Text: Black Skin, White Mask by Frantz Fanon
I pose a question that may be considered dangerous if truly studied. Does the black (read oppressed) individual have a being, or is this philosophical entity solely for white (read oppressive) individuals. Think, a being is an individual that is birthed from nothing, and exists for itself. Through generational colonization, the black man was brought into “existence”-according to their values-from the white man, his original being died the minute the rusted shackles touched his skin. “Not only must the black man be black; he must also be black in relation to the white man” (Fanon, 90). What is it about the white world that makes us live the way we do? Our original beings are no longer alive, what’s left of our former selves are fragments that have been glued together by their world’s ideas of humanity. While living in the black world, we see glimpses of our beings trying to reconnect with us within this safety net. We become one with our essence, and come to appreciate the nature that thrives within our own realm; however, once we exit this illusion, we are cast back into reality. “The man of color encounters difficulties in elaborating his body sclera.” Truthfully I do not have a full understanding of this topic, but I shall nonetheless attempt to decipher the meaning. To be black means that you have a “bodily curse”, it is something that is forever evident to us. We are told truths about our skin, that they eventually pile up and interferes with our creation of a being, and in turn altering our relation to the world. “Now, they were beginning to be scared of me.” This “fear” is a penetrating force. When you are an agent of fear, it can dramatically alter your perception of the self. Along with this, another major factor is the belief that we are “responsible…for my race and ancestors. (Fanon, 92)”. A rather disheartening reality to accept but think how many times we are grouped into a category, deemed dangerous, and then treated with an appropriate manner? The white man is capable of dividing himself from other whites, thereby establishing his individuality, however, since black is already separated from the white, he must automatically exist as a collective. This “collective” has been exploited by all institutions of the system, but it also affects our chances of securing authenticity. In their eyes, we are all the same. Not only are we grouped with our brothers and sisters, but also with our ancestors. This is both problematic and beneficial for us. The white man fails to see our worth, for he still latches onto the being known as a slave: the lazy, uneducated, poor, expendable laborer that is completely dependent upon white salvation. We must seek a way to separate ourselves from the false stereotype. On the other hand, having a background to base our existence off of may provide us with a sense of purpose. Black’s may never have the opportunity to create a being from nothing, so we must find a way to create one from something, and even though it may have been given to us, it is up to the individual to determine how much of their essence they wish to extract from this “something”. We hail from some of the most resilient individuals, but resilience alone will not win a revolution, only radical action will. Knowing that we share the same blood with these “warriors” should give us an edge on those who define themselves based on material wealth. As we prepare the future generation, we must educate them on the being that they are capable of becoming, based on their skin. Creating goals, values, and desires that match up with the “something” that they were birthed from, as well as the ideal that rest within their own individual. There is a clear misrepresentation of blacks by the white man, and often this leads to severe consequences for the former, why? Because the black man does not hold the power of decision-a power granted only to being that have will. When the black man has the freedom (and free will) to choose and to decide, without interference from the white world, he will discover his being and his power.