Black Skin, White Masks was the first book to investigate the psychology of colonialism. It examines how colonialism is internalized by the colonized, how an inferiority complex is inculcated, and how, through the mechanism of racism, black people end up emulating their oppressors. It is due to the sensitivities of Fanon, says Ashis Nandy, that “we know something about the
interpersonal patterns which constituted the colonial situation, particularly in Africa.”2 Fanon began a process of psychoanalytic
deconstruction that was developed further first by Nandy in The Intimate Enemy and then by Ngugi wa Thiong in Decolonising the Mind (1986). Other theorists of colonial subjectivity have followed in their footsteps.
Fanon writes from the perspective of a colonized subject. He is a subject with a direct experience of racism who has developed a natural and intense hatred of racism. When it comes to experience, this is no ordinary subject: already the author has fought for the
resistance in the Caribbean and France, has been wounded near the Swiss border, and received a citation for courage. He has a
professional interest in psychoanalysis and speaks of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Carl Gustav Jung without much distinction. He is going to offer us a psychoanalytic interpretation of the black problem, he says. But we can be sure that this is not a therapy session. Fanon is no armchair philosopher or academic theorist. He has a more urgent and pressing thing on his mind: liberation.
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