Journal Article — Fanon and DuBoisian Double Consciousness — by Marc Black

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Abstract

Within an American context, W.E.B. DuBois defines double consciousness as blacks being forced to view themselves through white perspectives while maintaining their own selfdefinitions. Works of Frantz Fanon, and other classic writers on colonialism, show evidence that colonized peoples also experience the condition of double consciousness. This similarity of double consciousness between people of color in the U.S. and colonized people historically supports the claim of close connections between racism in the U.S. and colonialism internationally. When double consciousness is unilateral, when it is experienced only by the oppressed, double consciousness is unhealthy. However, when whites and colonists develop their own abilities to see their racial positions from the perspectives of people of color, then this multilateral double consciousness can enable a form of critical interracial dialogue. The transition from harmful unilateral double consciousness to critical multilateral double consciousness has not been explicitly suggested. Some views of recent writers on whiteness and multicultural education, however, are conducive to the development of white, and multilateral, double consciousness. By linking DuBoisian double consciousness with Fanon and with multilateral double consciousness, new dialogues about race might lead to new insights into hidden power dynamics and advances toward race conscious struggles against white supremacy.

Recommended Citation

Black, Marc. 2007. “Fanon and DuBoisian Double Consciousness.” Pp. 393-404 in Reflections on Fanon: The Violences of Colonialism and Racism, Inner and Global—Conversations with Frantz Fanon on the Meaning of Human Emancipation (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume V, Special Issue, 2007.) Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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