The reading I selected to do is The Souls of black folk By W.E.B Du Bois. Du Bois is a very successful black man who is a civil rights activist for the black community in America. He is highly respected by society and has an urban renewal center named after him. After reading this article, it is very clear to see how influential his voice was and is for the rights of African-Americans and the pursuit of racial justice. The book centers around a serious downside in America, problem being the color-line. The color line referring to black people in a land that does not want them. Du Bois introduces the themes of race and religion to illustrate life behind Du Bois introduces the themes of race and religion to illustrate life behind 'the veil' for the slave, the freed person, and the Negro.
Throughout the reading, I was confused about why do black people always have a double consciousness and what are the reasons that cause their consciousness to be doubled. After re reading and looking deeper into the text I realized that when Du Bois says that all African Americans have a “double consciousness,” he means that African Americans see themselves as both Americas and as colored people, as if they were mutually exclusive. This can be seen as an internal conflict which is swayed by the overpowered group in society, in this case the whites. I believe that the double consciousness concept is still relevant in our society however, it may not be to the same degree as it was back then.
On a personal level of my father being from African Descent I would witness people look at him with surprise when he would enter the bank as “oh why is he here? He has money?”. Many people of all cultures would like to believe that we live in a post-racial society. However, there is still one sidedness and unfairness among the ethnic minorities. Examples of some of the inequalities and biases black people still face today is systematic oppression the idea that the majority exploits minorities systematically, for example, health care, school systems, correctional systems, that are making it difficult for African Americans to thrive. One of the major grievances of black Americans about how they are treated pertains to the law enforcement and the justice system in the United States. It’s said that African-American offenders receive harsher sentences than white Americans when they commit the same crimes. In addition to this, media coverage has stereotypes that display african americans as criminals, rappers or basketball players. This gives black people the limited capacity to do other things without having to question whether they should be there.
However, in modern social life, double consciousness can give African Americans self-esteem and confidence to come together and stand up for themselves with the unfair treatment. I realized that this puts black people in a dilemma in American society, by not knowing how to act or who to be. Du Bois also believed that African Americans lived in a society that was oppressive and devalued them as equals. Du Bois discusses a better and truer self for the african americans, when talking about the “better and truer self” the African Americans struggle to achieve, Du Bois is referring to what would happen when the double self is merged into a single self. In this single self, an African American would be not be an African and an American, but simply an African American. This would allow one to attain better self consciousness.
Du Bois adds that attaining this better and truer self would not be Africanizing America because America has plenty to teach Africa, it would not be considered white washing or bleaching the negro skin. He simply wishes for African Americans to avoid being “spit on” by those that see them as lesser. As I said earlier, my dad is from african descent, and growing up i have seen my dad be overlooked by employers, coaching positions, and the lack of respect from society, not for his lack of codentials for certain positions but for the colour of his skin. One of the reasons Du Bois claimed Emancipation from slavery brought disappointment to former slaves because the freedom they imagined was not the freedom they received. Even after Emancipation, African American people were not granted all the privileges and respect as white people. For example, black Americans were not allowed to vote after emancipation, and even once it became legal, white officials would make it next to impossible for black people to register. Emancipation did not put an end to racism, discrimination, or societies prejudice attitudes towards black people.
I agree and understand how emancipation would have disappointed African Americans. Many people who read this will believe that the tone of the essay is pessimistic about the future race relations because Du Bois discusses the truth about how african Americans are looked at, treated, and made out to be. People are in denial about the inequality Du Bois talks about, since no one wants to believe that this treatment still exist in the world today. Also unless you are black you will never be able to truly relate or understand how serious this issue of racism, discrimination and the overall reprensetation blacks have in socity and with the iffluence of mainstream media in society. This essay to me seems optimistic about the future of the U.S. race relations because its theme is overcoming oppression and injustice. Du Bois states that for African American people to truly be free, it is not just emancipation that needed to happen. They need to be able to work, express their culture and freedom. Du Bois is hopeful that one day on American ground, blacks will finally be equal and that the double consciousness will be extinct. and so am I.