Du Bois Concepts of the Color Line, the Veil, Double Consciousness, and White Racial Privilege

Updated October 31, 2021

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Du Bois Concepts of the Color Line, the Veil, Double Consciousness, and White Racial Privilege essay

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The article I chose was ‘You Are Still Black’: Charlottesville’s Racial Divide Hinders Students. I found it on the New York Times, and It was reported and written in a collaboration with ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization. This article talks about the racial inequalities that exist in the Charlottesville school districts. Out of all of the theorist that we have talked about in this course, I thought I would choose W.E.B. Du Bois, Du Bois applied sociological principles to identify meaningful solutions to the problems associated with racism. I also chose him because of his comprehensive study on African Americans. In this essay I will write about Du Bois’s concept of the color line, the veil, double consciousness and white racial privilege.

This article ‘You Are Still Black’: Charlottesville’s Racial Divide Hinders Students primarily talks about the disadvantages of Zyahna Bryant and Trinity Hughes. They are both friends since the age of 6 and are now high school seniors. They have similar family types, raised by blue collar job and are both in the same church group. Although the big difference like many African American children that live in Charlesville, is that they lived in different school zone lines. Trinity lived in the south side of town and went to a predominantly black neighborhood elementary school. Whereas, Zyahna lived across the train tracks, which is considered the north side. The north side of Charlottesville was zone to a mostly white school, near University of Virginia.

The fact that they are separated/zone is an example of the color line described by Du Bois. The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line, it is the relation of the darker to the lighter. The color line is the social division based off of their race. Lower educational attainment is associated with poor labor force prospects. The school district has segregated the blacks from the whites, but they are constantly debating on redrawing the school zone line. One school is predominantly white and the other is predominantly black. The big problem is their education and achievement gap. One school is prioritized over the other.

This is a big problem, Du Bois would consider it unequal.The article stated “State exam data shows that, among Charlottesville children from low-income families, white students outperformed black students in all subjects over the past three years”. Reason being is their opportunity to advance. Discrimination of race, and education affects minorities or people who come from a low socio-economical background. Families that live in a high income neighborhood are often given first priority when it comes to money disbursement in school districts. Not all children are given the same opportunity as others. Schools that come from a higher income neighborhood are given opportunities like fresh-start programs and have the options of tutoring.

Another example of the color line in this article is the fact that Zyahna was accepted into the honors program and her friend Trinity was denied. The key difference was their education opportunity given to them. Zyahna attended an elite preschool that was a private school. While there, she was able to have an educational advancement that helped her pass the admission test for the gifted program. Zyahna who goes to a predominantly white school was chosen for the district’s honor program in elementary school. Since then, she was able to take advance-placement and college-level courses that was given to her. Her friend Trinity who goes to the school in the southern side of town was not granted entry for the higher-level courses. The reason why she wasn’t granted entry was because preparation ability. She was not offered the same level as her friend from the north side. Trinity said, “I know what I’m capable of, and what I can do, but the counselors and teachers, they don’t really care about that”. It goes to show that the honors programs are made in favor for individuals who come from a white majority school. They are trying to keep African Americans from advancing in their education levels.

Du Bois argued that the Veil prevents white people from seeing black people as Americans, and from treating them as fully human. At the same time, in turn, it prevents black people from seeing themselves as they really are, outside of the negative vision of blackness created by racism. An example of the veil in this article was Ms. Smith’s comment regarding mixing the races together. “I don’t think the schools see anything positive in an academic mixing pot because the white parents will leave” (Smith). This is a clear statement that they do not see the African Americans as human. They would rather leave than having the races interact with each other.

Another example of the veil in this article is the types of High School diplomas. The state of Virginia established a two-tier diploma that is either a standard or advance diploma. To get the advance diploma, students must complete additional mathematics, science, history and at least 3 years of a foreign language. There was a time when the state superintendent of public instruction proposed removing the tier system, just to a have a single diploma system. Parents complained, so the proposition was removed. The article stated, “In Charlottesville, about three-quarters of white students graduate with an advanced diploma, compared with a quarter of their black peers”. This is an example of the veil because they do not give the black students the opportunity to get into the advance courses. Without the advance courses you can’t get the diploma. The fact that more whites have a superior diploma is an example of the veil, because they think that blacks aren’t as equal as them.

An example of Du Bois white racial privilege was their education level and reading skills. A state exam data shows that, among Charlottesville children from low-income families, white students outperformed black students in all subjects over the past three years. The same pattern holds true for wealthier students. That is a clear example of white racial privilege. The article stated, “As of last year, half of all black students in Charlottesville could not read at grade level, compared with only a tenth of white students, according to state data”. Again, that is a clear example that whites are getting a better education than their racial counterparts.

Double Consciousness is the effect of the veil. It is this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others. Du Bois writes about the internal struggle of African Americans attempting to fit in as racial minorities in a white-dominant society. In 1954 Brown v. Board of Education, Charlottesville decision for desegregation was a no. When the pressure from the Supreme Court of Virginia, Charlottesville eventually reopened its schools in 1959. They allowed only a dozen to attend its whites schools.

Of course, there was resistance to the integration, white people were not fond of the idea. Instead of letting the African Americans enroll with no problems, the white-led district established testing requirements. Of course, they knew that African American schools differed in education, they knew that they would struggle with the testing requirements. When the African Americans first settled into a white majority school, they had to adjust. They had to fit in, despite being of different race. There were many difficulties for them going into the school.

The article said “In 1984, Charlottesville High School ignited after its student newspaper published derogatory remarks about black students”. There were many other difficulties for the black students, but for them trying to fit in despite being made fun of is an example of Double Consciousness. They feel that they are not as equal or have to prove something to the whites. Whites are blind to see racial privilege. Blacks can see racial privilege because they live through it every day. They can see it up close and can contrast to their own experiences.

Overall this article was good, it showed examples of Du Bois concepts of the color line, the veil, double consciousness, and white racial privilege. In Charlottesville, they still struggle with education equality and opportunity for schools that are in racial minority neighborhoods.

Du Bois Concepts of the Color Line, the Veil, Double Consciousness, and White Racial Privilege essay

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Du Bois Concepts of the Color Line, the Veil, Double Consciousness, and White Racial Privilege. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/du-bois-concepts-of-the-color-line-the-veil-double-consciousness-and-white-racial-privilege/


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