Cusick,Marie,Carolyn. Fanon’s Black Skin,White Masks on Race Consciousness, ISSN: 1553-4316; Vanderbilt University.web
When the issue of race is approached, one is either for retaining race consciousness or for working toward its abolition. There are various ways people choose to retain racial categories and various definitions and meanings of race. Using Fanon, and debates surrounding White Skin, Black Masks on this very question of race consciousness, this paper argues against expecting or requiring a clear stance on the issue or even posing it as a dilemma.
Reading Fanon as employing an existential phenomenological methodology allows us to see how he exposes injustice by writing about experience and projecting a future shared community of hope and freedom without clear indication of the role our group identities might play. The paper will then show the importance of rethinking the question of perpetuating racial categories, particularly through Fanon, by analyzing three potentially liberatory projects, Critical Whiteness Studies, Indigenous Studies, and Development Studies , demonstrating how the endeavors of many practitioners who claim to already know what various identities will or will not mean for us truncates these projects.
Khalfa, jean “Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin White Masks: New Interdisciplinary Essays” The Modern Language Review, Vol. 102, No. 2 (April, 2007), pp. 527-528.
The Article is an assessment of the complexity and depth of Fanon’s first book Black Skin White Masks. Max Silverman organizes the essay into three groups mainly a criticism of traditional restrictive interpretations of Peau noire, masque blanc, a reinscription of the book within its geographical and historical context, and an analysis of concepts of particular resonance today.
Viewed within the context of its appearance, the book takes new meanings. Max Silverman compares Fanon’s analysis of racism to those of Robert Antelme and Claude Levi-Strauss. The book appears as an ambivalent exploration of the dilemmas of anti-humanism. Silverman points to Bryan Cheyette to show how Fanon oscillates between a discursive definition of racism and an essentialist one, and concludes that the book enacts Fanon’s detachment from Sartre’s universalism.
He also points to David Marriott who studies the position between inner self and appearance in Hamlet as read by Harold Rosenberg, in turn quoted by Fanon. Both attempt to demonstrate the importance of Fanon’s understanding of race awareness, in particular in fantasies of interracial rape, from a psychoanalytical point of view. Peau noire then essentially deals with dilemmas and contradictions in lived experience. The weakness of the book is a number of inaccuracies in French quotes and the use of the current, faulty translation. Fanon carefully used the semantic echoes of his words to give weight to descriptions of lived experience. Thus his experience of the racist gaze is called a ‘decollement’, in line with a whole vocabulary of flattening and skinning. This is translated as ‘amputation’. When the black man reaches whiteness through the love of a white woman, he penetrates ‘l’illustre couloir qui mene a la pregnance totale. The translation, the royal road that leads to total realization, misses the sexual connotation, the contrast of light and darkness (‘illustre couloir’), and the existentialist insistence on meaningfulness, rather than ‘realization’. These simplifications are just out of place in a book which is otherwise very attentive to the subtlety of Fanon’s thought.
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.