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Paperback Black Skin, White Masks Book

ISBN: 0802150845

ISBN13: 9780802150844

Black Skin, White Masks

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A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today. "[Fanon] demonstrates how insidiously the problem of race, of color, connects with a whole range of words and images." - Robert Coles,...

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From a teacher's perspective

Frantz Fanon was a contemporary writer of the 1950's. Born in Martinique, he studied psychiatry and medicine in France as a young man after volunteering his services in World War II. He had an educational background in post colonial studies including racism and colonization. At the age of 27 he published "Black Skin, White Masks" which played a vital role in civil rights and Black consciousness movements throughout its time. Fanon's analysis of the Black psyche, "Black Skin, White Masks", was amazingly interesting and educational. It gave me a fresh perspective to what it means to live as the minority, as a person of color in a White world. This is a wonderful review of how the French of different backgrounds interacted with each other. There are also a few downfalls in understanding "Black Skin, White Masks". This book is hard to follow because it jumps around quite a bit, making various points throughout the same train of thought. There are many topics covered, one of the most thoroughly explored being romantic love between interracial couples. It also explores the use of language and the importance of knowing one's familial, racial, and cultural history. One of the topics Fanon concentrates on is the Black man and his goals in life. To understand what Black men go through, one has to first understand the history of the particular Black man he is talking about which is born in an island off of France then moves to France and faces the culture shock of entering a country where the language and customs are different. Here the Black man goes from being comfortable and part of a larger entity to being the minority. At this stage the Black man feels he is worthless because of the history of the relationship of Blacks and Whites, where the Black man has led a forced life of servitude and abuse which has caused him to believe that he is inferior to the White man. The White man's racism has created the White man's feeling of superiority which correlates with the Black man's feeling of inferiority. Because of this inferiority complex the Black man has an overpowering need to prove himself equal to the White man. Fanon goes on to argue that the Black man's goal is to prove to Whites, Blacks and himself that he is an intelligent, good, and worthy of pursuing happiness individual. One of the most detailed examples was how the Black man attempts to get closer to being White by having any relationship, be it friendship or romantic (preferably sexual), with a White person other than a master/slave association. As an example Fanon tells a story of a young mulatto woman who marries a White man and in a split second goes from being the slave to being the master. Yet there are other cases when the Black man succeeds and he is not only rejected by Whites, he is repudiated by Blacks. Another theme was that of language and what happens to a Black person when he arrives to France. The Black man has to learn how to speak French as it is spoken in Fra

Black Skin White Masks

Frantz Fanon was a black man born in the French colony and island of Martinique. He trained as a doctor specialising in psychiatry. He was deeply concerned about the impact of colonialism on the people of colour, particularly how it humiliated them, destroyed their culture, values and dignity. This led him to get involved in the Algerian war of independence in the 1950s. The book "Black Skin, White Masks" was written almost fifty years ago. This was during the time when decolonisation of the African continent and elsewhere was gathering momentum. To adequately capture and assimilate Fanon's thinking of the question of colonialism and racism and their impact on the coloured people, one also needs to read Fanon's other great works: "The Wretched of the Earth" and "Dying Colonialism". Here one can see his anger and the background to his conclusion that it was only through violence that people of colour could liberate themselves from colonialism, particularly from mental bondage and inferiority complex that accompanied colonial subjugation. In "Black Skin, White Masks", Fanon develops his thesis about the impact of inferiority complex of subjugated peoples and the alienation of some of them from their kind resulting in their wish to identified with the colonialists or imitate the European. There are a number of celebrated and classic cases of coloured people who have tried various formulas to change the colour of their skins, the tone of their voices or their names so that they sound more civilised (European). Fanon's ideas about how the coloured people can liberate themselves (physically and mentally) influenced many leaders of revolutionary movements that were fighting colonialism. Some organisations in the USA, such as the Nation of Islam, appear to embrace a lot of Fanon's ideas and thinking. The book is recommended reading for those who wish to understand the impact of colonialism on the colonised around the world and their different reactions to this menace.

Peau noire masques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks)

Franz Fanon addressed very well the racial issues encounted by previously colonized civilizations like the French island of Martinique. But Martinique is just an example. The truth is raw, but it's the truth, and there is still a long way for the freedom of the mind.

A gift to humanity

Fanon's amazing book is one of the landmarks in modern thinking, as far as I am concerned. Fanon says he wants to expose the sickness in order for it to be cured. He exposes the sickness inflicted on Africans by the contact with the colonizing white West in a razor sharp accuracy and courage. Fanon is completely honest, sparing no criticism from the Africans nor the Europeans. He gets help from giant figures like Cesaire and Senghor, and creates an emotionally and intellectually charged masterpiece. I learned from Fanon about the use of language as a colonialist tool, the terrible affect on African self esteem, the psychological turmoil that erupts as a result of the contact with white society. It is clear the world is not the same today as it was in the 50's, but Fanon's book is just as relevant.Quoting from Sartre talking about another book by Fanon: "Have the courage to read this book !".

more than theory...

frantz fanon's black skin, white mask has something for every reader of every color (including white). his insights into the psychological damage resulting from colonialism, self-denial, racism, and other connected phenomena provide a path for those of us still grappling with these issues some forty years after the publication of this text. moreover, his intellectual contributions are secondary to the compelling force of his personality and integrity that one senses between the lines. this book is as compelling as a novel and as englightening as a mentor.
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