After reading this week’s pieces which included a comical fiction piece by Charles W. Chesnutt “The Goophered Grapevine” and a strong historical reference piece by W. E. B. Du Bois “From The Souls of Black Folk” really had me thinking about the historical context of slavery. Du Bois gives a magnificent, albeit confrontational depiction of black slavery; he makes some very important points on the conscious development and social programming that they endure. I found what Du Bois had to say as enlightening and admirable. He was saying things that he believed in, knowing there would be a strong backlash from the community and also from Washington who he desiccated in his work. But even though he made enemies by saying what he did, all he was asking of his people was to be open-minded and make their own decisions about who they are and what they want to be. He was not asking them to follow him because he had all the answers; he was attempting to convince them that they were their own people and could make decisions on their own.
After reading that this week, I watched a current documentary called “Life and Debt” which outlines the current lives of people in Jamaica. I found myself relating their current situations to those that Du Bois was discussing. The documentary was describing and outlining the financial situations of people in Jamaica because of a situation made by their leaders to borrow money from the IMF. This, in turn, is demoralizing their country and sucking dry their ability to produce their own fruits, vegetables, and dairy. They can now no longer sell to their own people in Jamaica. They have to export nearly everything they grow or make themselves, and can only purchase their personal foods and goods from imports. This is ruining their country and the people feel that there is no way out of this. This is when I remember Du Bois writing about the double consciousness of their people. The people today in Jamaica are still struggling from this and continue to find themselves in this same situation that many people believe ended. Blacks all over the world are still struggling with forms of “racism”, which are not necessarily tied to the color of their skin or the treatment they receive from white people; but are directly tied to their way of life. Or should I say their inability to live life because of the pressures from the world.
However, I find that this subject is depressing, but important. This concept does not only affect black people, but everyone around the world is affected by the world we live in today. Regardless of what race, culture, ethnicity, or religion someone is, they find themselves bound to the same denominations that everyone else is bound to. This is what I believe Du Bois was hinting at in his work, that if people did not become conscious of whom they are, they are bound by this fate.