In the late 1800’s a former slave named Booker T. Washington, who received an education from hard work and determination, started up a school for blacks in Alabama. His program for gaining social acceptance for blacks was to give blacks an education, teach them the standards of cleanliness, and teach them the importance of working with their hands. The question asked me this week is, “Was Washington’ s Program for Gaining Social Acceptance for Blacks an Elitists Program?”
First and foremost what does elitists mean? “Elitism is the belief or attitude that individuals who form an elite—a select group of people with an intrinsic quality, high intellect, wealth, special skills, or experience—are more likely to be constructive to society as a whole, and therefore deserve influence or authority greater than that of others.”
Throughout the book, Booker in no way is trying to lift his race above the whites or any other race for that mater. His main goal is to be accepted in the eyes of the whites as equal beings. He does not want his group to be seen as greater than others but rather on the same level. From the definition above, Booker’s program does not fall into it’s description, therefore, in answer to the question, Washington’s program for gaining social acceptance for blacks is not an elitists program.
Booker wanted to prove to the whites that blacks can be taught to do more than work a farm. He wanted the blacks to be seen as equals among the whites and bring down race discrimination. His group was not there to lift themselves higher than the whites, but to lift themselves up on the same level as the whites.
English Lesson 65, 9th grade essay.