One of the reasons I am a fan of Fanon, is because he dared us to examine the heart of the colonial beast from the brilliantly liberating vantage point of it’s diseased center.
His writings breathed fire. They were powerfully anti-colonial and anti-Eurocentric. No doubt, like any other man, they were also mired in his gender oppressiveness. But he nevertheless helped me understand oppression in a very liberating way. I realized that understanding the damage done to the souls of oppressors was a far more empowering way to engage with the myriad forms of oppression in and around me.
Now, we can further complicate this shit, but I don’t think I have the literary skill or temperament to hold your attention for that long. So for now, I’m going to limit myself to two particularly well-known global demographics – men and white people – both groups of whom, it can safely be said, benefit from the overwhelming majority of oppression on our good green earth. Yes, yes, in varying degrees when we complicate it with class and nationality and yadda, yadda. But wherever you go on this earth, men have it better than other genders – at least in their own local communities and societies – and white people have it better than damn near everyone else on the fucking planet. (Holy crapola did that European settler colonialism work wonders for the melanin-deficient.)
Now, I say that we gain spiritual strength over our oppressors (inside and out) by understanding the damage done to the souls of those oppressors. And in the global north, i.e. the privileged-ass Western world, this means understanding the damage done to the souls of men and white people.
(And I daresay that would be the case in any other part of the earth as well.)
The reason I think it is empowering for me to think of oppression in this way is because it both humbles and strengthens me at the same time.
It humbles me because I realize that even beyond what oppression does to our bodies, our minds, and our social environments – it is at our deepest, most soulful level that oppression is fought.
It strengthens me because I realize that no matter how violently and/or silently oppression might manifest in our daily lives, those who reap the benefits of it cannot hide from the damage it does to their souls.
And that’s a comforting mixture of truth, justice, and that little bit of whacky to help you sleep at night.