Double Consciousness with a little “I” and “Me”

This video came out in late 2011. If you can’t watch it, it’s about a black woman who goes into a grocery store with her half white half black sister in law. The sister in law looks white; blue eyes, light skin. The cashier (a white woman) at the stand chats the “white woman” up about her day, the weather, etc, and then happily accepts her check without checking her ID, and she steps off to the side to wait for the black woman. The black woman then steps up and the cashier has no small talk for her, and then asks her for two forms of ID when she cuts a check. Then proceeds to check her ID against the “bad checks booklet.” The “white woman” actually steps in which is just amazing. But that’s not why I picked this clip for this assignment. The black woman is a great example of double consciousness.¬† She even talks about knowing that if she were to get upset, the two older white women behind her would be looking at her as the “mad black woman,” and she would then be filling the stereotype, even if she was justified in her anger. I also see double consciousness as almost a parallel, especially in a situation like this, to Gilman’s “I” and “me.” Her “I” says that she’s justified, but also knows that her “me” will be seen as a mad black woman, that the stereotype will¬† work against her.

In story shared in the video, the black woman’s 10 year old daughter is also in the grocery store, and is DEEPLY affected by this injustice. She’s experiencing a sense of double consciousness that I think DuBois would characterize as even different than her mother’s. She’s experiencing that she’s different because she’s black, but she’s also different because she is completely powerless in the situation as a child- so she’s not just a black woman experiencing injustice, she’s a child, who is probably expected to act a particular way (as all parents expect) and by the age of 10 shouldn’t scream in a grocery store, or even burst into tears.

One thought on “Double Consciousness with a little “I” and “Me””

  1. This was a very interesting video. I watched this in one of my other SOCY classes. I admired the sister-in-law for stepping in when she saw the blatant ignorance/disrespect. I thought about how I would act in a situation like this, but I don’t think I would be as unresponsive as the “black” woman. Then again, who knows, I’m light skinned. Maybe I wouldn’t have received the same treatment.

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