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Black Skin, White Masks Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (January 7, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802150845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802150844
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #565,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I recommend this book to any who wants to understand how colonization works.
Tramaine Williams
Second critical theme of this book was its exploration at all the "solutions" to the plight of blacks, usually espoused by blacks themselves.
J. C. Jeanty
If you love this book you will also like: 'They don't want us here,' by Kevin Watson.
Diamonds67

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Elijah Chingosho on February 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
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.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By likami on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
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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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful By nadav haber on September 12, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 !".
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
This publishing of this treatise saw the roots of Black Consciousness expand outside the limits of Negritude. More clearly at the time, Fanon began his transformation from 'European intellectual' to polemic scholar to socialist revolutionary that would culminate in the release of Les Damnees de la Terre and Fanon's tragic death due to leukemia. Black Skin, White Masks, however, may in fact be the most enduring of Fanon's work, and it reads as well today as it did in 1953. Upon its completion, Fanon became a cult icon in French intellectual circles, rubbing shoulders with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Bouvoir, among others. It is not difficult to see why; from the first page, Fanon emotes his most heartfelt anger. It is a work as passionate as it is intelligent, and as concise as it is dynamic. Through it all, the reader is treated to Fanon's magnificently fluid writing style, brilliantly translated by Constance Farrington.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By seansamad@hotmail.com on December 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book was remarkable in helping me to confirm some of the many behaviors that I had observed among family and friends, but was unable to pin down or understand. Fanon has incredible insight into the effect of colonialism onthe self-concept and consecutive behaviors of the Caribbean individual and all balck people and culture that has been forever changed by the penetration of European culture and ideology.
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30 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Riggs on May 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Written in 1952, Fanon's novel is a response to Mannoni's 'Prospero complex', which states that white colonizers have a symbiotic relationship to the races they colonize, and that this relationship is built upon a system of mutual dependence. The whites have a need to dominate, and the other races have a need to be dominated. Fanon passionately and accurately REJECTS this theory, saying that the only neurosis resides in the white male, and his innate fear of other races. Taking his discourse to the sports arena and the bedroom, Fanon argues that the white male possesses a sexual-performance anxiety toward other races, especially the African. He fears he will be outmatched on the field, and outlasted in bed, by the African. It is this fear that causes the xenophobic anxiety within the white male, and propels him to subdue and dominate the other races. Fanon argues that the Africans were doing pretty well before the colonizers came along, but now all worlds are forever changed. Although this book is an angry argument against white ideas of dominance, I find it to be largely accurate and an imperative read for anyone hoping to gain greater insight into the 'true' motivations behind racialism.
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