But the real story, the one I have been telling and not telling over the past many years of blogging, is a Fanonian story about toxicity and exhaustion. It is a story about slavery’s long shadow and racism’s insistent pressing.
Something happens, Fanon says, when the “Negro” encounters “white civilization.” Richard Philcox’s translation blunts the edge of the word “Negro” by using “black man.” “Black man” loses the Negra/Negrè/Nigger/Niggra of black diasporic histories and slavery—it loses the edge of contempt and thingification that we must remember. Black Skin, White Masks is a book about exile/migration/immigration, even as it cannot be contained by those terms. It is a book about encountering white civilization from an “outside,” no matter how fantastic that outside is. This explains, in part, why so many of us who travel as exiles/immigrants/migrants find Fanon necessary. He speaks “from” us."
thanks for the Sunday Reading nod (“Fact and Fetish”)!
Today I said the words “selfish and honest” and wondered suddenly how that had become one of my...