All Rights Reserved. This results in relationships that lead to the racism, exploitation, and violence that characterize colonization. It was written in the aftermath of a rebellion by the Mala- gasy against the French colonizers and the colonial government. The French response had been brutal. From the author: Citations in this article are from the French edition of Peau noire, masques blancs.
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Buy Study Guide In Black Skin, White Masks , Frantz Fanon combines autobiography, case study, philosophy, and psychoanalytic theory in order to describe and analyze the experience of Black men and women in white-controlled societies.
He is especially interested in the experience of Black people from French-colonized islands in the Caribbean, like himself, who have come to live in France themselves. In Chapter 1, Fanon explores the relationship between race, language, and culture.
For Fanon, language provides entry into a culture, so when someone speaks French, they are taking on the French culture. But when Black people speak French, they are always reminded they can never be fully French.
Moreover, they are told they do not have a civilized language of their own, unlike people from other white European countries like Germany or Russia.
In this way, language is used to make Black people feel they are uncivilized and without a history. This desire to become white is explored in Chapters 2 and 3, which are about interracial relationships between Black and white people. Fanon observes that Black women may take a white lover in order to get access to a white culture that has more advantages and privileges. Similarly, Black men may consider white women gatekeepers to culture, and marrying a white woman provides a feeling of having married all the beauty, education, and wealth that whiteness stands for in racist societies.
But because Black people can never leave behind the fact of their Blackness, fleeing from their race is also fleeing from themselves. This leads to a loss of a sense of self and in turn a loss of agency to act in the world. In Chapters 4 and 5, Fanon develops this analysis of the inferiority complex of Black people and the impossibility of leaving behind the fact of being Black.
For Fanon, it is important to realize that Black people do not naturally feel they are inferior. Rather, this feeling is created by racism, which says whites are superior to Blacks and gives whites more economic advantages. When Black people internalize their oppression as a personal failure, this is when an inferiority complex arises.
It is also constantly reinforced in everyday life in racist societies, because Black people are constantly reminded they are Black first and people second. In other words, people are reduced to their race, instead of seen as unique human individuals.
In European societies, Fanon argues, the only cultural representations of Black people are in ways that make them seem animalistic. This also leads to be over-sexualization of Black people, because Blackness becomes associated with the biological fact of reproduction.
But whereas the Jew is seen as a political threat, the Black man is seen as a biological threat. In the final chapters of Black Skin, White Masks, Fanon explores how people might move beyond this situation in which Black people are depicted as inferior and often develop a feeling of inferiority as well. He dismisses theories by other psychiatrists that would solve the neurosis of an individual Black man by asking him to adjust his expectations and face reality.
Instead, he wants social solutions that transform the racist society that produced conditions of inequality to begin with. Black people need to be encouraged to transform society by demanding humanity from white people, asserting freedom, and building a future freed from the subjugation of the past.
Black Skin, White Masks Summary
Black Skin, White Masks. Frantz Fanon trans. Pluto Press. For that reason, this new edition from Pluto Press is definitely welcome. It remains a fundamental part of the contemporary constellation of intellectual and activist struggles and discourses working to denounce and contest the effects of racism on the lives and minds of black people and people of colour.
Black Skin White Mask
The book is written in the style of auto-theory,  which Fanon shares his own experiences in addition to presenting a historical critique of the effects of racism and dehumanization, inherent in situations of colonial domination, on the human psyche. The violent overtones in Fanon can be broken down into two categories: The violence of the colonizer through annihilation of body, psyche, culture, along with the demarcation of space. And secondly the violence of the colonized as an attempt to retrieve dignity, sense of self, and history through anti-colonial struggle. Fanon confronts complex formations of colonized psychic constructions of Blackness in the book.
Black Skin, White Masks Quotes
A Negro has two dimensions: One with the white men and the other with the black man. His behaviour with the white man differs from that of the black man. This fact is even supported by the Christian religion as well. Religion and Blacks According to the Bible, white men are the chosen ones and the blacks are blacks because of their sins. A Negro thus thinks that he can break the barrier between him and the white only by mastering the language and assuming the culture of the latter. The Negro doing so thus attains a position of honour among his fellow beings. In this regard, the Negro of Antilles will be more close to Whites-or in another words-a man.