Double consciousness is one of the most influential and enduring of Du Bois’ ideas, though he only mentions it explicitly a handful of times within The Souls of Black Folk. Double consciousness arises as a result of the Veil; forced to view themselves and the world through the white lens of racism, black people must then negotiate the interaction of this racist view with their own view of reality. Through this balancing act, a dual, contradictory consciousness emerges, one that feeds two opposing perspectives on the world to black people at once. Du Bois suggests that until African Americans can reconcile these two views and feel that there is no contradiction between being both black and American, they will be unable to achieve true progress, freedom, and peace.
Double Consciousness Quotes in The Souls of Black Folk
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 ever feels his twoness,––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.