Book Review – Black Skin White Masks [Author] [Institution] Black Skin White Masks The book Black Skin White Masks was penned by a French philosopher, psychiatrist and revolutionary literature writer Frantz Fanon. The book was originally published in French language with the title Peau noire, masques blancs in 1952 and in 1967 the book was again published in English language…
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Fanon felt disorientated in the French society because of being part of a colonized family. He encountered French racism during different phases of his life that ultimately worked to shape his psychological theories about racism and culture. The book reflects the personal observations and experiences of the author himself and could truly be regarded as a representative of the era and place where it was written. The book also indicates the psychological conditions, disturbance and annoyance of the author who felt dejected in the white dominating society. The book was written in 1950s and it explicitly describes the feelings of the minorities and oppressed groups in the white dominating societies that decided to put on the white masks in order to an acceptable part of the white society. In the book, the author reflects his own experiences and life incidents to illustrate the sorrow felt by the colonized groups when they have to overlook their own mother culture to adopt the white culture and in turn they become socially and culturally perplexed. The book presents detailed analysis of the feelings of the blacks and reflects their problems experienced at that time. However, it is also a fact that the book and analysis presented in the book could not be limited to that specific time period and nation only but the feelings and psychology of the oppressed nation described in the book is applicable to various groups like Palestine, Tamils and African Americans even today. The book was intended to convey the message to the colonial as well as colonized nations of the world however it is also a fact that it remained obscure for some decades after its first publication. However, in 1980s the book got the attention of the masses as an anti-colonial and anti-racist book. The book became more popular in the English speaking countries whereas it remained relatively minor work in the French speaking countries though the book was actually written in connection with French society and intended to convey messaged to the French speaking people. Fanon writes about the book and its reception by the people that Why write this book? No one has asked me for it. Especially those to whom it is directed1 In the book the author has used the theoretical base for the description and analysis of these feelings and experiences of the blacks living in the white dominating world. He adopts a sympathetic attitude towards the blacks and tells about their miseries that they faced after losing their cultural originality. He tells that the blacks developed inferiority complex because they were departed from mother lands and its culture and this complex also compel them towards imitating the cultural codes of the white colonizers. The blacks living in better socioeconomic conditions especially adopted the strategy of acquiring the features of white culture to make their selves familiar with the society and surrounding environment. The book presented detailed views of the author regarding the colonization of the African lands by the white people. The book is based upon the thesis that the oppression of the nations compels them towards certain unwanted ways and they have to make some difficult and indisposed decision according to the requirement of the situation. The colonialism changes the psychology of the nations and the oppressed nat
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The fundamental idea is therefore to make the reader have a historical understanding to how issues of White discrimination against Black started. From the nature of presentation of issues in these chapters, it is clear the writer chose these fundamental ideas as a way of leading the reader to better understanding the broader issue of discrimination that was at stake, ahead for the reader to uncover.
The pull to be an individual especially felt by blacks and others was an effort to claim one’s humanity, by not being marked by race or gender. It was an effort to become, or pass for , the white male1. Frantz Fanon also
This is because all men are believed to be considering the cases of race as an element in their lives. It is also difficult for some people in the society to always consider the aspect or theory of race not knowing that practice and theory rarely coincide. The Black Athena revolves around the contexts of anthropology, Egyptology, linguistics, history of science and the ancient history.
One thing for a fact is that, most books on race and ethnicity talk of the same issues on equality between the human race and different ethnic communities. In effect, a reader should be forgiven if they did not pick such books to form part of their read since reiteration of
However, these criticisms do not diminish the important contribution made by Fanon for a deeper analysis would reveal the sexual relations and tensions between white men and women and black men and women. Fanon's work revealed that the roots of black-white as well as male-female conflict run deep in our collective histories.
"The difference between the black subject who passes as white and the white subject who passes as white is not then an essential difference which implies that blackness or whiteness simply exist before passing. Rather, it is a structural difference that demonstrates that passing involves the re-opening or re-staging of a fractured history," Ahmed (1999, p.81).
Dealing specifically with the problems inherent in language and culture, Fanon argues that the black man can only define himself negatively "in relation to the white man"; he is forced to exist in several senses simultaneously corresponding to the roles in which he is cast (Fanon 2002, 333).
The researcher says that the book tries to explore the myth or theory of the human intellectual superiority that extends back to the ancient times of the Greek history. The content of this theory was based on the pillars of racism as shown in the theory of Aryan origins. They were considered as the northern predominantly most civilized people.
At the first reading the article sounds well rounded and the inherent assumptions seem quite without any contradictions. But I am motivated to ask certain counter questions while reading it so as to critique the nature of "white" privilege she assumes to be directly a by-product of nothing but a segregated education of the whites for the whites and also most importantly skin color.
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