W. E. B Dubois Synthesis

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In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B Du Bois undertakes the goal of asserting the humanity of blacks, which the social reality in the 20th century contradicted. He strives to enlighten his audience on the meaning of being black through a critical and sociological evaluation of American culture. He specifically challenges society’s notion that blacks lacked interiority or a soul, as white people often equated blacks to livestock and treated them as such. Du Bois’s authoritative analysis of Reconstruction exposes systematic injustice towards blacks and the emotional repercussions thereof. It is through the use of metaphors, sorrow songs, and narratives that Du Bois pursues the aim of affirming black humanity and spirituality. Du Bois’s metaphor…show more content…
He explains the term that he has coined as the “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of the world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” (11). Through this metaphor, Du Bois underscores the extent to which segregation was deeply embedded into the social fabric of America. The sense of “two-ness” (American and Negro) (11) further signifies the futility of reconciling an American identity with a black identity, as it is a “waste of double aims” (12). This division highlights the exclusion of blacks from mainstream society and the psychological experience of coping with that exclusion. Furthermore, Du Bois’s metaphor of double consciousness draws attention to the estrangement blacks feel; they are living in a country where they cannot fully assume their identity as a citizen because it is not compatible with their racial identity. This causes a lack of psychological and emotional integration, preventing blacks from shaping their manhood and identity on their own…show more content…
He portrays a white man’s diverging opinions on their college education: “It’ll make a man out of” the white John and “it will spoil” the black John, stated the Judge in the story (144). This attitude illustrates the systematic and immoral denial of black higher education; not only was it barely accessible, but whites actively discouraged education because they feared blacks would disrupt their system of control. Du Bois describes how black John “grew in body and soul, and a new dignity crept into his walk…he looked now for the first time sharply about him, and wondered he had seen so little before” after college (145). Du Bois attributes the individual growth John experienced to his intellectual development, thereby advancing the idea of education for blacks. He further articulates how John “first noticed oppression that had not seemed oppression before” (146), suggesting that education doesn’t necessarily lift the Veil, it just makes the Veil visible. Furthermore, the Judge diminishes black John’s attempt to empower black students, “the question is…are you…going to accept the situation and teach the darkies to be faithful servants and laborers…or [try] to put fool ideas of rising and inequality into these folks heads” (151). The Judge’s mindset underscores the extent to which society prevents the uplifting

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