Writing While Black: The Black Tax on African American Graduate Writers




Burrows, Cedric D.

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In Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois states that African American identity contains a “double consciousness” of being both black and American (45). According to Du Bois, African Americans are constantly aware of their dual identities because their existence is a constant struggle to reconcile those two selves in a society that scorns them. As Du Bois writes, “He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face” (46). As a result, African Americans have to see themselves in relation to how white Americans view them, while struggling to encounter a world that they anticipate will eventually—and hopefully—view them without contempt.

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