Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 August 2021
This chapter first examines a variety of approaches, including that of Frantz Fanon, to exploring violence and race in a colonial context. Rejecting binary approaches, like that of Fanon, this examines the political use and cultural understanding of the concepts like "race" and "ethnicity." Rather than see race in terms of a simple imperial deployment of racist practices and beliefs against the colonized, this chapter also argues for an "appropriation" model of ideas and practices of race and ethnicity to help explain the complexity of race-talk and race practices involving France, the Vietnamese, the Khmer, Africans, and Chinese. The chapter looks at France’s initial concern with white prestige in choosing the soldiers to fight on the side of France before turning to the Vietnamese. It examines pre-existing Vietnamese understandings of race, as articulated in Vietnamese, and their combination with Western discourses of race and racial hierarchies. The chapter digs into particularly troubling texts on race, racial extinction, and cannibalism, and the implication of such texts for understanding the war as a whole. Looks at arguments over purity, hybridity, and race.