In The Souls of Black Folk, DuBois realized that he was different from other children. How did this realization affect his life?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the opening pages of the book, DuBois suggests that in analyzing the problem of the 20th century, one analyzes "the color line."  Naturally, he is able to draw a historical and spiritual direction to this analysis.  However, he personalizes this in a couple of ways.  I would submit that the first way he does this is in his proposition:  "What does it feel like to be seen as a problem?"  Within this lies the understanding that being Black in America involves having to see oneself as part of a "problem."  This is a uniquely different experience than being in the cultural majority.  He speaks this from a personal point of view.  Another example of his personalization of "this problem" is when as a grade school child, he tried to give a card, during a card exchange, to a little white girl who was in his class.  She refused.  He understood that this refusal was because of the color of his skin, proving that the issue of race is a social and cultural one, but moreover, it is a personalized experience of trying to understand "a problem" and seeing oneself as an inextricable part of this predicament.

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The Souls of Black Folk

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