iDeNtiTy: Clique on, Clique off

Posted: September 26, 2012 in pOstEd WeEkLY

Despite my strong distaste for this piece, Black Skin, White Masks, I nonetheless appreciate Franz’s overall point of becoming conflicted internally in response to outer confliction. He discusses the discourse between whom he is as a person and who he is within his own skin [color]. Franz states “I wanted to be a man, nothing but a man”(85) yet he shows this clear distinction within his own argument of describing himself as a black man, not just a man. My distaste is mainly of trying to understand fully, which I cannot, the basis of “shame and self-contempt”(88) that Franz discusses about his own identity but at the same time using “Black” as an identifier, almost giving himself the illusion that while disagreeing with the poor treatment he experiences that somehow he is not a Man, he is a Black Man. It seems as though he is assigning himself a title in which at the same time he is arguing is the problem.

 Tying Franz’s piece in with my overarching topic for this course, I see that often in the field of psychology people depend upon identifiers as means of personal recognition, but also as a social tool. We see this in the simplest form with adolescents, girls identify with girls and boys with boys. In High School individuals assign themselves both socially but also behaviorally to groups of others with whom the best match: religious kids with religious kids, preps with preps, stoners with stoners, and so on. As social creatures we depict ourselves as being a part of the whole whether conscious or subconsciously.

 To even further this identification process we can examine Female Sex Workers overall in all communities. There is a specific stigma that follows these women in relation to how they view themselves. The process of identification goes hand in hand, chicken or the egg. Is it the way that the FSW dresses that allows for others to treat her poorly, deny common respect as you would to a woman in a suite? Point being that we, society, rely on physical identifiers, stigmas, but we also become that identifier—we become that stigma that follows the identifier. This is why certain people accept certain treatment, or even expect it. Franz discusses himself as a Man, saying he wants to be a Man, nothing more than a Man, but he is identifying himself as a Black Man, Not a Man. He is giving himself the identity that has been assigned to him (not to say we can escape physicality’s), but that his cognitive social process becomes that of his assigned identity—ultimately created by himself.

In case of bordom: 2008 An exploratory study on the presence of cliques within Singapore Polytechnic.

 Fanon, Franz. 1986 [1952]. “The Fact of Blackness” Chapter 5 in Black Skin, White Masks. London: Pluto press. Pp 82-108


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