Double Consciousness

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. - W. E. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folks

Though the Emancipation Proclamation outruled slavery more than a hundred years ago, the psychological effects of slavery are still evident today. One of which is double consciousness,” a term coined by W. E. DuBois in his groundbreaking work, the Souls of Black Folks.

Double consciousness is the state of your identity being split into two parts. How you see yourself and how you see yourself as perceived by the outside world. Having this dual identity creates internal conflict and makes it difficult to have one unified identity.

One example, is how society and the media don’t associate blacks and intelligence. They are basketball players, rappers, and dancers, but not doctors, engineers, or physicists. I imagine this stereotype causes a cognitive dissonance in young black folks repelling them from pursuing certain professions.

This double consciousness is one reason I think we have a lack of black representation in nearly every technical field.

June 3, 2020 · Diversity

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