Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘norms as universal

“A shadow swept me off”; (Feb. 15, 2010)

            “I was an exuberant kid and first in my class in New England.  I gladly helped my classmates in their homework and we were good bodies regardless of the color of the skin in this ramshackle wood small school. One day, an idea made its way to distributing invitation cards; it cost 10 cents the packet of cards. Then, a tall blonde newcomer girl refused my invitation card and looked at me with a haughty contempt.  A shadow swept me off: I raised a veil between me and the white schoolmates: I since felt that I was looked at as different and separate.

            Since then, I never had the desire to tear down that veil or to surreptitiously slide across it. Everything behind that veil was despicable and opted to live in a mythical world of a sky more blue than theirs when I outdone my schoolmates in study and in running games.

            With years behind me, this veil was a shred of desires for the same opportunities enjoyed by whites.  I lived with double visions of this world, mostly though the world of how white folks wanted to view me.  I was living this double conscious of being American and a black, two souls, two systems of values, two irreconcilable struggle within a single body. I was fighting the good fight to remaining whole.” (The souls of black people, 1903)

            William Edward Du Bois (1868-1963) was the first US black to earn a PhD in Harvard. Du Bois was born in Massachusetts and died in Ghana; the same night that Martin Luther King was assassinated.  Du Bois was the architect behind “Encyclopedia Africana” and co-founder of NAACP in 1910.  “Whites lay down the norms as universal; blacks have to exist within the vision of what white people have of them” Du Bois wrote.




March 2021

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