Give Credit for Good

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"I early learned that it is a hard matter to convert an individual by abusing him, and that this is more often accomplished by giving credit for all the praiseworthy actions performed than by calling attention alone to all the evil done." (paragraph 9 of Two Thousand Miles for a Five Minute Speech)

Very insightful, Mr. Washington. It seems as though this statement is why he was so successful in his speeches and reaching people from different cultural backgrounds. If you attack those you're trying to reach, you will never reach them. He made himself neutral, and praised all the good being done instead of the bad. By doing so, Washington created a positive receptive audience who was eager to hear his message. When giving his big speech, it was in front of a large group of people, those for and opposed to him. Through stating the positive and never attacking anyone, he reached everyone! This is an excellent read for anyone, especially in this aspect. 


3 Comments

Jessica Apitsch said:

Your point was one of mine as well for Mr. Washington!It was hard for me to pick one though because I was so impressed with a lot of his teachings. You mentioned that he was great at reaching people from different cultural backgrounds, and I feel that was why he was so successful. More times than not, blacks and whites during this time spoke a completely different language. Therefore, understanding one another was an impossibility. Washington broke this language barrier!

Jennifer Prex said:

I agree that that is most likely a big part of why he was so successful. If people feel as though they are being attacked, the automatic response is to dismiss anything being said and take on a defensive stance. People are more willing to listen if they do not feel that way.

Katie Lantz said:

I agree that Washington was a very powerful public speaker, as well as an excellent motivator. Through him, many began to realize the struggles and triumphs of the "Negro Community."

Washington was able to go into a room full of people, white or black, and speak to them just as he would to anyone else. I think that was an excellent skill for him to have as head of the Tuskegee Institute.

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