What I found interesting in Fanon’s “The Negro and Language” was his perspective on Africans assimilating into French culture and how the full abandonment in pursuit of true French citizenship is reflected in the African man’s approach to the French language. In one passage, he states that “In any group of young men in the Antilles, the one who expresses himself well, who has mastered the language, is inordinately feared; keep an eye on that one, he is almost white. In France one says, “He talks like a book.” In Martinique, “He talks like a white man.” The African who wants to assimilate is caught between two identities; his native home rejects him not because he has educated himself and is smart, but because he “talks like a white man”. Yet, he can’t assimilate completely as a French man because he “talks like a book”, a euphemistic simile that dehumanizes him and denies him an identity completely. As a result, he is caught between two worlds, where his native group disowns him and his new culture rejects him. This idea ties in with Maalouf’s conflict of identity as well, where the people around him force him to choose one identity, French or Lebanese. Therefore, identity is a double-edged sword, because of the standards of purity and validity that comes along with every human group.
Fanon, Morrison, and Spivak
In terms of identity for marginalized groups, what is important to address and not to address? How do we talk about the advancement of marginalized groups without minimizing the past treatment of said groups? Where is the line in including race or gender as part of identity?