A gathering of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), an American white supremacist terrorist organisation, at Baltimore in 1923. The KKK is considered one of the most notorious negrophobic groups in the United States.

Negrophobia (also termed anti-Blackness) is characterized by a fear, hatred, discrimination or extreme aversion to Black people and Cape Coloureds or Coloureds, and Black culture worldwide. Caused amongst other factors by racism and traumatic events and circumstances, symptoms of this phobia include but are not limited to the attribution of negative characteristics to Black and Coloured people, the fear or the strong dislike of Black and Coloured men and the objectification of Black and Coloured women.[1]

People of mixed-race descent in South Africa are referred to as Coloureds or Cape Coloureds. This term includes individuals with a mixed-race descent that can include African, Asian, and European heritage.[2] In South Africa, the term "Coloured" is considered neutral and is commonly used to refer to individuals who self-identify as such.[3] However, in some Western countries, such as Britain and the United States, the term "coloured" has a negative connotation and can be seen as derogatory because it was historically used as a means of categorizing black individuals and reinforcing racial hierarchies.[4] The word persists as a neutral descriptor in the names of some older organizations, such as the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The 1911 census in South Africa played a significant role in shaping racial identities within the country. The enumeration process involved specific instructions for classifying individuals into different racial categories, and the category of "coloured persons" was used to refer to all people of mixed race. This included various ethnic groups such as Khoikhoi, San, Cape Malays, Griquas, Korannas, Creoles, Negroes, and Cape Coloureds.

What's particularly noteworthy about the classification of "coloured persons" is that it included individuals of black African descent, commonly known as "Negroes". As a result, Coloureds or Cape Coloureds, as a group of mixed-race descent individuals, also have Black African ancestry and can be considered part of the broader African diaspora.[5]

The racial category of Coloureds is a multifaceted and heterogeneous group that exhibits great diversity. Analogously, they can be compared to the Black American population, which is composed of approximately 75% West African and 25% Northern European ancestry. However, the Cape Coloureds possess an even greater level of complexity due to the presence of Bantu African ancestry in their genetic makeup, which is closely linked to the West African heritage of Black Americans.[6][7]

While Coloureds in South Africa do have black African ancestry, it is important to recognize that they have a distinct identity and experiences that are a bit different from those of black South Africans.

Despite this, there are instances where Coloureds may face discrimination and prejudice based on their mixed-race descent and black African ancestry.

Furthermore, some individuals who hold prejudiced attitudes towards black people may also hold negative attitudes towards Coloureds, viewing them as inferior or less desirable due to their mixed-race heritage.



The hybrid word negrophobia consists of two components: negro and phobia. As such, it literally derives from "Fear of black":

Other terms with similar meanings include antiblackness[8] and blackophobia.[9] However, some publishers have discouraged designating individuals as blackophobes or negrophobes and rather highlight the general epithet that is usually applied to racists.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] In July 2010, a segment on Negrophobia was featured on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.[16][17][18][19][20]


Historical context

In Europe, Negrophobia finds its roots in the 17th century due to its extensive historical colonisation and slavery.[21] 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.[21] 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.[21] More recently in 2005, an anti-negrophobia brigade (BAN) was created in France to protest against increasing targeted acts and occurrences of police violence.[21] 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.[21]

Negrophobia and identity

More specifically on 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.[1] Indeed, he asserts that Negrophobia is a form of "trauma for white people of the Negro".[22] 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.[1] 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 cultures over Black cultures, and a tendency to surround themselves with lighter skinned people rather than darker skinned ones.[1] Similarly, the pattern further includes attributing negative characteristics to Black people, culture, and things. Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye (1970) stands as an illustrative work on the destroying effects of Negrophobia among the Black community on themselves.[23] 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.[23] She develops an anti-Black neurosis due to her feeling of non-existence both within the White and her own community.[23]

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.[1] 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.[1]

Negrophobia and law

The notion of involuntary Negrophobia is highly debated in the academic and legal arenas, specifically opposing instrumentalists and non-instrumentalists. The former are favourable to the involuntary nature of a post-traumatic stress disorder, thereby defending the uncontrollable nature of a defendant's actions.[24] This approach focusses on the personal culpability of the individual defendant,[24] 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.[25] 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.[25] Following widespread claims that sane but guilty defendants may exploit the insanity defence to escape long prison sentences,[26] 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.[26]

Anti-Blackness in Education and Organization Studies.

In response to Black Lives Matter organizing contemporary scholars of Education, Human Resource Development, and Critical Management Studies have begun focusing on anti-Blackness in schools and places of business.[27][28][29][30][31] These efforts build on established critical race discourses in their respective field and incorporate concepts from Afropessimism.[32]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f 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.
  2. ^ Kline Jr., Hibberd V. B. (1958). "The Union of South Africa". The World Book Encyclopedia. Vol. 17. Chicago, Field Enterprises Educational Corp. p. 8254.
  3. ^ Stevenson, Angus; Waite, Maurice (2011). "Coloured". Concise Oxford English Dictionary: Luxury Edition. Oxford University Press. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-19-960111-0.
  4. ^ "Is the word 'coloured' offensive?". BBC News. 9 November 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  5. ^ Moultrie, A. T., & Dorrington, R. Used for ill, used for good: A century of collecting data on race in South Africa. pp. 7, 8. Moultrie and Dorrington. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232827270_Used_for_ill_used_for_good_A_century_of_collecting_data_on_race_in_South_Africa
  6. ^ "The Cape Coloureds are a mix of everything". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 2023-03-02.
  7. ^ Christopher, A. J. (2002). "'To Define the Indefinable': Population Classification and the Census in South Africa". Area. 34 (4): 401–408. doi:10.1111/1475-4762.00097. ISSN 0004-0894. JSTOR 20004271.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Afrasia: A Tale of Two Continents – Page 105, Ali A. Mazrui – 2013
  10. ^ Lincoln: Political Writings and Speeches – Page xxvi, Terence Ball – 2013
  11. ^ Klaffke, Pamela (2003). Spree: A Cultural History of Shopping. Arsenal pulp press. p. 181. ISBN 9781551521435.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law – Page 492, Rüdiger Wolfrum – 1999
  14. ^ Ubuntu, Migration and Ministry: Page 88, Elina Hankela – 2014
  15. ^ Black Soul, White Artifact: Fanon's Clinical Psychology and Social Theory p 73, Jock McCulloch – 2002
  16. ^ Maddow, Rachel (July 21, 2010). "Scaring white people for fun and profit". MSNBC.
  17. ^ "Negrophobia", published by St. Martin's Press and written by Darius James
  18. ^ Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America, An academic book written through the New York University press.2
  19. ^ Negrophobia: A Race Riot in 1906, by Mark Bauerlein with Encounter Press.3
  20. ^ American Heritage Dictionary 4
  21. ^ a b c d e Une Autre Histoire (13 January 2015). "Négrophobie". une-autre-histoire.org. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  22. ^ Anthony C. Alessandrini (3 August 2005). Frantz Fanon: Critical Perspectives. Routledge. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-134-65657-8.
  23. ^ a b c 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.
  24. ^ a b 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.
  25. ^ a b 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.
  26. ^ a b 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.
  27. ^ Bell, Myrtle P.; Berry, Daphne; Leopold, Joy; Nkomo, Stella (January 2021). "Making Black Lives Matter in academia: A Black feminist call for collective action against anti‐blackness in the academy". Gender, Work & Organization. 28 (S1): 39–57. doi:10.1111/gwao.12555. ISSN 0968-6673. S2CID 224844343.
  28. ^ Bohonos, Jeremy W (2021-06-03). "Workplace hate speech and rendering Black and Native lives as if they do not matter: A nightmarish autoethnography". Organization. 30 (4): 605–623. doi:10.1177/13505084211015379. ISSN 1350-5084. S2CID 236294224.
  29. ^ Dumas, Michael J. (2016-01-02). "Against the Dark: Antiblackness in Education Policy and Discourse". Theory into Practice. 55 (1): 11–19. doi:10.1080/00405841.2016.1116852. ISSN 0040-5841. S2CID 147252566.
  30. ^ Dumas, Michael J.; ross, kihana miraya (April 2016). ""Be Real Black for Me": Imagining BlackCrit in Education". Urban Education. 51 (4): 415–442. doi:10.1177/0042085916628611. ISSN 0042-0859. S2CID 147319546.
  31. ^ Bohonos, Jeremy W.; Sisco, Stephanie (June 2021). "Advocating for social justice, equity, and inclusion in the workplace: An agenda for anti‐racist learning organizations". New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. 2021 (170): 89–98. doi:10.1002/ace.20428. ISSN 1052-2891. S2CID 240576110.
  32. ^ Wilderson, Frank. Afropessimism.