The Color Line Essay

1226 words - 5 pages

Appearing in the 1903, The Souls of Black folk had emerged, a collection of 14 proses, written by one of the single most intellectual blacks in America, W. E.B. DuBois (Oxford Companion). This dynamic collection of essays reflect on African American history, sociology, religion, politics, and music. DuBois begins saying “The problem of the 20th century is the color line (5). This quote pronounces DuBois bases for his collection, that is being different form the others (Whites) makes you feel like you are being shut out from their world by a vast veil; hence the color line(8). On the other had we have Birth of a Nation, which comes out later in 1915 (TCM). Ironically it becomes the top ...view middle of the document...

” While this idea may not have been popular during the early 1900s, there is a lot of truth to the veil. This expresses the main issue we see in Birth of a Nation (BOAN). In the beginning of BOAN for example, those watching it notice Blacks being auction off, which is first introduced by the title, “The bringing of the African to America planted the first seed of disunion” (Birth of a Nation). In this instance Griffith is trying to make this separation known to his audiences as one made by the effects of the slave trade. The physical enslavement of African Americans took a huge toll on them, but the worse form of slavery in mental and that is what stereotypes can provide, if you can get individuals to believe in them.
Though the word title serves as an example of DuBois explanation of the ‘veil’, Griffith, unlike DuBois, falsifies several images of African Americans and produces, encourages, and enforces them throughout the film; thus we have an adverse influence, where Blacks are looking at themselves through the eyes of “the other world”. Dubois goes into further detail explaining this double-consciousness, “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. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder(9).”
Stereotypes are very powerful because they are a mental and in some ways a physical approach to undermining a group of individuals. These false images in BOAN displays Black women as happy servants for the white family (Mammies), Black men as the Bucks (a large Black man who is proud, sometimes threatening, and always interested in White women), and the Mulatto(Mixed Blood male or female who are seen as promiscuous and can pass as White).With the Buck image, for instance, they used the character Gus, who is a black-faced White man who tries to engage in a sexual encounter with Flora, the youngest sister in the Cameron family (spark notes). In this scene Gus finds Flora, but she rejects him. Displaying African American men as on who will lust after the White woman, we see Flora run through the woods as the innocent, helpless...

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