I chose to base this assignment off of “Black Skin White Masks” by Frantz Fanon.
During this reading, I found myself fascinated by Fanon’s explanation and depth within code switching and its connection to dehumanization of minorities, and more specifically Black men. In this text, Fanon makes a connection between whiteness of the black man and his state of being as a human. When this claim is be presented, Fanon brings this idea that the whiter the black man is, the more of a human he is considered to be. Once the black man has began to show rejection towards his blackness, it allows him to be seen as more white, which then falls into the obscene category of more human.
Fanon’s entirety of this chapter also deeply falls into the category of language. In relation to this, he has presented the idea of how the language of the black man is part of what has been dehumanizing him. And how his ability to code switch, and essentially, defy his blackness, has allowed him to become more human.
Overall, this text as a whole has struck me in many different ways. I have always been aware to what code switching looks like, as I myself do it. However, when actually being shown the influence of code switching, I am forced to see the harsh reality of it. It is essentially gentrification of races, it is being forced to allow the whiteness to take over in order to be considered a human being. I believe this deeply resonated with me as much as it does, because I am a person of color and majority of those I associate myself with are people of color. With that being said, we all code switch, and we all do it because we have been taught to do so because that is how you survive in the white mans world. However, I have never allowed myself to think so deeply into code switching to realize it is the repellence of my own culture in order to feel human, when I and ALL people of color, Black men and women included, are human regardless of our DNA and our skin color. Lastly, it has brought me to the strong realization that none of us should have to completely revert to a new persona when someone who is not a person of color comes around to validate out humanness, because we are all human. This is something I have already known, however, I never realized I had unintentionally been doing things, such as shifting my persona, to feel human to someone who does not even accept me.
Three Authors –
I have chosen John Locke, Frantz Fanon, and Karl Marx. I have chosen these three for my panel because I believe they all have different perspectives regarding the idea of human and which characteristics are needed to make someone human. I also wanted to allow for a checking of privilege for Marx and Locke.
Three Questions –
What characteristics are needed for someone to be human? Do these characteristics change based off of situational senses ?
What groups are excluded from being considered as human for things that are out of their control? Is this okay? And why?
Who determines what the definition of human actually is and what characteristics are actually needed in order to be considered human? Check your privilege when answering. Is this okay?