Double consciousness

Topics: African American, White people, Black people Pages: 2 (451 words) Published: December 10, 2014
Sammie Britt
Comm 661
Extra Credit Paper
December 4, 2014

Double-consciousness, the veil, and Ferguson
W.E.B. Du Boise first coined the term “double-consciousness” in the early 1900s. “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.” (Du Bois, “The Souls of Black Folk”) Du Bois also believes that African-Americans are “born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world.” According to DuBois, this "veil" concept can be taken three ways. First, it suggests the literal darker skin of black people, physically separating them from whites. Second, the idea of a veil suggests white people's inability in seeing African Americans as "true" U.S.-Americans, and refers to black people’s difficulty under a racist system to see themselves in a way other than the way white Americans define them. This creates a double-consciousness. This inability of white people to see through the veil was reflected in the attitudes surrounding the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teen in Ferguson, Missouri this summer on August 9. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, blacks and whites have starkly different views of this tragic incident. White people tend to downplay the racial significance of this tragedy whereas black people are more likely to stress the importance of race. Many black people and people of color seem to view "race" and racism as salient and central to their reality. Many white people may seem to consider "race" more or less as a marginal issue, and may even consider racism as a thing of the past, or as anomalies in contemporary U.S. society. Since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, many people of color have embraced and expanded the meaning of "racism" to reflect contemporary realities, while many white people have not. By now,...
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