webduboisDu Bois has a talent for using his prose to sift directly to the root of the problem, and then offer an equally elegant solution. The problem of race in America continues to this day, but Du Bois has already blazed the trail toward a possible just solution – in one paragraph.

“Again we must decry the colour prejudice of the South, yet it remains a heavy fact.  Such curious kinks of the human mind exist and must be reckoned with soberly.  They cannot be laughed away, nor always successfully stormed at, nor easily abolished by act of legislature  And yet they must not be encouraged by being let alone.  They must be recognized as facts, but unpleasant facts; things that stand in the way of civilization and religion and common decency.  They can be met in but one way, – by the breadth and broadening of human reason, by catholicity of taste and culture.  And so, too, the native ambition and aspiration of men, even thought they be black, backward, and ungraceful, must not be lightly dealt with.  To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires; to flout their striving idly is to welcome a harvest of brutish crime and shameless lethargy in our very laps.  The guiding of thought and the deft coordination of deed is at once the path of honour and humanity. “

-W.E.B. Du Bois.  The Souls of Black Folk.  pp.56-57