Date of Award

6-1-2012

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Linguistics, Applied

First Advisor

Lilia I. Bartolome

Second Advisor

Panagiota Gounari

Third Advisor

Donaldo Macedo

Abstract

Americans still have more work ahead before we can come together and laugh together as a race-conscious people. This thesis is about the sad and painful work we need to do so we can heal and rejoice as a truly free and equal partnership of all our various communities. To tie ourselves together through and after our healing of our racial conflicts, we will share a special intimacy, a human connection, where our shared culture, our partnership, (overlapping with our primary cultures) includes our high proficiency at understanding how we appear to each other. This new cultural understanding and partnership is explored in this thesis as the conception of, "Multilateral double consciousness," which is derived from W.E.B. DuBois' (1903) conception of African American double consciousness. In the first of three sections of this thesis, the Introduction and Literature Review explain and explore some general, historical and literary meanings of DuBoisian double consciousness as a political position of oppression. Second, the Methodology and Findings sections offer evidence of seven typologies of DuBoisian double consciousness within twenty six African American works of fiction and non-fiction. These examples of double consciousness reveal some degrees of personal harm caused by double consciousness. They demonstrate that the prevalence of the problem deserves far more attention, especially from academia, than it has received. Last, the third section of this thesis includes the Discussion and Conclusion. The Discussion extends the focus to consider how white Americans can learn to see themselves as white, and see their whiteness, from perspectives of people of color. That would situate double consciousness as a shared burden and a shared gift. All Americans would be equally situated to negotiate their identities and relations on fair and transparent terms. The Conclusion shows how race and colorblindness are hidden ideologies. It also shows how they can help reveal the meanings and functionings of hidden ideologies more generally. The Conclusion ties in DuBoisian double consciousness and Multilateral double consciousness to their brother-concepts of ideology in Marxian philosophy.