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This is the 15th program in a series entitled The seeds of discontent to present the program. Here is Hartford Smith Jr. supervisor of the screening and intake unit maintained by the Michigan Department of Social Services delinquency rehabilitation programs and assistant professor at the Wayne State University School of Social Work. Mr. SMITH. This is Part 3 on the subject of the negro middle class that concerns opinions and feelings about the problems of negroes in American society. Prior to these two programs on the subject we have talked with other Negro citizens from other levels of society. Our purpose in doing this is to ascertain many variations of mood and feeling about the conditions of life as it applies to negroes. It is hoped that these varied responses by many different Negro citizens will provide new insights and valid reference points from which the totality of complex issues surrounding the current level of discontent among the masses of Negro citizens can be better understood and acted upon accordingly.
Our participants again on tonight's program will be Mr. Orian warden PSYCHOLOGIST UNIVERSITY Windsor Mr. A.J. Dunmore editor Michigan Chronicle and Mr. Lenny has a car salesman in the city of Detroit. For the past two weeks these three men have talked about their own personal existence and have talked briefly about the problems faced by them and arriving at their present position or status in the rank of what we have called with some qualifications. The middle class. They have also talked about the causes of riots and rebellions. Although there have been some differences at certain points regarding the meaning and causes of problems it would appear that these three men have much in common and empathise with those still trapped in ghetto neighborhoods. And we have seen a common thread that runs throughout our daughter's dialogue with Negro citizens from many walks of life for the past eight weeks. Let me again
summarize for you some of the things that we have seen aside from the known sociological facts of poor and restricted housing actions of various police departments unemployment and ghetto schools. The injustice of the South that forced many negroes to leave their place of birth. The horrible shortcomings of the North which was initially viewed as a land of promise. Their failure and refusal to accept the negro as a law abiding productive and creative citizen the centuries of stereotypes and insults. The failure to exist to accept and treat the negro as a man as opposed to a misguided child. Years and years of binding the negro whether by housing patterns or by maintaining social or psychological distance on equal treatment under the law and loss of life for no other reason than being a negro. The reactions of these three gentleman again from the ranks of the middle class are
slightly different from the commonly accepted stereotype of the negro middle class as being the bald Wark of Uncle Tom ism in American society. Perhaps these men are not really representative of the middle class negro or maybe there is an awakening among the middle class. And maybe the term middle class is a vague bit of fantasy which is totally and pleasurable when it comes to analyzing the emotionally explosive issues of race and problems of races of people. Whatever the cause is we feel that they have much to say and we are continuing our discussion with them on the questions of what needs to be done what has to be done and is America ready to do it. We will open with Mr. Dunn More specifically I think you've already mentioned some areas just serving. America's going to have to devoted to don't try to go beyond what do you feel. Is a. Measure. That has to be done that absolutely has to be done. And second.
Do you feel that America. Is ready. To do it. You. Lashing move. Your sense of commitment is really right to do something about it. I'm. Sorry. If I personally believe that those people in power situations as has been the evidence by these efforts and I believe there are sincere efforts they may be meager efforts but they are sincere efforts by the new Detroit committee to try to find some answers because they know that something has to be done. Men like Henry Ford and Joel HUTCHENS are aware. Of the international perspective at which this whole problem has to be looked at. You see these men are aware. That better than three quarters of the world's population. Are. Dark skins. And that these emerging nations are going to have to a great deal to say about the economy of this country 20 years from today. And so therefore something has to be done now to
meet the challenge of these emerging nations. You see I believe that they are aware. But there has been so much miseducation and misinformation of the middle classes. The lower class whites of this country and the fear that's been instilled in them as to what the Negro really is. I believe that it's just too big a job to undo the wrongs of 300 years in a year or so. And this almost has to be done or America is going to find itself relegated to a second place position. You see as far as a world power now I had this awareness to recent troubles that I have been fortunate enough to make. I've been in Mexico I've been in Germany particularly and I've seen what is being done in these countries which is going to be reflected in the world picture 15 to 20 years ago. Now the journal. Says it's moving quickly to and far the emerging African nations and to their economy.
And America has got to meet this challenge or they're going to find themselves lost and the Henry Ford to numbness since they know this and this is why they're so anxious to get things done and to find a place for the American Negro. Your politicians know this Richard Nixon was. And George Romney my. Discoveries and his were all travels. See Lyndon Johnson it was a. C.. But. How can you get. The people who come into contact with people. To recognize this problem. See it has to be done. What is the major problem the major problem has to be a complete overhaul of our educational systems. This is the first job that has to be done because we can't continue to mis educate the masses of children whether they be white or Negro. See we're going into a
world in which techno logical knowledge is a necessity and the masses of the negro the black children have to be taught technology and it has to be a stepped up program in our public schools are public schools that they are mis educating the negroes because they don't know how. To fix these Negro children and add to that that the number of Negroes have been the products of this education. And so we have this problem of spreading a big difference as I have called you see we have to overhaul our complete educational system. And. Colleges. Hack to prepare teachers to teach the children from the social logically economically and culturally deprived homes and bring them up into the 20th century. We still have so many negroes who have been forced to live in the 19th century cultures
because they have not been removed out because of the failure of our public educational systems. Now they claim that this is it began in the home how it can kind of begin in the home where the parents were not it's Akkad and the parents before them were not educated. We have five and six. Then we went to the products of five and six generations of ignorance. You see which has been forced upon the American Negro. And yet these children come into a society which requires certain technical trainings and and certain kinds of trainings. And they can get it by teachers who claim that we can reach these children. There has to be people taught how to reach these children because they can be reached. And this has been obvious in so many areas it's been obvious. And we can't continue to mis educate our children. As is said here in Detroit we have more push outs and we have dropouts. Children who are forced out of school because they
haven't been challenged they can be motivated we can't go in and say these children can't be taught and this is a home for lots of free of our public education today and most of our urban areas not only in Detroit but in New York and Philadelphia and Cleveland. Our school teachers are saying we can't teach these children to Patrick put it so well in the book at the Weizmann businesses JHU last week when he said these children can be motivated. We can't say that they're they can't be motivated. They can be motivated and we've got to find it. Need to motivate the. U.S. and I this is this is will be the key to overhaul our education public education system at the TCT children how to live in the world today because no longer can the strong back. And hunted UK did my make it in this world. See now 30 years ago this was true but it's no longer true and we've got to reach these children's minds and bring their minds into the 20th century. This is what we call this is a time this is
facing. It has got to be done how it's to be accomplished I don't know. But it's got to be done and it's a problem that we have to face up to and face up to quickly I think this is a key question that has to be solved. Although Mr. Dunmore is not too confident about the American public as a whole and meeting the challenge of the future in the area of race relations he does feel that international conditions and pressures will force a reckoning and they Syrian and Ed. He expresses confidence in some of the leading public figures now taking action. The key problem areas as he sees them and the one deserving the highest of priorities is the need for a total restructuring of the entire educational system. Let's turn now to Mr. Hasluck the car salesman for comments in this area. There is so much hate in this country it's just it's just like cancer. It just doesn't seem to be a real cure for it and it's going to spread I think to this country if
something. Isn't drastically that this country is going to destroy it. I mean. I think eventually this country will just completely collapse because of the the hate that exists. In this country. He does talk. Because you know yourself that the child was born when the UPS was a tiny There's no hate in them and they're tired. I mean you know this may be. Economical that the poor white when they don't have enough to. Adequate Housing I suppose that they're being told by those who do. Well what do you complain about you know a lot better off than a negro and. I feel that this is one of the reasons. It is he has come about number one. They've been taught that it was superior in every
spanking that to me but my dad was a slave to the way that this country as long as hate. Is taught in this country. And I don't see it stopping. I don't know where it's going to end but is allowed just taught in this country that there's not going to be any real solution to the problem that we have. I don't care how many programs which as to how much money that you spend. Is hate. This is made it not only at the White House for the Negro but for the Negro has white. And you just can't. Come to any agreeable terms. If he was he existing And I think that we've got to from education neutral acceptance.
I think that this is the only way that we've done to really get to the. Approach the basic problem is to first eliminate the hate that exists between the right. This is the way I see it. Mr. Haslam seems less optimistic about the resolution of racial problems and the future although he places great emphasis on education. He seems to feel that many programs will go down the drain unless the teaching of hate is overwhelmed by a renewed dedication to Christian ethics and love for one's fellow man. We continue our discussion on this topic with Mr. Wharton the negro psychologist. I think you know education and jobs you know are the two areas that. It must be worked on immediately and then not sure whether it's jobs in education or education and jobs but these to me are
critical and I think it was Galbraith made a statement sometime back when he returned from India that. The. Poor and educated around the world seem to be the same people. If you are an educated you find yourself poor and if you find yourself poor you find yourself on you know living in. Poverty ill health malnutrition all these kinds of problems. So. The poor are more alike than they are different around the world and the same thing is true here in this country so that people who are without jobs and without education. I want to be poor I live in God I wouldn't want to be trying to fight their way out of this situation so that you know it. I'm not saying anything can be done in this area that should be done. I'm not saying that I'm you know I'm to say I
feel these are the two important areas that priorities must be allocated to Nigeria for it's not to say that these things are going to be done you know. Yes. Do you feel that the programs that have been set up in recent years are very effectively designed Do you feel that they're heading in the right direction now or do you feel that we're going to have to do a lot of rethinking. Total restructuring of our programs that are designed to help people. Well from the information I can get on these programs they are effective and they are doing a job. The problem and of course the people who set the programs up and try to. You know get the monies far and resources for say this too and I agree with this. The thing that keeps the programs from being more of a success and the level that must be attained if the society is to survive.
It's not being Reese because there isn't the money and there isn't the resources on the scale required to make these programs go. In other words you know all of the federal programs that have been started since 62 63 64 and so on. This whole area different kinds of color or neighborhood use color or just poverty programs that all of these programs. They are successors you know within limits but they certainly are successes the problem is that there just isn't enough money and you know they have been going long enough before they were crippled. And many of them were crippled from the very beginning by you know Congress not appropriating the funds and the amounts needed to really do a good job. And so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy in a sense. You know the programs fail. They don't show the kind of success that you and I and others would like and even the people who gotten them
through the federal probe you know the federal machinery would like to see them go. So I would say that they're they had you know the things that happened and do show that it's possible to make inroads to deflect from this direction of chaos and really increasing despair on the part of people who live in these areas in the ghettos and poverty areas in this country. It is possible to deflect that direction and move it in a room with another one that would I would say that is a positive use of human potential. But the thing that's missing is that you know we. You know the statistics and people you know can get them very easily. The proportion of money that's spent on any of these programs is you know one 100 perhaps let's say of what it should be and what we are allocating for other things like Viet Nam for instance you know amount of money that goes down. And from my point of view down the drain and and Viet Nam you know many fall times the money that we spend here in this country.
So she found that we have let you know that that to me it is as an ordering of priorities. I see and I I feel as some others that are so saddened by feels very strongly there are priorities you know upside down as far as my value position go. Do you feel that the national mood at this time at this point in time is just heading in the right direction. Do you feel that finally we're able we're going to be able to to at least face some of these problems. As a national effort you know certain states are ahead of other states time coming to grips with the problem but many of these problems spill out over state boundaries. It's in the national interest now for many international futures you know. Right and when you say face the problem I think that the option of not facing the problem is gone. We're just sort of the you know the problem is
here and it's in the open and so now whether a society wants to face it or not is irrelevant. You know it must face it because it's not going away so that option which did exist for many years and for decades and generations in this society was possible to you know to in truth behave as if Negroes didn't exist you know the invisible man. It was a reality. This wasn't talked about in that book. Black people didn't exist for white people except in certain specific roles and status is and which were caste like status is and today unity. You know here's this invisible man becoming visible and speaking and so the option of you know whether to face it or not is gone.
It's here you know and I see that my people are not going to become silent anymore. You know this is no longer a possibility whether I would like it you would like any of us would like it it's no one can control that. And I see that as a good that's a positive thing. Now I you know a lot of things to do with the problem and you know facing it is just kind of the the minimum position that has to be taken before you can take any other steps regarding the problem. Now what this society will do after being forced to face it you know I'm not really sure because. The comments that are floating around trying to get them in the newspaper and in different forms about what the white community is doing as a result of Iraq and you know some segments of my community fear is increased animosity or hatred is on the open. You know what had been a latent racist feelings on the part of whites is now out in the open to
Leyton anti-white feelings on the part of negroes black people out in the open now you know. And so this has a lot of people very upset because the government will respond only the state response to preserve a lot of water. That's one way of facing a problem you know is to be repressive and. Chris we don't know what else to do at least to preserve quote law and order. Maybe you can buy some time to decide what to do and how to do it. And I guess this is where I see the response meaning in the next few years as I feel that we will be moving toward a repressive response which will be the use of increased state power in varying ways to contain. The kinds of violent outbreaks that occurred last summer and might occur again this summer. Now that will be one part of what happens I feel that the police state police the National Guard Army whatever you want to you know the power of the
state being used as it has a repressive containing force increasingly. And while these other efforts on the part of people in government the academic community and the total community leadership at all levels will be trying frantically to. Get resources reallocated to tackle some of these basic problems. So in facing it you know some alternatives what to do after we've been forced to face it. I see right now the mood to be faced with a repressive oppression kind of response. Mr. Warden is less optimistic about solutions to problems in this area. He feels that we have run out of options and can no longer ignore the problem we are facing the problem and it is merely a question of how. We have many effective designs which have given adequate funding. We'll deal with the problems. However it is his fear that the national mood may be such
that repressive as opposed to corrective actions will be taken which will then lead to more bitterness and counter reactions on the part of those oppressed. As a postscript to what these three men have been saying on the past three programs I should like to present the following statements made by Mr. Warden at the end of my interview with him. Within these statements can be discerned. The crux of what has been happening during these last few years and provide some valuable insights into why society acts in the manner that it does in this whole area of racial turmoil and conflict. I think I would like to say that you know dissent and activism you know is necessary and all levels of society and that includes those groups that you know we were just talking about you know the teachers nurses those who have traditionally be seen have been seen as quote professional.
And this is unprofessional behavior. You know part of the Viking university students being activist in pressing that system to deliver you know this to me is in the best of the American tradition of dissent and the right of dissent and the right to be active in your own life. You know in terms of determining what happens to you not allowing it to be determined by others say that to me is as American as apple pie. And so it's kind of you know a movement of a past movement from a passive stance toward reality to an active stance. And that is in a sense revolutionary because it means turning around you know of a whole people from being passively accepting you know and looking toward the powers that be to make life different to a position of we look to the powers within you know within me and within us and with them. You know this group in this society to actively take charge of what
happens you know whether you fail or not at least you've been active in the attempt and not passively accepting. And I mean I feel is a very exciting kind of thing. And so I don't get alarmed by the fact that the perfect quote you know the professional. Identities are being challenged and destroyed perhaps or they are crumbling and that the students you know are kicking over the traces from the middle class Negro families that sent them away you know to kind of move right and I think that you know this is exciting and positive and. It gets exciting you know. And the conflict is always upset and we have to learn to live with it creatively and and not try to deny it. You know I had to block it off or do these kinds of things that I mention before I see is more likely to occur because people in this society generally are not prepared to deal with kinds like you know emotional conflict physical conflict. And yet it's a very violent society you know. But it's almost like most of us living vicariously and we have our professional athletes you know who live it out for us on Sunday afternoon I'll be watching Green Bay Carter and
Dallas you know the whole bed and you know our sports heroes and so on television and the movies and you know we kind of project it out there and we deny it ourselves until we brought up tight by masses of people suddenly deciding to move as real people not as television. Paper me chérie one dimensional two dimensional but four fully dimensional human beings and their reaction is packed because you know this part of each of us is suddenly now run into this kind of fantastic stress that we don't know how to deal with which is our own anger and rage and hatred and violence that unless we know how to control and deal with it we can be destructive. Are we to give it to the police. Izzy you know I don't have to be violent the policeman be violent you know and I'm Obama he has the better I feel. And in one way this is kind of the response that we see happening and by people as well as why people respond to the police this way in the riot. You know they want them to be more and more repressive you know more controlling because then I can feel much more comfortable.
That's my only. Also for this kind of stuff is it being controlled by a policeman's presence so to speak then of course it be them not with me. That's right that's right to the point is that I'm capable of everything anyone else is capable of doing. You know that I feel very strongly that everything is possible as far as human beings This is concerned I am as capable of the same kinds of murderous rages and impulses and actions as any other human being. The problem is my understanding and recognizing and learning how to deal with it so that I don't have to act on everything I feel and not to be afraid of having a feeling because now I know I don't really have to act on it. But that's another kind of you know way of looking at the whole problem but I think you're right when you say that it's making it out there it's them and I mean you know who's doing all this and I wish they would stop doing it to me then I'd feel much better. Yes. The theme of educational opportunities has been heard frequently throughout our programs on the
problems of American Negroes. And next week we will present and in-depth analysis of this subject as it applies to the problems and the plight of the Negro in American society. You have just heard Harvard Smith Jr. supervisor of the screening and intake unit maintained by the Michigan Department of Social Services delinquency rehabilitation programs and assistant professor at the Wayne State University's School of Social Work. Seeds of discontent is produced by Dave Lewis for Wayne State University Radio and engineered by Dave Pierce. This is Wayne State University Radio. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Seeds of discontent
Episode Number
Episode 15 of 26
Producing Organization
Wayne State University
WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
For series info, see Item 3313 and 3314. This prog.: Interviews with Negro professionals and middle class members: psychologist, newspaper editor, car salesman.
Social Issues
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Producing Organization: Wayne State University
Producing Organization: WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-15-15 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:04
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Chicago: “Seeds of discontent; Episode 15 of 26,” 1968-04-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
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APA: Seeds of discontent; Episode 15 of 26. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from