2015년 5월 5일 화요일

[발췌: G. Myrdal's] An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944)

출처: Gunnar Myrdal (1944). An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. Transaction Publishers
자료: 구글도서

of which:

  1. The Negro Problem and the War  (p. 997)
  2. Social Trends (p. 998)
  3. ??? 
  4. Negroes in the War Crisis (p. 1004)
  5. The War and the Whites (p. 1008)
  6. ???
  7. ???
  8. ???
  9. Making the Peace (p. 1018)
  10. America's Opportunity (p. 1021)


& of which excerpt (발췌) : pp. 1004~1008 

4. Negroes in the War Crisis

This War is an ideological war fought in defense of democracy. The totalitarian dictatorships in the enemy countries had even made the ideological issue much sharper in the War than it was in the First World War. Moreover, in this War the principle of democracy had to be applied more explicitly to race. Fascism and nazism are based on a racial superiority dogma─not unlike the old hackneyed American caste theory─and they came to power by means of racial persecution and oppression. In fighting fascism and nazism, America had to stand before the whole world in favor of racial tolerance and cooperation and of racial equality. It had to denounce German racialism as a reversion to barbarism. It had to proclaim universal brotherhood and the inalienable human freedoms. The fact that the Japanese utilize anti-white feelings in Asia and elsewhere made it even more necessary to stress the racial equality principle.

In the internal political struggle before America became involved in the War, the isolationists had worked up the idea that there was much to improve at home without trying to improve the rest of the world. They did not disdain even to point to the injustice inflicted upon the Negro; many isolationists to the left put the Negro cause to the forefront. A Georgia senator who made a lengthy talk about the danger to democracy abroad was challenged by an isolationist co-senator with the question whether the fight for democracy should not begin in Georgia. The plight of the Negro sharecropper and the presence of peonage and lynching were brought up to stress the unsolved tasks at home and to win Negro sympathies for the isolationist cause.[n.2] One permanent result of this pre-war discussion was that, in this War, the promises to establish the full democratic liberties, not only abroad but also in America, played an even more prominent role than in the First World War.

For the Negroes this new War carried unpleasant reminiscences of the earlier one. The situation looked bitterly ironical. This time, too, the Negro had to fight desperately to get the right to fight for his country. In the armed forces Negroes were discriminated against in the usual ways and to almost the same extent. Mobs had attacked Negro soldiers and war workers, and a Southern senator had requested the Army to keep Negro soldiers out of the South. Negroes also had to fight to get into the war industries and had only partial success. In the First World War they actually made considerable advances in industrial employment, and the Great Migration was a welcome consequence. But this time the nation was well stocked with unemployed whites at the beginning of the defense boom. A technological development had also intervened, decreasing the industrial demand for unskilled labor─the type of jobs for which Negroes are least unwelcome. Up to the time when this is being written (August, 1942), the Negro has been almost excluded from the great bulk of the war industries. Discrimination is the rule practically everywhere.

Under the threat of a Negro march on Washington, skillfully staged by A. Philip Randolph, the President made a solemn proclamation against discrimination in the defense industries and government agencies and appointed a committee, having both Negro and white members, to see that it was observed. Other branches of the Administration made declarations and issued orders against discrimination: some of these statements were apparently sincere in their intention, some were face-saving moves, and most had their locus somewhere in the wide range between. The Republican National Committee resolved that racial discriminations are "wrongs under the Constitution" and pledged the opposition party to work to correct them. The national labor unions also lined up for nondiscrimination. The Negroes heard and read the kindly promises. They again noted the public acceptance of their own reading of the Constitution and the American Creed. But they knew the grim reality.

In the twenty years between the two World Wars the general level of education of the American Negroes had become considerably higher, and so had their capacity for democracy. The Negro press had become better equipped, and it reached farther. The Negro organizations had grown in strength. The national Negro leaders had become firmer, and they were more resentful. This time they were not willing cheerfully to postpone their complaints until the War was over. The elderly Du Bois renounced with bitterness the credulous advice he once gave his people in the First World War to "close ranks." In this new War the Negro leaders advertised freely─and sometimes provocatively─the danger of a low morale among Negroes.

In this new War there was a "colored" nation on the other side─Japan. And that nation started out by beating the white Anglo-Saxons on their own ground. The smoldering revolt in India against British rule had significance for the American Negroes, and so had other "color" incidents in the world conflict: the wavering sympathies of several native populations in the Dutch and British possessions in the Pacific, the mistrust against Great Britain among the Arab peoples, the first abandonment of Ethiopia, and the ambiguity of the plans for the colonial chessboard of Africa. Even unsophisticated Negroes began to see vaguely a color scheme in world events, although their thoughts are usually not yet organized in a definite pattern.[n.3]  In a "letter to the editor" by a Negro, which crept into a liberal white paper in the Upper South, the concluding sentences read:
The Negro races on earth are very suspicious of the white man's good intentions. This is very likely to be the last war that the white man will be able to lead humanity to wage for plausible platitudes.[n.4]

And this low-toned threat from a single Southern Negro became occasionally more shrill in the North: all colored people should be united in their interests against whites, and the aim should not be "national unity" but a real color war which would definitely end white imperialism and exploitation.

But this was exceptional. World politics and the color issue are in the final analysis, of secondary importance to American Negroes, except as avenues for the expression of dissatisfaction. The American Negro is thoroughly Americanized; his complaint is merely that he is not accepted. What really matters to him is his treatment at home, in his own country. A Negro journalist, explaining the feeling of the Negro to the white public, has this to say:
Because he must fight discrimination to fight for his country and to earn a living, the Negro to-day is angry, resentful, and utterly apathetic about the war. "Fight for what?" he is asking. "This war doesn't mean a thing to me. If we win I lose, so what?" [n.5] 

Reading the Negro press and hearing all the reports from observers who have been out among common Negroes in the South and the North convince me that there is much sullen skepticism, and even cynicism, and vague, tired, angry dissatisfaction among American Negroes today. The general bitterness is reflected in the stories that are circulating in the Negro communities: A young Negro, about to be inducted into the Army, said, "Just carve on my tombstone, 'Here lies a black man killed fighting a yellow man for the protection of a white man.'" Another Negro boy expressed the same feeling when he said he was going to get his eyes slanted so the next time a white man shoved him around he could fight back. [n.6] Their caste status being what it is in America, Negroes would, indeed, not be ordinary human beings if such dissatisfaction and bitterness were not their reaction to all the the morale talk about democracy, the four freedoms, the American way of life, all the violent denunciations of Nazi race hatred and the lack of freedom under totalitarian rule. We should also remember, however, that, even if Negroes are still mainly excluded from work in the manufacturing industries and from employment offering much future prospect, the war boom has created a lot of secondary employment for Negroes, too. There is more money in circulation and some trickles down to the Negroes. With a little money in his pocket even the poor Negro day laborer or domestic worker feels that he can afford to stiffen himself. Many white housewives notice strange thoughts and behavior on the part of their Negro servants these days.

The loyalty of the American Negro in war and peace is, however, proverbial. The only thing Negroes ask for is to be accepted as Americans. The American Constitution is even dearer to them than to their white compatriots. They are more unreservedly anti-fascist. Few American Negroes want the Axis powers to win the War. But this is not much of an issue to Negroes, as they, about as much as white Americans, are convinced of the invincibility of their country. Negroes have never doubted the strength and resourcefulness of the whites. Even more, they know that America offers more possibility of democracy, even for themselves, than do the Axis nations. In one of the most thoughtful statements on the question of Negro loyalties since the beginning of the war crisis, Ralph Bunche says:
There should be no illusions about the nature of this struggle. ... The fight now is not to save democracy, for that which does not exist cannot be saved. But the fight is to maintain those conditions under which people may continue to strive for realization of the democratic ideals. This is the inexorable logic of the nation's positions as dictated by the world anti-democratic revolution and Hitler's projected new world orders.[n.7]

But it is quite common that Negroes feel a satisfaction in the temporary adversities and want the War to become as serious a matter as possible to the white people in power. There have been reports that poor Negro sharecroppers in the South sometimes indulge in dreams of a Japanese army marching through the South and killing off a number of "crackers." They do not want them to land in the North, though, and they certainly do not want them to stay. But much more common is a glowing ill-concealed satisfaction over the war adversities on various fronts. Practically every issue of any Negro newspaper gives proof of this attitude. It must be conceded that Negroes have also some good rational reasons for this feeling. They know, of course, that, as a Northern Negro social scientist explains:
... the graver the outside danger to the safety of this country, the more abundant the gains will be likely to be [for the Negroes]. But until such time as this country is actually in grave danger most of the attention given to the problem of [Negro] morale will be that of conjuring up the right type of propaganda to allay their discontent. [n.8]

A white commentator complained some months ago that the Negro press is something of a fifth column. He received the unanimous and angry answer in all Negro papers that this is exactly the contrary to the truth. Negroes are standing only for the democratic principles, to defend which America is waging war. They are dissatisfied because these principles are ignored in America itself. They are just the opposite of war dodgers and traitors: they pray to have the right to fight and die for their country and to work in the war industries, but they are excluded. They can, with new reason, point to the inconsistency between American ideals and practices, as does one of their wisest editors, Elmer A, Carter: " ... this strange and curious picture, this spectacle of America at war to preserve the ideal of government by free men, yet clinging to the social vestiges of the slave system." [n.9] This ideological attack is so clear-cut and simple and so obviously to the point that it appeals even to the least educated Negro. The cause of the American Negro has supreme logical strength. And the Negro is better prepared than ever before in his history to fight for it.

5. The War and the Whites

( ... ... )

CF. Volume 1: 구글도서

of which


  1. The Negro's Political Bargaining Power (p. 505)
  2. The Negro's Party Allegiance (p. 508)
  3. ???
  4. An Unstable Situation (p. 514)
  5. The Stake of the North (p. 515)

& of which excerpt: p. 517,

Northerners far to the right of labor also have cause to feel increasingly uneasy about Southern disfranchisement of Negroes as well as about judicial and economic discrimination. There is a disturbing racial angle to the Second World War, and to the planing for a world order after the War, for which the United States is bound to assume a great responsibility. The issue of democracy is fatefully involved in the War and the coming peace. The Northern press reflects abundantly this growing anxiety around the Negro problem. A recent editorial concludes: 
This is a national, not a sectional problem. ... It has to be solved if the white-skinned majority is to avoid the sinister hypocrisy of fighting abroad for what it is not willing to accept at home.[n.20] 
( ... ... )

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