Sure the mask might look nice with all those smiles and grins, but it's certainly not helping matters in, "We Wear the Mask." The lies and deceit aren't just reserved for the outside world either. Those lies are also used by black Americans themselves when conversing with one another about the issues at hand. So, in this case no one is being honest and yet the pain that's felt is awfully real.
Masks are so pervasive in Dunbar's poem that they're used to hide the truth from the world, and from black Americans themselves. Those are some effective masks. It's a good thing they're effective. Masks may be pervasive but they were also necessary as a matter of survival for black Americans during the nineteenth century, and Dunbar is also aware of this in his poem.