Racial discrimination has been a contentious issue in the colonial phase, and this article discusses the brief overview of a scholarly work of Frantz Fanon’ Black Skin, White Masks (1952) to understand the mentality of the black man world who have a desire to be white and damaging effects of colonial racism through a philosophical perspective. This will help the masses to understand the complexity of racism and violence of the past.
Black Man World
Fanon tried to understand the foundation and implications of anti-black racism, the subjectivity of white and black people and multiple levels of colonial subjugation and means to overcome it. Explaining argues that both white and black man are trapped within their own racial identities.
Questions are raised “What does a man want?” and “What does the black man want?” and reflect as if a black man does not have an identity because he has internalized the oppressor’s contention. The answer to the question of black man wants is to say ‘No’ to degradation, exploitation and oppression; in order to liberate a black man from himself and the condition of living in hell.
Robbing of Black Man Identity
Fanon explained the manner in which colonialism structured societies in the colonies took control over black native people’s history, culture and self. The process of cultural assimilation stopped the development of an independent sense of colonized identity and colonized equate blackness with evil.
Whites were judged by the standard of white in colonizes whereas black considered to be nothing at all. These subjugations were implied through culture, education, law and other means. For him, colonialism is firmly structured in societies and mentalities that shall have a long-lasting legacy.
This oppression is based in the mind of the colonized or the psyche of the oppressed. Fanon objects to the way in which colonizers forced the black people to internalize the racist ideas and consider themselves as nothing.
The feeling of inferiority is a result of living under colonization and created by racist societies, and Europeans implied them where it destroyed the sense of identity and its importance prior to colonialism. As white colonizer’s society has created so many harmful myths about black people, so it becomes difficult to understand black experiences.
Colonisation Tool: Pidgin Language
How colonialism shapes, the world of colonized is reflected through language, where European language like French is considered to the superior language used by white Frenchman over black inhabitants.
Showing language is used as a tool to enforce the distinction between the colonizer and the colonized, and also between educated black with other blacks. Locals have to speak the correct (with an accent) French language to get heard of the world of the white man.
The language and its teaching are used as tools to enforced colonial relationships. Where white is considered to be superior, that has been internalized by commoners. Despite mastering the usage of the French language and participating in white culture, he shall never be considered white as white people will always judge him from the colour of his skin.
This trap of usage of the French language and rejection of with native language is a means of oppression used by the colonizer. In the colonial setup, a black man has “no culture, no civilization”, and colonized is forced to learn to language to be able to present itself to the colonizer. Therefore, he wants to liberate the black man from the white man’s colonial construction.
The creating of French as the official language makes gaps between the colonizer’s official superior language against the indigenous colonized language. He talks about pidgin language used by colonizers to communicate with colonized and to remind the latter about their inferior position in the colonial order.
Black and White
Examining the relationship between a black woman and white man, where black has an inferiority complex of a woman who falls in love with a white man and has a strong desire to become ‘whiter’, as that is a symbol of intellectual and pretty.
The woman is never accepted in the society of white. This reflects that racism is exercising through an unconscious desire to move higher in racial hierarchy. Juxtaposition, when a black man falls in love with a white woman, he aspires to join and embrace white society, but the difficulties bring him discomfort.
The dominance of the white culture and standards need to be restructured worldwide to get rid of this pain. Fanon discusses the feeling of a person living with black skin, as a black individual is often expected to think in relation to a white person that erodes black people own living experience.
Highlighting the negative stereotypes that evolved around black people. The scholar also enlightens that black people have a ‘collective unconscious’ resulted due to a shared experience of racism and the concept of internalised racism.
He suggests that the root cause of black peoples problems is the racist social system that needs to be eradicated. Both white and black people are stuck inside their own respective racial identities or “double narcissism” towards each other.
Notions discussed black man over-sexuality and fear of white women being assault by a black man; other issues raised as the slavery created a sense of inferiority in black people. Another strong idea was put forward as a black man will never be felt from his blackness; the problem of Negrophobia is rooted in racist colonial culture and not emerged out of any trauma
Abnormal in Mind
Fanon presents deep psychoanalysis of the colonised black people, as they are unable to fit into the social, cultural and racial norms created by the coloniser or white society. A psychological unconscious mental training of black children from early childhood, that associate blackness with ‘wrongness’ and child becomes abnormal when in contact with the white world.
This is reflected in various forms of cultural media that imply the mind of a white child and the society’s cultural representation of black people as villains. This leads to mental, psychological trauma among black children when they are exposed to such images of villainous black people.
This struggle is reflected by Fanon’s opposition to ‘bourgeois society’ equating to the white man’s society, which can be eradicated by resistance. He encourages his fellow man to fight for a world free of white supremacy, rules, and values, that should be replaced with a vibrant society of openness and thought. These ideas became popular in the post-colonial world that helped to fight against racism.
Thus, every kind of violence is condemned in the democratic world but the idea of resistance in a peaceful manner continues to persist in the contemporary world.
Racial discrimination has to be prohibited in all forms across the world to establish equality in the post-colonial phase. But a rising number of such cases in the last two decades has become a question of grave concern.
It should not be ‘We’ vs ‘Others’, it is advised to be ‘United Voice’ that can help every nation to progress with the contribution of all multicultural citizens.
Author: Dr Sakul Kundra, A.HOD Department of Social Science at Fiji National University.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are his own and not of ‘The Australia Today’ or his employer. For comments or suggestions, email. [email protected]