Fanon’s black slave is the uncanny and phobic object (a problematized double) belonging to Lacan’s the real. However, in Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, subversive political aspects of the uncanny are absent. Fanon constantly describes the black slave as merely a victim/fetish, who always suffers an inferiority complex and a sense of alienation. Yet the black skin, unable to be completely covered with white masks, can be reappropriated as a strategy of political subversion to contaminate purity and authenticity in colonial discourses and white authority. Fanon does not seem to consider the possibility that black skin in white masks, remaining outside the signifying chain, has the revolutionary potentials to destabilize the master’s authority and colonialist discourses, and bringing about political transformation in society. In the politics of identification based on psychoanalysis, the impact that a return of the gaze of the uncanny/ambivalent Other has on the colonizer cannot be ignored, which might not be Fanon’s concern. Assuming the colonized as entirely knowable and visible, Fanon does not seem to calculate the traumatic impact of the return of the repressed.
Badiou’s event, which refers to the incalculable, irreducible, surplus element (i.e., void), reveals a gap or a rupture with the symbolic order, or more specifically, exposes undemocratic political systems within a democracy. In this respect, Badiou’s void or event recalls Lacan’s “the real.” Badiou claims that a true event can bring about a dramatic and unforeseeable political change in the situation. Yet, like Fanon, in spite of the indebtedness to Lacan’s the real, the visible presence of subversive power embedded in the uncanny is also absent in Badiou’s philosophy. The uncanniness, whose political meanings are significantly dealt with in psychoanalysis, evaporates in Badiou’s political project of theorizing political revolutions and transformations. This paper raises the question about whether it is truly appropriate to refer to either the radical in Badiou’s radical reconceptualization of politics, or Fanon’s radical concept of psychological decolonization, as radical at all.