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Abstract

In this article, the North African Syndrome will be read as a critique of institutional racism in general and racism in the French medical profession in particular. Beginning with the widespread belief (within the French medical profession of the 1950s) that the North African was a hypochondriac seeking to avoid work, Fanon illustrates how it was that the institutional racism within French society broke the North African immigrant into conforming to such stereotype--making his life such a hardship as to force all manner of psychosomatic illnesses upon him. The North African Syndrome will thus be shown to be of importance not only in foreshadowing the more widely known analyses of racism found in Black Skin, White Masks, but also as a statement of conscience by Fanon--as a concerned physician--regarding the racism within his own profession.

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