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AFI Feminist Dialogue with Chris Essombe

AFI Feminist Dialogue with Chris Essombe

“Not All Skinfolk are Kinfolk: Analyzing South Africa’s Negrophobia”

Chris Essombe (she/her)

Negrophobic xenophobia in South Africa presents a premise of Othering that results in collective violence against Black foreign Africans in South Africa. Despite common references to phenotypical and ontological differences (with the former often presented as a manifestation of the latter) between targeted populations and assailants, race and racial constructions are rarely positioned as root factors of Negrophobia and negrophobic violence in South Africa. Instead, scarce resources and perceived immigration status are often highlighted as potential causal factors. This consequently leaves unaddressed the reproductions of race in postcolonial African societies despite the racialization process that African peoples have been experiencing since Modernity. Indeed, much remains to be theorized about how Black South Africans identify racially and relate to other Black individuals from the rest of the African continent. 

In this talk, Chris Essombe (she/her) presents her preliminary findings from her doctoral research which, through a decolonial Africa(n)-centered psychology of antiracism, explores what South Africa’s Negrophobia reveals about postcolonial post-Apartheid contemporary racial identities of Black Africans on the continent, appropriated racial oppression (ARO), and aspirations to whiteness. Findings also include a tentative genealogy of negrophobic violence and its potential psychological implications for people of African descent in South Africa and beyond.

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