DuBois Strong Stand Against Racism in the United States
After the Civil War, there were high hopes for the black race as slavery in the United States was finally put to an end. Blacks were now considered free people, and because of this they are entitled to the rights and freedoms that are given to the citizens of America. This is protected by the fourteenth amendment that safeguards their privileges and prohibits the deprivation of life, liberty and property. However, even after the end of slavery, racism was still high and white supremists could not accept that black people were now considered equal to them. Therefore, the south passed Jim Crowe laws that enforced racial segregation, separating blacks and whites in public places and education.
Two men: Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois fought for the rights of blacks, but they had different ways in pursuing equality. DuBois however, proved a more forward approach in abolishing the laws and defending his race by promoting higher education, calling for immediate equality and leading the NAACP organization.W.E.B. Dubois advocated and believed that blacks deserved a classic education which is privileged to whites. In his dedication for his fight for black equality, DuBois wrote The Souls of Black Folk, to explain his passion in trying to gain equal rights for his race–this book expressed the genius of black people, and how they should not be looked down upon and seens as unintelligent. He encouraged them to aim for higher education, being taught about different subjects and the arts because he saw great potential within his people, believing they were more than what people made them out to be (Ball). “DuBois’ philosophy of the “Talented Tenth” was that a college-educated elite would chart, through their knowledge, the way for economic and cultural elevation for the black masses” (Gibson). This means that he sees his people being well-educated, and with that knowledge, they would be able to become better leaders for the country.
Unlike Washington whose “accommodationist program asked blacks to give up political power, insistence on civil rights, and higher education.” (Gibson). In DuBois’ aim for higher education for colored people, he sets his standards high in picturing a future with educated blacks capable of becoming leaders.Moreover, instead of waiting for equality and accepting discrimination, DuBois demanded immediate freedom from the oppression black people were facing. He believed that if change was to be made, they must make a stand and call for attention on this issue at hand. He, and many black leaders opposed Washington’s toleration for these laws, supporting the idea that black freedom should be “earned” through hard work, and gradual acceptance (Ball). Gibson states “DuBois charged that Washington’s program tacitly accepted the alleged inferiority of the Negro,” he expresses how Washington’s toleration of the discrimination of blacks is unacceptable (Gibson).
Throughout all the hardships that his race has gone through during slavery, continuing to tolerate these oppressions will not do anything to have white people finally accept blacks as their equal. Washington’s belief that “the Negro could ultimately “earn” full citizenship rights,” is in a way unconstitutional, therefore DuBois was against this idea because human rights are unalienable, and no one has the right to disband this in any way (Gibson). His intolerance for the discrimination and segregation of race brought on by the Jim Crow laws, sparked passion in him to demand equality by force, in order to make a change. Furthermore, DuBois leads the NAACP, as a voice representing all colored people. This organization is a movement to oppose racism and racist incidents. Again, he motivates people in defying and standing up to the oppressors of their race, and does not accept being deprecated based on the color of one’s skin. In his book “DuBois took the position that “the Black men of America have a duty to perform; a duty stern and delicate—a forward movement to oppose a part of the work of their greatest leader,” this displays his direct approach in showing how blacks should firmly disapprove of being belittled and be courageous enough to see themselves as leaders of a nation (Gibson). In leading the NAACP, he shows passion in striving for fair treatment towards people of color.
One of the organization’s objective is to educate people of their constitutional rights and to lawfully defend and protect them. In doing so, people of color will be more knowledgeable of their freedoms, which will lessen the possibility of oppressors taking advantage of them and abolish the toleration of discrimination (“What Does NAACP stand for?”). Leading this movement clearly shows his zeal in gaining unquestionable rights for his people.With racism still high after the Civil War, DuBois defied persecutors and defended his people by supporting classical education for blacks, pursuing immediate equality, and leading a movement to represent a voice for people of color. He believed in the genius of black people, and strongly urged for their rights to obtain higher education. With being more educated, they will be held to a higher status and will not be looked down upon as unintelligent beings. In addition, DuBois’ avidity in attaining immediate equality for blacks, instead of them having to “earn” their rights, displays a better approach in tackling the issue at hand.
To make a change, a movement must be started for people to see and understand that the Jim Crow laws are wrong, therefore instead of “earning” freedom, one must demand it. Lastly, DuBois’ leadership in the NAACP shows that he cares for his people, and creating this organization aids in giving colored people a voice in the government and society. The Jim Crowe laws separating our nation by color completely discards what the Civil War fought for, that is: to end slavery. With racism still existing W.E.B. DuBois took a stand, as he saw the potential and brilliance of black folks. Not being able to bear seeing them persecuted for the color of their skin, he used his influence and his voice in order to call out racism, and with his approach, he more effectively fought for the freedom of his people.
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