W.E.B. Dubois and Carlos Bolusan

W.E.B. Dubois and Carlos Bolusan

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W.E.B. Dubois and Carlos Bolusan



William Edward Burghardt DuBois is one of the most influential black leaders. He helped founded the NAACP, was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and fought for integration and equal rights regardless of race. He wrote the famous essay Double Consciousness that expresses the hardship of not only being black, but also American. There was another racial group that had the same discrimination and hardship; however, many are not aware of it. Filipino-Americans struggled through the same adversities as African-Americans; thus, many similarities lie between the two different races.
When DuBois wrote Double Consciousness, he had just returned to the north from the south. This is where his knowledge of racism became more defined; he really tasted it. He came from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which was very lightly populated with African Americans. There was racism present, but only little signs of it. When he visited the south, he finally realized how discrimination incarcerated his people; how it wouldn't let them know their true selves and potential. In this famous essay, DuBois describes the feelings of being two different people in one body, African and American. He describes how people of his kind can only see themselves through the eyes of others.
Filipinos faced the same discrimination. In 1902, the Cooper Act was passed by the Congress that makes it illegal to operate a business, own property, vote, live in an American residential neighborhood, and become a naturalized citizen. A majority of Filipinos worked on sugar cane plantations in Hawaii; moreover, it was illegal for any Filipino to marry whites (California's Anti-Miscegenation Law.) Filipino-Americans of the 1900's lived through many hardships, just as the African Americans.
There was a man of Filipino decent who was very much like DuBois. This man even collaborated with the eminent DuBois to push the publishing of the autobiography of Luis Taruc, a leader of a communist rebellion in the Philippines. This man was Carlos Bulosan. He became active organizing unions for the farms that her worked for; however, the life as roaming farm worker took a huge toll on his health. While in the hospital for his illnesses, he made companions who guided him through his self-education. He even made influential contacts in the publishing world. He published many volumes of poetry; even more, President Franklin Roosevelt chose him to write one of the four essays in The Four Freedoms, a popular wartime collection.

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He often wrote about the prejudices of living in his adopted country. Bulosan even married a white woman, which was very frowned against. Carlos Bulosan may very well be the Filipino-American equivalent of W.E.B. DuBois.
Many similarities appear in the stories of being African American and Filipino-American. Before World War II, it would be very common to see signs all over the west coast that read "Dogs and Filipinos positively not allowed." They didn't occupy the same rights that African Americans couldn't have: the right to vote, own property, and become citizens. Filipino-Americans also worked strenuously on plantations, working for almost nothing at all. It was very hard for either races to get passed being "African" or "Filipino" and just be Americans.
Even today, African Americans and Filipino-Americans still have problems being American. Filipinos desire the "American life;" yet, people of their own kind would look down at them for trying to be "white-washed." Even more so, other races still have a hard time accepting them as just "Americans," much like any other foreigners. Even with the world opening up to different races, African Americans have a discriminating sign tagged on their backs. People are trying to see past it, but the terrible racism of the past still haunts them.
These two very different races come from two very distant countries. However, they face the same discrimination and hardship when they reach the United States. Even though these two peoples, the African Americans and the Filipino-Americans, share similarities, it doesn't mean that other races don't. Right now, anyone with middle-eastern decent is targeted. Before, Japanese-Americans faced terrible discrimination because of World War II. It is strange how "foreigners" face such troubles in the United States, whereas in reality, everyone in the U.S. is a foreigner.
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