This reading addressed the idea of “double consciousness” The introduction was though provoking and challenged he reader to think about what race really is. Not only this but is brought up the idea of colorblind racism and people being unaware of the privilege that they have both historically and presently. This reading was also an excerpt of The Souls Of Black Folk by W.E.B. Dubois. He further addresses double consciousness in this book. He expands on the idea of the “freedom” that black people received not being freedom. The weight of ignorance that black people had to endure because of economic and educational barriers was also a point made.
Du Bois uses many different ways to target the reader. His main purpose in “Of Our Spiritual Strivings”, is to educate mistreated Africans American about demanding equality and rights that were promised to them around the time of the Emancipation Proclamation. Du Bois uses different types of literary devices (mostly personifications) and firsthand accounts stories about injustice to make his point to the reader. For example, Du Bois states, “Will America be poorer if she replaces her brutal dyspeptic blundering with light-hearted but determined Negro humility?” (Du Bois 297). Du Bois is making it seem like America is a person that mistreats African Americans. His question is rhetorical. America wouldn’t be poorer if she treated African
During the late nineteenth century, the Reconstruction of the South left many to question his/her individual place in society. After being freed from the bonds of slavery, African Americans struggled to understand their role as citizens of the United States. In the chaos of this time period, new leaders rose up. Two such influential people were Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. Both helped to establish their own ideals concerning the matter of integration. Each of their writings influence society still today as people struggle with the issues of minority in America. The analysis of Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery and W.E.B. DuBois’ “The Souls of Black Folk” can help reader to better understand society’s views towards the acceptance of African Americans, their right to a fair education, and the right to vote. Ultimately, integration of society in america was key in obtaining peace.
In Souls of Black Folk, one of the first analogies made was considering the “veil”. When I first read about the veil, it was confusing to consider what it meant and how it related to the community. However, upon further reading and consideration, the veil is the most accurate description of what was going on racially and socially then and now. Specifically, when he stated that behind the veil, one can see in and out but from outside the veil, you cannot see in, it was accurate because the white Americans of the time were trying to explain something they could not see into. This was impactful now as well due to the fact other want to claim that racism and oppression does not exist but yet have never experienced it. With this in mind, the quote is still inspiring to this day to describe what it is like to be African American and describes how his accuracy and assessment was and still is
Masks hide the truth and obscure the facts. They form a barrier between what is real and what is an illusion. Yet, during from the moment blacks were brought to this continent in chains, to the moment they were granted civil rights in the 1960’s, masks were a method of survival. Another way of life for African Americans was the practice of signifying. Signifying is mostly seen in the black literary tradition as a means for African Americans to take back power from the white through misinformation and deception. In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, masking, and signifying serve as methods of survival for the narrator, as well as ways for malicious outsiders to take advantage of the narrator.
After slavery was ended in the late 1800’s, many African Americans were tasked with the burden of integrating into a society that most of them only knew as servants. This posed a fork in the road for the common African American. Do they assimilate as quietly as possible and learn how to contribute to the American society and economy as a working man? Or do they continue their everlasting fight for even truer equality in America by fighting for voting rights, civil rights, and a higher education opportunity for them and their children? Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois both argued their views on the dilemma that faced their people, with Booker aligning more with the first question and Du Bois associating himself with the second, while refuting Washington’s vision. While opinions different, one could say they both wanted the best for their African brothers and sisters in the New South.
The personification of “the Nation” gives more character to the idea of prejudice, removing the idea of an unknowable entity. Rather, it becomes something that the reader can comprehend and even relate to. Lastly, Du Bois makes an appeal to pathos when he says, “[a]way with the black man’s ballot, by force or fraud,—and behold the suicide of a race!” Suicide is obviously a strong word choice, and in using it, Du Bois makes the readers morbidly connect with the African Americans’ plight at an emotional level. It serves to help the reader understand the impact that prejudice has on African Americans and in doing so again increases the persuasiveness of Du Bois’s argument. In conclusion, Du Bois’s stylistic and content choices, which include word choice, allusion, alliteration, rhetorical questions, personification, and an appeal to pathos, serve to make the main idea in paragraph eleven—that the effects of prejudice are negative and harmful—more
The NAACP’s primary goal during Du Bois’ time was to invalidate the decision of Plessy v. Ferguson. He was fond of Booker T. Washington, mentioned earlier, and many of his own views surrounded the concept of double consciousness. Du Bois believed that as a result of Plessy v. Ferguson African Americans began to judge themselves based on white standards, ultimately leading to the internal acceptance of inferiority. He describes the state of double consciousness as, “a peculiar sensation this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others…” (143). In other words, black people have reached a state of double consciousness where they look at themselves in the way that white people look at them. It was commonly conceived by white people that African culture is inferior to their own. Du Bois later claims, “the sense of identity thrust upon black Americans living in a world in which white political and economic leaders assumed that to be American was to be white.”
Black people were and may still be, misunderstood and mistreated by white people. It’s hard to think that a race would be excluded from society and frowned upon when it isn’t any different from other races because they are also human. Black people deserve a fair place in the world and a fair chance at life and freedom just like any other race.
People act differently when they are with certain people than when they are alone. Some will call this act a “mask.” This metaphor is used because people cover up who they truly are or what they really feel with their actions; similar to the way a mask covers up a person’s face. This idea of a mask is explored in Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “We Wear the Mask” and readers can see examples of “masks” in Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. People often wear masks to hide something about themselves that they are not proud of or hide their emotions and fears they do not want others to know.
The Invisible Man is not aware of this second sight at the beginning, but becomes more aware of his double consciousness throughout the novel. He is restricted because he is unable to blend together his black identity with his American identity. The Invisible Man says, “I am not complaining, nor am I protesting either. It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves” (Ellison 2). He means that there are perks to being invisible, a response that lines up well with the double consciousness described by DuBois. DuBois wants to communicate the metaphor of the veil, which is worn by all African Americans because their view of the world and potential opportunities are so different than that of white people. Although DuBois uses both double consciousness and the veil as two separate concepts, their meanings deeply intertwine. He sees the veil as a gift of sorts to African Americans because it provides them with a second sight, which could potentially be a blessing and a curse. Double consciousness makes it hard for African Americans to establish their identity, which was made harder by the negative white American view of
Thesis statement: The two great leaders in the black community debating about the issues that face the Negro race and Du Bois gave a compelling argument by using pathos, logos and ethos to create an essay that will appear to all readers.
The poem I chose to analyze is We Wear the Mask, written by Paul Lawrence Dunbar in 1896. Its theme is about hiding our true feelings and emotions, and lying about who we are. When looking at Dunbar’s life history, and the political context at the time, we understand that he efficiently uses this theme in order to talk about how black people have to hide how they feel about their social status and the treatment they receive from white people. He conveys the theme to the audience thanks to a clever word choice. Indeed, he talks about “grin” and “smile”, using facial expressions as a description of the mask (Dunbar, lines 1 & 4). We realize he’s talking about the mask, and not the real emotions of the person, thanks to a contrast between negative
Double consciousness is a term coined by W.E.B. DuBois in his The Souls of Black Folk. He describes it as, “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”(2). The theory of double consciousness is the idea that the African American must navigate the voyages of life from within a form of “two-ness” (2), because he is both man, and black.
What is one of the main reasons people come to America? The United States of America is advertised as a place where everyone is equal with equal opportunities. Americans strive for equality, but it has not fully been reached. Today, some white Americans have more privileges than African Americans, and some African Americans have more privileges than other races. Things such as jobs, scholarships, colleges, and news media focus on the difference of races. These dividing factors put a bigger strain on the racism in America. The truth is that both African Americans and white Americans have their own advantages and disadvantages in today’s society. The strain between black and white people has been blown out of proportion in the recent years by the races and media.