Eldho- The Role of Gender in Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks

Bergner, Gwen. “The Role of Gender in Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks”. PMLA, Vol. 110, No. 1 (Jan 1995), pp. 75-88. Print.

In the article Bergner talks about Internalized Racism when women of color go after white men and put down men of their own color. Nor do these women truly love these white men: they just love their colour. They go with them not out of love but to deal with their own hang-ups about race. Fanon says that It is because the black woman feels inferior that she aspires to gain admittance to the white world.

Secretly she wants to be white. Marrying white is her way of doing this. She looks up to white people and looks down on black people. Whites represent wealth, beauty, intelligence and virtue; blacks, on the other hand, are “niggers”, something to escape, to be saved from, something not to be. So they want to marry a white man even though they know full well that very few will marry them. Their racism is so profound that it blinds them to good black men. They will say black men lack refinement and turn away black men more refined than themselves. They will say black men are ugly and grow impatient with you if you point out good-looking black men.

The article provides a gendered comparison of the desire of some colonized blacks to inhabit white- ness through a sociosexual relationship with a white partner. Fanon takes as his examples three women: Mayotte of Martinique and Nini and Dedee of Senegal. Mayotte is Mayotte Capecia who wrote a book about her life; Nini and Dedee are characters from “Nini” (1954), a story by Abdoulaye Sadji.

 Nini is a silly typist. A man who is an accountant with the waterways company proposes marriage. She cannot believe it.  There arises a talk of getting him fired. In the end they have the police tell him to stop his “morbid insanities” only because he is black and she is half white. He has offended her “white girl’s” honour. Meanwhile another man with a good government job proposes to Dedee but this time it is a dream come true because he is white.



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