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Black Skin, White Masks

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  6,181 Ratings  ·  221 Reviews
Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks represents some of his most important work. Fanon’s masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers.

A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness m
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 10th 2008 by Grove Press (first published 1952)
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Marion I don't know about editions but there's currently only 1 translation from french which apparently is not very good to the point where it changes some…moreI don't know about editions but there's currently only 1 translation from french which apparently is not very good to the point where it changes some of Fanon's concepts.(less)
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Bookworm Sean
Black Skins White Masks is a scary book. In it Fanon discusses the black man’s experience in a white world; he ironically, and justly, creates an image of the world through a black lens, so to speak.

“The N**** enslaved by his inferiority, the white man enslaved by his superiority alike behaves in accordance with a neurotic orientation.”


The crux of the work resides on the black man’s experience and how he is perceived, and how he is forced to perceive himself. Fanon argues that language is t
I appreciate this book and the way it turned the mirror back on me and made me question certain practices I have in the context of my "Blackness" and how I've been conditioned to assimilate to certain European cultural practices that I can never truly be a part of by de facto. This book is a must read for those who study topics of race relations, cultural studies, and Black/African/Afro-Caribbean history.

My only negative comment is that I wish Fanon would have devoted real time to looking at the
Sep 24, 2012 Dusty rated it liked it
There is plenty to critique in this book, and I think the urge to critique is heightened by the author's ubiquity.

For one, Fanon is deeply misogynist and homophobic. He writes that it is in refusing to acknowledge the black man that the white man strips him of his subjectivity, and yet he writes nary a word about the black woman. The greatest irony of the book is that the chapter entitled "The Woman of Color and the White Man" is really a chapter about how black men perceive black women, and it
What is there to say? Purely and simply this: When a bachelor of philosophy from the Antilles refuses to apply for certification as a teacher on the ground of his color, I say that philosophy has never saved anyone. When someone else strives and strains to prove to me that black men are as intelligent as white men, I say that intelligence has never saved anyone; and that is true, for, if philosophy and intelligence are invoked to proclaim the equality of men, they have also been employed t
Aug 01, 2007 Francesca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
fanon takes psychoanalysis, phenomenology, and his incredible mind and goes amazing places; evades being bogged down by psychoanalytic dogma, while using its concepts to tease out a living constellation of power relations and problems of race and representation. so apt and agile and fascinating that it gets my 5 stars despite its raging sexism, ablism, homophobia.

The first lines are just stunning.

"The explosion will not happen today. It is too soon... or too late.
I did not come with timeles
Odi Shonga
Feb 08, 2014 Odi Shonga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must-read for any young person of colour who has found himself existentially agitated by, what one might call, his "condition". I don't mean that in a negative, medical sense; I mean it as in any condition, like the human condition. It's simply false to imply that it means nothing to be coloured in a post-colonial world. We can agree that it shouldn't mean anything, but it does, and so we have to grapple with that, and Frantz Fanon is a good way in.

It's written elegantly and it's
"I am black; I am in total fusion with the world, in sympathetic affinity with the earth, losing my id in the heart of the cosmos... I am black, not because of a curse, but because my skin has been able to capture all the cosmic effluvia. I am truly a drop of sun under the earth.” (p. 27)~ Thus Fanon reaches into the experience and meaning of the black man's alienation.

This alienation strikes in an essential sense--it stems from the denial of the black man's very flesh: "The black man is attack
Apr 12, 2014 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a black man, reading Fanon has had a profound, almost revolutionary impact on me. When I think about the past and how things were and how far we have come I shed tears of remorse for those of whom have fallen victim, been destroyed, been hated, been cast out, been taught to self hate,under the condescending eye of the white man.

But again as an individual, as an intellectual, and as a Christian there are principles that have come to define the philosophy I live by. Indicated by three simple ma
Jul 12, 2008 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone without much formal training in psychology or sociology, and (more significantly) as a white middle-class male, it difficult for me to find a comfortable vantage from which to discuss this book -- and perhaps that uneasiness is part of the point.

Fanon's exegesis of the impact of colonialism on colonized peoples, and the psychological displacement and cultural violence that arises from such interactions, is compelling and exact. Although his interpretations largely stem from a fairly
Aug 01, 2008 Alan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
On summary comparison, it's hard to overstate how bloodless and jilted the 2008 (Richard Philcox)translation seems next to to the 1967 Charles Lam Markmann. I don't speak French. However, I do read English. If Markmann's version is only so beautiful and compelling because he's taken liberties, I might be able to live with that. The worse accusation might be aimed at Philcox: has he made Fanon more staid and classical in attempts to make him feel more canonical? Isn't that kind of like
Jan 04, 2012 Ricado rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fanon remains one of my all time favorite writers. I was reading Blacks Skin, White Masks to compare how much things have really change in relation to the conditions of black people or people of color on a world scale. The only conclusion from reading this book is that the more things change the more they stay the same. Fanon had a deep insight into the psychological impact of racism and white supremacy on black people. In the case of South Africa black people remain a psychological minority , d ...more
Karlo Mikhail
A rambling mix of psychoanalytic discourse, philosophical insights, literary prowess, and righteous indignation against racism. But its wide range is as much its strength as well as its weakness. We have strong points every now and then. Yet this is drowned by an author grappling with the impacts of white oppression over the blacks but without clearly teasing out the corollary course of action. This is best read as an early work rather than a canon that defines Fanon. The weaknesses inthis work ...more
Oct 04, 2016 Subashini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is a wound. it is a seminal text in (to borrow from berger) ways of seeing--and, along with audre lorde's sister outsider, it taught me about the uses of anger.
Hanan Alzu'bi
Jun 05, 2012 Hanan Alzu'bi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رائع رغم صعوبته خاصة بالانجليزية، فانون متقدم عن عصره بمراحل وعن عصرنا ربما، ينصح به.
Oct 09, 2008 Ana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that I've always been skeptical of the works of psychology. I think it has to do with how we met (first incarnated in my high-school psychologist that was mainly concern in showing us how to use a pad and latter in my stereotype of female psychology undergrads always fashionably uniformed).

But, my late readings of books or articles that use either psychological or psychoanalytical theories have proof me wrong. It is time to let those images go. No prior judgment. Psychosis is eve
Mohammed Abujayyab
This book is incredibly honest and would put Sartre's introduction to "The Wretched of the Earth" in context. If you don't want to go through the whole book; the introduction, the first chapter and the conclusion make the case about "the Black destiny" being "White". The most emotionally charged chapter for me that is worth coming back to more than once is the fifth. While many folks refer to this book and its central theme of psychoanalysis, I don't find the content as important as the emotiona ...more
May 04, 2016 Nat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has taken me a whole year to read this book (although I read several chapters several times over the course of the past year). What an important phenomenological countering of Hegel, a necessary racialization of Freud, Lacan, et al; definite sexism and perhaps essentializing in the attempt to display the psychological/phenomenological conditions of the Black individual, but nonetheless, a truly important work for understanding the actual embodied experience of racism.

Using the "Look, A Negro!
Abimelech Abimelech
I am a little busy right now but this another fucking great book. I actually do want to write a thorough review on it but if you look hard enough you can find the brilliant text charitably pasted online without much effort. The introduction alone is Melvillean hair-standing immortal kind of proclamation. This year is off to such a great start reading-wise in the face of this savage blizzard. I hope the academic courses and other secret courses go equally as planned. I feel like a piece of shit f ...more
Rianna Jade
Nov 13, 2013 Rianna Jade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: identity
I really won't do this justice so I won't be bother, but I'll remind you to be critical especially when reading the chapters on the 'MOC and the white woman' and 'WOC and the white man'.
Andrea Streva
Oct 04, 2016 Andrea Streva rated it really liked it
O livro é um acontecimento.

Vemos alguém que se levanta e bate na mesa, que decide fazer algo em relação à opressão vivida cotidianamente. Confesso que não sou fã de localizar o debate no meio psiquiatrico, mas acredito que o livro se deu nesse meio porque foi necessário que assim o fosse. A força da escrita de Fanon é algo impressionante, por muitas vezes me peguei emocionada e capaz de uma espécie de alteridade radical.

Não pude deixar de notar, entretanto, o tratamento desigual dado à vivênci
Oct 04, 2016 Subashini rated it it was amazing
Not sure why I originally gave this four stars. Was reading parts of it the other day and it deserves all of the stars, obviously.
I remember reading The Wretched of the Earth doing research for a paper in college and I remember it resonating somehow, though I would be pressed to cite any details now. Black Skin, White Masks is another one of those books that was on my to-read radar for a long time. I finally bought it. And it has some power of resonance, with its acute description of the bind that colonialism puts the colonized subject into, mentally as much as culturally. It's a bit harder nowadays to find outright champi ...more
Mar 29, 2008 Huyen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: renee
Recommended to Huyen by: chris lamonica
Not easy, but irresistible. In fact, some parts of it are very difficult to understand because they require a certain amount of understanding of psychoanalysis. The book is merely 200 pages but it took me a handsome 7 hours because there were some lines I had to read up to 5 times to finally grasp. Some parts are very random with a combination of excerpts from many different authors and don't follow a clear structure, which makes it a bit hard to follow. Some chapters feel like prose,
Deborah Palmer
May 25, 2009 Deborah Palmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. Some say his books are difficult to read but despite some of the medical/psychiatric termingologies he was always on point and what he writes is still relevant in today's world. He is a fantastic writer whose analogies and stories resonant with the 21st century reader.

Surprisingly I read Black Skin White Masks in two days. I had heard that this was a difficult book to read and understand but I did not have any trouble with it. Mr. Fanon did use plenty of medical terminologies how
Jul 23, 2012 Gina rated it liked it
This book took me a little while to get through as I don't study a lot of psychology or philosophy and Fanon frequently references authors such as Sartre, Hegel, Mannoni, Césaire (a poet, but I don't read his work), etc. I really, really did not like chapter six where Fanon presents arguments from multiple psychoanalysts like Freud, Adler, and Jung. I just thought that was all unnecessary as Fanon provides it for the sake of a dialectical argument (you get to read all about repressed homosexuali ...more
Meghan Moloney
Black Skin White Masks confused the hell out of me when I read it in second-year English lit. It was one of my first experiences with literary criticism and also with semiotics and the theories of difference and orientalism. We read it contextually along with Edward Said and Jacques Derrida. The previous semester I'd been introduced to and bewildered by Foucault, Judith Butler, and Lacan in my women's studies course, which was taught by an English professor - luckily for me, because those theori ...more
Derek Wiltshire
There is a lot in here I do not agree with. And the things I do agree with do not seem very insightful or mind blowing observations. I think it's my fault for trying to apply his theories to the black West Africans I see around me. It just doesn't work. He can also be very vague at times. He will propose an idea and not follow it through to its logical conclusion. It's almost like these undeveloped ideas are just supposed to adorn the "bigger" ones he is more focussed on. Even though he takes a ...more
Ralowe Ampu
Feb 27, 2016 Ralowe Ampu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
it's a fucking joy reading this with other black people. i felt like oprah bread everyday, millions and more. i read the translation that had the fact edited back out, and if the colorline is that factual exteriority beyond how or what blackness feels or is, the hashtag of external mattering shattering this mass-mediated social present, then otherwise must be or approach a collaborative becoming in black elsewheres. fanon's culmination of our queer futural absconding remains critical in canonica ...more
It was a truly liberating experience. The passion and poetry that he puts into his logic is breath-taking. Even though he uses some real heavies of the radical canon: Sartre, Freud-based work, Adler, Hegel, Cesaire, and Marx, his work is totally original and still feels intellectually fresh in terms of how he takes on racism. He drops some references that were new to me which I will definitely look up. There are some things specifically dealing with women that are definitely dated. Also, he deal ...more
Cullen Enn
Do Hoteps pretend to be followers of Fanon, and this work in particular? If so, have they ever read the last chapter? Or do they just quote the homophobic parts of this book?

Confession: i've had this on my shelf for almost *twenty* years but had previously only read a few pages. I was inspired to give it a go after seeing Lewis Gordon's amazing talk a few weeks back - and wanted to actually engage *this* text before engaging *him* engaging *it*.

I agree with all comments regarding Fanon's outrigh
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Goodreads Librari...: Merge books 3 41 Sep 13, 2016 03:53PM  
Hiding Behind Your Skin: Onwuegbute Vs Fanon 2 41 Dec 06, 2012 05:51AM  
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Frantz Fanon was a psychiatrist, philosopher, revolutionary, and author from Martinique. He was influential in the field of post-colonial studies and was perhaps the pre-eminent thinker of the 20th century on the issue of decolonization and the psychopathology of colonization. His works have inspired anti-colonial liberation movements for more than four decades.

فرانز فانون

طبيب نفسانيّ وفيلسوف اجتم
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“Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are
presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new
evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is
extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it
is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize,
ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.”
“I am black; I am in total fusion with the world, in sympathetic affinity with the earth, losing my id in the heart of the cosmos -- and the white man, however intelligent he may be, is incapable of understanding Louis Armstrong or songs from the Congo. I am black, not because of a curse, but because my skin has been able to capture all the cosmic effluvia. I am truly a drop of sun under the earth.” 146 likes
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