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BLACK SKIN WHITE MASKS
Transcript of BLACK SKIN WHITE MASKS
Frantz OMAR Fanon was born in 1925, to a middle-class family in the French colony of Martinique. He left Martinique in 1943, when he volunteered to fight with the Free French in the 2. World War and he remained in France after the war to study medicine and psychiatry on scholarship in Lyon. He married a Frenchwoman. Before he left France, Fanon had already published his first analysis of the effects of racism and colonization, Black Skin, White Masks (BSWM), originally titled "An Essay for the Disalienation of Blacks," which was actually his doctoral thesis and speaks mainly about the early 1950s. He died in 1961.
general ıdea of the book
In the Caribbean, Black Slaves were allowed to dress up in white masks and mock their masters at Carnival time. Fanon realized that 'putting on a white mask' was what many modern black people felt they have to.
The book Black Skin White masks is a sociological study of the psychology of racism and the dehumanization inherent to colonial domination. It presents Fanon’s personal experience as a black intellectual in a European country and how it is to life as a black in the colonizers (old masters) country. Colonialisation has had a huge psychological impact on both sides. The book looks at what goes though the minds of blacks and whites under the conditions of white rule and the strange effects that has, especially on black people
The black man wants to get rid of his dark skin colour.This confict or fight is just in him and it eats him up. He thinks that the only reason why he is in a lower position is because of his dark skin colour. He starts hating himself and is like a stranger to himself. Fanon considers this self-hatred komplex in a pyschological way.
Fanon talks how the colour blackness is identified with sin and evil and the colour white with purity, beauty and cleanliness.
An example of this is that the 'universal' criteria for 'beauty' tends to be 'White' - In many countries Black people straighten their hair and lighten their skin to achieve this look.
Another example is that of language 'To speak means to assume a Culture' Caribbean Blacks have lost their native language and to be successful need to speak in 'educated' English/French.
1. THE BLACK MAN AND LANGUAGE
2. THE WOMAN OF COLOUR AND THE WHITE MAN
These woman look down on their own race and deep down her wish is to be white.
It doesn’t matter how much a black woman loves or is loved. The only thing that matters is the skin colour of the opposite sex. Not his character not his weight nothing. She just wants to be loved by a white man due to the stranger hang-up.
The black woman wants to be known as the “white lady” . The mentality is, if a white man loves me that means I am also a white.
post-colonial themes in the book
Race and states of mind
colour hegemony over the other
Fanon argued that colonialism dehumanized the native
The white man is the master, and represents an object that is to be feared and desired
the black therefore tries to be more likethe desirable white man (master) that is why he puts on the white mask
By speaking the language of the colonizers, the colonized continue to allow for their own enslavement through a kind of cultural imprisonment. Fanon, greatly influenced the later workings of Michel Foucault and his discussion of hegemonic power in language and culture. Fanon speaks of how the ‘Antilles Negro’ should reject the language and cultural traditions of their aggressor (France) and find their own culture
According to Fanon, the colonized intellectuals will never empower themselves until they break from the valorization of French language and culture and begin to separate themselves from it.
“My final prayer: O my body, make of me always a man who questions” (206).
If you do not learn the white man’s language perfectly ,you are unintelligent. Yet, if you do learn it perfectly, you have washed your brain in their universe of racist ideas.
The use of the mother tongue means to be a simple person. Only the simple volk speaks that langue.
The colonizers first job is to teach them to be ashamed of their own culture and language.
Children were taught to dislike their mother tongue.
Antilli people believe that their skin will get lighter as much as they learn and speak the language of the white.
Who ever goes to France is seen as a person who went to a holy place and when he returns one day to his land he only replys to question in French
Sentences like “When I was in Paris” are used often
While trying to be like the white he also wants to forget his past. He forgets his old friends and thats why people get offended and start being jealous and trying to make the other remember where he comes from. About his origin.
The black man in France who studies is no more a black he is different. He has a higer position in the society. Being a students means to make one more step on the way to the civilization.
Other blacks are not really welcome in the society. They are even ignored when they talk due to the fact that they are not important.
In movies for example the white uses insults for the black and the black has to obey the white and say “;Yes sir “ This is a method which is even used in childrens books to remind the black their real position in the society
5. THE FACT OF BLACKNESS
The fifth chapters title is “the fact of blackness” which can be described with 3 words (look a Negro!)These 3 words are the genesis of the disembodying third person Always black, never fully human. No matter how much education you have or how well you act.
Look a Negro ... Mama, see the Negro! I’m frightened ... I could no longer
laugh, because I already know there were legends, stories, history and
above all historicity ... Then assailed at various points, the corporal schema
crumbled its place taken by a racial epidermal schema ... It was no longer a
question of being aware of my body in the third person but in a triple person
... I was responsible for my body, for my race, for my ancestors.In America, Negroes are segregated. In South America, Negroes are whipped in the streets, and Negro strikers are cut down by machine-guns. In West Africa, the Negro is an animal. And there beside me, my neighbor in the university, who was born in Algeria, told me: “As long as the Arab is treated like a man, no solution is possible.” (84-85)
6. THE BLACK MAN AND PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
This Chapter is about why white people fear black men. Partly it has to do with white men’s repressed homosexuality and their strange hang-ups about the black men’s bodies. More generally balck men are viewed as bodies, which makes them seem like mind-less, violent, sexual, animal beings. Add to that all the bad meanings that the word “black had even before Europeans set foot in Black Africa.