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Black Skin, White Masks

In Black Skin, White Masks, Frantz Fanon analyzes the black psyche in the midst of a white dominated culture. The book is half manifesto for overcoming racial expression and half psychological analysis as Fanon presents vignettes drawn from his personal experiences while attending school in France where he studied medicine and psychiatry. The episodes of the book are designed to show that a racist culture does not allow full psychological health to emerge in the culture it is oppressing, in this case the white colonizers and the black colonized. Fanon presents examples based on his personal experiences as well as discussing the theories of other psychologists in an effort to show that when a people are ripped away from their own natural identity (i.e., their own native culture) they suffer an inferiority complex when placed into the middle of the superior culture. Fanon believes that the black man basically must adopt a white mask in order to become a real human being to the oppressive culture. He believes the most powerful method for achieving this is to adopt the language of the oppressive culture, but one is not only adopting a different tongue in so doing, they are also adopting the culture and ideological norms of it, “To speak…means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization” (Fanon 17). However, as Fanon unravels his analysis and vignettes has makes us understand that black is not any more than white is. Every language is a tool through which a culture expresses its values, norms and collective identity. Thus, before all men can be free, Fanon argues that they must move beyond “being” because regardless of a specific language or culture a man still possesses the ability to search, to demand and to remain free. The book presents the experiences from Fanon’s personal life which have validated this contention in his mind and it also examines the ways in which the colonizer/colonized...

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Black Skin, White Masks. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 22:53, November 12, 2018, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1685117.html