Throughout his writings, what Frantz Fanon calls the colonized subject’s “reality” is really his lived experience. That experience, especially in the latter chapters of Black Skin, White Masks, alternates between outright invisibility and the “crushing objecthood” of being seen only as a black body. This is the objecthood that Fanon experiences as fixing him in the white gaze, and preempting him as an individual subject. Thus Fanon sees in the Lordship and Bondage (or master and slave) relation of G. W. F. Hegel’s Phenomenology the life-endangering, yet life-affirming risk that the slave must take in order to transcend the reality that the other has imposed on him—the reality of being seen and known by the master strictly as an object. What the slave wants in instigating conflict with the master is thus to reoccupy a place in the other’s reality—to reassert one’s place within the reality of reciprocal, mutual recognition between subjects. This is the fundamental reality of which Fanon writes in the relentless self-analysis that is Black Skin, White Masks, which he expands in The Wretched of the Earth to encompass the Algerian Revolution and, by extension, the whole of the colonized world.

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