Presentation on theme: "Race, Power, & Equality Poli 110J 7.1 The problem of the the 20 th century is the problem of the color-line."— Presentation transcript:
Race, Power, & Equality Poli 110J 7.1 The problem of the the 20 th century is the problem of the color-line.
W.E.B. Du Bois Pan-Africanist Radical Publisher of NAACPs The Crisis Communist
Major Themes The Veil Double-consciousness Race consciousness Racial essentialism
Race Consciousness How does it feel to be a problem? (7) – American society consistently and irresistibly forces awareness of ones own blackness – Blackness is not a quality of appearance, but of identity Not just what the individual looks like, but who the individual is – Blackness is a problem
The Problem of the Color Line The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line,--the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea. (15) – Not geographical, but a line nonetheless. – A notably American (and to a lesser extent, European) way of looking at the world.
The color line Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. – Parallel worlds – Restrictive only to blacks, who cannot move beyond the veil, while whites can move back and forth. Privilege.
The color line The American world yields him no true self- consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double- consciousness, this sense of always looking at ones self through the eyes of others (8)
The color line One ever feels his two-ness,--an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. (8) – Internal division on the color line – Partly self, partly not-self – Constant internal conflict
The color line Blacks exist in some sense on both sides of the color line – He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. Essentialism – Partly inherent, partly historical
The color line 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 in his face. to merge his double self into a better and truer self. (9)
The Color Line Three parties in Civil War: North, South, Blacks – Freedmans Bureau constitutes a separate government for liberated slaves Du Bois on Imperial Japan vs. China The blighted, ruined form of the post-War white with hate in his eyes vs. the form hovering dark and mother-like, her awful face black with the mists of centuries who had raised his children, buried his wives, and slaked his lust (25) – Metaphor: male & female – The South believed an educated Negro to be a dangerous Negro (27)
What is to be done From birth till death enslaved; in word, in deed unmanned!.. Hereditary bondsman! Know ye not Who would be free themselves must strike the blow? -Byron
Booker T. Washington Support from white establishment in North & South Some support from black leaders – Leader not of one race but of two (38) Advocated assimilation (as does Du Bois), recognition of political & social realities of the South, modus vivendi w/Southern whites – After the War, North & South looked to re-join as a single nation, diminishing patience for the question & fate of blacks in both Sections
Booker T. Washington Washington insists that to advance, blacks must give up hopes for – Political power – Insistence on civil rights – Higher education In return for – Peace – Industrial schooling An issue of practicality: believed blacks would benefit most from trade school rather than liberal education – Example: disapproval of poor black boy trying to learn French – Long-term assimilation & advancement
Booker T. Washington In short order, he gets – Black disenfranchisement – Jim Crow laws Legal inferiority Example, OK: literacy requirement, unless you were eligible to vote before 1866 – Abandonment of blacks by institutions of higher learning
Du Bois Criticisms Washington wants to advance black business, but how can this be done without the right to vote in your own interests? Insists on thrift & self-respect, but also on unmanly submission to whites Advocates elementary & industrial school, but who will teach at black schools if blacks cant get higher education? – Imagining a different world
3 bad consequences 1. South is justified in despising blacks because of blacks current degradation – They are in Washingtons depiction ignorant and slothful, not quite up to par with whites & have to catch up
3 bad consequences 2. Cause of this degradation is the wrong education in the past
3 bad consequences 3. Idea that the future of blacks in America depends primarily on their own efforts
These are Dangerous half-truths for Du Bois – 1. What about slavery and systematic exclusion from politics, economy, society? – 2. black schooling lagged because it had to wait for first generation of black teachers – 3.While blacks must work for their own improvement, Du Bois argues that they must be assisted and encouraged by the initiative of the richer and wiser environing group (whites) Is this problematic?
Du Bois & NAACP insist on more militant, though still peaceful, position, demanding – Right to vote – Civic equality – Education of youth according not to race, but ability
In essence, Du Bois accuses Washington of apologizing and covering over for systematic racism, making it appear as if the disadvantaged position of American blacks has nothing to do with whites and everything to do with blacks.
By every civilized and peaceful method, we muststrive for the rights which the world accords to men, clinging unwaveringly to those great words which the sons of the Fathers would fain forget: We hold these truths to be self-evident…