The Concept of Race

W.E.B. Du Bois suggested that perhaps it is wrong to speak of race as a concept at all, rather it is ‘a group of contradictory forces, facts and tendencies’ (1940: 67). To call it a concept is already to grant too much because it implies its usefulness for cognition, its clarity and coherence, and hence its validity. And yet, as Du Bois explains his own development his family lineage, and his awareness of other histories and identities, the power of the race resurfaces. His essay on the ‘autobiography of a race concept’ shows that the concept of race as genealogy and descent is central not only to his own autobiography, but perhaps to the very idea of progress and development itself.

Contact Webmaster | View the Promotion of Access to Information Act | View our Privacy Policy
© University of KwaZulu-Natal: All Rights Reserved