Defending A Liberal: The Liberal Logic of Booker T. Washington’s Political Thought

Shu QI


At present, the academic circles at home and abroad are locked in a binary judgment on Booker T. Washington. Generally, Booker T. Washington has also been being in the comments with two different faces in the field of the academic circle. Some scholars believed that Booker T. Washington was the one who pushed the black rights movement to the rock bottom. While, other scholars believed that his political thoughts appeared to be a kind of special product of a specific historical period. To get out of this dual trap, I believe that Booker T. Washington is absolutely not an accomplice of white racism, or just only a great black political leader having the tinge of a cult of personality; instead, from my perspective of view, he is a liberal fighter with black skin outside and white soul inside. Actually, behind Booker T. Washington’s political thought, there has been lying a set of deep-rooted liberal logic which makes him a liberal at any time. We have to say that it is an immutable truth which is the appearance and ending of each historical figure is the epitome of that era; and, the formation and development of his or her thoughts doom not to be isolated from the enormous influence of social mainstream culture. More specifically, the American paradox of liberalism, the self-concept of liberalism, and the discourse hegemony of liberalism all profoundly influenced the formation and development of Booker T. Washington’s political thought, and all those have been defending such an ambitious black boy vigorously as an out-and-out liberal.


Booker T. Washington; The black; Liberalism; Self-concept; Discourse hegemony; Political thought

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