Sammy Davis and Carl Rowan on the "Double Consciousness" of African Americans
The paper explores Sammy Davis, Jr.'s "Why I Became a Jew" and Carl Rowan's "What White People Ask about Negroes" to highlight the different approaches taken by both African-American men to the "double consciousness" of their existence.
# 152993 | 1,394 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2013 |
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The paper looks at Sammy Davis' article, "Why I Became a Jew," where he recounted the thought processes and spiritual experiences that led to his surprising conversion to Judaism, and discusses how he overcame his sense of separation and resolved the difficulty of Du Bois' "double consciousness" by finding historical and spiritual common ground with a similarly marginalized ethnic group. The paper then examines Carl Rowan's article, "What White People Ask about Negroes," and contrasts his approach to that of Davis. The paper explains that instead of rising above the veil like Davis had, Rowan confronted the divide head on, and sought to destroy it by creating a true foundation of knowledge and understanding between whites and blacks. The paper notes the difference between Davis' successful resolution of his racial double identity through his conversion to Judaism and Rowan's frustrated attempt to create a change in social attitudes by dispelling misunderstandings, and posits that one cannot hope to destroy as an individual the stereotypes by which society defines you; one can only rise above those stereotypes as Davis did.
From the Paper:"In his article, "Why I Became a Jew," Sammy Davis, Jr. recounted the thought processes and spiritual experiences that led to his surprising conversion to Judaism. He told of his childhood in the back rooms of vaudeville theatres, and being raised by a Catholic mother and a Baptist father who gave him "religious encouragement" but did not train him in any particular faith (62). Only when he nearly lost his life in a serious car accident did Davis begin to search earnestly for answers to frustrations that had been plaguing him all of his life. It was this critical juncture that he met two rabbis whose evenness, generosity, and thoughtful spirits started him on his path towards Judaism.
"Though Davis did not mention it directly in his article, it is of some note that these rabbis were undoubtedly white, and that the difference in race between Davis and the men of faith did not seem to cause the slightest bit of discomfort in either party. This may be because they were meeting on grounds that transcended race - as humans seeking divine acceptance. Because they were ultimately concerned with questions about the relationship between man and God, questions about the relationships between men and men bore little relevance."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Andersen, Margaret L. and Howard Taylor. Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society. Belmont, CA: Thompson Higher Education, 2008.
- Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. Retrieved from http://docsouth.unc.edu/church/duboissouls/dubois.html
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Sammy Davis and Carl Rowan on the "Double Consciousness" of African Americans (2013, May 01) Retrieved August 18, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/sammy-davis-and-carl-rowan-on-the-double-consciousness-of-african-americans-152993/
"Sammy Davis and Carl Rowan on the "Double Consciousness" of African Americans" 01 May 2013. Web. 18 August. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/sammy-davis-and-carl-rowan-on-the-double-consciousness-of-african-americans-152993/>