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Placing The Blame: An Analysis Of Frantz Fanon’s Collective Catharsis In Modern Times

2137 words - 9 pages

Anger, resentment, and frustration continually build in society creating the need for a collective catharsis, so society vents its accumulated aggressive energy. In White Skin, Black Masks, Frantz Fanon discusses the trauma of colonialism and the societal need for a collective catharsis to release negative energy as result of tension between blacks and whites. He utilizes the work of Carl Jung’s collective unconscious, but he wishes to notion and apply beyond the psychological realm. Fanon feels that the collective unconscious that it has an acquired culture taste that has become present in society. Thus, the archetype of seeing the black man as evil in European society became absorbed ...view middle of the document...

Fanon called this term negrophobia, which contains four main elements, such as the trauma associated with a long deadly history, the collective unconscious, the collective catharsis, and the phobia associated with the penis and sexuality. According to Fanon, this phobia has a central location in colonialism and the relationship between blacks and whites. He uses the example of genitalia and how everything for the black “takes place on the genital level.’ Thus, the black man possesses a larger member, which makes the white man feels inadequate because he cannot please his partner.
In his research, Fanon comes across prostitute, who expressed that the idea sexual relations with a black man caused her to orgasm from a mere thought. Yet, in her search, she found that sexual relations with both a white and black man remained the same. The idea—or this case a common stereotype—provided the pleasure, which caused her to seek the experience. This in tern places fear for white men because they feel that black men will take their women from them. Therefore, the black man was forced/fixated to be on the genital level because white society forced them into this spot. However, this example illustrates that black men are associated with stereotypes that have been rooted in colonial history.
In order to understand Fanon’s concept of the collective catharsis, we need to understand Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious, which occurred at the psychological level. Thus, ideas of blacks being savages and sinful filtered their way into society through colonialism. These ideas sit within a societal unconscious for generations until become they become quite constant within a community, but Fanon believes the issue runs much deeper than a psychological problem. This issue deals with culture because these thoughts are often passed down through the intersection of race, class, and gender. Therefore, these ideas find themselves embedded in society.
Fanon mentions that white men utilize stories, film, board games, and other mediums to help release this energy in the collective catharsis. However, these mediums are written and made by “white men for white children.” For example, think of the Adventures of Tintin: Tin Tin Goes to the Congo (1936) and how the comic book reflected the colonial values of France in the mid-twentith century. Even the main villain was black, which indicates a negative form of energy that has built up in society. Even though these sources help white men express their guilt for toward the colonial past, white society places the blame for colonialism and slavery at the hands of the victim, instead of taking credit for their crimes. Therefore, the theory of the collective catharsis appears as a positive coping mechanism, but the current use of the catharsis.
In general, individuals in society tend to find ways to focus their negative energy through positive forms of venting. These form of relief include exercise, sexual relations, writing,...

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