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Look the Other Way

"The South ought to be led, by candid and honest criticism, to assert her better self and do her full duty to the race she has cruelly wronged and is still wronging. The North--her co-partner in guilt--cannot salve her conscience by plastering it with gold. We cannot settle this problem by diplomacy and suaveness, by 'policy' alone."
~paragraph 26 of chapter 3: Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others from W. E. B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk

It is a natural human tendency at times to try and pretend a problem has been resolved when it has in actually only been swept under the carpet--especially when the problem is a big one, like the problem to which Du Bois is referring. It was just as crucial in his time as it is in ours to call attention to this fact. Problems don't just go away. People have to work toward resolving them--which does not mean merely throwing money around or uttering a few apologies.

I guess what Du Bois is saying in this section, based on what is written leading up to it, is that Booker T. Washington needed to come down harder on the North and South in his speeches. It is understandable where he is coming from with this in the sense that it seems that the North and South hadn't really done much of anything to solve the problem at hand. However, I think that the reason Washington didn't was because if he openly criticized the people, they wouldn't have listened to him much, if at all. I actually wrote about that in my blog on Washington. I think it has more to do with this human tendency to just assume that problems have gone away because people don't really want to deal with them rather than one persons' unwillingness to openly criticize.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 8, 2009 10:28 PM.

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