This course has informed me on life issues that were not obvious to me. During this entire period of study, I have learnt a number of issues that have influenced my perceptions and attitude of the world. The place of education in society, money and economy, hard work and determination and the depth of social rot in our societies are some of the lessons I have learnt from this course.
In studying the autobiography of Booker T. Washington and the views of Du Bios, I get a clear picture of the place of education in society. Admission by these two sources that education was the key to liberation of African Americans is clear demonstration of what education can do in our society today. In a way, I was able to deduce that education liberates people minds. By standing in the way of negative ethnicity, racism, ignorance and unbecoming conducts, education unites people in a society. In these two contexts, being a black meant nothing but slavery. Through education, Booker T. was able to overcome all these obstacles. The course study has assisted to believe strongly that education is the only gateway to power, money fame, and unity in any society.
Another major revelation from the study of these books is the depth of rot and social vices in society today. Though the setup of the books was in the early and mid 20th century, the themes signified what happens in our society today. From the study of Ann Frank’s diary, I get to realize how politicians abuse their power. The happenings in Netherlands and Germany can be likened to what happens in many countries today; the politics of hatred. Until today, a number of communities are still struggling with discrimination based on race, religion, tribe and wealth. The persecution of Jews in the concentration camp is a clear indication of lack of human dignity that is rampant in nations today.
According to Du Bios, the main challenge of the 20th century would be the problem of color-line. He terms racism as viewing one’s self through other’s eyes. Du Bios refers racism as the main obstacle to America’s progress in the 20th century. Picking out a few incidences, Du Bios convinces his audiences that racism were responsible for the neglect of the south. Due to poor race relations, African Americans were denied their rights to vote as well as their civil rights equality. While Americans in the North were living their lives to fullest, Du Bios records that Americans in the south lived in conditions equivalent to slavery. In the last chapters of ‘Souls of the Black, Du Bios prefers death to a world dominated by racism. Though he mourns the loss of his baby son, he asserts that in the society that they live in, his son is better dead than alive. From this revelation, I was able to learn how deep rooted the societal vices are. Having such a rich history of racism, I am able to note the progress that has been made and what the society needs to do to eliminate
Money and economy has been central to the issues discussed in the course. In examining the relationship between Ray Kroc and Walt Disney, and how they rose to fame, Schlosser is exploring money and economy. Schlosser also examined how those who are in the business of getting rich quickly had devised adverts that were misleading to gullible lot. Moving further to Colorado, he revealed the mischief in fast food industry. These included exploitation of workers and use of adverse chemicals in food. The whole world is threatened with obesity at the expense of a few. As a result of the greed for money, American is slowly becoming a sick nation. I was able to understand why school going kids are increasingly becoming obese in America. Having understood the course, I believe a solution can be sought to this stalemate.
From his beliefs and determination, Booker T. managed to pick his life from scratch to something. His autobiography is inspirational to the young and those who are facing obstacles in one way or the other. From his struggles to his success, I realized that determination and hard work holds it all for success. From this demonstration by Booker T., I am determined to pursue my career to the end by holding on to my values.
In order for me to get to the discussed issues, I first identified major themes and issues in the books. Book after book, I single out issues that were common to two or more of the books studied. The depth with which the author discussed the issue also gave me the relevant insight of the issue. The issue of education for instance features in all the books studied in one way or the other. This presented me with the right opportunity to reflect on the issues discussed in the books and relate them to the realities people face today.
In the course of the studies, a lot of imagery took place within my mind. Since the books are realistic reflections of what happens in society today, they pushed me to think of how to improve on the weaknesses that I have at the moment. The revelation of the tribulations that Booker T. and Ann Frank go through has made me to change my perception of life. From these studies, I have come to believe that we are whom we decide to be, not what others say or think about us. In the view of others, Booker T. could not make it from slavery. Booker T. on the other hand viewed himself as a successful young man through education and hard work.