Writing Out Loud: Black Skin, White Masks

Frantz Fanon’s two most important works–Black Skin, White Masks and Wretched of the Earth–contain some of the most powerful prose you may ever come across in a social theory class. In Black Skin, White Masks, Fanon looks at the insidious role language plays in the subjugation of the colonized. Answer the following questions after completing the reading.

Theme: Shifting the Paradigm


  1. What do you think Fanon means when he writes that speaking is to take on “the weight of a civilization,” and what does it mean when someone is forced to take on the language that is not his own?
  2. According to Fanon, what does it mean to be human?
  3. Like Du Bois, Beauvoir, and others, Fanon is struck by the power of binary categories in shaping the lived experience. Compare and constrast Fanon’s point about the “two dimensions” of the colonized and DuBois’s concept of double-consciousness. How are these concepts similar, and how do they differ?
Back To Top