Post Number: 640
|Posted on Sunday, March 01, 2009 - 07:33 pm: |
His "double consciousness" theory I disagree with. It's not so much that we, African-Americans, can not reconcile our "black" side and our American side.
Thumper, let me first say that it's been a while and I might need to go back and re-read Chapter One of "The Souls..." myself. But just going from memory--or maybe, over the years I've put my own spin on DuBois's words?--what I took away from his "double consciousness" position is not that we (blacks) struggle (but fail) to reconcile these consciousness-es because they are so different, but rather that we are forced to live with the contradiction: We are American and as such are told this tale about freedom/equality, and yet there are those who seek to keep us from full measure of that freedom/equaltiy.
So we are aware, as Americans, of the promises of this country, but as blacks (collectively speaking) that promise is not fully/easily/automatically realized as it is/has been for whites.
The American "promise", then, is essentially a broken promise if you're black, and that's the struggle in which our consciousness is engaged, struggling to live/succeed/not snap in the face of this broken promise.
Now...again, this may just be my interpretation, and I defer to you on the point.
My understanding of DuBois's double consciousness position always reminded me of this portion of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech":
In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
Maybe my understanding of DuBois was influenced by Dr. King's words because I read them first???