Therefore, is consequently a problem in American

Therefore, Equiano does not
necessarily agree with DuBois’ idea that the double consciousness, which is
unique to African Americans, is consequently a problem in American
society.  He does, however, incorporate
the phenomenon of the Veil in his narrative as a way to elucidate the reader
that this phenomenon is actually a very real one as well to appeal to the free
black men of his time to resist. Equiano’s account serves to enhance the
concept of the veil; yet he never specifically claims that the phenomenon stems
from the factual state of being of darker skin, but rather hints at it
throughout his whole narrative by narrating the cruel events which he and the
other enslaved individuals of the New World were faced with.

Written two hundred years after
Equiano’s slave narrative, and fifty years after DuBois’ Soul of Black Folk which defined the term of the veil, James
Baldwin shifts the focus of this concept from Blackness to Whiteness, and the
creation of the problem of being black. Published in 1962, Baldwin’s letter
titled My Dungeon Shook: A Letter to my
Nephew, challenges the impression that society has of blackness and what it
means, by declaring that it is the mythical creation of that blackness, which
categorized African Americans as problems. Instead of agreeing with DuBois’ theory,
Baldwin suggests that being a problem is a misconception created by white
America because “they are in effect still trapped in a history which they do
not understand, and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it”
(Baldwin, 1), meaning that white American identity was formed in reaction to
what they African Americans are not, and that they are unaware that the race
they hold –meaning the superior connotation that society has imposed to the
Caucasian phenotype- propagates close-minded ideas that are based on cultural
connotations and stereotypes adhered to skin color; those connotations carry
and develop ideas which then form identities. Baldwin states that this “history
that they do not understand” taught people that “they had to believe that black
men were inferior to white” (Baldwin, 1) or their notion of reality would be

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