The Wretched of the Earth, Book Review

 To deal with the titanic Frantz Fanon we are forced to look at not only ourselves but the world that we may occupy, particularly as people of color.  Suddenly we are thrust onto the world stage as either pawns of colonialism or as puppets of capitalism.  This seminal work of Fanon's is a great jumping off point for people of any age to really look at their own identities in relationship to the world.  More importantly he challenges gender, race, sexuality on the grounds of not simply victims but as co-conspirators to their own oppression.  Our Americanized culture of bi-partisan to the point of gridlock and fiscal irresponsibility, perfect chiseled abs, consumeristic and constantly sexualized culture demands a reflective work like this one.  In fact I would offer that if someone starts talking to you about politics or race or the Presidential race or fiscal crisis you immediately ask not which but how many of Fanon's text have they read.  Try it.  It will really open the conversation or shut them down and illuminate how much of a co-conspirator they are to the forces they profess to oppose.

One of the most poignant points I found in this book was when it confronts the reader with identifying the difference between themselves and their oppressors. He posits that at a certain point, without conscious and deliberate thinking to become otherwise, we run the risk of becoming the puppets we rail against.  That in fact the creation of separate classes and mindsets, by race or poverty, pushes thosewho may be of the same race but not poor to take on the mindset of the oppressor.  That in fact most of the current oppression is done by minorities (gender,sexuality,race, cultural origin) against their own kin.  Kin may be as simple as another homosexual next to you or extend to Iraqis under siege but that maintaining our own BMW, IPhone and sexually seemingly liberated society may in fact be the greatest evidence of conversion to the hegemonic ideas we say are wrong.  Heavy stuff.

This is a serious read, worthy of patience but it will generate more self reflection than an episode of America's Got Talent or True Blood and might even answer why you watch those shows and how you use that context to oppress the person next to you.

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix

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1 comment:

  1. An excellent posting! I love it! Keep up the good work!