Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization

Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization

Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization

Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization

Excerpt

The celebrated inferiority complex of the coloured peoples, which is so often invoked to explain certain traits of their behaviour, is no different from the inferiority complex pure and simple as described by Adler. It springs from a physical difference taken to be a drawback -- namely, the colour of the skin. But a difference of this kind gives rise to a complex only if it can in fact be accounted a disadvantage; at any rate it must be perceptible as a difference. In practice, therefore, an inferiority complex connected with the colour of the skin is found only among those who form a minority within a group of another colour. In a fairly homogeneous community like that of the Malagasies, where the social framework is still fairly strong, an inferiority complex occurs only in very exceptional cases. Its rarity probably alters its effects, for a person suffering from it will not find all around him those examples of compensation or sublimation which are usually of such comfort to an 'inferior' individual. But this difference is only superficial, and the fundamental nature ofthe Adlerian inferiority complex remains the same.

Furthermore, these exceptional cases of inferiority occurring in a homogeneous community obviously have nothing to do with skin colour, but are due to individual feelings of inferiority of various kinds. As with Europeans, any difference can cause a feeling of inferiority, once certain psychological and sociological conditions are fulfilled. The extreme rarity of the complex among typical Malagasies (it is practically never found except in a Malagasy who is already thoroughly Europeanized) therefore seemed to me to require explanation.

In seeking it I have been led to attach considerable importance to a group of psychological and social conditions which together I shall . . .

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