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W.E.B. Du Bois And His Image Of Race

4445 words - 18 pages

W.E.B. Du Bois’ “Double Consciousness”
How Race, Stereotypes and Prejudices influence the life of a Negro

Wordcount: 3791

Table of Contents 
1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 2 2. Contributing areas that lead to W.E.B. Du Bois´s “Double Consciousness”.................... 4 2.1 Race, Stereotypes and Prejudices ................................................................................ 4 2.2 Double Consciousness, the Veil and the Color-Line ................................................... 7 2.3 Du Bois´s change in use of “Double Consciousness” ...view middle of the document...

Each race has its own identity, which should not be associated with positive and/or negative connotations. This
 Appiah, Anthony. “The Uncompleted Argument: Du Bois and the Illusion of Race.” In Hoffmann Jan: Seminar Reader “W.E.B. Du Bois and Race”, WiSe 12/13, p.23. 2 Appiah, Anthony. “The Uncompleted Argument: Du Bois and the Illusion of Race.” In Hoffmann Jan: Seminar Reader “W.E.B. Du Bois and Race”, WiSe 12/13, p.24. 


neutrality has been denied to the black race; the race of Negros. Throughout the course of the discovery of America, far into the 18th century and affecting even today´s populace, the Negro suffered degradation, humiliation, condemnation of all rights, deportation and slavery to an extent no other nation or race had suffered before. Being partially of African descent and having inherited dark skin, Du Bois himself had encountered the same prejudices which a Negro had faced. With his remarkable intellect he was able to shed light onto a subject concerning him, as well as numerous other blacks living in America at the beginning of the 20th century. In the vast array of Du Bois´ publications and lectures, the topics of the “color-line”, stereotypes and prejudices, as well as education for blacks in a deep segregation-ridden America is analyzed very closely. The situation affected him in his personal struggle for a successful life, evident in his application to Harvard which focused mainly on his partial African descent, rather than on his previous intellectual achievements. His time at Harvard provided him the opportunity to study in Germany, where he experienced many differing point of view on race and where he would begin to become a sophisticated scholar. Although he respected his academic patrons and familiarized himself with their ideas, Du Bois did not simply adapt to their concepts, but rather pursued his own. By the time The Souls of Black Folk was completed, his thinking had acquired a fundamental approach and became resilient to change. 3 In his book The Souls of Black Folk, he was the first sociologist to use the term “double consciousness”, which soon evolved into a popular concept during the era of slavery in America. According to Du Bois, the controversy and the implications aligned with this term are naturally existent and are caused mainly by prejudices. The inner contortion is a main issue in Du Bois´s works. The book The Souls of Black Folk is one of the most referenced and recommended books in African American literary history. 4


Moses, Wilson J. “ W.E.B. Du Bois: The Democrat as Authoritarian” in: Creative conflict in African American Thought. Cambridge UP, 2004. p.198 4 Zamir, Shamoon. The Cambridge Companion to W.E.B. Du Bois. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008. p.1


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Contributing areas that lead to W.E.B. Du Bois´s “Double...

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