Colonialism and the Struggles of the Black Psyche Essay
The book “Black Skin. White Masks” by Frantz Fanon analyzes the psychological harm that colonialism wrought on the coloniser and the colonized. Fanon besides bases his analyses on his ain experiences. wherein he describes how black kids develop neuroticisms that root from their hostility of their ain tegument. because of the media and their day-to-day fortunes: “The dominant colonial culture…identifies the black tegument of the Negro with dross ; and the Antilleans accept this association and so come to contemn themselves” ( Appiah nine ) .
The beginning of “Black Skin. White Masks” is the psychological hurt from colonialism. racism. and gender inequality. an hurt that will get away recovery. unless the black mind conquers its interior white devils and estrange all that alienates him/her. Fanon writes from the experiences and psychiatric analyses of the black tegument and the white masks that black people don. He describes a miss who is afraid of black people: “…it is at this age that the Negro as barbarian and cannibal makes his visual aspect. It is easy to do the connection” ( Fanon 184 ) .
This fright for the black tegument is besides emphasized and criticized in the picture “How Do You Like Me Now” ( 1988 ) ( fig. 1 ) by David Hammons. This fourteen-by-sixteen-foot picture shows political leader Jesse Jackson with blond. wavy hair. bluish eyes. tap cheeks. and white tegument. The rubric is besides a vocal of a popular rapper Kool Moe Dee. This picture can be interpreted from different positions. Barnwell and Buick argue that white viewing audiences can see the painting from their position. wherein they are challenged to see through their prejudices and see vote for a black adult male. now that he is “whitened. At the same clip. the picture “asks black viewing audiences whether they would back up Jackson if he were white. ” say Barnwell and Buick. On the other manus. the reading of the pictures besides alterations with the race of the creative person. Barnwell and Buick explore the alterations in significances of the graphics. if Hammons race is changed from black to white. This picture has been attacked 10 black work forces. who thought that it was racialist and insulting. and they used mauls to assault it and take it off from its staging.
Barnwell and Buick wonder if the black group would hold still destroyed the picture. if they knew that the painter was black and that he was simply satirising the colour lines that enslave people’s heads. Clearly. inkiness and whiteness release the innermost values and emotions of the people. The reactions can reflect the choler and despondence of the subjugated black race. “How Do You Like Me Now” ( 1988 ) . as seen by the violent response of some people. has clearly marred the colonized. Colonialism has injured the black mind to the extent that force has been etched into it excessively. Colonialism has stripped black people of the right to specify their individualities. by aping their being and intent in life. Colonialism. like bondage. skews the black people’s right to humanity and power. Violence. nevertheless. can recover this loss of power and replace the sense of loss.
Through force. the spread between power and impotence can be filled once more. “How Do You Like Me Now” ( 1988 ) besides comments on the harm of colonisation and racism to the coloniser. From the racialist white position. this blonde adult male is a individual who has greater potency for being a president. If faced with a black individual. with black eyes and curly hair. the racialist white would be offended with the overarching inkiness. It will experience. like Fanon’s small miss who is afraid of black people. that they are being assaulted.
The size of the picture besides asserts power. But since colonial and white America would non see any huge power from the black people. it is of import to have on the white mask. With the black individual masked as white. he will be accepted and he will hold power. This is the same review of Fanon of colonisers. The colonisers have forgotten that the black people besides have their ain individualities. The Whites see no black individualism and power. but merely their whiteness. This visual perception of whiteness on inkiness Markss another neuroticism from the side of the Whites.
What is it about their whiteness that they have loved themselves excessively profoundly and excessively irrationally? Following the analysis of Fanon. holding power and inquiring for excessively much of it dehumanized the white race of the colonial times. That power is white has been embedded in their head. an embedding that has been excessively violently engraved that to take it besides means to sharply take a portion of them. Therefore. the colonized is psychologically damaged excessively. But as the black people who hammered off “How Do You Like Me Now” ( 1988 ) showed. it is non acceptable to be a non-human being.
It is non acceptable to be colonized and still experience like a normal human being. There must be katharsis. There must be freedom from all disaffections. The painting “Wives of Shango” ( n. d. ) ( fig. 2 ) by Jeff Donaldson captures the release from three fronts- release of race. release of gender. and release from one’s ain battles. In this picture. three black adult females are adorned with slugs and money. The two are non looking back at the viewing audiences. but have high quality in the manner their mentums are turned up.
The in-between adult female at the back darings to look back at the viewing audiences. But the look is ferocious. and it makes viewing audiences look off. This picture is an image of power. This image breaks off the “comparaison” that Fanon negotiations about. Fanon argues that inkinesss are in the province of “comparaison. ” wherein: “…he is invariably preoccupied with self-assertion and the self-importance ideal” ( 185-186 ) . This preoccupation is about inkinesss being “always dependant on the presence of ‘The Other’” ( Fanon 186 ) . “Wives of Shango” ( n. d. ) is interpreted as the casting off of this “comparaison. It does non hold a bead of entry or failing.
The adult females typify the power of their gender and race. They are willing to pay and kill to exercise power. They are willing to rule their personal battles excessively. by repairing it through money and blood. But the agencies of money and force. on the other manus. can besides be interpreted as the merchandise of the white regard. Is it possible that these adult females are besides still being white. by utilizing the same armories of the white race? The white race entered and conquered through force and money.
Are the black people traveling to contend back with the same sort of barbarous force? In making so. they are “being white” excessively. Fanon argues that to be black. black people should besides accept their whiteness. Fanon says: “I am French” ( 179 ) . which includes being portion of the white Gallic civilization. Fanon argues that the black people could non eliminate the whiteness in them. In the same manner. white people can besides non pulverize the inkiness inside them.
White and black have mixed already. and this meeting of two races and civilizations can non be ignored. Though the white devil has seeded lower status composite in the black mind. Fanon suggests that the manner to recovery from the white’s subjection is accepting “that which is white” in them. The disaffection that black people feel is another job. as it has divided the black mind into legion conflicting dimensions. Fanon says: “That this self-division is a direct consequence of colonialist subjection is beyond question” ( 17 ) .
The disaffection renders indefinable psychiatric amendss as it injects “compound. equivocal. and unsettling consequences. both internally and externally” ( Brown-Guillory 35 ) . Fanon recommends a white mask. but non all people can have on it. “Wives of Shango” ( n. d. ) detaches itself from the white mask. It stresses the power of the black mind that can be hung outside in full glorification. This black mind might be afraid though. even when it is confident. The adult females wear symbols of force and contending. They know that re-locating their places in power centres can hold drawbacks. and they are prepared with ammo.
Alienation has corrupted the head wholly that fright has been entrenched in the actions and beliefs of the black people. This is where Fanon makes sense. Fear that disaffection has created can merely be undone through accepting the whiteness. It is besides about repairing the choler with peace. non with force. The white mask does non stand for another signifier of subjugation. It symbolizes the feeling of safety and trust with whiteness. It signifies the terminal of domination of the black. because anytime. that mask can be removed.
And basically. it is still a white mask. Fanon makes several strong points. Racism. colonialism. and sexism have maimed the mind of the white and black people. They are divided within. because of these oppressive experiences. But the inkinesss can retrieve from this harm. every bit long as they can manage have oning the white mask. At the same clip. they must retrieve that the white mask is merely a mask. It is of import for the black people to besides happen their black individualities and revel in the self-respect of have oning it indoors and out.