Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dubois: Definition of race

We spoke about Dubois, and the "Conservation of Races" this past week. His idea of conserving the races was very striking to me, but it was the "deeper differences" which he used as the separating factors in the races that were so interesting to me. Dubois states that these deeper differences like their spirituality was what defines a race, and separates one from the other. People are separated by groups "ideals of life." Dubois then states his own definition of race. "It is a cast family of human beings, generally of common blood and language, always of common history, traditions and impulses, who are both voluntarily and involuntarily striving together for the accomplishment of certain more or less vividly conceived ideals of life(110)." In terms of "ideals of life" what do you think Dubois means by this? Also do you agree with Dubois' definition of race?
Also his main reason for the conservation of races is in referral to the African American race. He says that they have not proven themselves as a race. Dubois basically is saying that the future belongs to the black race, but what if the African American race does prove themselves later in society, and they achieve this goal. After they have done this does Dubois feel that "race" will then disappear? I feel that once they would prove themselves, then the white race would fall out, and it would be a never ending process. Each race is constantly looking to prove themselves and top the other races. What do you think about this?

1 comment:

  1. I believe that DuBois is referring to the principles by which each individual within the group would wish to live by and they would also wish to structure the world in accordance with these principles. In DuBois’ explanation of race, it is clear that having a shared history and a shared culture are important factors in defining a race, but (as Appiah pointed out) these were not the only aspects of humans that separated them into races. DuBois also felt that origin and appearance played a part in racial divisions. I feel that racial classifications get more and more ambiguous given society’s increasingly hazy view of it. But I also feel that there is no point in trying to understand the concept since there will never be any set and finite rules to describe exactly what race is since these confusing rules have proven to have the ability of changing according to the situation. I do not see this form of categorization disappearing any time soon however, despite the shaky quality of its meaning.


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