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Problems of Humanity - Chapter IV - The Problem of the Racial Minorities
Today - on an international scale - the battle of the minorities is going on; Russia is reaching out after influence in many directions; the United States of America is seeking to hold the place of paramount control in South America and in the Far East commercially and politically and is earning a name in those countries (rightly or wrongly) as imperialistic; Great Britain is endeavoring to protect her "lifeline" to the East by political moves in the Near East; France is attempting to regain her lost power by obstructing the work of the U.N. and by championing the cause of the smaller nations in Europe. As the Great Powers play politics and angle for place and position, the masses of the people in every land - great and small - are full of fear and questioning; they are worn by the war, sick of insecurity, underfed and frightened as they look toward the future, tired to their very souls of fighting and quarreling, weary of the tyranny of striking workmen, and wanting [94] only to live in safety, to own the necessities of existence, to raise their children in a certain measure of civilized culture and to live in a land where there are sound economics, a living religion and an adequate educational system.

In every country the great sin of separateness is again rearing its ugly head; minorities abound and are abused; cleavages are everywhere to be found; parties are clamoring for attention and adherents; religious groups are spreading dissension and seeking to gain in membership at the expense of other groups; the rich are organizing so as to control the finances of the world; the poor are fighting for their rights and better living conditions; the tyranny of selfish politics permeates both capital and labor.

This is a true and tragic picture. It is, happily, not the only one. There is another; a study of this other picture will lead to renewed optimism and to constant faith in divine planning and the beauty of the human being. In every nation there are those who see a better vision of a better world, who are thinking and talking and planning in terms of humanity, and who realize that those who form the various groups - political, religious, educational and labor - are men and women and essentially, if unconsciously, brothers. They see the world whole and are working towards an inevitable unification; they recognize the problems of the nations, great and small, and the difficult situation in which the minorities today find themselves; they know that the use of force produces results which are not truly effective (for the cost is far too great) and are usually transient. They realize that the only true hope is an enlightened public opinion and that this must be the result of sound educational methods and just and exact propaganda.

It will be obvious that it will not be possible to take up the tale of all the minorities in the international field [95] and deal for instance with the struggle of the little nations for recognition and for what they consider (rightly or wrongly) their just rights. The story of the little nations would take years to write and years to read. It would be the story of humanity. All we can do is to recognize that they have a case to be presented and a problem to be solved, but that justice and fair play, full opportunity and equal sharing of the world's economic resources will only be possible when certain broad and general principles have been enforced by the weight of public opinion.

The problems of two minorities are attracting at this time much public attention. If they can be solved a tremendous step forward will have been made towards world understanding. They are:

  1. The Jewish Problem. The Jews constitute an international minority of great aggressiveness, exceedingly vocal, and they also constitute a minority in practically every nation in the world. Their problem is, therefore, unique.
  2. The Negro Problem. This is another unique problem, with the Negro constituting a majority in that great (and as yet undeveloped) continent of Africa, and at the same time constituting a minority in the United States of America and one which is attracting great attention. This problem is unique in the sense that it is essentially the problem of the white people and one which they must solve because they produced it and have perpetuated it.

If we can get some idea of the significance of these problems, materially and spiritually, and can gain some insight into the responsibilities involved, much of usefulness may be gained. In the case of the Jews, the sin of separateness is deeply inherent in the race itself, as well as among those among whom they live, but for the perpetuation of the separation the Jews are largely [96] responsible; in the case of the Negro, the separative instinct derives from the white people; the Negro is struggling to end it and, therefore, the spiritual forces of the world are on the side of the Negro.

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