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W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk powerfully countered Locke’s claims for the universal primordiality of communicability and disrupted its basis in whiteness. Du Bois analyzed how racialized media forms and everyday racist acts require Black people to practice double-consciousness, “always looking at oneself through the eyes of others.” In discussing “the Veil,” the chapter follows his analysis of how racism produces white incommunicability vis-à-vis Black social worlds. Du Bois layers his texts with stylistic and generic shifts, analyzing and performing the entanglement of communicability with incommunicability. Rethinking the chapter in which Du Bois recounts the death of his eighteen-month-old child, the discussion reflects on how health inequities did not figure explicitly into his systematic cartography of racism in The Souls of Black Folk. It addresses the contradictory way he analyzed them in The Philadelphia Negro.

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