DuBois' mature vision was a reconcilation of the "sense of double consciousness" - the "two warring ideals" of being both black and American. He came to accept struggle and conflict as essential elements of life, but he continued to believe in the inevitable progress of the human race - that out of individual struggles against a divided self and political struggles of the oppressors, a broader and fuller human life would emerge that would benefit all of mankind (Kerry W.).
The next aspect of double consciousness consists of the rejection of African Americans by white Americans and institutions. Blacks are forced to live in America, but at the same time, are not considered “true” Americans and are separated by the veil that DuBois talks about. DuBois first feels this rejection when a little girl at his school rejected his card for no reason other than his skin color. He asks, “Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house?” (Dubois 896). He describes opportunities for blacks as “relentlessly narrow, tall, and unscalable to sons of night” (896) giving the impression that a
Dubois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. UMDrive. The University of Memphis. N.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2014.
DuBois's story "The Veil" shows a concept that is visible on many levels. The veil can be seen as the literal darker skin of the black people, which is an easy way to identitify any race from any other race. This physical trait allows for discrimination solely because it is the easiest thing to point out. The veil also explores the idea of the White's lack of acceptance of Blacks as Americans, let alone "real" Americans. The veil also covers the notion of the Blacks' inability to see themselves outside of what America (White Americans) had described them as.
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B Dubois is a influential work in African American literature and is an American classic. In this book Dubois proposes that "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line." His concepts of life behind the veil of race and the resulting "double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others," have become touchstones for thinking about race in America. In addition to these lasting concepts, Souls offers an evaluation of the progress of the races and the possibilities for future progress as the nation entered the twentieth century.
DuBois’ double-consciousness is quite simply the twoness of American Negroes. It is this sense of “always looking at one’s self through the
W.E.B. Dubois was the rivaling civil rights leader during the early 20th century. W.E.B. Dubois believed that through political action and education, full-citizenship of African Americans in America would be achieved. At first, he agreed with Booker T. Washington’s teachings, however through time Dubois realized flaws within Washington’s ideas. Dubois, in “Soul of Black Folk” writes, “The black men of America have a duty to perform, a duty stern and delicate, -- a forward movement to oppose a part of the work of their greatest leader. So far as Mr. Washington peaches
Dubois writings, unlike Washington’s writings survived aging and sounds modern. Both Dubois and Washington, however, wanted the best for their people, both were sincerely engaged in racial uplift, and therefore in the end neither was “right” or “wrong.” Indeed, Washington’s ideas fitted the era that he lived in and Dubois ideas the future.
“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.” (Dubois)
During a time period when slavery had finally come to an end, African Americans still struggled as their opportunities for equality were next to nonexistent. In this time of hardship and unfair treatment, not many of those facing these adversities had the courage to speak out on their beliefs for change; Booker T. Washington and WEB Dubois, however, did not possess such fears — both thoroughly articulated their opinions and stood for what they believed was right. Booker T. Washington and WEB Dubois shared a few commonalities — both men were highly educated, for example, as well as they both expressed strong opposition against segregation. Washington’s Up from Slavery: An Autobiography and Dubois’
Throughout the second chapter of DuBois book The Souls of Black Folk, the author goes deeper into relations between white and black people, he describes their daily interactions, it is important to notice here that these encounters between the two races always have been under the control of white people and that the blacks have at all times been under white rule, which left the suppressed people, the black folk, extremely vulnerable to violence and a slave like environment still exists although slavery had been abolished years ago. The interactions and relations between white and black extend further than in previous years whilst slavery still existed, the interactions and relations now extend into a political and economic level as too previously it was illegal for blacks to own anything. Now there are wealthy white and black families or entities yet the wealthy ones do not interact and live apart geographically, whilst the poor population, white or black, lives in the immediate vicinity. It is very evident to DuBois that there was a development of social facts that occurred throughout the time, black people identified themselves as lesser and subordinate to white people and this social fact delegated the social interactions in the time, for example the fact that almost every black person in the
The souls of black folks is an American classic written by W.E.B. Dubois in this book Dubois touches on many sensitive subjects that is plaguing the African American community dating far back to the times of his father’s fathers. As Karl Max was the father of social conflict theory Dubois is the father of race conflict theory which today in our era is common among black males and white police officers.
He says that there is a lot of culture from the black people in America that should be shared amongst the country and the same should be shared for the culture of white people. The races could learn from each other if they just work together and exist side by side. DuBois wants the black people to be taught academics more thoroughly so that the black people can get into government and make a change to the strive that one day American can be a country of two races. “Patience, Humility, Manners, and Taste, common schools and kindergartens, industrial and technical schools, literature and tolerance, -all these spring from knowledge and culture, the children of the university. So must men and nations build, not otherwise, not upside down.” DuBois (pg. 269). Washington did not grow up like DuBois and so he did not learn the same things early on as DuBois did. DuBois states that the things that Washington is teaching to the students at Tuskegee are things that one should learn in “common school”. However, Washington did not go to “common school” and most students in the area of Tuskegee there is no “common school” those students are from the poorest part of the country and DuBois just has no idea what level of improvement Washington has done for those people and that
J., Borer, M. I., & Macgregor, L. C. 2015, p. 79). Dubois wanted to understand why there was such a difference in the way that African American members of society had difficulty in blending and becoming part of the culture. He found out that the drastic difference between how white and black citizens were treated led to him discovering that “Poverty, crime, and prejudice were intricately linked to both social structure and social interactions” (Monti, D. J., Borer, M. I., & Macgregor, L. C. 2015, p. 79). Dubois also discovered that the treatment of a person depended on the lightness or darkness of their skin, he believed that those who were in the higher classes had the obligation to help those who were struggling, but he thought that both parties had to work together in order to make things better for everyone. This idea that he had was considered to be a “civilized city”. I believe that Dubois would say that civic engagement is necessary in order to make our communities better. I think that his ideas are still relevant in today's society, and is used in planning for building cities. For example, parks are a
The racial issues and discrimination in the twentieth century were absurd. Although there were advocates for racial equality and rehabilitation after slavery, there were still many struggles. During this time period because African Americans were not given well deserved rights granted by the 14th AMendment, therefore, they were not able to live up to their full potential. They often had to work extra hard to get basic needs such as education, jobs, and even a place to live. In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B DuBois claims “The problem of the Twentieth Century was the color line,” meaning that there was a clear division of race during this time (DuBois v). The book provides a number of essays which all convey the issue of African American discrimination. It starts off explaining the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation, 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments, and Freedmen's Bureau. Then it goes into DuBois´ personal experience with racial discrimination and the things he views around him. DuBois moves around different locations of America showing how even thought they were different in many ways they all kept one thing in common - African American were not treated equality. Therefore, W.E.B. DuBois’ purpose is to show the issue of racial discrimination of this time period and the effect it has on people, places, and history, and how a lot of the time they were given false hope. It also gave African Americans pride and something to believe in even though society was against them.