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Is Black Beautiful - Essay Example

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Name of the Writer Name of the Instructor World Literature Date Submitted Is Black Beautiful? Introduction The quest for black identity has undergone many phases and transformations in the last century. Try as we might, we cannot wipe the stigma that the white man has attached to blackness from the beginning of time- that white is superior to black, or what is more visible in reverse- that black is inferior to white…
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Download file to see previous pages These three writers have been instrumental in starting the Negritude Movement of the early 1920s and 1930s in France. Actually these three had opposed not only the classification of blacks in this manner, with all its racial and discriminatory undertones, but were also against French colonization, the inhumanity of Europeans and Western domination of world ideals. Senghor, Cesaire and Fanon met in France and founded the Negritude Movement, which praised blackness and black history, art and culture, sought a separate destiny for the blacks and favored the ideals of Marxism which were used to oppose the slavery and servitude that blacks faced in tree plantation and other industries under the colonial influence. Fritz Fanon’s ‘Black Skin White Mask’ may be thought of a combination of his manifesto for the movement as well as a record of personal experiences as he studied medicine and psychiatry in Lyons. As he experienced alienation and discrimination as a black man in a whitened society, he grew increasingly critical of all aspects of French culture and colonialism. He states that language is the first means by which you are indoctrinated into their culture- it is a burden that should be resisted. "To speak . . . means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization" (Fanon 17-18). The collective consciousness of the French regards black as sinful and evil. The Africans who can learn the language of the colonizer elevate their status. At the same time those who cannot feel demonized because the French look and talk down to them. Black women seek to lose their identity by seeking to marry a white man or he who is least black. At the same time, young black men go to bed dreaming of marrying a white woman to elevate their status. But if he does, he will not be accepted back into his own tribe nor be accepted by the whites. He is stuck in between two cultures. For Cesaire, Senghor notes, the white man is as much a symbol of capital as the black man is a symbol of labor. Fanon is proud of the fact that his Negro consciousness does not hold itself out as a lack. It is. It is its own follower" (Fanon 135). Fanon believes that a true Negro culture cannot come to life under present conditions. There will be time enough to talk of the black genius when the black man has regained his rightful place" (Fanon 186-87). Fanon concludes with the assertion that the Negro is not any more or less than the white man. Senghor’s ‘Letter to a Poet’ is written in praise of Aime Cesaire, the father of the Negritude Movement. The special breed of black seagulls referred to in the first stanza are neither fully black nor white but are known to travel a wide expanse of the oceans on migratory flights- referring in metaphor to Cesaire’s ideas of negritude being accepted by the world at large. Cesaire keeps their ‘zeal from fading through his wake of light’ or constant ideas of enlightenment (Stanza 1, Line 8). In the second stanza, Senghor talks of ancestors of nobility because of their heroic struggle against the white man to get their due rights (Stanza 2, Line 15) and compares them to Cesaire who now reclines on a ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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