Critically Assess Du Bois 's Conception Of Double Consciousness
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Critically assess Du Bois’s conception of double consciousness. Can double consciousness be dissolved and, if so, how?
This essay will firstly outline exactly what the Du Boisian concept of double consciousness is, before critically assessing Du Bois’s thoughts and evaluate if his theory of double consciousness is something which can be dissolved. I will look at some objections to Du Bois’s double consciousness, paying particular attention to Reed’s complaints of historical contingency. It will be concluded that double consciousness is something that extends far beyond the realm of race and despite increased multiculturalism and diversity, double consciousness is even more present now than it was during the times in which Du Bois was…show more content…
Allen Jr. offers the idea that Du Bois’s concerns appear far narrower, focusing instead on what he considered as conflicts engendered by (unspecified) double thoughts, (equally unspecified) double strivings, (vaguely defined) double aims, and (comparatively well articulated) double ideals.
It is a peculiar sensation, this double‑consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two‑ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.
Here we are able to draw upon Hegelian phenomenology and this overriding feeling that identity is placed upon the Negro through someone else 's conception of them, rather than internal self-recognition. “Self-consciousness exists in and for itself when, and by the fact that, it so exists for another; that is, it exists only in being acknowledged.”
In his talks of double consciousness, a predominant theme for Du Bois is coined as ‘The Veil’, a metaphoric colour line which divides blacks and whites. It was his belief that the colour line did more than deny blacks fair access to jobs, education and opportunity, but weighed so much on their souls that it prevented them from achieving their potential as human