This clip from the Tuskegee Airmen was a perfect example of W.E. B. Du Bois’ thought on double consciousness and the veil. Double Consciousness refers to the daunting task for African Americans to bring together their African heritage while living in an American upbringing. The veil is a process in which skin color becomes both an objective and subjective social distancing mechanism. In this clip Lt. Col. Davis is trying to keep his squadron from having their pilot project canceled.
The double consciousness in the clip refers to how the pilots were fully aware of themselves as proud Americans serving their country, but with a simultaneous awareness of being treated differently as African-Americans. Looking through the veil at his white military superiors, Lt. Col. Davis asks the question, “how do I feel about my country and how does my country feel about me?” The veil in this example refers to the pilots’ skin color and seeing themselves through the eyes of others as well as an aspect of citizenship where some do not see Blacks as “true” Americans (i.e. full US citizens) which is powerfully portrayed by the Airmen’s treatment in the military and their denial of full rights by their white military superiors.
By: Madelyn Reyes & Dominic Marquez