Black Skin, White Masks

Black Skin, White Masks Glossary

Abandonment Neurotic

A psychopathology in which people who are used to being abandoned by people they trust come to feel compulsively inferior.


The property of having agency. An actional person is someone who has the power to act in the world instead of being passive in it.


An emotional intensity, such as aggression or fear, that certain situations can intensify.


In Black Skin, White Masks, “the biological” refers to the bodily functions of the human species, in particular the means of sexual reproduction. When Fanon says Black people are reduced to the biological, he means they are seen primarily as sexual beings, rather than thinking or feeling people.

Bodily Schema

A sense of one’s body.


The processing of purging pent-up feelings, especially negative ones like anger.

Dependency Complex

A psychological condition in which people feel inferior and naturally submit to the power of others because they think they deserve to be ruled over.


A relation between two opposed identities or things, such as the dialectic of the master and slave.


Abnormally excitably. Hyper-sensitive and easily excited.


The sphere of sexual reproduction. Black people, according to Fanon, are a symbol of the genital, which means their bodies are reduced just to the parts that correspond to sexual reproduction.


The process of coming to believe social ideologies, for instance when Black people internalize the ways in which society says Blackness is inferior and therefore start to feel inferior themselves.


Something missing, psychologically, in a person.


The process of becoming whiter, from the word for milk.

Master and Slave

A dialectic that structures a relation of recognizing superiority and inferiority in white and Black people.


A person suffering from a psychopathology.


A neurosis in which people constantly repeat the same thing over and over, as when Black people, in Fanon’s account, obsessively seek white lovers.

Oedipus complex

In psychoanalysis, an unconscious sexual desire on the part of children for their parents.


A symbol of the penis and therefore a symbol of sexuality.


A psychological problem or neurosis.


The process of being seen by the Other.