We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Discourse on Colonialism?

By Emily Daw
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Discourse on Colonialism is an essay by Aimé Césaire, a Martinican politician and writer, that was first published in 1950. Césaire was known for his emphasis on "negritude," or the common identity of black people. In the essay, Césaire accuses European colonialists of oppressing colonized peoples through inherent racism and classism.

Césaire argued in the Discourse on Colonialism that, contrary to what some believed, colonialism was not and had never been a benevolent movement aimed at improving the lives of colonized people. He said that, instead, colonists' motives were entirely self-centered — gaining wealth and glory for themselves and their countries. Motives such as bringing "civilization" to the non-European world, he said, were invented later in an attempt to justify atrocities committed by past and contemporary colonizers.

Discourse on Colonialism goes on to quote a number of writings by colonial supporters in which white races are portrayed as inherently more intelligent, civilized leaders than those of other races. Césaire criticizes "humanist" approaches to colonialism, having said that such approaches continue to deny the humanity of the colonized peoples. Drawing on Marxist theory, Césaire further criticized the bourgeois, capitalistic European culture and said that capitalism would always disintegrate into Nazism.

Césaire claimed that the societies of the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and other areas before colonialism were more communal and egalitarian than those that replaced them. He said that it is possible for colonies as well as former colonies to move beyond the evils done to them and to create new classless societies that will interact positively with one another. In addition, he warned against believing that American domination would be better than European colonization.

Due to its often harsh tone and radical statements, Discourse on Colonialism has often been called a "declaration of war" on colonialism. In the decades following the publication of Discourse on Colonialism, many colonies in Africa and Asia did gain independence from Europe. Césaire's homeland of Martinique, however, was still a French "overseas department" as of 2011. Although Martinicans are considered full French citizens and are represented in Parliament, some still object to what is seen as foreign rule.

Following in Césaire's footsteps, many politicians and theorists continue to evaluate the situation of former colonies through the framework of Marxism. Some, such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, claim that European countries now dominate the rest of the world through "neocolonialism" in place of the old political colonial structures. Neocolonialism is defined as the practice of exploiting other countries through economic means.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon351819 — On Oct 17, 2013

I have recently encountered this internet site, and I have to admit that I have not seen any internet site that gives information about any required topic just as straight.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.