White Skin, Black Friend: A Fanonian application to theorize racial fetish in teacher education

Cheryl E. Matias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In Black Skin, white masks (1967, Grove Press), Franz Fanon uses a psychoanalytic framework to theorize the inferiority-dependency complex of Black men in response to the colonial racism of white men. Applying his framework in reverse, this theoretical article psychoanalyzes the white psyche and emotionality with respect to the racialization process of whites and their racial attachment to Blackness. Positing that such a process is interconnected with narcissism, humanistic emptiness, and psychosis, this article presents how racial attachment becomes racial fetish. Such a fetish reifies whiteness by accumulating fictive kinships with friends of color; hence, the common parlance of ‘But I have a Black friend!’ The article, then, overlays this theoretical interpretation onto the subject of teacher education in the US, specifically urban teacher education programs that are predominantly comprised of white middle-class females who claim a desire to ‘save’ urban students of color. Ending with the dangers and hopes of a more humanistic friendship, this article offers emotional ways one can self-actualize the racialization process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-236
Number of pages16
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 23 2016


  • Fanon
  • fetish
  • race
  • teacher education
  • whiteness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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