Unit 1: Assignment 3 by Gwenyth Van Doren

One of the ideas that Fanon writes about in Black Skin White Masks is fetishization, “To us, the man who adores the Negro is as “sick” as the man who abominates him ” (2). The idea of fetishization in this regard is not necessarily a sexual fetish, although it certainly can be, but an abnormal fixation of black people. As I started to think about this idea, I came to the realization that fetishization is another form of dehumanization because people fetishize things, so once you start to fetishize people, you inherently dehumanize them into a thing to be fetishized. So, although Fanon does not continue to elaborate on this idea, it caught my interest because it is not an idea I thought would be written about in 1952 — I did not doubt the presence of racial fetishization in 1952 though. Additionally, this idea reminded me of a Black Mirror episode, “Black Museum”, where the main attraction of a museum is the ability to electrocute the hologram of a black man who was executed on death row and visitors would pay to indulge in not only their racial fetishization but their fetishization of black pain.

The three authors on my panel would be Frantz Fanon, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Toni Morrison. The three questions that I would ask that I think would provoke great discussion are: (1) How should we approach what we are taught in academic settings in a way that includes multiple perspectives and not just the perspective of the “winner”? (2) Through code-switching do people betray their identities or is it used as a way to encompass people’s different identities? (3) How does the portrayal of people of color by white people in the media influence society’s relations with them?

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