A Review of Social Imbalances in The Souls of Black Folks, a Book by W. E. B. Du Bois

The Souls of Black Folk

“He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face” (DuBois, 50). By advocating social change W.E.B Dubois has examined his position by explaining the challenges of the 20th century particularly when society rejects an entire race. His story written in his famous book titled. “The Souls of Black Folk” discusses significant sociological concepts captured through what he identifies as the veil, double-consciousness, and the color line.

With each concept he brings about a relation to post civil war history and sociological perspective towards an ordered system. The struggle for respect and freedom goes beyond noted measures including African American history. I would state this issue calls for immense amount of attention for the sake of equality.

“How does it feel to be a problem?” (DuBois, 47). I find that the most critical and yet crucial theoretical ideas within the narrative are revealed through the above mentioned quote.

DuBois acknowledges that the issue of racism exists after an encounter with a young girl presents a threat to his status and black identity. The presence of a veil is frequently mentioned after this occurrence to construct the disconnection between a black world, which seemed fruitless and a white world, which filled itself with on going opportunities. He states, “Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the worlds I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine.

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” This “peculiar sensation” is referred as a double-consciousness and makes us aware of the trouble of one who is both an American and a Negro—two souls, two thoughts, and two reconciled strivings. It seemed almost impossible for anyone to accept both identities. Following, DuBois maps out the decades before Emancipation or the liberation of Blacks. The vain search for freedom during times of racism could not be illustrated any more clearly after the holocaust and terrors of the Ku-Klux-Klan. The Negro community itself had been inspired by the idea of a voting since it was the driven factor to either “make” or “break” history. However, DuBois’ “book-learning” concept seemed to be more powerful because it confirmed how different he was then his white counterpart. As the author travels through his own book-learning experience in the late 1800’s, he comes across the problem of the twentieth century or the problem of the color line. Referring to the relation of the dark to the light-skinned individuals in several areas of the world, he argues that this was in fact is the primary cause of the Civil War due to the question of Negro slavery.

In 1864 the Freedmen’s Bureau created a solid foundation for Blacks making it possible for them to be represented fairly in courts, granting them a level of property rights, establishing schools, enforcing the paying of bounties and the administration of justice. But with all things, a cost followed. According to DuBois, “the most perplexing and least successful part of the Bureau’s work lay in the exercise of its judicial functions” (75). Although it seemed that Blacks were on the road to earning equal rights, the judicial system failed and again, the issue of the color-line exposed itself. The nature of its activities showed that the Bureau was in favor of whites. The former slaves were tortured, beaten and even raped by revengeful men. Much of the South still did not fully except Blacks as being equal to whites therefore, the feud continued.

Nevertheless, the concepts illustrated within the story told by DuBois can be applied to both medical and criminal subjects. When discussing the events prior to the liberation of black individuals, we see how divided a world can be. Society itself had created a system where the color of your skin determined you fate. It was unchangeable, demanding, and all in one unjust. To be born black during this time meant to carry the “luggage” that came along with it. If we refer to medical and criminal subjects, I believe that DuBois’ key concepts are charted. In the unfortunate case that deals with the passing of his son during infancy, we quickly gravitate to the idea of injustice. As the story unfolds the pain caused by death is related to the severity of the veil. However the author makes it clear that there is no stronger feeling than losing a child. Through this, a better understanding of the veil towards the African American experience was created. Dubois concept of the color-line to criminal subjects in the 18th and 19 century show how Blacks had several limitations. The color-line did in fact exist in subjects dealing with crime and Whites had placed themselves into a higher category. Although Blacks were given specific freedoms as DuBois points out, they were still criminals in the eyes of society. If we refer to the context of present day, we can see how similar the issues of the 20th century reflect itself. African Americans continue to be tormented by what the author has described as the veil, double-consciousness and the color-line. How can we be humans but beg for rights that should belong to all souls of humanity?

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A Review of Social Imbalances in The Souls of Black Folks, a Book by W. E. B. Du Bois. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-review-of-social-imbalances-in-the-souls-of-black-folks-a-book-by-w-e-b-du-bois/

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