DuBois and Cee-Lo: The Fence

Me and my family moved in our apartment complex

A gate with the serial code was put up next

The claim that this community is so drug free

But it don’t look that way to me cause I can see

The young bloods hanging out at the store

24/7 Junkies looking got a hit of the blow

it’s powerful Oh you know what else they tryin to do

Make a curfew especially for me and you

the traces of the new world order

Time is getting shorter if we don’t get prepared

People it’s gone be a slaughter

My mind won’t allow me to not be curious

My folk don’t understand so they don’t take it serious

But every now and then,

I wonder If the gate was put up to keep crime out or to keep our ass in. – Cee-Lo

I think I never before quite realized the place of the Fence in civilization.”- W.E.B. DuBois

The differences between Du Bois’ ideology of fences and gates, retrospectively, is strangely just a means of time and space with Cee-Lo’s perspective in “Soul Therapy.”

Cee-Lo identifies the gate as a mechanism of enslavement or control. Nonetheless, he understands that the gate works the same from both sides: it keeps crime out or keeps our ass in. The gate symbolizes that we are the crime that needs to be held captive so that crime does not get into the greater public. Or, the gate was simply placed there to keep our ass in—locked down.

What Du Bois supposes is that the fence is only for the places that are deemed as valuable. Those space with fences are white Kelly Brown Douglas call cherish spaces. These spaces are places where Black bodies are unwelcome and it is god’s will that white people do whatever it takes to protect those spaces. DuBois notices that the fence is an indictor of privilege. When there is a fence placed in front of the “ugly, one-room, cheerless and dirty” shacks lived in by the poor Black tenants the rent is increased because of the fence.

What DuBois appears to surmise is the objective of the fence changes when you own the land. And not just land, when you own whatever, it makes a difference in driving perspective.

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