African Americans are not only undergoing a conflict of identities as Du Bois suggests, but also a conflict with the natural tendency for humans to categorize and stereotype.
“Code switching is the process of shifting from one linguistic code to another depending on social context of conversational setting.” It is a conscious, sometimes unconscious, decision that African Americans make in accordance to their surroundings. Therefore, if the decision to code switch is conscious, there is no identity crisis, but rather the using of double consciousness to combat the grouping and stereotyping received from a white world, making it an external conflict with society.
Therefore, those who wear the mask, African Americans, are cognizant of their individual and collective identities but utilize awareness of double consciousness as a survival tactic knowing that concealing part of their identity works in their favor in a white world. This becomes an external conflict with society because double consciousness is being used as a weapon for African Americans to survive in a white world rather than an internal conflict in which they are struggling to find identity.