' Confessions Of A Nice Negro Or Why I Shaved My Head?

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In 1863 the emancipation proclamation was signed giving African American citizens the right to vote. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act passed outlawing discrimination based on, among other qualities, race. Although progress in racial equality is evident, its slower than many assume. W.E.B. Du Bois (p.373) lamented, “The Nation has not yet found peace from its sins; the freedman has not yet found in freedom his promised land.” America’s culture of racial stereotyping and hidden racism is explored in Robin D. G. Kelly’s essay “Confessions of a nice negro, or why I shaved my Head”, and complimented by Du Bois’s pioneering theories regarding the color line, the veil, double consciousness, and standpoint epistemology found in “The Souls of Black folk” and “The Souls of White Folk.”
Kelly describes his experience with two interdependent African American stereotypes, the “prototype of violent hypermasculinity” (Kelly p.315) and the “Nice Negro”. The potent reactions Kelly receives when he veers into situations where he is stereotyped with black male violence highlight Du Bois’s concept of the color line. Du Bois (p. 374) states, “But the facing of so vast a prejudice could not but ring the inevitable self-questioning, self-disparagement, and lowering of ideals which ever accompany repression and breed in an atmosphere of contempt and hate.” Stereotypes are pervasive and infiltrate even those they disparage. Kelly (p.315) relates his high school girlfriend’s reaction to his “nice guy”

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