The Souls Of Black Folk, By B Dubois Pioneers Two Concepts That Describe The Black Experience

Decent Essays

In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B DuBois pioneers two concepts that describe the Black experience in America— the notions of “the veil” and “double-consciousness.” The meaning and implication of these words not only describe the plight of being Black and American then, it also refers to what it means to still be Black and American today – the remnants of the past live on. DuBois explains the veil concept in reference to three things: the literal darker skin of Blacks, which is the physical demarcation of the difference from whiteness, white people’s lack of clarity in order to see Blacks as “true” Americans, and lastly Blacks’ lack of clarity to see themselves outside of what white America prescribes for them. The idea of double consciousness refers to the two-ness, caused by our nations flawed and polarized system, felt by many Blacks. I argue that although DuBois was the first to coin these two terms, it is clear through analyzing Uncle Tom’s Cabin and 12 Years a Slave that these two significant concepts gave a name to what African-Americans had been feeling for years but previously could not define.
Slavery established the black body at the bottom of the American social order, and DuBois’ mission was to humanize black people in the eyes of white people – to clarify that these are people, these are human beings, and these are families. In his first essay, he mentions a singular question that most white people want to ask black men. This question is always: "how does it

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