Monday, April 4, 2011

W. E. B. DuBois

Based on your reading of excerpts from DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk, how does his philosophy regarding the uplift of African American people differ from Booker T. Washington's?

17 comments:

  1. As discussed in class Du Bois doesn't give a full representation of Washington's views. From the reading Washington asks the black people to give up political power, civil rights, and higher education. Washington tells the Negroes to instead pursue industrial education, accumulation of wealth, and conciliation of the South. Du Bois represents these in a negative aspect. It appears that Du Bois asks for the exact opposite for the black community. He wants them to have the right to vote, civic equality, and he wants the youth to be able to attain an education. He feels that some aspects of Washington’s goals will work but is disgusted by the opposition to education and training of the brightest minds within the Black community.
    When reading the excerpts I was completely surprised. I knew that Washington was a civil rights leader and he was in our history books as a good person. I don’t have a lot of knowledge about Washington but I was always under the impression that he was one of the good guys. When reading the excerpts, Du Bois expressed Washington as the wrong way of thinking for civil equality. Du Bois made Washington sound as if he was part of the problem. I guess it’s just another person’s view.

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  2. DuBois is a lot more definitive and unwavering in what he wants to see for equality than Washington is. Looking into their background, DuBois experienced a lot more freedoms and more equal treatment being raised in the North. Washington was raised in the South. A lot of white people were not very accepting of the changing hierarchy and black people had to be very careful in what they did.
    In a really simplistic way, their experience is kind of like sibling hierarchy. Washington could be the youngest sibling where “the crap roles downhill.” In a natural sibling pecking order, the oldest child is in charge and the younger ones fall in line according to age. The youngest child has to be careful in what he does or the older sibling will kick the crap out of him to ensure order. The youngest learns to always have an escape route in case the older one is not agreeable. DuBois would be an only child that didn’t have any fear of the older the sibling.
    If you’re raised at the bottom of the pecking order, you learn to be diplomatic to survive until you’re old enough to become an equal with the other siblings. When you’re an only child, you always have that freedom that the oldest sibling experiences so one may not understand the pecking order fully. If parents let the youngest sibling overthrow the oldest sibling’s authority that would probably make the oldest child have distain towards the youngest.
    Washington wanted to compromise for that intermediate step because he knew that ignorant people at that time would make life even harder for black people in the South if a fast, complete change was done. Like the youngest sibling, he was willing to wait a little longer for the equality idea to mature. DuBois knew that everyone should be treated equally and there should be no compromise.

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  3. I think the ideologies of these two men differed in that Washington wanted to take a simplified route, in that most complaints of the Blacks were labeled as secondary when it came to his primary goal, and DuBois was strict in that he desired an "all or nothing" tactic. These two men were raised in different environments and it is understandable how these two viewpoints were formed: Washington was in a well off environment, whereas DuBois came from the South and Racism was probably much more present in his life experiences. DuBois believed in an assimilation with the "Whites", and Washington wanted the traditions and education of Blacks to remain separated from change.

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  4. Booker T Washington claimed that the Negro’s degradation was a result of color-prejudice while W.E.B Du Bois believed color-prejudice was the cause of the black man’s dreadful conditions and bleak future. These opposing views gave birth to divergent approaches on how to better the lots of the African American.
    Booker T Washington preached the “separate and unequal” philosophy. An arrangement that meant blacks accepting disenfranchisement, segregation and settling for low level vocational schools that would train only their hands and not their brains. Little wonder as to why he was very popular amongst the whites.
    While Du Bois sought assimilation of the black race as equals into the American society by demanding their right to vote, civic equality and the education of the black youth in accordance to one’s ability. Du Bois, unlike Washington, believed that the Negro problem belonged not only to the blacks but to the whole nation.

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  5. "To gain the sympathy and cooperation of the various elements of the white South was Mr. Washington's first task." This sums up Du Bois's view of Washington's philosophy nicely. Washington wanted subtle change towards racial equality so as not to rock the white man's boat. Du Bois was very critical of this philosophy. The problem with Washington's movement is that its direction was relative. Sure, it may have seemed progressive compared to slavery. In reality, it was deterioration of civil rights, but at a slower pace. Du Bois called it "a curious double movement where real progress may be negative and actual advance be relative retrogression."

    Du Bois says that "the attitude of the imprisoned group may take three main forms - a feeling of revolt and revenge; an attempt to adjust all thought and action to the will of the greater group; or, finally, a determined effort at self-realization and self-development despite environing opinion." Washington's philosophy would mostly align with the second attitude in that passage. Du Bois's philosophy was much more radical. As the others have said, the ideals of Du Bois's philosophy insisted that the Negro should settle for nothing less than the right to vote, civic equality, and education of youth according to one's ability. That all men are created equal, not just the white, male, landowners.

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  6. Although Washington and Du Bois both shared the same ideas and goals regarding the uplift of African American people, their tactics for this differed greatly.

    Washington, born into slavery, attempted racial equality through social status. Not having a high education, Washington first appealed to people through politics while earning respect from African Americans as well as liberal White Americans. Bottom line, Washington believed that to attain racial equality, African Americans would have to socially 'fit in' with White American culture.

    Du Bois, on the other hand, approached the conflict in a different manner. Having received a college education, and later a PhD from Harvard University, Du Bois was convinced that change would come with education.

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  7. Both men came from very different circumstances. Coming from the racist environment of the South, Washington most likely found it easier to simply assimilate with the white culture rather than attempt to nurture the African traditions which slavery so harshly fought to suppress. Du Bois, on the other hand, coming from a much different Northern perspective most likely saw African ideals easy to uphold in a place which was mildly tolerant of other cultures. Washington believed assimilation was key to fitting in and being accepted in white culture. Du Bois, being more educated, believed in academics as a way to break the racial barrier between whites and blacks.

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  8. Even though Du Boise and Washington had the same beliefs and ideas they way they approched the situation was completely different. This is because they grew up in completely different enviornments. Washington grew up pretty well off while Du Boise grew up with a lot more racism. Washington wanted serperation of black without change while Du Boise wanted assimulation with the white people

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  9. From the text it seems that Booker T. Washington advocated a policy of gradual reform and education for the African American people, insisting that the development of vocational skills took precedence. Du Bois, by contrast, felt that the integration of African Americans into the wider American culture necessitated both vocational and intellectual opportunities without hesitation or incremental offerings on the part of society.

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  10. DuBois became an educated person and wanted to gain equality through emancipation and education, "To him, so far as he though and dreamed, slavery was indeed the sum of all villainies, the cause of all sorrow, the root of all prejudice; emancipation was the key to a promised land of sweeter beauty..."

    Booker T. Washington want to accomplish his goal through working. He wanted for his followers to become excellent in trades to fit in with the everyone else.

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  11. DuBois is from the North and is writing about an issue focused strongly in the south. Although he is an educated person, he ignores practicallity. He feels that only through education can the African American race obtain equality where Washington urges the race to pick up some trade. It would be very difficult for the race to get a proper education. Such was not available to all of the race at the time. DuBois criticized Washington for being practical. He even went as far as to compare Washington to King George the Third. DuBois needed to realize that Washington was from the south and could therefore fix a problem he new more about.

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  12. Dubois wants a more "philosophical," classical education for black people. He wants them to be firmly grounded in the classics, the way white people generally are, so that they can play on the same equal footing. Washington, on the other hand, says black people should start bettering themselves by starting from where they already are and working up slowly, instead of trying to leapfrog the system and take major growing pains with it.

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  13. DuBois' theory about the uplifting of the African Americans is that there is no room for compromise. That despite that Aferican Americans have been emancipated, they now have more laws than ever which place them in a lower state, preventing true equality. His major issue with Booker T. Washington is that the compromise he gives essentially accepts that African Americans are a lower class, that they are inherently inferior. Admittedly Washington's compromise plan was to eventually reach true equality, but DuBois clearly believed that, given the long history of inequality, African Americans should not compromise, and deserve full status as citizens.
    would eventually

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  14. Du Bois seem to think that African Americans should not try to conform the why of life that the whites had laid out for them after slavery was abolished. he believed that African Americans should find there own path in America that resembled or had African traditions. Washington believe that the African Americans should conform to the whites so that they could prove themselves and gain more freedoms.

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  15. Washington hopes that African American minorities should attempt to conform to the societal stereotypes laid out for them, while Du Bois pushes for the African American minority to attempt and carve out it's own societal stereotypes and niches.

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  16. DuBois' philosophy regarding the path to social enlightenment is that of equity, and education. This differs from the views of Booker T. Washington in that Washington believed in the concept of earned equity, and believed that reading a "French grammer," or pursuing an advanced education was of little use to black folks of that time.

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  17. DuBois and Washington both were men who believed in the social emancipation and equality of the African American male. However the core of their principles were slightly different. DuBois believed that the African American people should not have to compromise there ideals to achieve equality. Booker T. Washington on the other hand believed that equality could only be achieved in small steps, in a method that showed that African Americans were worthy of being viewed as equals.

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