chapter  5
Through the Looking Glass Fanon's Double Vision
Pages 20

IT IS Smith's express desire in Fires in the Mirror to display the "relationships of the unlikely, these connections of things that don't fit together" without losing "hold on ... contradictions or opposition" (Smith 1993a, xxix; emphasis in original). With her example before me, it is my ambition in this chapter and the one that follows to see what unlikely connections-between the political and the psychical, racial difference and sexual difference-might be sparked by working Frantz Fanon with and against Freud and, in the next chapter, with and against Albert Memmi. The anachronism of these engagements, with Smith's Fires in the Mirror set in front of texts chronologically prior to her own, is an attempt to foreground who and what goes missing from Panons (as well as Freud's and Memmi's) politics of identification.Where the two figures brought together in this chapter are concerned, reading Freud and Fanon with and against each other on the topic of group psychology may

also have the effect of in their strategies for managing groups. Briefly, Freud's general papers on the world of the larger social universe buffeting and of tactically containing and then of psychoanalysis. As I have argued in returns in the guise of Freud's female foregrounds racial difference and the of terms. I

Look in the Mirror.This is the double dare ofAnna Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror. It also expresses something of the hope and the terror of Fanon's analysis of the (dis)identificatory crossings of race and gender, colonizer and colonized in Black Skin, White Masks. Fanon's "socio diagnostic" (his term) of the high costs of identification across difference sharply contrast Smith's generally optimistic presentation of what "travel from the self to the other" might accomplish and effect." Although Fanon expresses the hope that his book might be "a mirror with a progressive infrastructure, in which it will be possible to discern the Negro on the road to disalienation" (1967, 184), he also and perhaps more insistently stresses the unstable currents and terrifying edge of racialized (dis)identifications. The comma separating Black Skin from White Masks marks the socio-psychical looking glass through which racialized subjects see reflected in the white gaze their own alterity, radical otherness, inferiority.Writing against a backdrop of colonialism and domination, Fanon thematizes identification as a facet of the colonial encounter. 3

First published in France in 1952 as Peau Noire, Masques Blancs and translated into English only after Panori's death, Black Skin, White Masks represents one of the few thoroughgoing attempts to offer a psychoanalytic accounting of"race."4 It also constitutes a signal effort to hold psychoanalysis ethically and politically accountable to the experiences and demands of racialized others. Fanon mobilizes psychoanalysis, makes it work on behalf of those whose subjection under structures of domination has been visibly marked out under the sign "race." In so doing Fanon not only broadens the individualistic focus of psychoanalysis, but also, as Homi Bhabha has observed, conceptually challenges and enlarges the sphere of the political (1987, lI8).