Sometime this week, I was doing a backup on my blog posts. Since I was already backing up old blog posts, I decided to go ahead and backup old essays I wrote back when I was in college. While backing up those essays, some of which caused me sleepless nights, I ran across a particular essay that intrigued me . . . mostly because I forgot how good I was at writing critical analysis essays.
But seriously, this two year old essay spoke to me, and reading it only made me want to explore the subject even more. Here’s good piece of the essay I wrote, then I’ll try to be brief, and relay the thoughts that began to swirl in my head when I read it. You peruse the highlighted parts then skip on to the next post if you must:
“Double consciousness, as explained by W.E.B. Du Bois in “Strivings of the Negro People,” is “this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity,” (Du Bois194). The premise behind Du Bois’ philosophy focuses on the role of African-Americans to be aware of their American heritage, while keeping grasp of their African lineage, embarking on a “two-ness” of ideals which should make African Americans stronger as individuals.
In Brendt Ostendorf’s essay, “Ralph Waldo Ellison: Anthropology, Modernism, and Jazz,” which analyzes three frames of Ellison’s work in Invisible Man, Ostendorf writes that Ellison takes the idea of double consciousness further with his version of Du Bois’s idea called double vision (Ostendorf100).
Ostendorf explains, “This revision of Emerson’s and Du Bois’s concepts provides a key example, in fact, Ellison’s turning an apparent liability into an asset,” (100). Being a minority in, what seems to be, a social construct comprised of a [redacted] majority, is an apparent liability; however, this liability is an asset to the minority because the diversity of [ethnic groups] help question the norms and standards that are used by society to set boundaries.
Ellison’s use of the narrator/protagonist in his 1952 novel, Invisible Man, illustrates the complexities of Ellison’s double vision idea. According to Anthony Dykema-VanderArk, the narrator achieves “realization” when the narrator comes to terms with his personal history and his place in the larger history of America (Dykema-VanderArk1).
Throughout the novel, the narrator recounts his past and how he was socially unaware of his physical surroundings when dealing with his identity. It is only when he gets older, labeling himself as invisible, where he analyzes his realization, which is understanding and accepting his past to gain full freedom from social constraints…”
If you read all of that, I love you! I’ll try to be brief, but I couldn’t help but post a bulk of my essay because I just felt like sharing. I want to explore the two points I highlighted in the first two paragraphs above, and relate those points to the African American GLBT community because my brain is itching to bridge the gap between the overall African American communities with the GLBT community.
A lot of people may not agree with this, but it’s up for discussion. This post was getting too long, so I had to break it into two parts, but I enjoyed flexing my brain because it’s been a minute. I need to go back to school LOL.