I have chosen to explore the work of Frantz Fanon particularly at his
written work “black skin white mask” and also the documentary film produced by
Issac Julien and Mark Nash. Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask, does retain and demand respect for its
subjects perhaps because he isn’t talked about but represented. Isaac Julien in collaboration with Mark Nash have
produced a Biography/History film isn’t exactly a
documentary, and it not a drama, though an actor portrays the film’s subject. “It’s
a fact-filled dream, a meditation with a poetic texture on the life of a
controversial black intellectual”. I’m going to discuss the book and compare
and argue if the directors depict the book and Frantz Fanon correctly which to
develop a theoretical and/or historical perspective through further research.


Frantz Fanon
grew up in a wealthy family in the Martinique, Martinique is a rugged Caribbean island that’s part of
the Lesser Antilles. An overseas region of France. He went to school in France and became a
psychiatrist. After volunteering for the free French army during the Second
World War, he then spent several years in Algeria just before and during the
revolution. Because of his life and education, Fanon had a unique perspective
to criticize and analyze colonialism and decolonization. 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. He explores how these people are
encouraged by a racist society to want to become white, but then experience
serious psychological problems because they aren’t able to do so.

He speculated
that because colonies were created and maintained in violence, that a colony
could only decolonize through violence. Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks is a stirring glimpse
into 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 men
and women in white-controlled societies. Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks is a stirring glimpse
into 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 men
and women in white-controlled societies.  In the book Fanon starts off his argument with
explaining and describing how colonialism and decolonization are violent
affairs. He describes the colonized and colonizer as old adversaries whose
first meeting was rooted in violence and continued relationship was sustained
at the point of a gun. He goes on to state that the colonized person is a
fabricated individual created by the colonizer and that the colonizer validates
themselves, via wealth, through the colonial relationship. He saw
violence as the best means to throw off the false consciousness of colonialism
and envisioned a brotherhood or comradeship of free and equal people. “It is
Fanon’s similarity with Martin Luther King, Jr. that is most interesting. In
the Letter from a Birmingham Jail, King makes many of the same arguments as
Fanon, but proposes a better solution revolving around justice.” Fanon’s
obsession with violence it at the core of his argument, however non-violent
direct action, according to King, would be a better way to achieve freedom and
equality because ultimately unjust action does not bring about justice. 

approaches the subject of racism from a psychoanalytic viewpoint rather than
from a sociological stance. To Fanon, racism is a psychological disease which
has infected all men and all societies. He argues that the black man is
constantly trying, but never fully succeeding, to be white and to assimilate
into the white man’s world.

Fanon was a
psychiatrist so, naturally, he analyzed the problem of racism as such. Based on
today’s racism, many would try to classify racism as a sociological problem.

Fanon, however, looked at racism as a psychological obstacle in the path of
humankind’s realization of its true potential. “When there are no more
slaves, there are no masters.” While
he does acknowledge the existence of a socioeconomic divide that coincides with
racism, he does not believe that poverty and social inferiority are the worst
consequences of racism. He believed that the psychological damage is the worst
problem resulting from racism. Unlike the blatant discrimination, violence and
hatred associated with the anti-black racism of the United States prior to the
Civil Rights Movement, racism in the French world was less obvious and more
psychological than physical. This psychological discrepancy, Fanon argues, is
more damaging and much harder to overcome and resist than physical racial

One of the ways to
overcome racism is to have an unbending sense of self-worth and to fully know
oneself. If one can achieve this, they will no longer compare themselves to
others, so the psychological effects of racism will not have any bearing on
them. However, Fanon argues that this is may not be possible for the black man
to do. People, in general, and especially those who have been constantly
oppressed, have a tremendously difficult time determining and accepting their
own self-worth by their own accord,

“The Antillean
does not possess a personal value of his own and is always dependent on the
value of ‘the Other.’ The question is always whether he is less intelligent
than I, blacker than I, or less good than I. Every self-positioning or
self-fixation maintains a relationship or dependency on the collapse of the
other. It’s on the ruins of my entourage that I build my virility.” 

The only way the
black 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 white
people, they must attack other blacks in order to build their self-worth. This
creates a vicious cycle in which the black man keeps himself and his people
down and the white man can remain in power without even doing anything.

“The Martinicans are hungry for reassurance. They want their wishful thinking
to be recognized. They want their wish for virility to be recognized Each of
them wants to be, wants to flaunt himself.” 


I'm Katy!

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