Tresconsciousness, is a term coined by Lhea J. Copeland. Alluding to W. E. B. Du Bois's Double consciousness, the term is used to describe an individual whose identity is divided into several facets.


The term originated 2007 from an unpublished paper denoting the 50th anniversary of E. Franklin Frazier's Black Bourgeoisie. Tresconsciousness is an expansion of the DuBoisian notion of dual consciousness. In 1897, DuBois wrote of a two-ness, of being "an American, a Negro; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder."[1]The DuBoisian notion of double consciousness alludes to a unified Black community that has always been divvied amongst class.

In the twenty-first century, being a person of African descent is its own duality. There is a war between Black progress and Black struggle that exist within each Black woman, man and child. Thus, the consciousness of African-American is divided three-fold. An African American is an American indeed but also divided between trying to relate and support the Black community while rising above any negative stereo-types, stigmas or limitations. One is constantly trying to embrace one's blackness and separate one's self from it simultaneously. These three separate and conflicting ideals- "color-blind" western European culture, the tokenism of the Black bourgeoisie and the collective state of the Black condition- are the make up of what it means to be Black in America in the new millineum.

The concept of triple consciousness and the intersection between race and class and its effect on the African-American psyche has been explored by others. Henry Louis Gates explored in depth "The Two Nations of Black America" through a special on PBS. Wendy Roundtree of the University of Cincinnati explored triple consciousness as, "the cultural identity crisis experienced by African-Americans who are either culturally marginalized by the dominate culture and /or displaced from the African-American community because of economic / social upward mobility."

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

  • [1] Ernest Allen Jr.'s On the Reading of Riddles: Rethinking DuBoisian Double Consciousness from Existence in Black
  • [2] PBS The Two Nations of Black America with Henry Louis Gates
  • [3] E. Franklin Frazier's Black Bourgeoisie
  • [4] Mary Pattillo-McCoy's Black Picket Fences
  • [5] Ellis Cose's Rage of a Privileged Class
  • [6] Lawrence Otis Graham's Our Kind of People
  • [7] Cora Daniel's Black Power Inc

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