Monday, August 19, 2013

W.E.B. DuBois on class, race, and the obligations of privileged black folks

"so long as American labor is more conscious of color and race than it is of the fundamental economic needs of the whole laboring class, just so long the development of labor solidarity is impossible." —W.E.B. DuBois, "The Nucleus of Class Consciousness"

"Some years ago I used the phrase "The Talented Tenth," meaning leadership of the Negro race in America by a trained few. … Very gradually as the philosophy of Karl Marx and many of his successors seeped into my understanding, I tried to apply this doctrine with regard to Negroes. My Talented Tenth must be more than talented, and work not simply as individuals. Its passport to leadership was not alone learning but expert knowledge of modern economics as it affected American Negroes; and in addition to this and fundamental, would be its willingness to sacrifice and plan for such economic revolution in industry and just distribution of wealth, as would make the rise of our group possible." W.E.B. DuBois, "The Talented Tenth"