Educated Elite

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Darcy Smith
Af. Am. Lit. Final Essay
12/19/11
Mrs. Dawnelle Robinson-Walker
Knowledge is Power
Power is a respected quality in which most American citizens spend their entire working career acquiring. This includes African Americans, who have been striving for social equality through power since the abolishment of slavery in 1833. Several theories and ideologies began to surface trying to end the racial segregation of the African American race. Among the most popular and effective ideologies was the ‘educated elite’. Aspirations to become elite, if not equal, were demonstrated through a higher education. By definition an ‘elite’ is, “a group or class of persons enjoying superior intellectual or social or economic status” (Webster Dictionary). Inspiration of becoming a member of the “educated elite” has overall ended racial segregation, but consequently has created class segregation, separating the “haves” from the “have-nots”. The social inequalities today are no longer determined by race, instead are determined by a wealth based class status, separating everyone into low, middle, upper-middle, and upper class. “Of the various ways inequality can be measured, income is one of the most useful. Much of a person’s social standing and access to the good things in life depends on his or her income… median individual earnings by race and gender indicate that White men still earn significantly more than any other group. Black men trail White men, and all women earn significantly less than all men” (Mickelson). The following will critically analyze how the ideology of “educated elite” promoted racial equality, created class segregation, and effected modern American society.

From reconstruction of the south in 1877 through the black arts era in 1975, African Americans aspired for social equality and justice. Literary Influences during these periods presented different theories resulting in pure racial equality. Born and raised in the south, Booker T. Washington...
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