The zone of nonbeing

zone of nonbeing

Many folks these days talk of “othering”, its become a verb to other. When we other we categorise some other as “the other” – meaning other than us. and some credit the idea to Franz Fanon.
But what is it to other another?

Fanon was much clearer in what he meant.

When we cast someone as “other”, he meant other than human – non-human.
What we do when we “other” someone is to cast that person out into what Fanon called the “zone of nonbeing”.
Even more than non-human, as nonbeing we have no thoughts, experience  of our own – for that would first required that we were a being;  and to be placed in the zone of nonbeing, by being declared such we are denied opportunity and right to think of ourselves,  nevermind as human,  but not even as a being, or having being, being a being, beigness itsell has been stripped away from up- because there is and never was a  “we” to have it in the first place…

And he was clear about why we do this to others:
so that we can feel ok about whatever is done to them- those whom we have placed in the zone of nonbeing.

Human history is full-enough of examples of how it works that you might think we don’t need any more, yet, somehow, though, we do keep coming up with new ones.



Revised Dec 2018
Originally I had to give myself a step – “zone of non-human”: my colonised brain had difficulty grasping the enormity of Fanon’s term nonbeing.

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