By Alex Mikulich, Ph.D.
Racism is a spiritual wound that afflicts all Americans. No one escapes it. For white Americans to attend to this wound, we will need to pray incessantly for God’s grace and to “see ourselves as others see us.” 
Among countless ways that whites might begin to see ourselves as people of color see us, I suggest W.E.B. Du Bois’s critical way of autobiography, including his articulation of “double-consciousness.” While many have examined this wound, few have probed the depth of this wound more insightfully, compassionately, and fully as Du Bois.
Heralded as the first African-American graduate of Harvard University (cum laude in 1890), the first social scientist to publish a study of African Americans (The Philadelphia Negro in 1899), a cofounder of the NAACP in 1909, and the first editor of the NAACP’s journal The Crisis, Du Bois was an historian, social scientist, pioneering civil rights activist, and Pan-Africanist who died at the age of 95 in Ghana on August 27, 1963—one day before the March on Washington.
The most celebrated sentence in Du Bois’s nonfiction (he also wrote novels), “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,” which begins chapter two of Souls of Black Folk, must be read within the context of chapter one. While many people of color have critically engaged double-consciousness in many and diverse fields of study, I believe it offers a way of spiritual transformation that has largely been missed by white America.
Office Location: Mercy Hall, Room 306 | Mailing Address: 6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 94 New Orleans, LA 70118