Frantz Fanon: The Fact of Blackness

  1. Frantz Fanon’s piece entitled “The Fact of Blackness” describes the realization of otherness for a Black male. Fanon states that a Black man among his own will not know what moment his inferiority comes into being through the other. Fanon recalls how he realized his inferiority through the gaze of the white man. He describes this experience as traumatic. The bodily schema of a Black man is unfamiliar and signifies a ‘third body consciousness’. According to Fanon, a Black man is responsible for his body, race, and ancestors. I agree with Fanon’s claims. As a female, I have been instructed to conduct myself a certain way at all times. I am instructed to have my legs closed, my shoulders high, my back straight, my head up, and an appropriate stride at all times. As a Black female, I am also expected to behave a certain way. These standards are similar to Fanon’s claims about Black men. If a Black male does not carry himself in a manner that is deemed socially acceptable, he is stereotyped. He also shames his race. I believe that Fanon described this experience as traumatic because it places a burden upon Black males which is sometimes unbearable.       

One Response

  1. I read Fanon’s “The Fact of Blackness” today as part of a philosophy assignment and wasn’t particularly surprised to find that I can relate to what Fanon is saying, though on a somewhat different level. As a caucasian person, I will never know how this “blackness” feels, but as ljackson above has stated about herself, as a female, I feel much of what he is expressing. I think in all cultures, the gender distinction is quite obvious, and although where I live, women’s liberation has come such a long way that women are not denied many rights any more (with the exception that men are still paid more in some fields), the gender stereotype is still there – whether it’s in other people’s minds or my own. To be shamed and condemned for not being ‘feminine’ or ‘graceful’ or even ‘sexy’, is quite a burden, because you feel a sense of unbelonging. When ‘male’ opportunites are taken from you, you aim to be more ‘female’ but suffer by thinking too much about yourself, about your body, about your mind, about your history, about your family, about your education, about your opinion, about everything. About what it means to be who you are. I feel that this is what Fanon is expressing. It’s amazing, because I do feel that our constant awareness of ourselves and who we believe ourself to be, or who we believe others believe us to be, perhaps makes our differences more striking. I don’t believe they are a bad thing. I have never fit into the ‘white’ culture in which I have been raised. I have also never fit into a ‘black’ culture or an ‘asian’ culture. I have explored every religion I have been exposed to and have found solace and belonging in none. I don’t quite fit into a ‘female’ culture or a ‘male’ culture. My best friends are homosexual but I don’t belong in their world, although I feel alone in a heterosexual one, also. I do not know much of my own ancestry, aside from things I do not feel relate to me at all, and so I dismiss it. It is not who I am. But in doing so, I find myself at a loss. I have no identity, no history, and no culture. I do not, in a sense, exist at all. People condemn me for this. They think me silly, strange, different. This world, to me, is one of conflict. No race, gender, orientation, group, or individual is any more worthy, any better, any more evolved than any other. Everyone who believes so is wrong.

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