The past few classes we have talked a lot about how we are all vulnerable to the language of the day. This has made me start thinking about how everyone is growing and learning through the changes that the world is going through. Have you ever made a statement, or wrote a paper, or a tweet, or anything public and now you look back at it years later and you don’t completely agree with what you wrote? I know that I have. This is due to the fact that the world is always changing and through these changes we adapt to them and learn from them.
In class we have talked about W.E.B. Du Bois and how he is such a brilliant writer. Dr. McCoy explained to the class that over the period of 60 years Du Bois has written enough thoughtful works that he would have written an average of 1 work every 12 days. One of Du Bois’ most popular texts is The Souls of Black Folk. Throughout the years, Du Bois has realized that he used the wrong language and now looking back at his work saw that he accused people the same way that his race was accused. This is shown in a piece by George Bornstein called W.E.B Du Bois and the Jews: Ethics, Editing, and The Souls of Black Folk. Bornstein said that Du Bois explained that he “unjustly maligning a people in exactly the same way my folk were then and are now falsely accused” (p. 66). Since looking at his oldest version of The Souls of Black Folk, Du Bois has made multiple authorial revisions and has republished this book numerous times. Some examples of the changes Du Bois made were when in 1903 he wrote, “Since then his [the slave baron’s] nephews and the poor whites and the Jews have seized it.” In the 1953 addition it was changed to say, “Since then his poor relations and foreign immigrants have seized it.” By doing this Du Bois is showing that he is learning with the world and is correcting his mistakes that he has written.
Du Bois’ revisions are just one of many people who have made mistakes and changed them. This is due to the fact that the world is changing and learning that certain situations are not the same as they were when they were used the first time. Du Bois is not perfect, he may be an idol for some, but nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes and learn from them. Another way to think about this is that perspectives change. Growing up I was scared to come out to everyone because at the time the LGBTQ+ community was hated by many people. But the world is changing, and now same-sex marriage is legalized in all 50 states. People have learned and their perspectives have changed to see that LGBTQ+ people are the same as everyone else. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Growing up, my dad never knew anything about the LGBTQ+ community and when I came out to him, he thought it was a phase, but I peremptorily dismissed that idea to him and over time he learned about what it means to be gay. He loves me and accepts me for who I am to this day and will always be here for me. His perspective changed over the years, and at the same time the rest of the United States also was changing their perspectives. This is just another example of how the world is changing and people are adapting to these changes.
To summarize my thoughts, I believe that nobody is perfect, and we are all learning from past experiences. Even iconic idols make mistakes like Du Bois, but he learned from them and made the changes in his writing. We are all vulnerable to the language of today and it is always changing. Ten years ago, no one paid any attention to pronouns, but in today’s world it is common to hear someone introduce themselves with their pronouns. This is furthermore showing that the world is always changing and adapting. That humans are always learning from their past and some people even change their viewpoints from the changes of the world. As you grow with the changes, you can see yourself recognizing these changes and accepting them.