Black men in a white man’s world

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Although towards the end of his novel Frantz Fanon establishes he has broken away from the prejudices of the white man’s world, he discusses (especially in chapters 2, 3, and 7) how the white wo/man acts as a gateway for black men/women to be accepted into this polite and civilized world. In his novel Black Skin, White Masks, Fanon discusses the importance of the black man’s self-doubt and ideology in a Eurocentric world. His work is important, especially in recent political events as people of color, especially black men and women, are criticized for being uncivilized or seen unfavorably for not conforming to ‘civilized’, ‘Eurocentric’ mannerisms of the twenty-first century. His last lines, in his chapter “By Way of Conclusion”, make a powerful stance as he states “In the world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself” (179).

Fanon’s statement in his last chapter, “By Way of Conclusion” make an important stance against the ‘acceptance’ into the Eurocentric, polite society. Too often, in social media, the press and its’ never-ending commenters, black people seem to need to have a right to exist or to share space with others. Just recently 45 called those who protest the ‘patriotic’, ole’ US Song “The National Anthem”, “Sons of Bitches”. In a world where there seems to be a ‘right way to protest’ the institutionalized racism people of color face, how can anyone go about protesting anything? It’s an impediment when traffic is stopped for those march, its’ chaos and violence when marchers meet counter-protestors, or its trivialized and considered ‘ridiculous’ for the peaceful demonstration to kneel during the national anthem. When peacefully, or not peacefully demonstrating discontent with an ancient, racist, sexist, ableist government, there is always the commentators who argue “If you don’t like it go somewhere else?” or, even worse “What is there to protest, you have all your rights!”. These commentators act as acceptors or gateways for people of color to gain ‘admittance’ to their civilized society and be asked to protest ‘the right way’.

 

Fanon, argues, that statements such as these, and those to seek out to act as the gatekeepers of people of color into so-called acceptable ways of living and protesting, are ridiculous and have not merited. On page 180, Fanon states clearly with no remorse or doubt: “I am my own foundation…I as a man of color, to the ext that it becomes possible for me to exist absolutely, do not have the right to lock myself into a world of retroactive reparations”. Fanon is the master of his fate and he will not be held down in the white man’s world. In his chapters “The Woman of Color and the White Man” and “The Man of Color and the White Woman”, Fanon discusses the obsessive nature the men and women of color have in seeking and gaining the approval of the white wo/man. This acceptance, on a physical and sexual level, acts as another type of approval: approval and admittance to ‘European’, ‘civilized’ society. When people of color follow and seek out the approval of white wo/men they do so solely gain approval from the larger society. With a person of color on their arms or by their sides, white wo/men have deemed that person of color, worthy of that society. The phrase “I have lots of [enter person of color’s race here] friends”, is used to explicitly state the white wo/men have accepted these people into a ‘higher’ society and they are deemed worthy of societal standards.

 

Fanon’s self-confidence and self-assurance is a large testament to these harmful and essentially racist views. People of color are their own foundations, and they do not need the approval to exist or protest in society.
Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin White Masks. Pluto Press, 1952.

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