The following text is from Art and Psychoanalysis by Maria Walsh. Does anybody know what threatens the return of the look in the bold section?
The other, as black man, acts as both a narcissistic guarantor of the white subject’s wholeness and poses a problem for that very fantasy,the potentially destabilising threat of which thereby engenders the aggression of racism as a defence mechanism to keep the other in his place. The signifier ‘black skin’ both fixes identity and signifies its undoing in paradoxically opening up this realm of fantasy, a factor less explored by Fanon than by more recent commentators on his work such as Bhabha, relating to visual culture and art. ‘In the objectification of the scopic drive, there is always the threatened return of the look; in the identification of the Imaginary relation, there is always the alienating other (or mirror) which crucially returns its image to the subject; and in that form of substitution and fixation that is fetishism there is always the trace of loss, absence.’ A paradox ensues whereby blackness becomes a signifier of that which needs to be made invisible, but is also negatively desired. The black man internalises the inscription of race on the skin,epidermalising this relation which casts him as other, inferior and invisible in his all-too-visible visibility. On the one hand, he is fixed ‘as a chemical solution is fixed by a dye’, but on the other hand he becomes a projection screen onto which the various myths, fantasies and fears about the other are deposited in the bid to secure the white colonial subject.