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Black Skin, White Masks

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  7,820 Ratings  ·  290 Reviews
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, ...more
Hardcover, New Edition, 224 pages
Published August 20th 2008 by Pluto 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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Bookdragon 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
May 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
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
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
Odi Shonga
Feb 08, 2014 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
Aug 01, 2007 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
Monika Singh
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"O my body, make of me always a man who questions!"
To an extent, a liberating and poignant experience.
Apr 12, 2014 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
"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
Jul 12, 2008 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 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
haunting and rightfully paranoid thought on anti-blackness as "psycho-existential structure", and for a psych h8r like myself an inspired bit of disciplinary criticism (from the vantage of the behaviourist turn, eyeing both philosophy and methods, with an absolutely cutting bit on adlerian psychoanalysis as a way of laundering and privatising general dishonour towards the end) and an example of what fanon himself calls "methodological dereliction". analysis at the tempo of emergency

a puzzle- dem
Mar 19, 2008 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
Dec 26, 2011 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
Hanan Alzu'bi
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
رائع رغم صعوبته خاصة بالانجليزية، فانون متقدم عن عصره بمراحل وعن عصرنا ربما، ينصح به.
Karlo Mikhail
Jul 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
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
Kawtar Morchid
Mar 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, race-ethnicity
Rien à dire excepté que ce livre était difficile et ennuyeux. J'ai eu du mal à comprendre les idées de l'auteur. Le récit est submergé de misogynie, de généralisations et de contradictions. Apparemment, cet oeuvre n'est connu que pour le fait qu'il soit l'un des premiers à aborder des sujets compliqués tels que l'identité noire et le problème du classicisme des races, mais c'est pas le meilleur qu'il en soit.
Mar 21, 2008 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
Apr 20, 2009 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
Sep 30, 2008 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
Feb 27, 2016 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
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
Apr 21, 2014 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!
J.W. Dionysius Nicolello
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
Jul 22, 2012 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'.
Apr 14, 2015 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.
Brandon Prince
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ten stars
Scriptor Ignotus
Though written in the context of the colonial relationship between black Africans and the European metropoles, I found Black Skin, White Masks to be of enduring interest and relevancy to the historical situation of African-Americans in the United States as well. Full of spirited writing and references to Existentialist philosophy and psychoanalysis, Fanon discusses the deep-rooted pathologies that he perceives to be at work among blacks and whites alike in colonial or post-colonial societies.
Some of his ideas are genuinely fascinating, but you have to wade through so much difficult, confusing prose before getting to them.
Gabriel Azevedo
so firstly id like to say that i highly disagree with fanons assessment of white women who 'desire to be raped', be it because of his own misogyny or because he looks at white womens behavior through the lens of freudian psychology, but i think that has absolutely no place in any leftist's worldview regardless of race. plus, its just wrong. im not an expert on psychology but the idea that womens neuroses are a result of psychological concerns and not material ones is unmarxist but most of all fu ...more
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#BecauseWeveRead: May BOTM: Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon 1 5 May 10, 2018 09:26AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Merge books 3 43 Sep 13, 2016 03:53PM  
Hiding Behind Your Skin: Onwuegbute Vs Fanon 2 41 Dec 06, 2012 05:51AM  
  • Discourse on Colonialism
  • The Colonizer and the Colonized
  • The Location of Culture
  • The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness
  • Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference - New Edition
  • Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition
  • Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest
  • Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature
  • A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present
  • Culture and Imperialism
  • Colonialism / Postcolonialism
  • Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism
  • Black Looks: Race and Representation
  • How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society
  • Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s
  • The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution
  • Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
  • Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule
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
More about Frantz Fanon

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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.” 188 likes
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