Black Skin, White Masks

Black Skin, White Masks


Black Skin, White Masks

Fantz Fanon

Photo still from film

Isaac Julien

I read through this book with fevor. It felt like reading a horoscope, a fortune teller, though not one which tells the fortune of the future, but rather, a larger observation of patterns of which I was destined to repeat. Like many of the racialized Other, my alienation, my neurosis, my paranoia, my fears, were not unique. I felt like crying, screaming, yelling.

It reminds me of the nonspaces which I am now in, that I was destined to be in.

“How old were you when you left your country for France? Three or four, I believe. You have never seen your island home since and have not the slightest interest in seeing it again. Ever since you have always lived in Bordeaux. Since becoming a colonial civil servant you spend most of your administrative leave in Bordeaux. In short, you are really one of us. Perhaps you don’t fully realize it. Accept the fact that you are a Frenchman from Bordeaux. Get that into your thick head. You know nothing about your fellow Antilleans. I would even be surprised if you managed to get along with them. Furthermore, you have nothing in common with the ones I know.

In fact you are like us; you are “us.” You think like us. You act like us. You think yourself black and others think of you as such? Big mistake! You only look like a black. For everything else, you think like a European. That’s why it’s only normal for you to love like a European. Since the European male loves only European females, you can hardly marry anyone else but a woman from the country where you have lived, a girl from our good old France, your one true country. “

““You have nothing in common with a real Negro. You are not black; you are “very, very dark.””

This reminds me of the differentiation other whites have made on me, and me on myself, and others like me. You’re not like the rest of them. The FOBs, (Fresh Off the Boat), the newly arrived asians. You’re one of us. You’re not like those unrefined yellows. You’re not asian.

“furious at this humiliating ostracism, the common mulatto and black man have only one thought on their mind as soon as they set foot in Europe: to gratify their appetite for white women.

Most of them, including those of lighter skin who often go so far as denying both their country and their mother, marry less for love than for the satisfaction of dominating a European woman, spiced with a certain taste for arrogant revenge.

And so I wonder whether I’m any different from the rest and if I marry you, a European woman, I wonder whether I won’t look as though I’m stating that not only do I despise women of my own race, but drawn by the desire for white flesh that has been off limits to us Blacks since the white man rules the world, I am unconsciously endeavoring to take my revenge on the European female for everything her ancestors have inflicted on my people throughout the centuries.”




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