W.E.B. Du Bois' 'On Being

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

The next experience, which Du Bois reminisces, is the most ridiculous of all, a wayfarer preferring to walk a muddy way than walk through the way of Du Bois, essentially a 'dirty' nigger for the white traveler. When the traveler tries to humiliate Du Bois, confirming his race, he replies curtly: "My grandfather was so called," [Du Bois, 2000 p. 548] hinting that racism is a past issue and humanism no longer considers race in its deliberations. Yet he continues to sternly assert that he is a nigger, accepting the reality of the creed he belongs to, with an air of pride. The utter craziness of white prejudice is apparent in the incidences that follow, when 'out of the blue' the white man triumphs: "I do not want my sister to marry a nigger" and continues to assert, "By God, you shan't marry her, even if she said yes." [Du Bois, 2000 p. 548] Antagonizing a strange wayfarer, without even the slightest of a provocation ought to be utter craziness. And the obtuseness is even apparent as the traveler yells angrily: "Why not!" To Du Bois when he answers disconcertedly the he does not want to marry his sister. Du Bois wit again surfaces as he explains his reason in not wishing to marry the other's sister: "Because I am already married and I rather like my wife." When the cranky white continues to shout back Du Bois gives up saying: "Go on... either you are crazy or I am" to which the obstinate white asserts sardonically: "We both are," [Du Bois, 2000 p. 548] unwilling to let a nigger, walk off belittling a white.

Racism is crazy, considering a fellow being inferior to one, simply on the basis of color is nothing less than craziness. The mindlessness of unreasonably provoking a fellow human and the fanatical approach of the whites towards the Negroes, considering them inferior and not deserving to be considered equally in the social context, is what Du Bois considers 'crazy'. And he is definitely right in saying so. As Robert F. Kennedy has once observed: "But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?" Would God be inferior as well? Not quite so. Then considering a black God to be superior and a nigger as inferior because of his color is ridiculous and crazy. Rationally superiority reflects in one's character, thinking and intellect. To believe that one's values, convictions, and character, which define a person are determined by one's anatomy, skin color or blood and not by the judgment of the mind is definitely crazy.

Du Bois' sophisticated intelligence, which responds promptly with straight, sharp-witted situationally appropriate replies to the white prejudices, appeals not the black alone, it enlightens the humanist considerations in even the 'craziest' of the whites. By juxtaposing the white irrationality and dull-wittedness, alongside his well-crafted yet simple and sensible replies, Du Bois exposes the craziness of the whites, of seeing the blacks inferior to them even when the black intellect and thinking is apparently much superior to that of the whites.

Reference

WE.B. Du Bois, "On Being Crazy," The Conscious Reader, 8/E Ed. Caroline Shrodes, Harry Finestone and…