“Week Three: Du Bois”


Just by reading the first quote on the page, I already knew that this essay would touch my heart because i relate to it in so many ways. I dont relate to it in a way one might if they were African American but just by being an outcast as a Christian in a world that has not yet taken advatage of the fact that the veil has been lifted. I mean the veil as in a realm to now see that which was unseen. Du Bois said, “Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil.” A veil is like a sheer scarf that one uses so that no one can see their face. Maybe because they are sad or maybe because they feel shame. In this case, the world has but a veil up so that they dont have to see him of the other black people. He didnt put the veil up himself. The world was ashamed of him and saw him as a problem. When he said “it dawned upon me” that means he didnt know that was different before but only after the encounter he had when the man denied his card. This shows that it is the experiences we have that shape our perspective about ourselves and the world around us. Putting up a veil can be an subconscious thing or conscious. Maybe a white person do not know they are being offensive to their black friend when they say, “I dont see you as black. I see you as one of us,” or when a black male is in a track competition and he over hears a white person say “Oh he’s black. He will win for sure. They are fast you know.” Just maybe it was a genuine complement.

Du Bois said, ” 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.” This is pretty sad to me because it sounds like he basically doesnt have the power to define himself but he lets others write the definition of what Du Bois is instead. No matter what you know you are other people will always see you as something different. He felt like he had to prove himself to people when he said, “But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Just how I would do it I could never decide:  by reading law, by healing the sick, by telling the wonderful tales that swam in my head.” He wasnt trying to strive just to have a sense of accomplishment but to show others that he can do what they can do or even better.

I like how this essay sounds like a story. The way he talks about the past allows me to see it for myself. The way he uses his words allows me to feel the same emotion he felt like frustration,hopelessness and maybe even loneliness. when Du Bois said, “, Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house?” I understand this because the world is our house. We live here. No one wants to be uncomfortable or feel unwanted in their own house. I know that this house is not our real home. Its temporary. I feel like anyone can be an outcast. Not everyone is going to accept everyone. If that was the case, there will be no need to strive. We strive to be accepted.

Du Bois uses a lot of Rhetorical questions and sarcasm like when he said,”The ballot, which before he had looked upon as a visible sign of freedom, he now regarded as the chief means of gaining and perfecting the liberty with which war had partially endowed him.And why not? Had not votes made war and emancipated millions? Had not votes enfranchised the freedmen? Was anything impossible to a power that had done all this?”

If Du Bois was writing this essay today the content would probably be the same except  ” Negro” would probably be ” Nigga” because of pop culture. I can actually see this essay being rapped by a popular Hip Hop artist today. He would also talk more about police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement. I was looking at the Black Lives Matter website and i just know Du Bois probably would have been the first to start the website and the movement. Today  African American are still looked at weird, treated differently and are still striving to be the best to show that they can rise above the statics and standards that the world sets against them or else there wouldn’t be a Black Lives Matter movement in the first place.

Works Cited

Du Bois, W.E.B. “Strivings of the Negro People.” The Atlantic Monthly. August 1897.http://www.theatlantic.com/author/w-e-burghardt-du-bois/




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