Double Consciousness Essay

576 WordsNov 27, 20123 Pages
Double Consciousness In Dubois’s work, Souls of Black Folks, he presents that “the problem with the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.” (450) He produces the story of his life in relation to “double consciousness, the sense of looking at one’s self through the eyes of others.” This dualism and frustration provides the history of the Negro and the hardships that they travel to reach manhood. Double consciousness is the awareness of one’s self and also of the way that other people perceive that person. This awareness could possibly spiral into that person changing themselves into the person that other people perceive them as. The key into not falling subjective to this would be to maintain roots in their past and resist to conformity to the dominant society. Dubois examines the struggle of the difficulties between the differences of identities between being American and being an African American through the perspectives of power, exclusion and the inability for white Americans and African Americans to live in harmony. One of the concepts of Du Bois’s “double consciousness” is the power of white stereotypes on black life and thought. This allows the African American race to be forced into a context of misrepresentation of one's own people while also having the knowledge of reflexive truth. A black man was only able to view himself in terms of what he was defined as by white America; he was not allowed “true self-consciousness”; he had already been labeled. The racism that excluded black Americans from the society, being American or not American is another key notion into the identity Dubois illustrates for Black society. White Americans force the African Americans into an identity that they acquire through their skin. During this time, this identity caused many prejudices and unfairness in society and the actual personality, vices and virtues of
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