Dr. Muhammed Asadi
SOAN 360- Sociological Theory
The term double consciousness, simply put, refers to the psychological challenge of reconciling an African heritage with a European upbringing and education. Similarly, the term the veil refers to the physical and metaphysical differences between blacks and whites. These expressions originated from an Atlantic Monthly article by W. E. B. Du Bois called “Strivings of the Negro People,” which was later republished and amended under the title “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” in his famous 1903 collection of essays The Souls of Black Folk. It is interesting to note some of the ways Du Bois was ahead of his time. In the introduction to “Of Our Spiritual Strivings,” he writes, (Du Bois 2011: 147)
Herein lie buried many things which if read with patience may show the strange meaning of being black here at the dawning of the Twentieth Century. This meaning is not without interest to you, Gentle Reader; for the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line.
By saying this he is not only confirming that he will talk about his experience as a black man at the turn of the century in this essay, but also prophetically anticipating that the greatest problem the 1900s will face is the issue of race equality. After that, he begins the essay with a poem from a European writer using his nostalgic connection to the ocean as a metaphor for his spirituality. This is followed by two or three measures of a Negro spiritual. Du Bois uses this juxtaposition to communicate how these two cultures have contributions to make to each other. Here he is predicting the future of multiculturalism where different cultures are promoted because they can offer varying perspectives on life.
To start the discussion of double consciousness, Du Bois (2011) describes it as “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others” (149). In other words,
References: Du Bois, W. E. B. 2011. “W. E. B. Du Bois: Double-Consciousness and the Public Intellectual.” Pp. 139- 154 in in Readings in social theory: The classic tradition to post-modernism, 6th ed, edited by J. Farganis. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Mead, G. H. 2011. “George Herbert Mead: The Emergent Self.” Pp. 127- 137 in Readings in social theory: The classic tradition to post-modernism, 6th ed, edited by J. Farganis. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Simmel, G. 2011. “Georg Simmel: Dialectic of Individual and Society.” Pp. 111- 125 in Readings in social theory: The classic tradition to post-modernism, 6th ed, edited by J. Farganis. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.