Racial segregation is a term that has sparked debate about the validity of American liberty and its related ideas. The hypocrisy of a society that is free for some but oppressive for others calls into question the fairness principle. These are the ideas explored in W.E.B. Du Bois’ book The Souls of Black Folk.
The Reading’s Objective
The aim of this article is to highlight the racial inequality that characterizes the United States of America, as well as its implications for the notions of a free society. It then goes on to discuss the different ways in which commitment will help to strengthen or break bonding conditions. The article has an element of satire as it juxtaposes the ideals of American freedom and the racism that has plagued the society and often ignored or treated as normal.
Explanation of Race and American Ideals
The author elaborates his objective through illustrating the life of Fredrick Douglass who was born as a slave in a period where slavery and its effects were condoned. Blacks and Americans of color were servants to the whites despite the fact that both had fought side by side to free America from the colonial rule and through the civil wars. The blacks were denied education by their masters and mistresses who offered to teach them were warned and discouraged. This was the case in Fredrick Douglass scenario where his male master discouraged the mistress from teaching him how to read. Despite all this oppressive rules and regulation, the slaves and oppressed people such as Fredrick managed to teach themselves how to read and write as well as other survival tactics. Finally, some like Douglass managed to escape their masters and go to a state that prohibited slavery where they joined various movements that fought against the institution. Fredrick wrote books and made speeches to address the need for freedom and equal rights as American citizens inclusive of the Negroes.
The author explored slavery and its effects through various themes such as love, the right to education, marriage, determination and sacrifice. The slaves love life was a difficult one and Douglass refused to marry his to be wife as a slave but does so after they both escape and reunite in Massachusetts. The author demonstrates that the black people have the capability to utilize education, contrary to what white people believed. Douglass was able to educate himself and learn English which showed the ability to learn and sheer determination. Finally, despite living in a free country, Douglass mission to educate fellow slaves through tours posed risks to him and he was essentially sacrificing his time and wellbeing to spread the message (Du Bois ).
The irony demonstrated in the readings brings out a well-justified contradiction of the American notions of justice and fairness. every person ought to be treated fairly, before the law, at the workplace, and within their residences particularly when they have a citizen status. Racism is discouraged and the assumption that some individuals are ideal is false. From my perspective, the article has done well in bringing out the effects of slavery, its persistence in disguise into contemporary societies and its harmful effects. The juxtaposition of the American ideas brings out a strong and noticeable contrast which capture the reader’s interest and enhances the clarity of the text. I would recommend the text to whoever is keen on understanding the journey through slavery and what it means to have a fair society without double standards.
Du Bois , William Edward. The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Dover Publications, 1994. Book.