Du Bois Essay - "The True Identity of the American...

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“The True Identity of the American Negro” In the essay “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” W.E.B. Du Bois gives an outline showing how African Americans can fully integrate themselves into the American Republic. The American Republic is the land of opportunity and equality that was supposedly promised to all Americans. Dubois explains in his essay how there is a Negro Problem in America, where African Americans aren’t able to fully integrate themselves into the American Republic because of social problems. These social problems which Du Bois describes are problems such as African Americans having no true identity. He says that African Americans live with a double-consciousness, where the world is imposing another identity onto individual African Americans that is separate from what they want to become. And then Du Bois elaborates on this by saying that their sense of identity is complicated by this double-consciousness. Because of this confusion African Americans are unable to integrate into the American Republic. According to Du Bois this problem is only one of the three social problems that are hindering the races of the American Republic from becoming a human brotherhood. One of the three reasons why African Americans can’t integrate themselves into the American Republic according to Du Bois is because of a vast veil that is shutting them off from the world. From Du Bois’ childhood he says, “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” (Du Bois 2). This vast veil that Du Bois describes is the wall that stops African Americans from integrating themselves into the American Republic. The opportunity to freely go over on their side of 1
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the wall was taken away or stopped because of racial prejudice. What makes integration complicated is the fact that African American are trying to prove themselves in a world of racial prejudice so that they can get past this veil and into the American Republic. They are also failing because of the second problem Du Bois describes which is double- aims. In trying to prove themselves to the world African Americans are tied down by
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course R 1A taught by Professor Mascuch during the Fall '07 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Du Bois Essay - "The True Identity of the American...

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