Black Skin White Masks – Frantz Fanon
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 the 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 from one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.”
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 the key and it had a profound effect to the human psyche. To speak the white man’s language is to crush a part of the African heritage. Fanon argues that “to speak is to exist absolutely for the other.’’ Fanon points out that for the black man to be considered equal in the white man’s culture, he must become whiter. This is achieved through a similar education and an acceptance of white culture. And here’s the rub: such a relationship creates a profound inferiority complex for the original culture of the black man; it is, in essence, repressed and destroyed.
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 of Black Skin White Masks are just stunning.
“The explosion will not happen today. It is too soon… or too late.
I did not come with timeless truths.
My consciousness is not illuminated with ultimate radiances.
Nevertheless, in complete composure, I think it would be good if certain things were said.”