Similarities Between Fanon's Black Skin White Masks: The Negro And Language

1909 Words8 Pages
Black Skin, White Culture. Fanon entitles the first chapter of his work, Black Skin White Masks ‘The Negro and Language’. While some critics might suggest that other chapters in the novel would suit the first chapter better, by presenting language in the first place as the main issue, Fanon proves a point. Colonization happens through language. Language determines who one is. Although in other chapters, he relates the black man to being victim of colour prejudice, he demonstrates in a skilful manner the ways in which being black among other black of his country also causes issues and this time, not according to the colour of one’s skin, but according to one’s language. In the fifth chapter, Fanon relates the problem of inferiority of the…show more content…
Creole is avoided. Even at school or at home the children are forced not only to speak French, but they are expected to speak the correct French. Speaking Creole would be seen as unacceptable. Instead of embracing his mother tongue, the man from Martinique is ashamed of it and tries to instance himself from Creole, his mother tongue, as much as he can: “he [the newcomer] answers only in French, and often he no longer understands Creole” (Fanon 13). However, as we read the first chapter and understand the relation which the black man has with language, one question might come into our mind. What is speaking “good French”? In a way, Fanon makes an irony of this fact that one is expected by the whole society to speak “the French of France, the Frenchman’s French. French French” (11). The tongue is blamed. What he refers to as the “lazy organ” (Fanon 11) is considered responsible to the black man not being French enough. Yet, we could argue that the black man is given a wrong perception of speaking French correctly. We might ask ourselves what determines the ‘correct’ speech of a language. If the black man speaks French with a perfect use of grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure, that would be considered good French. If a person, regardless of his skin colour, speaks French with a perfect tongue,…show more content…
He has no choice, since these ideologies have been portrayed all throughout the media and in the film industry. The black man is brought back to the roots of civilisation. He is uncivilised and in the movie sans pitié, we see the black man saying: “me work hard, me never lie, me never steal” (Fanon 23). In a way, the narrator is saying, no matter how much the black man will try to learn proper French and to behave accordingly, the latter carries those stereotypes no matter where he goes. He becomes “the eternal victim of an essence, of an appearance for which he is not responsible” (Fanon 23). Not only is a black man victim of such stereotypes, but the white man must be weary of him if he has knowledge of great writers and philosophers such as Montesquieu who suddenly belongs to the French culture only. Thus, the narrator suggests that instead of the black man gaining knowledge, the latter should be taught not to be caught in those perception of

More about Similarities Between Fanon's Black Skin White Masks: The Negro And Language

Open Document