Black Skin, White Mask, Fritz Fanon

  • Fanon is the purveyor of the transgressive and traditional truth.  He may yearn for the total transformation of Man and Society, but he speaks most effectively from the uncertain interstices of historical change: from the area of ambivalence between culture and class, from deep within the struggle of psychic representation and social reality.

  • the palpable pressure of division and displacement pushes Fanon’s writing to the edge of things; the cutting edge that reveals no ultimate radiance but, in his words, ‘exposes an utterly naked declivity where an authentic upheaval can be born’.
  • the body of his work splits between a Hegelian-Marxist dialectic, a phenomenological affirmation of Self and Other and the psychoanalytic ambivalence of the Unconcious, its turning from love to hate, mastery to servitude.
  • his Hegelian restores hope to history; his existentialist evocation of the “I” restores the presence of the marginalized; and his psychoanalytic framework illuminates the ‘madness’ of racism, the pleasure of pain, the agonistic fantasy of political power
  • the question of identification is never the affirmation of a pre-given identity, never a self-fulfilling prophecy- it is always the production of an ‘image’ of identity and the transformation of the subject assuming that image.
  • remembering Fanon is a process of intense discovery and disorientation. Remembering is never a quiet act of introspection or retrospection. It is a painful re-membering, a putting together of the dismembered past to make sense of the trauma of the present. It is such a memory of the history of race and racism, colonialism and the question of cultural identity, that Fanon reveals with greater profundity and poetry than any other writer.
  • the white ma is sealed in his whiteness. /the black man in his blackness.



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