by F FANON · 1952 · Cited by 29580 — tf!lo my body, make of me always a man who questions! Black Skin, White Masks. In the popular memory of English socialism the mention of. Frantz Fanon stirs a

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First published in 1986 by Pluto Press 345 Archway Road. London N6 5AA Originally published in France as Peau Noire, Masques Blanc Copyright © 1952 Editions de Seuil TI’anslation Copyright © 1967 Grove Press, Inc. A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 0 7453 0035 9 pbk Impression 99 98 97 96 8 7 6 5 4 Printed in the EC by WSOY, Finland

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CONTENTS Foreword: Remembering Fanon by Homi Bhabha vii Introduction 9 Chapter One The Negro and Language 17 Chapter Two . The Woman of Color and the White Man 41 Chapter Three The Man of Color and the White \Voman 63 Chapter Four The So-Called Dependency Complex of Colonized Peoples 83

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FOREWORD: REMEMBERING FANON Self, Psyche and the Colonial Condition tf!lo my body, make of me always a man who questions! Black Skin, White Masks In the popular memory of English socialism the mention of Frantz Fanon stirs a dim, deceiving echo. BlaokSkin, White T!JlOilr:tl. tD§If:. memorable,titles reverberatejJl_ of’reswance’. whenever the English left gathers, in its narrow church or its Trotskyist camps, tQ._ lore the immiseration Repeatedly used ___ moral outrage, F’anon’s titles emptily echo a political spirjtJhat is far fro111 Jiis.own; that in the main, from an ethnocentric little EnglandiSm tq_,. large Q’1;1qe J,wonJntemationalism. When that labourist llDe of vision is challenged by the ‘autonomous’ struggles of the politics of race and gender, or threatened by problems of human psychology or cultural representation, it can only make an empty gesture of solidarity. Whenever questions of race and sexuality make their own organizational and etical demands on the primacy of ‘class’, ‘state’ and ‘party’ the language of traditional socialism is quick to describe those urgent, ‘other’ questions as symptoms of bourgeois deviation, signs of the bad faith of socialist lectuals. Theritual respect accorded to the name of Fanon, :.vii\

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viii I Foreword __ l\9QQ, are part of the ceremony of a polite, English refusal. There has been no substantial work on Fanon in the tory of the New Left Review; one piece in the New man; one essay in Marxism Today; one article in Socialist Register; one short book by an English author. Qflate, the alive in the · by A. Sivanandan’ s stirring’ ments of state racism. Edward Said, himself a scholar gage, has richly recalled the work ofF anon in his important T. S. Eliot memorial lectures, Culture and Imperialism. And finally, Stephan Feuchtwang’s fine, far-reaching essay, ·Fanon’ s Politics of Culture’ (Economy and Society) amines Fanon’ s concept of culture with its innovatory sights for a non-deterministic political organization of the psyche. Apart from these exceptions, in Britain today Fanon’s ideas are effectively ·out of print’. Memories of Fanon tend to the mythical. He is either the prophetic spirit ofThird World Liberation” or rE;y.iled as an exterminating angel, the inspiration to ,ence in the Black Power movement. his hist()pc participation in the Algerian revolution and the influence of ‘ on the race politics of and 1970s, s work will not be possessed by· one political moment or tnovement, not can it be easily placed in a seamless Qf liberationist history. Fanon refuses to be so pletely claimed by events or eventualities. It is the ing irony of his work that his severe commitment to the itical task in hand, never restricted the restless, inquiring movement of his thought. It is not for the finitude of philosophical thinking nor for the finality of a political direction that we tum to Fanon. Heir to the ingenuity and artistry ofToussaint and Senghor, as well as the iconoclasm of Nietzsche, Freud and Sartre,

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xI Foreword The extremity of this colonial alienation of the person -this end of the ‘idea’ of the individual-produces a restless urgency in Fanon’ s search for a conceptual form appropriate to the social antagonism of the colonial relation. “I;he body of hi£. work .splits betwee:Q a. a .ofSelf IDe of conscious, its t11rn.ID.g .from love to hate, search for a dialectic of liverance FllnOn..-explores ·-the-edge -.oL.these_.modetJor tbQqght: hi_s h()pe to history; ev()cation of the T the o.f !}te marginalized; and his_ psychoanalytic framework inates th¢ “madness’. of ,racism,. the pleasure of pain, Jbe agonistic fantasy of power. As Fanon attempts s\tch audacious, often impossible, transformations of truth and value, the jagged testimony of colonial dislocation, its displacement of time and person, its defilement of culture and territory, refuses the ambition of any ‘total’ theory of colonial opression. The Antillean evolue cut to the quick by the glancing look of a frightened, confused, White child; Jhe stereotype of the native fi.xeq at .the shifting bJe£t. very nature ofl:tumanity becomes estranged. in the oo.loniai dWOn and from that ‘naked declivity’ it emerges, riot a5 an assertion of will nor as an evocation of freedom, but as an enigmatic questioning. With a, tltat echoes Freud’s what· does woman want?, Fanon turns to confront the Qnized wodd. ‘What duction to.BlackSkin, White Masks, ‘Whatdoes the black rpan want?’ ‘ · · · ·· · · · .. · ·. To this loaded question where. cultural alienation bears down on the ambivalence of psychic identification, Fll!.l.QP with an agonizing performance of · I to meet the white man’s eyes.. An weight dened me. In the white world the man of colour em:ounters

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xii I Foreword in the development ofhis bodily schema . . . bvas battered down by tom-toms, cannibalism, intelle<:tual fetishism, ractal defects:-. . Hook myself far off from my own presence . . ·. What else cauld it be for me but an tion, an excision, a haemorrhage that spattered my whole body With black blood? FrQm within the metaphor of vision complicit with a Western of Man>emerges the of !he coloma! relabou. BlAck presence rums Ł$.entative narrative of Western personhood; its past ed. to treacherous stereotypes of primitivism and generacy will.not produce a history of civil progress,””‘aspace for the Socius; its present, dismembered and disloeated. wjJlnot contain the image of identity that is questioned in t!le dialectic of mind/body Jllld resolved in the epistemology qf .and reality: .Ł The White man’s eyes break up Black man’s body and in that act of epistemic violence its own frame of reference is transgressed, field of vision turbed. ‘ ‘What does the black man wpnt?’ insists and in _privileging the psychic dimensioli’ changes not only what we understand by a political demand but transforms the very means by which we recognize and identify its human agency. is not principally posing the question of itic81 oppression as the violation of a human ·essence’, although he lapses into in his more existential IJlOment. He _is not raising the question of colonial man in the universalist terms of the liberal-humanist (‘How does colonialism deny the Rights of Man?’); nor is he posing an 01,1tological question about Man’s being (‘Who is the ted colonial man?’). Flll}on’ s question is not addressed to sq9h a unified notion ()(history nor such a unitary concept of Man. {t_js,. Olle Qf the original and disturbing qualities of

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Foreword I xiii ]!Jgclc. Skip, White tba.t. it o! spective that provide a backgrojlnd ofsocial and’liistoncal facts against which emerge the problems of the cOllective psyche. Spgp_ Q{,Selfand Society or History and Psyche .iionable in Fanon’sidentification of the coloniai subJectwho as it romes· tcf be htJhe texts of history, science, myth. The. ooJ;;d subject is ah.vays ‘Qverdeiermined ·from fan on writes. lt21 KB – 251 Pages