Quote from The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon
Ch. 8 By Way of Conclusion
Fanon begins the last chapter of Black Skin, White Masks with a quote from Marx calling for a new beginning in order to achieve emancipation. This made me think of what the professor mentioned in class about Audre Lorde’s The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House. Fanon calls for a break from the past, from being a “fixed” entity, that is, from being a black man. I think this call to freedom can, actually should, apply to all whose humanity is being denied.
True revolutionaries are not stuck in the past, and do not use “the master’s tools.” Fanon says that the worker comrades he met in Paris knew they were black but did not care about discovering a black past. They were too involved with the present to care too much about the past. What do you think of this? Do you think that we should move past racial identities?
Fanon says, “The discovery that a black civilization existed in the fifteenth century does not earn me a certificate of humanity. (p. 199-200)” In my post about Fanon, I mentioned that I sometimes hear white people laying claim to some European accomplishment in the past as if it were their own. It is as if these people think they have a direct IV-drip from the past, which infuses them with worth, and makes them man par excellence! When I hear craziness like this, I just refuse to play the game. Like Fanon, I will not “sing the past to the detriment of my present and future. (p. 201)”
Fanon goes through a list of things he has not the right nor duty to do (p.203) and says he claims only one right for himself: the right to demand human behavior from the other, and one duty: to never let his decisions renounce his freedom (p. 204).
Can we (and if we can, should we) renounce “race” or “color” while at the same time acknowledge the racialized nature of exploitation? How do we do this without reifying race?