Southern Illinois University Carbondale Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
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Negro Leaders' Position Unrealistic
Negro Leaders' Position Unrealistic
Item IDEgyptian19651116Negro.tif
TitleNegro Leaders' Position Unrealistic
AuthorJenkin Lloyd Jones
DescriptionNow is the time for a new kind of Negro leadership.
Original Publication SourceDaily Egyptian
Date1965 November 16
Digital File Format.TIF (Tagged Image Format)
Digital File PublisherSpecial Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Rights StatementAll copyrights held by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this image, please contact the Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Phone: + 1 (618) 453-2516. Email:
CollectionDaily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
TranscriptNegro Leaders' Position Unrealistic

By Jenkin Lloyd Jones

Stewart Alsop, long-sympathetic to Negro civil rights aspirations, recently revisited last summer's riot-ripped district oi Watts in Los Angeles and came away Jolted to his molars.
Writing in the Nov. 6 Saturday Evening Post, Alsop quoted a number of Negro bystanders as expressing virulent hate of all white men and being avid for a shooting showdown.
One man, according to Alsop, asserted, "The first thing we want is we'll kill every g.d. white capitalist- starting with Mr. Lyndon Johnson."
Another said: "Shcotin's gonna' come from both sides, and a lotta' people gonna' get killed. We don't fear dying- it's our specialty."
Well, perhaps the time has come to drop the polite talk and the euphemisms and the political obfuscation. Let's all speak bluntly. The theory, so frantically embraced by civil rights sentimentalists and many Negro leaders, that everyhing wrong with the Negro is the white man's fault, and the counter - theory, cherished by white supremacists, that the Negro is hopeless if not inherently subhuman, will each lead us into a Greek tragedy.
Much has been written about the Negro's "search for identity.'' He has a short written history and few heroes of his kind. Where he lacks
performance or ambition or reliability, his apologists say that it is because the white man dragged hmn into servitude and robbed him of identity.
But non-performance, unhappily, can become an identity of itself. Writing in the current Fortune magazine, Charles Silberman, author of "A Study in Black and White, " says: "Negro leaders were trapped in a rhetoric and logic whose premise was that any all-Negro institution is, per se, degrading. They found themselves, therefore, unable to argue simultaneously against Jim Crow and for the improvement of the Negro community.... The new mood of militancy makes it virtually impossible for any Negro intellectual to acknowledge publicly the need for change within the Negro community. And this, in turn, prevents the leaders from doing anything.that might produce a change.'' Well, how do we fight our way out of this? Let's try some honesty.
The white. majority in America has acknowledged, at last, that any attempt to classify a man by color is imprecise.
So now the proDiem must be expressed differently. Can the Negroes move up to seize opportunities and earn respect —a, 'job that no penniless white imfnigrant was able to avoid— or are they to be paralyzed by factors that they can no longer blame on the whites?
At the moment, the situation is dismal. Most Negro leaders, still unable to blame their race for any shortcomings, continue to pressure school boards to hide achievement results and police departments to omit race designations in the crime reports. But no one is fooled. The Negro illegitimacy rate is eight times that of the whites and rising sharply.
While the Watts rioters complained they lacked suitable jobs. Southern California vegetables rotted for want of pickers. Many white collar jobs now open for Negroes find no applicants. When work was obtained for 120 Negro youths after the Harlem riots of last year only 12 were still working a few weeks later.
Worse, there is a rising nihilism. As Negro writer James Baldwin has expressed it, "the Negroes of this country may never be able to rise to power, but they are very well placed indeed to precipitate chaos and ring down the curtain on the American dfeam."
This has all the insanity of adeath wish. 4For a minority cannot wreck a majority-culture without eliminating itself. No one is going to hand the Deep South and California to the Black Muslims, as they have demanded. Apartheid or deportation are impractical. There would remain only war and extermination.
Now is the time for a new kind of Negro leadership.
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