William Edward Burghardt Du Bois's 'Of Our Spiritual Striving'

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In “Of Our Spiritual Striving,” sociologist William Edward Burghardt Du Bois writes about the “double-consciousness” that African Americans are afflicted with in the American society. He uses an even and reasoned tone throughout the entire selection as he explains how African Americans are born with a handicap because of their dark skin tone and are pitied by the white American. Du Bois asks a rhetorical question and tries to explain how it feels to be a “problem.” He explores this question by giving specific examples relating to his experiences. The strategy of repetition is used to address and emphasize the concept of “double-consciousness” and “vast veil.” Du Bois reminisces about his childhood where a girl refused to exchange greeting cards with him because of the darker color of his skin. It was then that he realized he was different from the others, thus coining the term of having a “vast veil.” He noticed that having a darker skin color is considered a problem for the African Americans because of the “double-consciousness” that comes along with being in the American society. Being an African American then becomes a burden as they are being socially degraded by white Americans. As this burden takes a toll on their self-esteem, African Americans view themselves the same way that the…show more content…
This veil presents them with an ability to view oneself from the perspective of the white American. The veil acts as a barrier between African Americans and the American society because they are not viewed as a true American. Being disrespected and looked down upon, they can never get the sense of what it is like to have one identity. Protected by a veil, the African American is torn apart between two identities and are in a constant struggle to resolve the war within themselves

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