Response One to “Criteria of Negro Art” Essay

717 Words Sep 21st, 2012 3 Pages
Response One to “Criteria of Negro Art” W. E. B. Dubois’s Criteria of Negro art leaves me with mixed feelings. At times I find his arguments compelling, at others bitter, dichotomous, and overly idealistic, yet throughout I find oftentimes found his prose refreshingly clear and at times even beautiful. In addition, the essay seems to have a sense of urgency to achieve a purity of expression, an external form to manifest the internal latent “Beauty in Black,” an ideal to my mind at least, reminiscent of the ancient Greeks who sought to emulate the metaphysical archetypes of truth, beauty, and goodness. Nevertheless, then as now, art is also business, fraught with financial constraints and racial biases to this day.
While Dubois
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So, while he seems to allow for such aesthetic dichotomy within himself, het appears to demand otherwise from artists of his own ethnic origins.
The aforementioned are perhaps his most compelling arguments consist of the fact that, yes, race with its often concurrent circumstances, can and do limit options not only for the artist but art appreciation. Secondly, I think he is right when he relates the ultimate futility of materialism; however, I doubt that African-Americans, by virtue of the past, are any less susceptible to these phenomena than their white counterparts. Indeed, even when the United States elected an African-American President, while a turning point in American history, it didn’t automatically herald a Golden Age of enlightenment. If anything it was an anticlimax; it merely revealed that revealed people are not their skin colors; and that we still have the same issue no matter what race or gender resides in the oval office. Want to change the world? Every marketing company seems to know how, if they say that everyone who is “with it” has forsaken dial-up for high-speed internet, then sooner or later people will buy into that ethos and spend accordingly. Ditto: a product or service that vendors claim will improve how we or others perceive ourselves as individuals. As recent
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