Fear of Black Consciousness
Author: Lewis R. Gordon
Lewis R. Gordon’s Fear of Black Consciousness is a groundbreaking account of Black consciousness by a leading philosopher.
Fear of Black Consciousness is an original and a bold intervention in the cultural and political conversation about systemic racism. Lewis R. Gordon, one of the leading scholars of Black existentialism and antiblackness, takes the reader on a journey through the historical development of racialized blackness, the problems racialization produces, and the many creative responses from black and nonblack communities in contemporary struggles for dignity and freedom.
As he skillfully navigates the difficult and traumatic terrain, Gordon cuts through the mist of white narcissism and the versions of consciousness it perpetuates. He illuminates the different forms of invisibility that define black life, and he exposes the bad faith at the heart of many discussions about race and racism, not only in North America but also across the globe, including in countries where discussants regard themselves as “colorblind.” Gordon reveals that these lies about race and its supposed irrelevance confer upon many white people an inherited sense of being extraordinary. More than being privileged or entitled, they act with a license to do as they please. But for many if not most blacks, living an ordinary life in a white-dominated society is an extraordinary achievement.
Informed by Gordon’s upbringing in Jamaica and the Bronx, and taking as touchstones the pandemic and the uprisings against police violence, Fear of Black Consciousness is a groundbreaking book that positions Black consciousness as a political commitment and creative practice, richly layered through art, love, and revolutionary action. It is sure to provoke, challenge, and inspire.