as a teacher on the grounds of his color I say that philosophy has never saved anyone.” – Frantz Fanon

21. “When someone else strives and strains to prove to me that black men are as intelligent as white men I say that intelligence has never saved anyone.” – Frantz Fanon

22. “If philosophy and intelligence are invoked to proclaim the equality of men, they have also been employed to justify the extermination of men.” – Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon quotes on colonialism 

23. “Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions” – Frantz Fanon

24. “The colonized is elevated above his jungle status in proportion to his adoption of the mother country’s cultural standards.” – Frantz Fanon

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25. “The basic confrontation which seemed to be colonialism versus anti-colonialism, indeed capitalism versus socialism, is already losing its importance. What matters today, the issue which blocks the horizon, is the need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity will have to address this question, no matter how devastating the consequences may be.” – Frantz Fanon

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26. “For a colonized people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread and, above all, dignity.” – Frantz Fanon

27. “Zombies, believe me, are more terrifying than colonists.” – Frantz Fanon

Frantz Fanon quotes on revolution

28. “No attempt must be made to encase man, for it is his destiny to be set free.” – Frantz Fanon

29. “When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe” – Frantz Fanon

30. “They realize at last that change does not mean reform, that change does not mean improvement.” – Frantz Fanon

31. “What I call middle-class society is any society that becomes rigidified in predetermined forms, forbidding all evolution, all gains, all progress, all discovery. I call middle-class a closed society in which life has no taste, in which the air is tainted, in which ideas and men are corrupt. And I think that a man who takes a stand against this death is in a sense a revolutionary.” – Frantz Fanon

32. “And it is clear that in the colonial countries the peasants alone are revolutionary, for they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The starving peasant, outside the class system is the first among the exploited to discover that only violence pays. For him there is no compromise, no possible coming to terms; colonization and decolonization a simply a question of relative strength.” – Frantz Fanon

33. “What matters is not to know the world but to change it.” – Frantz Fanon

34. “For violence, like Achilles’ lance, can heal the wounds it has inflicted.” – Frantz Fanon

35. “The settler makes history and is conscious of making it. And because he constantly refers to the history of his mother country, he clearly indicates that he himself is the extension of that mother country. Thus the history which he writes is not the history of the country which he plunders but the history of his own nation in regard to all that she skims off, all that she violates and starves.” – Frantz Fanon

More Frantz Fanon quotes

36. “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.” – Frantz Fanon

37. “Capitalist exploitation and cartels and monopolies are the enemies of underdeveloped countries. On the other hand a regime which is completely oriented towards the people as a whole and based on the principle that man is the most precious of all possessions, will allow us to go forward more quickly and more harmoniously, and thus make impossible that caricature of society where all economic and political power is held in the hands of a few who regard the nation as a whole with scorn and contempt.” – Frantz Fanon

38. “In the World through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself.” – Frantz Fanon

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39. “The oppressed will always believe the worst about themselves.” – Frantz Fanon

40. “Hate is not inborn; it has to be constantly cultivated, to be brought into being, in conflict with more or less recognized guilt complexes.” – Frantz Fanon

41. “Hate demands existence and he who hates has to show his hate in appropriate actions and behavior; in a sense, he has to become hate. That is why Americans have substituted discrimination for lynching. Each to his own side of the street.” – Frantz Fanon

42. “The unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.” – Frantz Fan

43. “Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.” – Frantz Fanon

44. “To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.” – Frantz Fanon

45. “Violence is man recreating himself.” – Frantz Fanon

46. “Today I believe in the possibility of love; that is why I endeavor to trace its imperfections, its perversions.” – Frantz Fanon

47. “…There are too many idiots in this world. And having said it, I have the burden of proving it.” – Frantz Fanon

48. “I feel my soul as vast as the world, truly a soul as deep as the deepest of rivers; my chest has the power to expand to infinity. I was made to give and they prescribe for me the humility of the cripple.” – Frantz Fanon

49. “For the beloved should not allow me to turn my infantile fantasies into reality: On the contrary, he should help me to go beyond them.” – Frantz Fanon

50. “A government or a party gets the people it deserves and sooner or later a people gets the government it deserves.” – Frantz Fanon

Did you learn anything from these Frantz Fanon quotes?

Do you agree with his perspective on colonization, revolution, and freedom?

Frantz Fanon was in the unique position to be able to combine his clinical psychiatric studies with his personal experience of being a person of color living on a colonized island in a racist world and use those experiences and studies to shape his philosophical works.

The works of Frantz Fanon have remained an important collection of philosophy in the social science space and continue to influence great thinkers today. 

Did you like these Frantz Fanon quotes and sayings? Let us know which quote was your favorite in the comment section below.

Sckylar Gibby-Brown
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  1. Marlin Johnson

    February 2, 2021 at 9:41 AM

    The things that I ponder are affirmed by the quotes of Frantz Fanon.

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