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The Existence of The Concept of Double Consciousness in America

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What does White America think of when they hear the words “black male”? The records in people’s heads make a certain image of what a black male is pop up. Maybe in the way he wears his clothes, makes money, or what activities he is involved in. To say Double Consciousness isn’t relevant today would simply be untrue. Stereotypes still exist, therefore Double Consciousness still exists.

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I cannot speak on behalf of the black community, as I am a white woman, but I imagine there is split identification for many black Americans. When people think of what an American is, usually White America is what comes to mind because it is the “dominant” culture. Therefore white Americans do not struggle with this split identity. But for black Americans, the identification process seems different or separate. The stereotypes are so prevalent in the eyes of White America, it almost seems as though black Americans must fall into the category of a stereotypical role.

The concept of Double Consciousness is applicable to other populations as well. Take Muslims for example. The stereotype of Muslims is that they are all affiliated with terrorism. How are Muslim Americans supposed to feel included and accepted when the dominant culture views them so negatively? I am of Syrian heritage so when my classmates would find out about my heritage, they would call me names like “terrorist”. This would not make me feel un-American. It certainly made me feel discriminated against, but I did not personally feel like I had a split identity. I simply thought my classmates were being immature and ignorant to diversity. But all they did was call me names. There have been instances in which Muslims have been discriminated against to the point of ostracizing them.

A prime example of this would be the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed in September of 2015. 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed built an electronic clock to show his teachers at his high school in Irving, Texas. Instead of applauding him for his brilliance, his English teacher thought the clock was a bomb and reported him to the principal. He was put in handcuffs in front of the entire school, hauled to jail, and suspended from school. This incident involved allegations of racial profiling and Islamophobia. Justice was finally served when police found that Mohamed was innocent and had no malicious intent. Mohamed now lives in Qatar with his family after accepting a scholarship offered by the Qatar Foundation.

I think Double Consciousness contributes to racial division. It only reinforces pre-existing stereotypes. Stereotypes about groups of people have been around since the beginning. It is unfortunately part of human nature to judge others. But living in a supposedly “post-racial society”, these stereotypes still exist and extreme action is still taken, which only further divides races and groups. Look at Ahmed Mohamed’s experience with stereotyping and extreme action. That probably made him feel very isolated from his classmates and the dominant culture. How often do you hear about a white male being dragged into jail for questioning over a hoax bomb? Now think about how often Muslims face that stereotype and what lengths other Americans will go to isolate Muslims as a group.

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As far as the “Up/Down” exercise goes, it showed me that I cannot categorize everyone into a neat, little box. Every person is more complex than that. We have all had experiences that set us aside from everyone else. I learned a lot about my classmates and society as a whole from that exercise. It showed me that even though we are all part of different groups, we can all be united and work together. It brought us together as a class, but was also humbling to see where other people have come from and gone through. It made me feel like I was not alone and there was no reason to feel isolated.

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The Existence of the Concept of Double Consciousness in America. (2018, September 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 27, 2023, from
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