Jean-Paul Sarte was a renowned philosopher of 1940s to 1950s; in an attempt to bring out the problems of anti-Semitism and its solutions, Sartre wrote a book entitled ‘Anti-semite and Jew’. According to Sarte anti-Semitism is a deep passion that is entrenched in the mind of a human being. It is a complex passion that affects the physiology of that person. In his book, Sartre uses four actors: the anti-Semite, the democrat, the inauthentic Jew and the authentic Jew to reveal the complex picture of France in the Nazi scheme to eliminate Jews. Each character creates the other; the anti-Semite develop the Jew while the inauthentic Jew constructs ‘either the anti-Semitism of the anti-Semite or the humanist of the democrat’ (Sartre II). Sartre defines ant-Semite as a person who blames his misfortunes to the presence of Jews and strives to expel all Jews out of the country and even kill them (p.1). This kind of perception by anti-Semites is attributed to their historical experience with the Jews which portrait them as bad and dangerous people.
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Sartre argues that the in authenticity is the product of a situation that propagates racial discrimination and killing of Jews (Sartre II). On the other hand, authentic Jew is contented with his state as a Jew and he does not look for ways to escape or either develops Jewish state to counter this situation. Using the Sartream model, Sartre brings out clearly how one is experienced by others by suggesting that Jewishness is a product of the gaze of the anti-Semite. Likewise, Sartre states that the gaze of the white constructs the black man and both perpetrate racial discrimination of the latter. It is clearly portrait in this book that anti-Semitism is free and is somebody’s own decision and Sartre believes that French Society made this choice. Anti-Semitism is also suggested as inspired by fear of the human state which may not necessarily be of the current uncertainties. Of these four actors, Sartre depicts anti-Semites as living in the fears of the past. On the other hand the democrat is portrait as very naïve of the future; and inauthentic Jew is described as living desperately for the present; he tries to find ways to escape but he is ensnared more.
Frantz Fanon was a famous French phylosopher in 1950s, his book ‘black skin, white masks elicited a lot of comments from many scholars. He tried to explain the blacks experience in the white society and their feelings of reliance and insufficiency. Fanon critically examined the Africans self-perception; he described blacks a having lost its original culture and adopted the whites culture and this describes how one responds to one's experience of oneself as experienced by others. The blacks lost its culture due to the whites influence. He borrowed many ideas from Sarte on his on anti-Semitism and Jews.
Fanon described vividly the racial discrimination of black in white world. This can be note from the phrases such as ‘Dirty nigger’ or ‘Look, a Negro’ (Fenon 109). Fenon describes that the Antilleans having studied French discourse they believed that whiteness is connect with purity and morality, while black color is connected with sin and immorality. In respect to this, the Antillean must develop a physiological image of himself that is white for him to be moral and pure. More to this point the, Fanon argues that Antilles perceived themselves as white while black was referred to African. Interesting enough the Antillean came face to face with a white man and the reality of his color-black color while in France. Finally, he recognizes that African is symbolized by the black color which is developed through the white images and the past of the Negro. Fanon asserts that blackness existed in relation to whiteness while the converse can not be true (110). Blackness is suggested as develop by illusion or relationship. Fenon in his argument of myth of blackness suggest that the blackness that results to Antillean consists of white myths. This can be noted from the book by the statement ‘I discovered my blackness, my ethnic characteristics; and I was battered down by tom-toms, cannibalism, intellectual deficiency, fetichism, and racial defects’ (132).
Needless to say, the black man subjectivity was denied by the white man; the black man was not distinguished as a man but as a black man. The black man argues that he is being characterized with his forefathers who were slaves to the colonizers. The racial discrimination of black in this context is the embodiment of blackness; he is recognized with his black color and his intelligence is associated with it. This racial embodiment of blacks is a way of isolating the Africans from their black body. Fanon described that the black man who has been racially discriminated by the white man and is no longer sure about his race and seeks help and definition from the white society which is not forthcoming. The white world disregarded him and viewed him as not a man like themselves but just a black man. Besides, the black perceived himself as inferior to other races and was influenced by the stereotypes of the white man about him. Fanon relates the blacks’ self-perception to that of Jews in the Anti-Semite and Jew written by Sartre. The Jews were depicted as having been influenced by the stereotypes that others had about them and they lived in anxiety that their action will truly match to this stereotype (Fanon 115).
Fanon portrayed the black as having divided perceptions about himself. The black man views himself as inferior to the white man; he perceives himself as unworthy in the eyes of the white man. In the same line of though, the prejudices made by the white man about the colored race seem to bother him. The black man is quick to accept the colonizers prejudice and stereotypes as noted in the following phrase ‘I had soon to change my tune’ (Fanon 129). It is revealed that the colored race felt so bad about it and started weeping because it had lost its originality. Fanon shows black dependency to the white race and their desire to be acknowledged by the white race. However, when he learnt about his past from reading through the antiquity of black, he realized that the white man was not right on his argument.
In conclusion, both Sartre and Fanon used the same point of view to describe the colonizers oppression to the colonized. Sartre described the anti-Semites perceptions and stereotypes about the Jews in France and their endeavor to terminate the existence of the Jews. On the other hand Fanon described the white perceptions and believes about the Blacks whom they associated with their black color. Fenon reveals that black exist in relation to white, however, the converse is not true. Africans are viewed in terms of their blackness and is not a man but is a black man. It is also explained in the novel that the blacks problems is not as a result of the white man but it is due to the blacks own self-perception . Fanon used most of the Sartre’s ideas to develop his own story. He compares the Jews self-Perception and the fear of their actions that may conform to the stereotypes of the others to the African self-perception.
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