Ron Paul Curriculum, English 1, Lesson 70
Writing assignment: 500 words on this topic: “Was Washington’s view of the future also my view of the future?”
Throughout his life, Booker T. Washington had a bright view and plan for future acceptance and equality for blacks. He felt that blacks could earn respect by finding a need that a society has, and then finding a way to fill the need. In my opinion, all of the changes brought by the last century, be they good or bad, have not shaken the validity of Washington’s message. It continues to be an accurate view of the future.
Washington’s view of the future made perfect sense, even if he was a little optimistic with regards to timing. He believed that blacks could achieve social acceptance and respect through industry and productivity. After that happened, segregation laws would soon go away, and true equality would be obtained. As he said in his 1895 Atlanta Exposition Speech, one third of the population in Atlanta was black, and they could either be a drag and burden on society, or be productive and help pull society forward. He said that segregation would inevitably be removed, and claimed this would take about 50 years. Unfortunately, the Civil Rights Act took 69 years to pass, with racial animosity remaining to this day.
Things have changed tremendously since the beginning of the 20th century. The court case Brown v. Board of Education, 1952-1954, and the Civil Rights Act, 1964, paved the way for blacks to pull themselves Up From Slavery. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Internet was made public, allowing digital files (later to become websites) to be accessed by anyone in the world. Since then, computers have become exponentially more powerful and affordable, bringing Internet access to virtually everyone. This availability, combined with the existence of educational websites such as the Ron Paul Curriculum and Khan Academy, brings educational tools to everyone, making education for even the poorest black person more possible than it has ever been before.
On the flip side of things, racial politics have turned for the worse. The people who previously championed both slavery as a “positive good,” and the permanent policy of “separate but equal,” have abandoned their attempts to keep blacks down against their will… They’ve adopted the strategy of keeping them down by their will. To get an education, keep a family together, and to refrain from robbery as an income is to “act white,” according to these people. They throw around the R-word (Racist) to say that you can’t hold blacks to the same high standards as whites. In fact, on March 12, 2017, the Board of Regents in New York State determined that “Literacy is Racist.” The Board suggests that black and hispanic people are incompetent readers, and that it’s racist to think they are just as capable of test-taking as a white person. Unfortunately, this scam has worked, even with such examples of smart, successful black people as Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Allen West, Thomas Sowell, Condoleezza Rice, and more. Such obsession with race and bloody shirts is enough to induce migraines.
Today, I think Washington’s view still holds true. It’s become much easier for black people to get an education: Legal boundaries for it have been removed completely, and Internet resources are available 24/7. Anyone who wants their children to be smart, successful, and accomplished can start a profile on any of the numerous free online courses. The Ron Paul Curriculum is a low-cost option. It is a great site for people to learn about English, Economics, and Government, all while honing their writing skills every week. There are no firm barriers to self-advancement – for anyone. On the other hand, Washington could never have predicted the modern concept of acting “black”. This notion would seem particularly appealing because it requires no self-improvement, and self-improvement requires work. Nevertheless, I believe that it won’t last, just like slavery and enforced segregation before it. This segregation by choice will be overcome. If anyone commits robbery, they’ve earned my disdain. If they instead work hard, learn, and eventually become successful in some area of business, they’ve earned my respect. I, and most people, I think, care about what choices people make, not what race they are.
My view of the future is very similar to Booker T. Washington’s, one hundred years ago. The only thing a person, black or white, has to do to be respected in a society, is to contribute to it. Since the late 19th century and early 20th century, education, and thus, preparation to contribute, has become many times more available for anyone who wants it. The only thing that has diminished is the number of people who want that education. The door is open, and when people wish to enter, an education and an opportunity to help build our society is waiting for them.