Double Consciousness

The concept of double consciousness, as first proposed by W.E.B Du Bois was very interesting to me. In a post-slavery time period it makes a lot of sense for people of color to be hyper-aware of their racial identity. I think the topic becomes even more interesting when you examine the extent to which this is still applicable today.

Speaking from personal experience, as a man of color, but also as a human being in our larger society. It would only make sense to me that the feeling of double consciousness still exist today. Race, although a social construct, is visible to others. Much like gender, you cannot (in most cases) hide your race. I have lived in moments which essentially said to me, ‘Just in case you forgot…you’re black.” Is this wrong? I don’t support discrimination, profiling, prejudice of bigotry, but for a socially constructed thing, race holds a lot of meaning in this world. So yes, it is wrong but I don’t expect these things to simply have disappeared because of surface-level equality. Women wake up daily and face situations that remind them of their gender and what that means to other people- good or bad. This is true for people of color as well. This issue of race and gender as it relates to double consciousness is probably even more prominent as you begin to intermix socio-economic class. As Kanye West put it in his 2004 song All Falls Down, “even if you’re in a benz…”

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One response to “Double Consciousness

  • The Professor

    In day-to-day life, gender appears less maleable than race. But in actuality, one can manipulate one’s gender expression somewhat more easily than one can change one’s racial identity. Thanks for sharing about your own experience, btw.

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