Frantz Fanon. A Prophet scorned…
… It was while a medical student that Frantz Fanon began to grasp the hoax of his upbringing. The Martinican, he realized, was a Frenchman as long as he was underpaid or unemployed, as long as the sugar cane cut there traveled to Marseille for refining, as long as only a minority had access to education. At this stage, in the midst of deciding to become a psychiatrist, Fanon did not consider commitment to a revolutionary cause. He wanted only to explain the alienation he felt at being a Black. Out of this inquiry came his first book, Black Skin, White Masks.
The colonial power does much more than exploit the black man economically, Fanon wrote, it robs him of his identity. From his position of conquest, the settler imposes his culture, his language, and his customs, which he presents as superior and invited the black man to imitate. The Black becomes poisoned by the stereotype the settler forms of him as smelly, good natured, shiftless, and gullible. He feels locked inside a definition bounded on all sides by color. In case of achievement, it is qualified: we have a Black who teaches history; he is quite bright.
The obviously tempting solution for the Black is to accept the white mask the settler proffers. Across the zebra-striping of his mind surges the desire to be white. Mastering the language is one key to whiteness. People will say: “He talks like a Frenchman.” At the time of Fanon, in American films dubbed in French, the Black characters were made to speak with a marked Creole accent. Another key is the quest for white women that Eldridge Cleaver described in Soul on Ice: to break out of the seal of his blackness, the Black assimilates white culture and marries a white woman. ( to be continued)…
(see link at end)…Hannah Arendt: To be sure, the recent emphasis on violence is still mostly a matter of theory and rhetoric, but it is precisely this rhetoric, shot through with all kinds of Marxist leftovers, that is so baffling. Who could possibly call an ideology Marxist that has put its faith, to quote Fanon, in “the classless idlers,” believes that “in the lumpen-proletariat the rebellion will find its urban spearhead,” and trusts that the “gangsters light the way for the people”? Sartre in his great felicity with words has given expression to the new faith. “Violence,” he now believes, on the strength of Fanon’s book, “like Achilles’ lance, can heal the wounds that it has inflicted.” If this were true, revenge would be the cure-all for most of our ills. This myth is more abstract, further removed from reality than Sorel’s myth of a general strike ever was. It is on a par with Fanon’s worst rhetorical excesses, such as, “Hunger with dignity is preferable to bread eaten in slavery.” No history and no theory are needed to refute this statement; the most superficial observer of the processes in the human body knows its untruth. But had he said that bread eaten with dignity is preferable to cake eaten in slavery, the rhetorical point would have been lost.
If one reads these irresponsible and grandiose statements of these intellectuals—and those I quoted are fairly representative, except that Fanon still manages to stay closer to reality than most of them—and if one looks at them in the perspective of what we know about the history of rebellions and revolutions, it is tempting to deny their significance, to ascribe them to a passing mood, or to the ignorance and nobility of sentiment of those who are exposed to unprecedented events without any means to handle them mentally, and who therefore have revived thoughts and emotions which Marx had hoped to have buried forever….Read More:http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1969/feb/27/a-special-supplement-reflections-on-violence/?pagination=false