27 April 2012

Up From Slavery

Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington is n inspirational and insightful book that should be read by anyone wanting to understand race relations in the South after the Civil War. Throughout the book, Washington impresses upon his reader the importance of manual labor as part of any educational scheme. As he writes:

"The ambition to secure an education was most praiseworthy and encouraging. The idea, however, was too prevalent that, as soon as one secured a little education, in some unexplainable way he would be free from most of the hardships of the world, and, at any rate, could live without manual labour. There was a further feeling that a knowledge, however little, of the Greek and Latin languages would make one a very superior human being, something bordering almost on the supernatural."

He was writing specifically of his fellow blacks in West Virginia, but it applies to a large portion of our culture today. We believe that a college degree ought to exempt us from any sort of manual labor and further believe that manual labor is somehow inferior than mental labor. Neither belief is true. As a teacher involved in the world of Classical Education, the statement about Greek and Latin learning rings true as well. The ideal of education is to create a certain type of person, a whole and complete person, a thinking person fit for any type of work. It is not to create people who feel themselves above work and look down on those who do it.

5/5 stars

2 comments:

Erica said...

This sort of makes me think both of people who feel like they're above applying for fast food work when they're down on their luck, because they have a college education, and those fast food or other "lower work" places who will turn people down if they have too much education (actually heard of this happening). Learning doesn't make your muscles weak, and strengthening your muscles doesn't make you a dumb jock. (The steroids do that.)

Rick said...

A few years ago when Pactum went from being a full time to a part time school, I found myself in need of another job to make ends meet. I applied to every fast food restaurant in probably a 5 or 10 mile radius as well as Wal-Mart, K-Mart and several other places. I got zero calls. Not sure if it had anything to do with me being "overqualified".