Early in his first chapter, "Of Our Spiritual Strivings," Du Bois narrates the moment in his childhood in which he first realizes that his white classmates see him as different and beneath them, and how the "vast veil" causes mutual contempt in him for them. In this passage, Du Bois mentions how his "fine contempt" let him excel and develop his talents when he was younger. When and why did it prove insufficient? Why do you think that Du Bois mentions his personal experiences with racism here? What do they add to his argument, and for which readers would they prove persuasive? "I held all beyond [the veil] in common contempt, and lived above in it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the worlds I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine."

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As a child, Du Bois first becomes aware of racial difference and comes to realize that his race will lead to him being treated as inferior to his classmates. He first rebels against this inequality, assuming that if he proves himself to be better than them academically, he will be respected and will have access to whatever opportunities a top white student would have.

Over time, though, Du...

(The entire section contains 206 words.)

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