Double Consciousness and the Power of Labeling

Topics: African American, Black people, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 4 (1571 words) Published: May 28, 2011
Double Consciousness and the Power of Labeling
Are we who we say we are, or are we who society recognizes us to be? In reality we are who society says we are regardless of our qualifications. Everyone has different personalities and they are trying to show their peers how they want to be identified though society most of the time disagrees. W.E.B. DuBois is a sociologist that identifies this as Double Consciousness. In the book Sociology a Global Perspective by Joan Ferrante, we can see how according to W.E.B. DuBois double consciousness is "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." This means that we are constantly worried of how society views us as individuals that we are always looking at ourselves through the eyes of others. The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz is a novel which shows how the main character Oscar is identified by his family and peers and how Oscar identifies himself. Amy Tan is a writer who in her essay Mother Tongue also demonstrates how everyone around you gives you a label regardless of how you want everyone to perceive you. Therefore we are who society recognizes us to be and not who we say we are.

W.E.B. DuBois bases his theory of double consciousness on his life experience. He was discriminated against and called "black" even though he was biracial. No matter how much he tried to explain this to his peers they would still label him into social racial categories. W.E.B. DuBois is important to sociology and one very important book he wrote was the book The Souls of Black Folk. In this book he explains how difficult it was to be of African American decent and how he wasn’t looked at as simply just another American but labeled as being “black” because of his features.

In The Souls of Black Folk he states "Herein lie buried many thinks which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being...
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