DuBois or Washington?

One of the most enduring debates in the Black Community is the philosophical divide Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois pitting the need for practical work and a liberal arts education against each other.

My former professor and now friend informed during vigorous debate once that they (Washington and DuBois) were both right in many respects and Black folks have been hoodwinked into thinking that things are “either, or” versus “both, and.” So for my people that have heard me make that argument, that is where it comes from but I digress.

My question to you is this, what would a hybrid vision of DuBois and Washington thought look like in 2008?

Stay up fam,

Brandon Q.


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One response to “DuBois or Washington?”

  1. Leola says :

    I for one have never favored one argument over the other and completely agree with the thoughts of your mentor. In answering your questions I am in agreement with Dubois in that the African American community “is going to be saved by its exceptional men”. By exceptional men, I mean the men and women who are educated, authors, lawyer and doctors. But these exceptional men and women are going to have to create a giving atmosphere when they advance and bring up the next generation, which is in accordance with Washington’s ideals. This act of benevolence to the community needs to be “Self less” giving rather than “tax deduction” giving. This self less giving does occur in some situations but we as African Americans go from rags to riches and forget from which we came.

    Diverging slightly, many people have this misconception that back in the day when we lived in segregated neighborhoods, times for African Americans were horrid. Yes, there was segregation and racism but this time was the most opportune time to raise a black family. We were a community back then. It was a time when black businesses flourished. To be completely honest integration was the worst thing to happen to black businesses and schools. Because of this Washington’s idea of self reliance is going to be difficult. How are going to be self reliant when few support black businesses.

    Never-the-less, I look at W.E.B Dubois idea of the talented tenth ideal more qualitative rather than quantitative. By this I mean that there is no set number or quantity of talented African Americans but rather a quality of an educated or talented group. So in short these two ideals of Washington and Dubois have to come together but doing so is going to be difficult.

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