In his work, “The Conservation of Races”, W.E.B DuBois explains why it is important to have a distinction between the two races “The American Negros and the Other Americans”. DuBois outlined the benefits of establishing a Negro Academy that would help in preserving the culture of the Negros and differentiating it from that of other Americans. DuBois believed that the Negros would advance and grow while united and separate from the other races. He emphasized that the Negros would have an impact in the American community if they were united, inspired, and honest in their deeds. He noted that the Negros would achieve their objectives when there was a well-organized race system complete with Negro colleges, Negro newspapers, businesses, schools, and intellectual clearinghouses.DuBois began his speech to the Negros by first describing the meaning of the term race in order to reveal its importance. He explained that people had ignored the significant issues of separate schools, wage discrimination, and treatment in matters of law due to their active involvement in planning for future development. It is however necessary to view this issue with clear insight in order to draw practical guidelines in the assumption of race discrimination. He urged the Negros to consider the real meaning of race in an attempt to create an emphasis in his speech. Different criteria have been used to define the term race. The traditional description of race differences was based on color, hair, cranial capacity, and language. This implies that men differ in terms of their color, texture of their hair, measurement of their brain capacity, or the language used in their communication.
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Science has three descriptions of race differences. It distinguishes three different types of races, the whites, Negros and the yellow race. According to DuBois, all these criteria of differentiating races imply that there is need for race conservation. Although the differences in language, color, or hair do not fully explain the different roles that different people play in the development of their nations, other subtle forces differentiate the differences in men’s potentials. These forces are however embodied in the physical differences existing in different groups of people. DuBois mentioned that even though men are physically integrating, there is an aspect of differentiation occurring due to the creation and continuation of commonalities within race. These commonalities include history, religion, laws, and ideals.
History too has something to offer in the description of the differences between races. History has described eight different types of races. These races have led to the emergence of different nations of the world. Although the real distinction between the nations does not lie on physical differences between blood, color and brain capacity measurements, these physical differences play a significant role in qualifying the distinctions. The subtle differences in different types of races cannot however be identified or explained through the physical differences. The deeper differences in different groups of people are spiritual, psychical and are based on physical characterization.
DuBois explains all this to the Negros with the aim of depicting the importance of race conservation. He wanted to create a sense of unity among the Negros and the need to conserve their race by distinguishing themselves from other races. He emphasized that the entire process of describing differences in different types of races had brought about race differentiation, which is important for the growth of different types of nations.
DuBois was addressing the Negros through his written speech. DuBois emphasized that having a distinction between the Negros and other races in America was more beneficial to the Negros than having a united America. He noted that the Negros had great potential that could only be tapped through a separation between the Negros and other races in America.
One of the reasons that DuBois explained for the need to have a race organization that had schools, businesses and even social gatherings set for the Negros is that the Negros were despised, hated or pitied which limited their ability to tap the potential that they had to develop the nation. The Negros had to unite and not for political or religious spoils, but for growth and development. The unity was not supposed to give them an opportunity to protest and order resolutions or commit crimes. It was meant to offer the Negros opportunities to form serious organizations determined to achieve great heights and create a positive impression for the American Negros. It is for this reason that DuBois advocated for the creation of the Negro Academy that was meant to unify the Negro community. The American Negro Academy was aimed at bringing together the intellectual minds of the American Negros, which had the potential to generate ideas capable of developing the nation.
DuBois outlined that the Academy created would be a positive representative in character, impartial conduct, and exhibit firm leadership. The academy would be impartial in conduct and aim at awakening the American Negros through honesty, truth and avoid sycophancy. The academy was also supposed to generate ideas on how to handle serious issue that affected the Negros. It was meant to guide the Negros on how to handle matters of discrimination in hotels and railways and how to view he separate school system that was prevalent in America.
DuBois also pointed out that people from different races could not live in the same area without conflicts. He described race prejudice as the conflict between different groups of people due to differences in objectives and aims in life, feelings and ideals. The Negros were different from other people in terms of language, religion, and laws and for this reason, he advocated for race organization. This assertion raises the question, “If all the people had the main goal of advancing economically, why then is it difficult for them to live together”.
DuBois almost contradicted himself when he said that there was a substantial agreement in laws, religion and language, which made all the people have a common economic objective. This implied that if all people held a common economic objective, then they could live together peacefully. This was not however the case that DuBois advocated. He emphasized that the Negros had to live separately due to the role that they played in that nation. The American Negros were Americans because of their political ideals, language and religion and not only by birth or citizenship. DuBois reminded the Negros that they were the first fruits of the nation that were destined to brighten the nation.
The Negros had brought American music, American fairytales to significant levels. It can thus be concluded that DuBois advocated for race organization or separation for fear that the contribution of the Negros to the American nation would be forgotten if they were absolved into other races. He urged the Negros to preserve their physical powers, intellectual potential and spiritual ideals through race organization. Through race organization, the Negros were capable of maintaining a race unity that had the potential to uphold broader humanity which appreciates differences in people but recognizes the inequality in their potentials of growth and development.
DuBois address to the Negros would have been motivated by the need to have the race recognized in America. He wanted the race conserved due to the huge contribution that it had to the development of the American Nation. He explained the need to have a distinction between the Negros and other races. This was necessary to ensure that their contribution to the nation was not overshadowed by the contribution of other nations. He also explained that different nations of the world were formed based on race differentiation. Different nations had advanced because of these racial differences. DuBois advocated for the creation of the American Negro Academy that had the capability of unifying the Negros. The unity was supposed to give the Negros an opportunity to grow together and contribute significantly to the growth of the nation. The American Negro Academy created would unite the intellectual minds of the Negros and awaken their potential towards development.
In “The Conservation of Races” Du Bois thus emphasizes the importance of surveying the aspect of race in human philosophy and of analyzing the idea of race based on wider knowledge and careful insight. Those large boundaries of policy and higher ideals create the guiding principles in the understanding of practical challenges facing people in the modern world. This implies that there still exists a function of race differences in the modern times. It also shows that some races particularly the Negro race are yet to reach their full potential in regard to their contribution to the growth of the nation. DuBois thus urged the Negro people in the U.S to unite in order to realize their rightful position in the van of Pan-Negroism. He emphasized that it is only through the conservation of the Negro race that for the first time in the American history that not only is the race capable of developing into a meaningful race, but also a race full of potential.
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