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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Black Skin, White Masks Paperback – January 7, 1994

4.6 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Language Notes

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

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; 31616th edition (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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
This book has provided me with a tremendous sense, not only as a black person, but an educated minority having difficulty managing the world of white and black. The more I've progressed academically and professionally, the more I felt marginalized by both peoples, particular by other blacks. After a recent haranguing experience with a former co-worker, I decided I had enough and began reading on what it means to be black to be refute such nonsense. And this book provided in ways I could not have possibly expected.

The first aspect of critical importance was, what I felt Fanon's exploration of the psychology of being black, both male and female. Males pathologic plight lies in his desire to self-actualize and be seen as a man while women's plight derives from the need to be financial secure and to have assurance that her offspring will be not only taken cared of but in a socio-economic position higher than hers. Because of which, have incentives to go "white." Fanon indentifies the problem to be an economic issue at its root, and the epidermalization of inferiority at its core. The black intellectual is a special case, alienated by his fellow men adopted the vernacular and behavior of whites only to further push him from his people. Worse is the consciousness that the other culture (whites) did not fully accept you as their own, for the simple reason that you were "of a different kind." This was an ugly pathologic death spiral that would lead first to him hating all other blacks then me hating his self. On all account, this describes my very own psychology, and the general tone of so many blacks I've come across.

Second critical theme of this book was its exploration at all the "solutions" to the plight of blacks, usually espoused by blacks themselves.
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3 Comments 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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