Frantz Fanon

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Summarize chapters 4 and 5 of Black Skin, White Masks.

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In chapters 4 and 5 of Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon respectively critiques Octave Mannoni's book The Psychology of Colonization and discusses the experience of alienation that is often brought on by racism.

Fanon's overall goal in this book is to explore racial identity and the trap that it can provide for both Black and white people. He also wants to better understand the relationships between the groups, especially with regard to colonialism. Fanon asserts that psychoanalysis can be a helpful tool in these quests and in the search for a true Black identity and experience.

In chapter 4, then, Fanon deals with colonialism through the lens of Mannoni's book. He takes issue with many of Mannoni's arguments and asserts his own ideas about how colonialism creates an inferiority complex in the colonized. Further, Fanon looks at how even among Black people there are assertions of superiority due to religion, nationality, or other factors. This, he maintains, only feeds into white supremacy. Further, Fanon blames Europe completely for colonization. Every bit of European culture is responsible, he argues.

In chapter 5, Fanon turns his attention to the experience of alienation. He begins with an incident from his own life in which a white child was afraid of him because he is Black. He experienced both pain and anger because of this. Black people, he reflects, are never released from their Blackness, and this can lead to alienation due to negative experiences like that of Fanon with the child. People become uncomfortable with themselves. Also in this chapter, Fanon comments on the false science of previous eras and its justification of racism as well as a movement in art called N├ęgritude, which he claims actually enhances stereotypes rather than fights them.

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