I AM A GRAECO-LATIN NEGRO


Frantz Fanon
Image via Wikipedia

Eureka!

Yes, Eureka, and this Greek word, at this moment, is the best to define what I have to say.

Eureka! Looking in my small library stashed in a large wooden chest in my living room I can finally define what I am.

It happened while browsing “The wretched of the Earth” by Frantz Fanon. The only other book I read from this author is “Black skin, White mask”.   

I am not a fan of Frantz Fanon but the contents of these two books are very interesting and still relevant today.
I find them hard to read and very clinical.  Well, I can understand, he was after all a psychiatrist.

The two books I read, and will read again to refresh my memory, are about the place of the colored person, not always black, vis-à-vis its society of origin or not, colonization, slavery and etc.  In other words he explained the challenges of the oppressed under dogs against the European élite.

Frantz Fanon (1925- 1961) was born in Martinique, studied medicine in France, practiced in Algeria and died, at the age of 36, of Leukemia in the US.
Actually, it sounds like my father who was born in Martinique, did University in France and practice his knowledge all over the world.

So, what Frantz Fanon and his book “The Wretch of the Earth” have to do with me?  Simple, that book has a very long preface, 20 pages of small prints, from Jean-Paul Sartre.  Jean-Paul Sartre was a writer and philosopher who refused both the French Legion d’honneur in 1945 and the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to him in 1964.

Jean-Paul Sartre, in the fist page of his preface, describes the new breed which the European élite created in the colonies. The new breed, descendants of slaves, educated and fashioned by and at the image of the Europeans is the Graeco-Latin Negro.

Eureka! I am a Graeco-Latin Negro.

My Graeco-Latin Negro roots are the culture which shaped my brain and the Negro is for the “négritude” which I wear on the outside.

No other words best define what I am.

I have no idea how the outside world perceives me.  I know that my inside does not match my outside.

I am of mixed race but, I consider myself black since it is my predominant colour.  I was born and raised in France, I spent my late teen age years and early adulthood  in the US and now live in Africa.

Consequently, in Africa I am black on the outside but my thinking, which is in the inside, has nothing to do with theirs. To Africans I am a paradox and a cognitive dissonance.

It is difficult for Africans to consider me as French, since my outside does not match their idea of what a French man is.
It is difficult for Africans to consider me as black since our “négritude” has different reasoning.

I am a Graeco-Latin Negro.

Patrick-Bernard

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