katie ness checks in with a post for the obscene machine blog:
I was particularly struck by Frantz Fanon’s discussion of language in Black Skin, White Masks and how applicable his arguments are to our current political situation. Since we are in the middle of a semester-long analysis of the construction of ethnic mannequins, Fanon makes many interesting assertions about the construction of identity through language. He argues “that a study of the language of the Antilles Negro would be able to show us some characteristics of his world” (38). Fanon is convincing not only in a discussion of mid-20th century culture, but also at the beginning of the 21st century. We judge others on how they speak and, in turn, are judged ourselves. We make certain assumptions about a person by how they use language: how educated they are, what part of the country/world they come from, their age, political standings, etc. Fanon continues by stating that “[t]o speak a language is to take on a world, a culture. The Antilles Negro who wants to be white will be the whiter as he gains greater mastery of the cultural tool that language is” (38). Language is power, and the stronger our language, the more articulate we appear, the more respect we receive from others. So, how do we resolve the issue that this video present? What does George W. Bush’s mastery of the English language show us about his world? How would Fanon comment on this?
(***Warning: anti-Bush propaganda follows).
- Katie Ness