Double Consciousness

1491 Words Sep 2nd, 2013 6 Pages
Double Consciousness: An Explanation in Terms of Simmel and Mead
Dr. Muhammed Asadi
SOAN 360- Sociological Theory

The term double consciousness, simply put, refers to the psychological challenge of reconciling an African heritage with a European upbringing and education. Similarly, the term the veil refers to the physical and metaphysical differences between blacks and whites. These expressions originated from an Atlantic Monthly article by W. E. B. Du Bois called “Strivings of the Negro People,” which was later republished and amended under the title “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” in his famous 1903 collection of essays The Souls of Black Folk. It is interesting to note some of the ways Du Bois was ahead of his time. In the
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He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellow, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face.
This means that African American men or women would like their African and American sides to exist in harmony because the two worlds have great lessons to teach each other, like what is promoted by the practice of multiculturalism mentioned earlier.
In “Of Our Spiritual Strivings,” W. E. B. Du Bois framed double consciousness as solely a race issue, although it can be felt in other situations. For instance, this spiritual conflict was also the subject of Georg Simmel 1903 essay “The Metropolis and Mental Life.” He holds that in big cities it is particularly difficult to juggle one’s own background with the influences of modern life. In Simmel’s (2011) own words (113)
The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces, of historical heritage, of external culture, and of the technique of life.
Indeed, these two men are talking about the same phenomenon in different contexts. Du Bois approaches this mental battle from his perspective as a black man, while Simmel
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