“Two Warring Ideals”
A feeling of double consciousness has resulted from African Americans attempting to situate themselves within American society. This chapter first theorizes the relevance of the perennial double consciousness debate, the differing forms of patriotism emanating out of this debate, and then the construction of contemporary black conversational contexts, especially within the post-segregationist era. In the The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. DuBois made an eloquent plea for understanding the plight of a newly emancipated but wholly racialized people. DuBois implored an understanding of the black investments in the American Republic, not the least of which was centuries of enslaved labor. These investments have rooted black people in the promise of America and should root America in the promise of black people. Based upon the literature, one might expect all-black focus groups to display the most varied and nuanced expressions of double consciousness and invested versus iconoclastic patriotism.