Web Du Bois and Double Consciousness Essay

936 Words Dec 3rd, 2011 4 Pages
W.E.B. Du Bois: Double-Consciousness
Ashanti Johnson
Lestine Shedrick
October 18, 2011

W.E.B. Du Bois (1968-1963) was a huge contributor to sociology through the eyes and experience of an African-American scholar (Vissing, 2011). Du Bois was an author, activist and student of Black sociology. In his 1897 article, Strivings of the Negro People”, Du Bois introduced the term “double-consciousness”, a concept I believe to be just as relevant in today’s African-American communities. Double consciousness refers to what Du Bois considered an absence of “true self consciousness” (Du Bois, 1897) amongst Africans in America. In place of that absence, lies a dual awareness- awareness of one’s self combined with an awareness
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Our society has laws in place which make racist actions in the workplace, school or even in public- illegal. The conflict of double-consciousness still exists in this modern, anti-racist America. Perhaps even more frustrating for today’s African-American, is living with the reality of racial tension in a society refusing to admit that such tension still exists.
Du Bois spoke of internal conflict as being the most significant manifestation of double-consciousness. There is an inner conflict between being of both American and African lineage. African-Americans are a special group of immigrants who did not choose America as their new home. It was slavery that brought the African to America for generations of forced labor. The knowledge that most of the African culture, language, history and experience, was lost to American Africans after the slave trade, helps fuel the inner conflict. Where should the African-American feel his strongest connection? Africa? America?
In conclusion, double-consciousness impacts the African-American today just as it did in the early 1900’s. W.E.B. Du Bois described his concept as “a world which yields no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world” (Du Bois, 1903). Today’s politically correct society tends to use the word “color blind”, intended to show an acceptance for all people, regardless of race or color. Today, the double-conscious African-American must continue

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