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TWO-NESS

The Civil Writer Magazine

The paradox of what W.E.B. Du Bois called “two-ness,” the ambivalence of people of mixed European and African ancestry. If a mixed-race person is white enough to pass, how does that person deal with the trappings of a racist culture where you’re forced to choose a side?

Our country’s hidden history of racial mixing is embedded in many Americans’ DNA and censuses whether they know it or not, belying the notion of racial certainty. One always feels their two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

No other than former President Barack Obama had to wrestle with twoness. With his Harvard education and his living on the Southside of Chicago as a community organizer. Never non intuitive as to who he is because of his white mother and African father whose DNA gave him a mutual respect for both worlds.