I have chosen to explore the work of Frantz Fanon particularly at hiswritten work “black skin white mask” and also the documentary film produced byIssac Julien and Mark Nash. Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask, does retain and demand respect for itssubjects perhaps because he isn’t talked about but represented.
Isaac Julien in collaboration with Mark Nash haveproduced a Biography/History film isn’t exactly adocumentary, and it not a drama, though an actor portrays the film’s subject. “It’sa fact-filled dream, a meditation with a poetic texture on the life of acontroversial black intellectual”. I’m going to discuss the book and compareand argue if the directors depict the book and Frantz Fanon correctly which todevelop a theoretical and/or historical perspective through further research. Frantz Fanongrew up in a wealthy family in the Martinique, Martinique is a rugged Caribbean island that’s part ofthe Lesser Antilles. An overseas region of France. He went to school in France and became apsychiatrist. After volunteering for the free French army during the SecondWorld War, he then spent several years in Algeria just before and during therevolution. Because of his life and education, Fanon had a unique perspectiveto criticize and analyze colonialism and decolonization.
He is especially interested in the experienceof Black people from French-colonized islands in the Caribbean, like himself,who have come to live in France themselves. He explores how these people areencouraged by a racist society to want to become white, but then experienceserious psychological problems because they aren’t able to do so.He speculatedthat because colonies were created and maintained in violence, that a colonycould only decolonize through violence. Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks is a stirring glimpseinto the mindset of a black man living in a white man’s world. He combines autobiography, case study, philosophy,and psychoanalytic theory to describe and analyze the experience of Black menand women in white-controlled societies.
Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks is a stirring glimpseinto the mindset of a black man living in a white man’s world. He combines autobiography, case study, philosophy,and psychoanalytic theory to describe and analyze the experience of Black menand women in white-controlled societies. In the book Fanon starts off his argument withexplaining and describing how colonialism and decolonization are violentaffairs. He describes the colonized and colonizer as old adversaries whosefirst meeting was rooted in violence and continued relationship was sustainedat the point of a gun. He goes on to state that the colonized person is afabricated individual created by the colonizer and that the colonizer validatesthemselves, via wealth, through the colonial relationship. He sawviolence as the best means to throw off the false consciousness of colonialismand envisioned a brotherhood or comradeship of free and equal people. “It isFanon’s similarity with Martin Luther King, Jr. that is most interesting.
Inthe Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King makes many of the same arguments asFanon, but proposes a better solution revolving around justice.” Fanon’sobsession with violence it at the core of his argument, however non-violentdirect action, according to King, would be a better way to achieve freedom andequality because ultimately unjust action does not bring about justice. Fanonapproaches the subject of racism from a psychoanalytic viewpoint rather thanfrom a sociological stance. To Fanon, racism is a psychological disease whichhas infected all men and all societies. He argues that the black man isconstantly trying, but never fully succeeding, to be white and to assimilateinto the white man’s world.
Fanon was apsychiatrist so, naturally, he analyzed the problem of racism as such. Based ontoday’s racism, many would try to classify racism as a sociological problem.Fanon, however, looked at racism as a psychological obstacle in the path ofhumankind’s realization of its true potential. “When there are no moreslaves, there are no masters.” Whilehe does acknowledge the existence of a socioeconomic divide that coincides withracism, he does not believe that poverty and social inferiority are the worstconsequences of racism.
He believed that the psychological damage is the worstproblem resulting from racism. Unlike the blatant discrimination, violence andhatred associated with the anti-black racism of the United States prior to theCivil Rights Movement, racism in the French world was less obvious and morepsychological than physical. This psychological discrepancy, Fanon argues, ismore damaging and much harder to overcome and resist than physical racialabuse.One of the ways toovercome racism is to have an unbending sense of self-worth and to fully knowoneself. If one can achieve this, they will no longer compare themselves toothers, so the psychological effects of racism will not have any bearing onthem. However, Fanon argues that this is may not be possible for the black manto do. People, in general, and especially those who have been constantlyoppressed, have a tremendously difficult time determining and accepting theirown self-worth by their own accord,”The Antilleandoes not possess a personal value of his own and is always dependent on thevalue of ‘the Other.’ The question is always whether he is less intelligentthan I, blacker than I, or less good than I.
Every self-positioning orself-fixation maintains a relationship or dependency on the collapse of theother. It’s on the ruins of my entourage that I build my virility.” The only way theblack man knows how to build his self-worth is to destroy the worth of another.But, unfortunately, since the black man is in no position to downgrade whitepeople, they must attack other blacks in order to build their self-worth. Thiscreates a vicious cycle in which the black man keeps himself and his peopledown and the white man can remain in power without even doing anything.
“The Martinicans are hungry for reassurance. They want their wishful thinkingto be recognized. They want their wish for virility to be recognized Each ofthem wants to be, wants to flaunt himself.”