America 's Double Consciousness : The Soul Of Black Folk Essay

America 's Double Consciousness : The Soul Of Black Folk Essay

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America’s Double Consciousness


When people migrate to America, they experience a cultural shock. Immigrants feel overwhelmed by the new language and culture. The struggle to adapt to the new environment forces them to try to fit into the American stereotype. In The Soul of Black Folk, Du Bois says that the way white Americans view African Americans creates a tension on African American social identity. This tension is also seen on immigrant’s social identity once they migrate to the United States. Immigrants struggle to reconcile two cultures with a multi-faceted perspective of self, which creates a double consciousness.
Immigrants go through a process called Americanization. This process introduces new beliefs that make immigrants reject their native customs. In Trans-national America, Randolph S. Bourne says, “America life, the downward undertow of our civilization with its leering cheapness and falseness of taste and spiritual outlook… is the cultural wreckage of our time,” (Bourne 5/11). Bourne argues that immigrants come over in search of freedom, not to assimilate to American culture. In the autobiography, when I was Puerto Rican, Esmeralda Santiago says, "That 's part of being an imperialist. They expect us to do things their way, even in our country,” (Santiago 73). Santiago claims that the United States is a nation that shapes people to fulfill predetermined characteristics. America has a hierarchal society, which suppresses foreign customs to maintain the sense of American nationalism among citizens.
The social pressures that immigrants experience cause the development of more than one social identity. According to Du Bois this social phenomenon is called double consciousness. Double consciousness makes it difficul...


... middle of paper ...


...ation test, they are encouraged to assimilate and fulfill predetermined characteristics of American culture.
Immigrants have a hard time defining themselves in America. Society segregates immigrants into sections and expects them to assimilate to American customs. According to Du Bois, America’s view of African Americans provokes a creation of a double consciousness, which affects the way African Americans position themselves. This situation can be seen when immigrants enter into the country. Double consciousness devalued their self-image and culture. It’s difficult for them to unify both identities. Double consciousness forces immigrants to not only few themselves from their own unique perspective, but to also view themselves as they might be perceived by the outside. Immigrants come into the Unites States looking for a new start, but instead they are subordinated.

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