Based on what is said in The Souls of Black Folk, where do you think Washington and DuBois would stand in the debate on affirmative action?Consider DuBois & Washington assertions about...

Based on what is said in The Souls of Black Folk, where do you think Washington and DuBois would stand in the debate on affirmative action?

Consider DuBois & Washington assertions about educational opportunities for African Americans,given recent controversy over affirmative action policies.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In keeping with his assertions as put forth in the "Atlanta Compromise", I think that Booker T. Washington would NOT be an advocate of affirmative action, had that been an issue back when he was writing.  Washington believed that for the present time, in the years after the Civil War, the Negro would be better off focusing on advancing economically, and putting aside the struggle for educational opportunity and political and social equality until later.  In keeping with these ideas, he espoused vocational and industrial education for Blacks, so that they might better their condition on the economic ladder.  Washington's views were hailed by some and condemned by many, but I think it is clear that he would not have pushed for affirmative action at the time, although what he might say if he were speaking today remains questionable.

W.E.B.DuBois, on the other hand, believed the Negro should be much more forceful in seeking equality in the post-bellum period.  He did not agree with Washington, arguing that Washington's views actually hindered the expansion of freedom for Blacks.  He believed it was important that Blacks have equal access to higher education in a traditional sense, so that they could develop leaders who were far-thinking "men of ideas".  I think that, had affirmative action been an issue back then, DuBois would definitely have supported it and other policies prescribed to achieve a similar end.

(Souls of Black Folk - Chapter 3)

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The Souls of Black Folk

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