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Problems of Humanity - Chapter IV - The Problem of the Racial Minorities
But beyond this necessary recognition of indebtedness and the effort to benefit from the presented conditions and to ignore that which is evil and undesirable, the Negro problem, both in Africa and in the western world, is largely (if not entirely) that of the white race and one which it is their responsibility to solve. In Africa the Negro greatly outnumbers the white population; the latter is in so small a minority that they are faced with a most difficult situation, living as they do in the midst of an overpoweringly vast black population. In the West and in America, the situation is reversed and the Negroes constitute a minority, greatly outnumbered by the white people. In Africa the Negro is virile and militant; in America and the West Indies he has been somewhat emasculated and psychologically defeated by years of forced labor and slavery. Slavery exists also in Africa, but it has been of a different kind and has not produced quite the same results as it has in the West.

The problem facing the white races now in Africa is so to train the Negroes that they will be fitted for true self-government. They must be helped to take over their own destiny; they must be given a sense of trained responsibility; they must be taught to realize that Africa can belong to its own people and at the same time be a cooperating partner in world enterprise. This can only happen when the antagonism between the white people and the black races is ended; between the two of them goodwill must be demonstrated. Right human relations must be firmly established between the emerging Negro empire and the rest of the world; the new [109] ideals and the new world trends must be fostered in the receptive Negro consciousness and in this way "darkest Africa" will become a radiant center of light, ready for self-government and expressing true freedom. Increasingly these Negro races will forsake their emotional reaction to circumstances and events, and meet all that transpires with a mental grasp and an intuitive perception which will put them on a par and perhaps ahead of the many who today condition the environment and the circumstances of the Negro.

We might express the possibilities as follows: Will the Negroes of Africa arrive at control of their own continent by violently ejecting the governing white races and by a long cycle of wars between the different Negro groups which people that continent? Or will the matter be settled by an understanding farsighted policy on the part of the white people, plus cooperative planning for the future? Will this be paralleled by an ability on the part of the Negro races to move slowly and wisely, to avoid bloodshed and rancor, to see through the devious ways of selfish political agents (seeking to exploit them) and demonstrate also such an outstanding capacity to handle their own affairs and produce their own leaders that naturally and automatically, without conflict or violence, they will gather the reins of government into their own hands and gradually eliminate white control? Will the white nations who today commercially exploit Africa, holding on to their land tenure, relinquish their so-called rights (based on the fact that possession is nine-tenths of the law) and substitute the New Age methods of right human relations and intelligent cooperation, the sharing of resources, so rich and varied in that wonderful continent, and contribute their trained skill, their proved commercial benefits and their scientific knowledge to all that Africa has to offer of usefulness and productive materials to the world? The [110] European nations and the British peoples are now following a program leading to the release of Africa into the hands of its own people. At the same time, a sane patience should lead the African peoples to concentrate on educational processes, and agricultural and economic developments. The destiny of this great land will clarify itself and Africa will take its place as a great center of cultural light, shining within a civilized land.

Unless both races, the black and the white, approach the problem of their relationship with sanity, with long range vision, with patience and without hatred or fear, the cultural history of our planet will be retarded for many years. The hitherto unused and unorganized power of the countless millions of Africa is something that the white race should carefully consider. They can place the Negro peoples as rapidly as possible on an equality of opportunity, of constitutional and human rights, and help them to pass through the stage of adolescence in which they are now to be found to that full and useful maturity in which they will handle their own problems and territory. This process is now going forward and Africa will thus take its place (through its many possible national groups) in the great family of nations and bring into the world arena a race with an amazing contribution to make of spiritual assets, cultural values and creative possibilities.

The innate endowment of the Negro is very rich in content. He is creative, artistic and capable of the highest mental development when taught and trained - as capable as is the white man; this has been proved again and again by the artists and the scientists who have come out of the Negro race and by the fact of their aspirations and their ambitions. The time has come when the white man must cease to look upon the Negro as a field laborer, a factory hand, a beast of burden, or one only [111] capable of housework or unskilled labor and accord him the respect and the opportunity which is due him.

The Negro of Africa is emerging fast and when a few more years of education, study and travel have played their part, the problem of Africa will become even more acute than it already is. It need not become dangerous if the white race demonstrates wisdom, understanding, selfless thinking and a willingness to give complete freedom to the Negro races. The future peace of the world depends today upon enlightened, farseeing statesmanship and an appreciation of the fact that God has made all men free.

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