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Afro "Psych Em Out" tribute to Fantz Fanon by Jemuel Johnson
Psych Em Out

I wish that the person I will shortly document was irrelevant. I wish that his ideas were finite, trapped in yesteryear’s dusty scrolls, laughed at for being dated. Perhaps he knew that when it comes to how humans get along and interact with one another, human psychology will always count.

Frantz Fanon (1926-1962) was an Afro-Caribbean Martinique-born psychiatrist, soldier, and revolutionary theorist on anti-racism and colonization. His analysis on racism and decolonization offer tribute to Fanon being one of the 20th century’s most atypical figures and virtuoso writers. Frantz gave priority to the wretched of the earth as well as to the perpetrators of racism; and his critiques on western imperialism were crushing. As a psychiatrist, his insight on the psychological effects of racism and the economic ramifications of it were exact and scientific. Fanon spoke of race not as a biological reality, but as a social construction.

Before the heralded slogans “Black is Beautiful” or “Black Lives Matter”, Fanon was hard at work on their behalf. In 1943, towards the back end of WW2, Frantz fought with the Free French Forces. While a soldier for the French, in France, he recognized white French women decline to dance with the black soldiers that sacrificed for their deliverance. It is in this era, where he observed bewildering anti-black sentiment, that he became revolutionized.
For his valor he was awarded the Croix de Guerre. After the war, he stayed in France and studied psychiatry and medicine at the university level in Lyons. 10 years later he was the chief of staff for a psychiatric ward in Algeria, placing him front and center for the Algerian Revolution against his home, France. Fanon had the opportunity to care for both the psychological wounds of soldiers who implemented sadism to suppress anti-colonial opposition, and Algerian citizens who endured the agony. Frantz was experiencing a fierce internal conflict himself. His alienation with the French reached a boiling point and in 1956 he became fully aware that he could not undergird his homeland. After working for the French government in Algeria, he wholly dedicated himself to the cause of Algerian Independence, instructing nurses, supplying, and editing literature. Not a man of mere poetry, Fanon worked to assist Algerian guerrilla fighters and survived varied attempts on his life. Eventually, he took a diplomatic position in the Algerian government. Fanon was in Ghana when he was diagnosed with leukemia and through tentative diplomacy with the C.I.A., the philosopher came to the U.S. for treatment in Maryland. He didn’t live to witness Algerian independence in the summer of 1962, however his books have earned preeminence. Black Skin, White Masks (1952), A Dying Colonialism (1959), and The Wretched of The Earth (1961). Fanon was the inverse of passiveness and a propeller of the downtrodden. -Jemuel Johnson

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