Lewis R. Gordon's Fear of Black Consciousness is a groundbreaking account of Black consciousness by a leading philosopher
In this original and penetrating work, Lewis R. Gordon, one of the leading scholars of Black existentialism and anti-Blackness, takes the reader on a journey through the historical development of racialized Blackness, the problems this kind of consciousness produces, and the many creative responses from Black and non-Black communities in contemporary struggles for dignity and freedom. Skillfully navigating a difficult and traumatic terrain, Gordon cuts through the mist of white narcissism and the versions of consciousness it perpetuates. He exposes the bad faith at the heart of many discussions about race and racism not only in America but across the globe, including those who think of themselves as "color blind." As Gordon reveals, these lies offer many white people an inherited sense of being extraordinary, a license to do as they please. But for many if not most Blacks, to live an ordinary life in a white-dominated society is an extraordinary achievement.
Informed by Gordon's life growing up in Jamaica and the Bronx, and taking as a touchstone the pandemic and the uprisings against police violence, Fear of Black Consciousness is a groundbreaking work that positions Black consciousness as a political commitment and creative practice, richly layered through art, love, and revolutionary action.
“Lewis Gordon’s expansive philosophical engagement with the current moment—its histories and globalities, its politics and protests, its visual and sonic cultures—reminds us that the ultimate aim of Black freedom quests is, indeed, universal liberation.” —Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies at University of California, Santa Cruz
“Reading Fear of Black Consciousness had me nodding so often and so vigorously, I got a mild case of whiplash. With surgical precision, laser-sharp wit, and the eye of an artist, Lewis R. Gordon doesn’t just dissect race, racism, and racial thinking; he also offers a clarion call to embrace Black consciousness, to take political responsibility for decolonizing and transforming the world as it is.” —Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
Fear of Black Consciousness by Lewis R. Gordon
Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2022