Black Skin White Mask by Frantz Fanon

November 9, 2011
By Breonnans BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
Breonnans BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Over the summer I took a class at the University Of Chicago that analyzed the book Black skin White mask by philosopher Frantz Fanon. This class helped me acquire knowledge about that world around me. African American people and racism. I acquired this knowledge by talking about the book exploring society today, and doing research on the topics presented in class.This book intrigued me and opened my mind up to so many new things. One concept that intrigued me was Fanon’s idea of where racism comes from. Fanon seemed to emerge me unwillingly into this structure which he rationalizes the root of racism. It is almost as if Fanon suggest racism, is a programmed function and not to be detected as a personal hatred tool. Fanon in chapter four presents his argument that whites hate black because of the structure, as if these people have been conditioned to be and feel a certain way. Blame seemed then to be asserted on everyone for giving into the structure or none for not noticing the structure at all. This excited me and made me angry. In the previous chapters Fanon has tried to blame something and it seemed that we were getting closer to the answer or at least identifying the root of racism. Fanon is now resorting back to the abstract views of the situation.

I almost feel as if he has a sense of pity for the racist which lead him to the concept of the “racist structure”. He goes on to explain it is divided into negrophilism and philanthropy. “Negrophilism and philanthropy are insults in south Africa ….the agenda is to separate the natives from the Europeans, territorially, economically and politically and to allow them to set up their own civilization under the control and authority of the whites, but with minimum contact between racist.” He goes on to establish this systematic separation creates a superiority complex for the white man. Even the poor whites do not want to be put on the same level as the natives. Is this the reason for the separation among classes and the way other races view each other today? This attitude creates a trickling effect that sinks to racism; the fact that the whites have authority over them already establishes superiority. The control they experience in almost every part of their life seems to almost leave them no choice but to feel inferior.

The defensive shell or the “physical revulsion” a European feels in regards to anything that places them in a native or person of color level. This is the shell that creates the idea that color is bad. It is also the steam that keeps the structure going. I am concerned as to whether or not Fanon is blaming racism as a whole on this structure cancelling out individual responsibility. This makes me continue to wonder if racism or even slavery was not the product of people feeling like they were better than another but just the product of systemic values that had been engraved within them. I wonder does anyone but Fanon see this structure and how do we fix or delete it from our society.

The author's comments:
This is a piece inspired by things I did not notice around me. This book forced me to look at things that I counted as mere facts of life in a scrutinizing way that made me realize and draw conclusion about today's society structure.

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