Demi Mancini Blog #4: Race, Gender, Difference II

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What Does Fanon mean by "For not only must the black man be black; he must be black in relation to the white man"? Can you explain that? Please provide real life examples.

I believe Fanon was speaking in terms of perception. The black man must live up to the reputation of what a black man is supposed to be in the eyes of his community (other black people) and the black man he is supposed to be in the eyes of the white man (inferior, every stereotype made by the white man). The black man has no ontological resistance in the eyes of the white man. Overnight the Negro has been given two frames of reference within which he has had to place himself (338). The black man was seen differently in that society had perceptions that were expected to be lived up to by every black man. His metaphysics, or, less pretentiously, his customs and the sources on which they were based, were wiped out because they were in conflict with a civilization that he did not know and that imposed itself on him (339). A person knows what to do through knowledge and through the schema they identify themselves to be in. I think Fanon is saying that to live up to what people/society perceives is what we, as people, are supposed to do, but for a black man, it is what his life should revolve around. For several years certain laboratories have been trying to produce a serum for "denegrification"; with all the earnestness in the world, laboratories have sterilized their test tubes, checked their sales, and embarked on researches that might make it possible for the miserable Negro to whiten himself and thus to throw off the a historico-racial schema (339). To me Fanon is telling us that no matter what society perceives a black man as, character wise, they are to follow what society tells them or follow that perception, but physically society cannot change a person, a black man, but even historically society, mostly the white man, has not realized it, until these recent past decades. An example of my own that I can apply Fanon's thinking to, are the stereotypes that affect people and society today. A person who is an athlete has one life to live up to (for themselves and for society's perception) is to succeed in their athletic career, and the other life (the stereotype that society has created) which is to not be smart, but only athletic. This stereotype is not true for all people, but I believe we habitually think of these stereotypes as a society because they are continuous. Another example would be the stereotype of Asian people being very smart and studious; this is not true for every Asian person. As an Asian student in our society, one might feel like they need to live up to being smart and studious in one side of their life (which is important to their culture) and if they are attending school in the U.S., being a pupil and attending parties/partying like a regular college seen (as in the perception of society in the U.S.).

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This page contains a single entry by Demi Mancini published on April 23, 2012 8:13 PM.

Demi Mancini Blog #3: Modernity and Post-modernity I was the previous entry in this blog.

Andrew Friedrichs "Civil Society and the Political Public Sphere" Blog Post #5 is the next entry in this blog.

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