Slavery established the black body at the bottom of the American social order, and DuBois’ mission was to humanize black people in the eyes of white people – to clarify that these are people, these are human beings, and these are families. In his first essay, he mentions a singular question that most white people want to ask black men. This question is always: "how does it feel like to be a problem?" While nobody ever directly asks this quest...
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...uch like DuBois, Stowe and Northup contend that the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line, as well as the stratification and marginalization processes that exists due to the existence of this line. The veil, as explained to the reader by all three authors – explicitly or not – is the way in which African-Americans experience social relations in the United States. The veil marks them with another identity: the identity of a person of color. A black person in the United States, thus, does not carry only one identity, but two conflicting identities that can seemingly never be separated from one another. Like Stowe and Northup, DuBois had to speak to audiences of two different cultural dispositions, and bridge the gap between them. And beyond this task, DuBois had to also reconcile the “two-ness” within him – much like Tom and Northup had to.
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