5.30.2007

W.E.B. Du Bois and Double Consciousness

In honor of Du Bois and of the new header for our blog I'm posting a short excerpt from The Souls of Black Folk which Du Bois published in 1903:
After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is 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. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

This history of the American Negro is the history of this strife—this longing to attain self-consciousness manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both Negro and American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face.[1]
Notes
1. W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk (New York: Penguin Classics, 1996): 5.

2 comments:

Bronzetrinity said...

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Jack Stephens said...

We would love to be involved with Afrospear but I'm actually Irish and Guatemalan and my other fellow editor is Pilipino, as is contributor Christine Joy Ferrer. Macka Harper though is Irish and Black, so if you still want this blog to join we will. But this blog is mostly about studying white privilege and supremacy and how it effects whites and Blacks, but if you still think that's ok we will join.