Du Bois in The souls of black folk explains the problem of the 20th century is the color line which is the relation of lighter races to darker races. Du Bois argues black folk have a double consciousness of being an American and a Negro. He explains black folk wish they can be both without having opportunities taken away from them and stop having to look at themselves through the eyes of other white Americans. He states between himself and “the other world” a question is asked indirectly but states “how does it feel to be a problem?” when making a statement such as “I know a great colored man in my town.” Du Bois explains Brooker T. Washington and others feel the way for the Negro to succeed with possibility of economic opportunities or prosperity is to replace courage, impulse and manliness with patience, humility, and adroitness.
Today in the 21st century Du Bois’ ideals aren’t as accurate. For starters no one refers to African Americans as Negros in the 21st century. African Americans are able to receive a higher education and make higher salaries. The election of Barack Obama as president of the United States shows we have come a long way from the ideals of Du Bois. Unfortunately, inequalities do still exist. Du Bois refers to a comment like “I know a great colored man in my town” being a statement implying colored people are a problem is still relevant today in its own way. A professor of mine also a grad student stated he hears more people tell black and Hispanic grad students more often than white students “they are smart” and it seems to be this way because black and Hispanics aren’t expected to be. This also made me think why are there academic scholarships available to African Americans only? There never is a scholarship that says only white students apply. This almost implies African American students aren’t likely to be higher achievers.
An inequality today is the amount of African Americans being the overall majority in our prison systems. The majority of our incarcerations are because of drug offenses and the majority of these are African Americans but the majority of all drug users including crack (stereotyped to be used mostly by African Americans) are white males. How is it the majority of drug arrests are African American? It is almost like African Americans have to abide by our laws more so then whites to bring down their arrest rate. This is similar to idea of “Negros” being able to succeed by replacing actions such as impulsive with “adroitness.” He is stating African Americans have to act differently in a more positive manner to succeed. The truth is however, no one should have to act differently from another race in order to succeed or not be arrested. Opportunities and arrests should be addressed the same for all which unfortunately today still isn’t.