Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Frantz France and became a psychiatrist. After volunteering for

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 philosophy, autobiography, case study 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 activities.

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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. 

Fanon
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 abuse. A certain way to
overcome racism is to have a sense of self-worth, respect and to really know
yourself. If one can achieve this, they will no longer compare themselves to
others, so the psychological effects of racism will not have any demeanor 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.” 

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