W.E.B. Du Bois has contributed greatly to contemporary sociological thinking because he began a conversation of what it means to be “other” in this American Society. In his conversation of what it means to be other he constructed and included three major concepts that continue to resonate till this day. His concepts include “the color-line”, “the veil”, and the “double consciousness” (Appelrouth and Edles, 269). Together, these concepts not only described past experiences of blacks in American society (e.g., slavery) but also continue to remind us that the relation of whites and people of color remains complex. In Du Bois’s own words, “the Nation has not yet found peace from its sins” (273). In his essay, “The Souls of the Black Folk” Du Bois (1903) states that “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line,-the relation of the darker to lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea” (275). According to Appelrouth and Edles (2012: 269) “the color line is both a preexisting social and cultural structure and an internalized attitude”. In addition, they explain that the color line “addresses the historical and institutional (i.e., colonial) dimensions of race” (269). Dr. Garry Rolison professed that when we think of Europe we normally think of whites and their resources which provide them with good living conditions (e.g., abundance of food and potable water). For instance, the royal family lives in Europe and is
Let’s start with the term color line. The term color line was originally used as a reference to the racial segregation that existed in the United States after the abolition of slavery. An article by Frederick Douglass, the 19th century social reformer, orator, and writer, titled "The Color Line" was published in the North American Review in 1881. In that essay, Douglass writes, “Few evils are less accessible to the force of reason, or more tenacious of life and power, than a long-standing prejudice. It is a moral disorder, which creates the conditions necessary to its own existence, and fortifies itself by refusing all contradiction”
The August 1897 issue of the Atlantic Monthly introduced Du Bois to a national audience when it published his article "The Striving of the Negro People”. He begins this article with what he calls “the unasked question” he continually encountered: “How does it feel to be a problem?” Meaning: how does it feel to be black in America after the end of the
George Simmel’s, ‘The Stranger’ and W.E.B. Du Bois’, ‘Souls of Black Folk’ pose very parallel arguments in understanding the role of a ‘stranger’ in society. In Simmel’s work, he examines the trajectory of the stranger through an abstract lens. He establishes a conceptual framework for the ‘stranger’ within society while Du Bois presents a more tangible illustration through the experiences of African Americans in the United States. Although each approach is discrete from the other, the theories behind both arguments are comparable.
In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B DuBois pioneers two concepts that describe the Black experience in America— the notions of “the veil” and “double-consciousness.” The meaning and implication of these words not only describe the plight of being Black and American then, it also refers to what it means to still be Black and American today – the remnants of the past live on. DuBois explains the veil concept in reference to three things: the literal darker skin of Blacks, which is the physical demarcation of the difference from whiteness, white people’s lack of clarity in order to see Blacks as “true” Americans, and lastly Blacks’ lack of clarity to see themselves outside of what white America prescribes for them. The idea of double consciousness refers to the two-ness, caused by our nations flawed and polarized system, felt by many Blacks. I argue that although DuBois was the first to coin these two terms, it is clear through analyzing Uncle Tom’s Cabin and 12 Years a Slave that these two significant concepts gave a name to what African-Americans had been feeling for years but previously could not define.
“The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line-the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea”. As I read through the passages in our text, the most interesting topic that caught my eye right away was about W.E.B. Du Bois. He was one of the social theorists that has remarked on the universal racial order. As mentioned in the above passage, Du Bois did not only talk about racism in the United States, but world-wide.
W.E.B. DuBois, in The Souls of Black Folk describes the very poignant image of a veil between the blacks and the whites in his society. He constructs the concept of a double-consciousness, wherein a black person has two identities as two completely separate individuals, in order to demonstrate the fallacy of these opinions. J.S. Mill also describes a certain fallacy in his own freedom of thought, a general conception of individuals that allows them to accept something similar to DuBois’ double-consciousness and perpetuates the existence of the veil.
Historical archives discovered by Dorman show that colorism had tangible boundaries within the African American community during the 1920s (47). It is stated that blacks often divided themselves into four subcategories which consisted of “black”, “brown”, “light brown”, and “yellow” Negros (Dorman 47). The above ranking would be listed in a hierarchy from “black” being at the bottom of the socially accepted hierarchy to the “yellow negro” being the most revered and desired socially.
As we go about our daily lives and interact with all kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds and different races, we often do not always stop to think of their skin color and the culture they may be from. We are often too busy to really stop and take notice of what is really happening to the lives of the people around us. Two Nations Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal by Andrew Hacker is remarkable book that spells out Andrew Hackers thoughts about the race and the American people. A question one may ask is, do we simply see people and not their color, or do we see black people and white people and does that play a factor in what we do, how we act, and what we say. Hacker claims that we are a country moving toward being two nations, one white and one black. He feels like we will be “Two nations, between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy: who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different time zones, or inhabitants of different planets”(Hacker preface).
It doesn’t take long to figure out that race and ethnicity issues continue to affect America - a quick glance at the news will show the latest riot, hate crime, or police brutality incident. This centuries old struggle has given rise to a number of literary works on the topic, many of which take a different approach to the issue. W.E.B. Du Bois, for instance, published the work The Souls of Black Folk in 1903, arguing for blacks’ right to equality in a horrifically segregated society. In these essays, Du Bois coined the term “double-consciousness,” wherein those with black skin must view the world both from their own perspective, and from the perspective of the predominately white society. The short story Recitatif by Toni Morrison explores this concept through the removal of the characters’ races, and the film Do the Right Thing, directed by Spike Lee, tells a story to demonstrate it. While the former shows double-consciousness through the usage of ambiguity, the latter almost directly references the concept. Taken together, these two sources argue a multi-faceted version double-consciousness, wherein society alienates the characters in ways that go beyond just the color of one’s skin.
W.E.B. Du Bois writes a collection of essays on race, preferably the African American race, entitled The Souls of Black Folks. In the forethought, Du Bois lets the reader know gather together an introduction of the rest of the book. He introduces you to his concept of “the veil” Drawing from his own personal experiences, Du Bois develops a remarkable book on how the world is divided by a color line. The divide being between white and privileged, and black and controlled. I will attempt to break down the thought process of Du Bois during the entirety of this synopsis of chapters 1, 3, and 6.
In our world, many cultures and races are being discriminated, going through pain making them realize their representation within our society. As, W.E.B Du Bois writes in his essay, “The Soul of Black Folks”, he describes how his social group is different. W.E.B Du Bois shows how his social group is being represented as being an African American in many different situations. Creating that sense, of “Double Consciousness,” having to think to himself what his social group experiences on a daily basis due to being African American. W.E.B Du Bois shows African Americans being discriminated, teased, and treated unfairly.
In the 1900’s the U.S. pervaded an inexorable racism. Du Bois wrote “… the strife of all honorable men of the twentieth century to see that in the future competition of races the survival of the fittest shall mean the triumph of the good, the beautiful, and the true”. In January second of 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt closed a post office in a Mississippi’s town because white folks of this town taunted a riot because the new postmaster was an African American woman, Mrs. Minnie Cox. This upheaval is a good illustration of surveillance over African Americans – a concept that goes hand in hand with double-consciousness. Du Bois finish his speech by saying “that we may be able to preserve for future civilization all that is really fine and
The color line a phrase used by the W.E.B. Du Bois to describe a common problem in The United States. This metaphor explains in a very eloquent way of how skin color is often used to determine someone place in society. Often the legal systems represent the best example of this conundrum of the color line.
In today’s century, color-line still exists even though society ignores it or doesn’t talk about the facts, but it still exists behind-the-scene. Though we deny and seek the understanding that color-line does not exist today, color-line is seen in just about anything. For example, the color-line of musicality to fashion and/or the structure of the color-line of class and socioeconomics of what’s “expected” of a certain color-line to have certain things in society compared to others. Nonetheless, it has changed in a Black-White divide because of understanding. Rather than the extreme Black-White divide centuries before our generations, the Black-White divide has changed to understanding the differences; though the divide may still exist, it’s