Double Consciousness In Du Bois's The Soul Of Black Folk

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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…show more content…
According to Du Bois this social phenomenon is called double consciousness. Double consciousness makes it difficult for immigrants to adapt to a new environment, since they have a multi-faceted sense of self. Du Bois says, “It is a peculiar sensation, this double consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others,” (Du Bois 2). He believes that double consciousness forces people to view themselves from the perspective of both cultures. This situation perpetuates stereotypes that can damage immigrant’s self-image. The inequalities established by society have resulted in the subordination of minorities. Du Bois says, “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). He suggests that the inequalities that set African Americans apart from society force them to view America from a different perspective. The same thing happens to immigrant when they arrive in the United…show more content…
Bourne suggests that the process of Americanization has taken a negative turn in America, since people are being forced to adopt the culture, not to integrate it into their own. Randolph S. Bourne criticizes the idea of the melting-pot in favor of a cosmopolitan America. His critique of attempts to assimilate immigrants to American culture demonstrates the fragile nature of the immigrant’s beliefs in the face of Americanization. According to Bourne, “It is just this English-American conservatism that has been our chief obstacle to social advance,” (Bourne 2/11). Bourne suggests that not everyone wants to be assimilated into American society. “The foreign cultures have not been melted down or run together, made into some homogeneous Americanism, but have remained distinct but cooperating to the greater glory,” (Bourne 4/11). Bourne points out that America is meant to become a cosmopolitan mixture of America. America is form by immigrants and is destiny to be a mixture of
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