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Fanon, Frantz (1925–61)

JEANNE GARANE


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


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Martinican psychiatrist and revolutionary. After finishing his medical studies, Fanon published Black Skin, White Masks ( 1952 ), an existentialist psychological and socio-economic analysis of the effects of colonization in Martinique, where European C ulture had imposed “an existential deviation” (p. 16) on blacks. In that work, Fanon studied the processes of “epidermalization” and “lactification” – the interiorization of an inferiority complex based on socioeconomic iniquities, and the desire to “whiten the race” (p. 47) respectively. By analyzing these phenomena, Fanon meant to liberate “the man of color from himself” (p. 10), to achieve “the effective disalienation of the black man” (p. 12). In the opening chapter of Black Skin, White Masks , “The negro and language,” Fanon exposed the acculturating power of language in the colonial context. Asserting that “to speak is to exist absolutely for the other,” (p. 17) Fanon critiqued the inferior status attributed to Creole in favor of French as the language of “civilization” in the Antilles and demonstrated that the denigration of the local language as “inferior” was a key to understanding the dehumanization of colonization. Asserting that every colonized people “finds itself face to face with the language of the civilizing nation … the culture of the mother country,” Fanon observed that to speak the language of the colonizer ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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