Criteria Of Negro Art Analysis

1353 Words 6 Pages
In Criteria of Negro Art, Du Bois makes the argument that all art is propaganda and should serve the purpose of bettering and uplifting African Americans. Du Bois believed that black artists should use their work to advocate for their race and to help foster understanding between blacks and whites. Du Bois’ stance on black art being politicized is supported by the depiction of black life and female sexuality in Hurston’s novel; Their Eyes Were Watching God.
In Du Bois’ essay, Criteria of Negro Art, the idea of beauty is discussed. Du Bois states that the world is full of an endless variety of beauty and then he goes on to ask the question “After all, who shall describe Beauty?” (Du Bois 773). Du Bois purposes that African Americans should be the ones to do so because, “We who are dark can see American in a way that white Americans can not.”(Du Bois 772). Du Bois argues that since blacks have been discriminated against in the United States that they have a clear vision of what a beautiful world would truly look like (Du Bois 772). Du Bois refuses to separate beauty from truth and the reality of the world. Du Bois believes that beauty should work toward the advancement of African Americans and that beauty should be used
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Hurston’s refusal to censor female sexuality is a radical act. Hurston treats sexuality in a way that was extremely different from the cultural norms of the time. White men were the default in works of art, female and black sexuality were not discussed or depicted often in art. Hurston writes frequently about her characters’ sexuality and refuses to ignore it, despite the fact that her audience is mostly white. A white audience at the time would not be comfortable with depictions of women’s sexuality at all. Black women were over-sexualized by white society while their sexuality was also seen as ugly and

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