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Problems of Humanity - Chapter IV - The Problem of the Racial Minorities
The problem of the Negro in the western hemisphere constitutes a very ugly story, seriously implicates the white man and provides an outstanding disgrace. Brought to the United States and to the West Indies more than two centuries ago and forced into slavery, the Negro has never had a fair deal or any true opportunity. Under the constitution of the United States, all men are regarded as free and equal; the Negro, however, is not free or equal, particularly in the southern states. The situation in the West Indies more closely resembles that in the northern states, where conditions are somewhat better but where there is still no equality of opportunity and much racial discrimination. The treatment of the Negro in the southern states is a blot upon the country; there the fight is to keep the Negro consistently down, to refuse him equality of education and of opportunity, to keep his standard of living at the lowest possible level and well below that of the white, to refuse him political recognition and, in a democratic country where all men are entitled to vote, he is prevented from sharing in this constitutional privilege. In the northern states these conditions do not exist to the same extent, but the Negro is steadily discriminated against, is refused equal opportunity and has to fight [112] for every privilege. A few corrupt and ignorant senators consistently outrage the good intentions of the mass of American people by perpetuating these evil conditions and fighting by every possible means to prevent their being changed; they play upon the fears of their constituents and block every move made to bring about a better and cleaner situation which would be in line with the constitution. These short-sighted politicians attempt to sidetrack the issue and throw dust in the eyes of their constituents by fighting for the freedom of distant small nations in Europe; at the same time they steadily defy their own constitution by refusing freedom and liberty to the Negroes of their own country. For their attitude and conduct there is today no possible excuse. It remains a mystery in the minds of other enlightened nations why the broadminded people of the United States - vociferous in their demand for their own personal freedom and insistent upon the defense of the constitution - permit this condition to exist and perpetuate in office these men who bring about a constant infringement of the constitutional rights of American citizens.

The cry of the south that the Negro is not educationally fitted to vote is negated by the fact that he can and does vote in the northern states, in many cases as wisely as his white brother, and though his vote can often be purchased by electioneering politicians so also can that of the white voter; the cry that white women must be protected from the animal instincts of the Negroes means nothing, for they need equal protection from the animal instincts of the white man, and this statistics will adequately prove; the cry that paternalism is what the Negro needs and that only the southerner understands how to handle the Negro is disproved by the Negro himself who wants none of it; his repudiation of it demonstrates a sound sense of values and that he knows the distinction between paternalism (which keeps the [113] Negro backward, uneducated and under obligation to the white) and the freedom which he wants to share with all men in the world.

The Negro is naturally easy, accommodating, kindly and anxious to like people and be liked; if today so many Negroes are arrogant, vindictive, full of hate and anxious to assert themselves it is because they have been made so by the white people. The white people face a grave responsibility and it lies in their hands to change conditions. When they do so, they will find the Negro as responsive to good and fair treatment, equal opportunity and right living conditions as he is responsive sometimes in the wrong way to the evil educational, political and living conditions under which he now labors. This applies to the entire Negro problem in the western hemisphere.

The Negro cannot be discriminated against for all time; he cannot be asked to defend his country and then have his country refuse him the ordinary rights of citizenship. Public opinion is on the side of the Negro and there is a steadily growing determination among the white citizens of the western hemisphere that he be given his constitutional rights, equal commercial and business opportunities, equal educational facilities and equally good living conditions. It is for the people of America to speak with a clear voice and demand that Negroes be given their just rights. Every white American should shoulder his responsibility for this minority and study the Negro problem; he should learn to know the Negro personally as a friend and a brother; he should see to it that he plays his part in changing the present condition.

On the subject of intermarriage, the best and soundest thinkers in both the white and black races at this time deplore mixed marriages. They mean no happiness for either party. When considering this [114] subject it should be remembered, however, that intermarriage between the white peoples and the yellow races (the Chinese and the Japanese) is equally unfortunate and - with the rarest exception - seldom proves successful and is never satisfactory where the children of such unions are concerned. The world war (1914-1945) has itself produced a great admixture of races. Where marching armies go there is inevitable promiscuity and a resultant new population; the world today is producing and will produce the results of these (so-called) illicit unions between the soldiers of all nations and the peoples of the countries in which they find themselves. These children of mixed race, as well as the half-castes and the Eurasians may be the answer to a large part of the problem. There will be hundreds of thousands of these children of mixed parentage, forming part of the world population in the next generation and immediate cycle and they are a group with which we will have to reckon.

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