|Item ID||egyptian 1943 1001vol 25 #2.tif |
|Title||DARK MUSINGS |
|Author||By DOROTHY SYKES |
|Description||It cannot be denied that there is, not alone in the south but throughout the country, widespread |
hostility to and against the Negro.
|Original Publication Source||Daily Egyptian |
|Date||1943 October 1 |
|Digital File Format||.TIF (Tagged Image Format) |
|Digital File Publisher||Special Collections Research Center, Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale |
|Rights Statement||All 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: http://reftrack.lib.siu.edu/reft100.aspx?key=SCRCEmail&cllcid=SCRR |
|Collection||Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale) |
|Transcript||DARK MUSINGS |
By DOROTHY SYKES
It cannot be denied that there is, not alone in the south but throughout the country, widespread
hostility to and against the Negro.
This prejudice is sometimes exaggerated by foreigners or by crusaders for Negro rights; it is often
denied or ignored by the average American. But the important thing about this prejudice is that, when
closely analyzed, it is usually found to be economic and social rather than racial in character.
The Negro, you must remember, has always been at the bottom of the economic and the social scale.
As long as he remained there, he did not threaten the economic, or the social position of whites who were or thought they were—in a better, a more privileged position. But as soon as the Negro began
to reach out tor better conditions —as soon as he acquired land, went to school, entering the professions—he did threaten, or seem to threaten, the more privileged groups. He became a competitor,
and a competitor in the social as
well as in the economic scheme.
If fear—fear for jobs, fear for social status—is at the root of the So-Called "Negro problems" as I think it is. what is the solution? You cannot preach fears away, you can hardly even educate them away. The solution is rather to remove the cause for fear by removing the sense of insecurity that troubles those who feel themselves threatened. If every southern white were sure of a steady job with
adequate pay; sure of a piece of land; sure of decent housing and good health conditions and education
for his children, he would no longer need to fear competition from the Negro.
It is arresting to note that in the sixty years between 1870 and 1930, illiteracy among Negroes declined from slightly over eighty per cent of
about sixteen per cent, that the Negroes have today some 100 colleges and universities of their own;
that they edit and publish over 200 newspapers : that they maintain over 30, 000 churches. There have
been a steady and substantial increase in Negro land ownership, if Negro bank deposits, in Negro insurance policies.
Or, looking to another direction, there has been, in the last few decades an improvement in Negro public health little less that spectacular. Mortality, especially infant mortality. is on the decline.
All of this is comparative, and figures of this kind may be differently interpreted. If we compare the position at Negroes today with that of the Negroes fifty years ago, the impression is indubitably one
of immense progress. If we compare the position of the Negro with that of the white, we are impressed rather with the progress still to be made.
The trouble with figures of this character is that they assume that the Negro is a group apart—a separate category ot people—rather than an integral part of our society. It is not sufficiently realized that the Negro everywhere partakes of his environment. In a southern rural community he is much like southern rural whites; in a northern urban community his
position is similar to that of most city people. In times of poverty he is poor; in periods of prosperity
he prospers. Where education is backward, he shares that backwardness.
It is important to keep in mind this obvious consideration, because it comes very close to the heart of the "Negro problem." Actually
there is not so much a "Negro problem" as there is a general social problem, an educational problem, an unemployment problem, a farm problem, a health problem, and so forth.
The solution to the Negro problem is to be found not by some special approach to it, as distinct
from all other things, not by keeping the Negro depressed, neither by separating the races nor preaching to the whites. It is rather to raise the economic and social status of all concerned,