Ron Paul Curriculum, English 1, Lesson 65
Writing assignment. Write 100 words on this topic: “Was Washington’s program for gaining social acceptance for blacks an elitist program?”
Booker T. Washington’s program for gaining social acceptance for blacks was to have them start businesses filling the needs of a community. Whites buying from them would recognize their value in society, and would see them much more as equals. This is not elitist.
According to Dictionary.com, the adjective definition of elitist is “(of a person or class of persons) considered superior by others or by themselves, as in intellect, talent, power, wealth, or position in society.”
Washington’s program has nothing to do with making participants “superior” to others. It was meant to teach blacks to supply a need that a certain community had, which would simultaneously make the whites dependent on them for their services, and help the blacks become more economically stable. The dependence by the whites would be like the way most people depend on the local grocery store. Grocery stores aren’t elitist. They fill a need, and people like the services they provide.
The idea that Washington’s program is elitist is… odd. Not only did it aim to bring blacks Up From their post-Slavery conditions, but it would result in a more productive society, where everyone would benefit.