==W.E.B Dubois, “A Negro Nation within a Nation” ==


W.E.B. Dubois once said that history loses its value as an incentive and as an example. It paints perfect men and noble nations, yet fails to tell the truth. The truth is America has objectified and antagonized African Americans for centuries. America is supposed to breed free men with equal rights, but instead she breeds perpetual hypocrites. African Americans did not have the same opportunities as they so justly deserved in the twentieth century, and that is the reason W.E.B Dubois felt strongly about ethnocentricity. In the 1930s, it was essential for African Americans to gain a sense of elasticity towards The Great Depression, which sent the economy (especially the economy in the African American community) into a whirling downhill collapse.  In the source “A Negro Nation within a Nation” Dubois explained and debated the importance of blacks unifying together, improving their own communities, and obtaining and valuing education in order to progress in America. Many blacks were fighting for integration and the liberty to intertwine into white American culture, which Dubois once advocated, but he slowly began to believe that it wasn’t a necessity at the current time period. He stated in the passage that “any planning for the benefit of American Negroes on the part of a Negro intelligentsia is going to involve organized and deliberate self-segregation.” (205). Blacks would exalt much effort and energy trying to establish integration when their real problem was the economy. Many blacks were poor and in poverty, and Dubois felt as though the race should gather together instead of trying to “escape” into the mass American people, leaving the rest of the black race to drastically suffer in result. Dubois believed that this would create a “nation within a nation” which would allow slow sustainable growth and increase in wealth.Edit

Who Is Dubois?

         W.E.B Dubois paved the way for many black revolutionists. He was a sociologist, civil rights activists, Pan Africanist, and one of the cofounders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The characteristics and persona of W.E.B Dubois are constantly reoccurring and seen before in different African American individuals. Ironically enough, Marcus Garvey is the most similar to his fellow Pan Africanist. The Jamaican who also started the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) disagreed with a few of his philosophies. He was more radical than Dubois when it came to Black Nationalism because he wanted a complete separatism movement. Though Dubois did advocate for Black Nationalism, he believed that it was only necessary to excel in the American system. Dubois regularly criticized Garvey as reckless for orchestrating actions such as the Back to Africa movement and plotting against the NAACP. Yes Dubois did believe in one point in Garvey’s slogan “Africa for the Africans” but he did not believe that African Americans should rule the African continent.Edit


 Instead, he felt as though African Americans should gain high status and position in America to improve the race’s chances of power. That proves to be a bit of a problem which is exemplified in Dubois following quote: “it is only exceptional circumstances that any Negro no matter what his ability, gets an opportunity for position and power.” Sadly enough, he is not exaggerating and is very accurate. The window of opportunity for blacks to achieve “The American Dream” is very limited and narrow because of the obstacles and adversities African Americans constantly face. Discrimination, poverty, and infantile education are a few problems that blacks have to hurdle over just to get an opportunity to work towards prosperity. Discrimination disqualifies blacks from certain rights as citizens. It takes money to make money, and poverty cripples the overall lifestyle and cycle of some African Americans. The lack of education of blacks, (whose literacy rate is lower than Spain and Italy) in society was prevalent. It was a major factor that inhibited them to have that standard path in meritocracy to achieve high status and prestige. Blacks who are fortunate enough to be blessed with the opportunity to be in a position of power and prestige are likely to forget their origins, and as Dubois said in the passage, are more likely to suppress and ignore the problems that are going on within the African American race. That is why many working class blacks have a problem with black intellectuals. Education is power in America. As the great cliché goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Working class blacks believe that it is the black intellectuals’ responsibility to speak on behalf of the race, delegate, and clear any problems or misconceptions that are attached with the African American race. Dubois believed that blacks should use their “power in numbers” to develop their economy and social standing instead. He stated in the passage that 166 million dollars a month is accumulated by Negro families, which is an exceptional power when delegated correctly. Another powerful tool blacks could utilize is the power of voting. They have a very large percentage of voting in presidential elections and could have a big part in swaying the decision of the Free World’s leader. There is power in numbers and blacks should take advantage to develop their economy.Edit

Change of a nation

            Dubois had a strong presence of appeal in the historic resilience of the African American race. His intelligence, patriotism, and his compassion for the African American race are the key ingredients to prosperity in the black community.  No matter the situation or circumstances, from slavery to Jim Crow laws, blacks have always been able to bounce back and resist oppression because they have used their qualities and numbers to maximize their potential. I personally feel proud to be an African American because we have been known to bond together. I concede to the fact that African Americans do bring about self-segregation even in this modern day in age. There is segregation at the University of Arkansas. Blacks cluster with blacks. Whites cluster with whites. Asians cluster with Asians. Blacks even segregate themselves from other blacks by color or origin now. International African students feel somewhat out of place and uncomfortable around African Americans sometimes. I do respect Dubois’s views. I admire and agree with many of his philosophies, but I disagree that we as black people should be a nation within a nation because it doesn’t solve a lot of the self-segregation problems on campus, or in the country for that matter. Though there is so much self-segregation, I still maintain my pride for my race because we cooperate together when it counts. For instance, when Trayvon Martin was murdered and George Zimmerman was acquitted, the African American community came together having race rallies and discussion panels to ensure that this injustice would not be forgotten. I learned from Dubois that ethnocentrism is the route to success, but ethnocentrism should be held for one race: the human race. Diversity brings everyone together.  If we participated in the theory of ethnocentrism, the economy and the world would be in better places.