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Problems of Humanity - Chapter IV - The Problem of the Racial Minorities

The Problem of the Racial Minorities

The racial problem is badly obscured by its historical retrospect and presentation, much of which is unsound and untrue; it is obscured also by ancient hatreds and national jealousies. These are inherent in human nature but are fed and fostered by prejudice and those who are animated by ulterior and selfish intentions. New and rapidly arising ambitions are also fomenting the difficulty; these ambitions are right and sound, particularly in the case of the Negro. These ambitions are often exploited and distorted by selfish political interests and trouble-making agencies. Still other factors conditioning the racial problem are the economic distress under which so many labor today, the imperialistic control of certain nations, the lack of educational attainments, or a civilization so ancient that it is showing signs of degeneration. These and many other factors are everywhere present, conditioning human thinking, deluding the many affected by the problem and greatly handicapping the efforts of those who are seeking to bring about right action and develop a more balanced and constructive attitude among these minorities. Minorities, along with the rest of mankind, are subject to the unerring forces of evolution and are struggling towards a higher and better existence, towards more wholesome living conditions, towards more individual and racial freedom and a much higher level of right human relations.

The sensitivity of these minorities, the inflammatory condition of their immediate and expressed ambition and the violence and prejudice of some of those who speak and fight for them prevent the majority from approaching [86] their problem with the calmness, the cool calculation and the recognition of relation to the whole of humanity which their problem fundamentally requires. Racial faults are more widely recognized than racial virtues; racial qualities find themselves in conflict with national characteristics or world trends and these still further increase the difficulty. The efforts of well-meaning citizens (and they are many) and the plans of the convinced humanitarian to aid these minorities are too often based solely upon a good heart, Christian principles and a sense of justice; these fine qualities are, however, often implemented by a profound ignorance of the true facts, of the historical values and of the various relationships involved. They are also often impulsed by a fighting fanaticism which borders on a hatred for the majority who (as the fighting protagonist sees it) are responsible for the cruel injustices under which the racial minority labors. They fail to recognize that the minority itself is not free from faults but is in a measure also responsible for some of the difficulties. These racial faults and difficulties are usually frankly ignored by the minority itself and its friends.

Racial faults may be entirely the result of the point reached in evolution, of unfair environing conditions and of a certain type of temperament, as is the case with the Negro minority in the United States of America, which leaves them basically not responsible for the difficulty; or the responsibility of the struggling minority may be far greater than it is willing to admit, as is the case with the Jewish minority in the world who are an ancient and civilized people with a full culture of their own, plus certain inherent characteristics which may account for much of their trouble. The difficulty again may be largely a historical one and based upon certain essential incompatibilities such as those which can exist between a conquered and a conquering people, between a militant [87] group and a negative, pacifist group. These can be found existing today between the Moslem and Hindu populations of India - an ancient problem which the British inherited. To all these contributing factors in the problem of the minorities must be added the separative tendencies which the differing religious systems have fostered and which today they deliberately continue to foster. The narrowness of religious creeds is a potent, contributing cause.

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