America’s White Divide


Professor’s name



The Contribution of WEB Dubois to America’s White Divide


Born in Massachusetts in February 1868, EB Dubois was a Ghanian-American sociologist, Pan-Africanist, writer, author, civil rights activist, and historian. Du Bois was also among the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People formed in 1909. Dubois contributed greatly to the divide of white and black people in America at the turn of the 20th century in various ways. WEB Du Bois was of the opinion that life only gained deep meaning by participating in the race problem. Worth noting, it is hard to think of anyone at the time who assessed the race problem in its entirety more extensively, subtly, and profoundly than WED Dubois. The race problem unified Dubois’s work as a historian, journalist, novelist, philosopher, critic, and sociologist. This essay delves into the contribution of WEB Dubois’s work to America’s black and white divide at the turn of the 20th century.

Dubois Objectively Considers the Race Problems

One of the contributions of WEB Dubois is that he considered the problem of race objectively from both the standpoint of science and that of lived experience. In some of his earliest publications, responded to the contemporary subject of the negro problem by conceptualizing it as an issue of scientific inquiry. The sociology studies that interested him are the social issues that affected black people in America. In his view, the problem was not black people, although the problem affected them. From Dubois’ sociological perspective, the race problem is a cluster of other social problems (Goldfield, 34). He defined the social problem as the failure of organized social groups to know their group ideals through their lack of capacity to adapt to desirable actions to some life conditions. He gave the example of failing to go with the ideals of luxurious living or home because of existing marriage customs. Du Bois says that the race problem has been a baffling adjustment of conditions and actions which form the essence of progress. More specifically, Du Bois equates the current race problem of the 20th century to the failure in incorporating black people into the social life of American people. Dubois’s casual explanation and social ontology of the Negro problem form a basis for the argument of racial prejudice in American society.

Dubois Subjectively Considers the Race Problems

Another contribution of Dubois to the American divide is that it considers the problem of racism subjectively. In his viewpoint, the race problem is a subjectively felt and lived social condition and not only an object of scientific, social inquiry. In his texts The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois cites as evidence the notion of double-consciousness to talk about the subjectively felt experience of the race problem. He ascribed double consciousness, particularly to black people, and deems it as a way that people can look at themselves through other people’s eyes. In his standpoint, double-consciousness occurs when black people view themselves through the contemptuous and pitying eyes of white people who are racially prejudiced as one of the main causes of the race problem.

Du Bois Academic Works Helped Put an End to White Supremacy

Another contribution of WEB Dubois is that his academic works, including texts like Ghana Calls and The Song of the Smoke helped put an end to white supremacy in America. Worth noting, in addition to the developing editorials, Dubois contributed to producing academic works while working at the University of Atlanta. After five years of hard work, WEB Dubois published John Brown’s biography who was an abolitionist (Meer, 47). The publication contained strong insights into the white supremacy and warned of its end. He asserted that the short period of African American leaders in Southern American accomplished the significant goals of democracy, new social welfare legislation, and free public schools.


In closing, WEB Dubois has immense positive contributions to the divide between white people and people of color in America at the turn of the 20th century. Du Bois assessed the race problem both objectively and subjectively. He considered the problem of race objectively from both the standpoint of science and that of lived experience. Additionally, Dubois felt the race problem is subjective and lived social condition and not only an object of scientific social inquiry.

Works Cited

Goldfield, Michael. 4. The color of politics in the United States: white supremacy as the main explanation for the peculiarities of American politics from colonial times to the present. Cornell University Press, 2018.

Meer, Nasar. “WEB Du Bois, double consciousness and the ‘spirit’of recognition.” The Sociological Review 67.1 (2019): 47-62.