Fanon argues that racial struggle is an immediate and necessary reality. However, he concludes the determinant negation of white supremacy is only one moment in an overall historical process that involves abolishing race. In the act and process of negation, the structuring, normative, ‘common sense’ and presupposed reality of the racial relation begins to crumble. A new human content is brought forth in response to the de-realization of racialized people. The black subject is actualized in the world with claims upon the human. Yet this content cannot be fully realized in racial form and comes up against its own limits. For Fanon, race remains a form of alienation. Freedom is the self-emancipation from, or the abolishing of race. This process of self-abolition establishes the conditions for a universal humanity to emerge. The dialectical supersession of race, in which one’s existence as race is abolished, means that the emancipatory content of racial struggle and thought is preserved and realized in new, universal form.
As we have seen, the necessity of negation leads to the “creation of new men,” in which the object is turned into a subject. The new content of blackness, then, establishes the self-certainty of the subject in an objective sense by actualizing itself in the world. In Black Skin, White Masks, the content of blackness is represented by Fanon’s critical engagement with Négritude, the French-speaking black cultural movement primarily of the 1930s into the 1950s. Négritude, like its forerunner, the Harlem Renaissance, developed at a time when the very existence of a specifically black history was still questioned by the white world. Such denial, of course, was foundational to white supremacy, and the figures of 19th and early 20th century black thought did much to establish the terrain of black history. Fanon’s narrator confronts the denial of black history within the context of the non-recognition at the heart of the race relation. Indeed the narrator must confront the fact that such a history, he is told, does not exist: “Too late. Everything has been predicted, discovered, proved, and exploited. My shaky hands grasped at nothing” (100). It is only when the narrator tells us “I finally made up my mind to shout my blackness” (101), that he discovers “On the other side of the white world there lies a magical black culture” (102).