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This is the 14th in a series of programs and titled seeds of discontent. Here to present the program is Hartford Smith Jr. supervisor of the screening and intake unit maintained by the Michigan Department of Social Services rehabilitation programs. Mr. SMITH. Tonight's program will be a continuation of a series of programs on the subject of the problems plight and discontent of the American Negro. And this part of our programs we are concerned with presenting a range of attitudes feelings and ideas of various Negro citizens from various walks of life. Our specific area of focus tonight will again be on the negro middle class participating in this program will be Mr. Orian warden a negro psychologist from the university whens or Mr. Lenny has a negro car salesman in Detroit and Mr. Albert J Dunmore an editor from the staff of the negro Weekly the Michigan Chronicle. At the conclusion of last week's
program these three gentlemen were beginning to discuss the causes of massive riots and rebellions which have occurred in this country in recent years. We were resume our discussion in that area starting first with Mr. Warden. Now even AK did that many. Of these situations were or were predictable then statements had been made 70 years ago. How would you explain that some of. What seem to be good data suggesting this as eventually having said that nothing was done that we somehow couldn't bring ourselves to do something about it. And secondly it is rather curious now that tremendous amounts of money are being spent in terms of researching you know finding out why the riots did occur when
in fact its aiming low. Much of this data has already been collected. How do you explain this this phenomenon. Well if you like to go back a bit and say that you know predictions. That were accurate and have proven to be accurate in different points in history in this country you know we can go back historically and find predictions being made as early as the time of the revolution in time of the drying up of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and all the documents that depend on the society. There were people at that point in time who recognize that the presence of slaves in this society had been you know real serious consequences for the future of the society unless these human beings were brought in in some other relationship that recognized their humanity and made
provisions for it for. Flowering of all the potential of these people as equals. Of course these voices were minority voices and were not listened to. So to kind of go back and put that in a longer perspective from my point of view it's not just the last 10 15 20 years that you know people have been saying these these things but they as long as it's black people have been in this country there have been those black and white who have been saying that we were headed for a catastrophe as long as this largest racial minority group was kept in a caste like position. And I think today with society being as complex as it is with the kinds of communications that you bring into any slam on the same kinds of TV shows
and radio shows and magazines and the whole media that you get in and the affluent suburban or affluent middle class and upper middle class home. Upper class home you know people see different possibilities for. This is just one little you know I think we're a little bit of an influence I'm not saying that the riots are caused by the fact that the media are telling us to consume more and if you don't have the money you can't consume more I think it's too simplistic. But not to get to the other issue that you raised. I agree that all the words that to me have are relevant on this issue have been said and I feel uncomfortable myself trying to add more words to what is already an overabundance of words so that we do know what the causes are I feel and we do know what to do when I say we I mean the government the society knows what to do.
There is no lack of energy and brain power and we all have to allocate resources to do all kinds of other things. Fantastic technological things. And. I think the brainpower and the energy and the resources exist to do all kinds of things in the social area. The ingredient I feel is missing the will to do it. And this is what is now under under pressure to make that will be done so to speak. The basic problem and underlying causes of recent riots and rebellions from Mr. Warden's point of view is America's inability to act once the facts are known. The question then as far as he is concerned aside from the specific areas of inadequate housing jobs years of dependency and many other known sociological facts it is our inability to act.
The question of the riots then is not so much a question of why but when. Let's move on to Mr. Hazlitt's comments on the subject. I think this was their way of letting. American don't know that they're here and they're lively. They want to be up they need to be helped and I don't think that the Negro is looking for handouts you know this seems to be the oppression that other groups have. It illegal looking for a handout if it is lazy or you know we came up during the Depression and we were very poor but my dad worked every day he had four children two and a wife to support and he worked hard. We didn't have everything. Just the bare necessities but we were taught. Right from Wrong I mean the things that pride training us.
To work hard to to do. So in a lot of instances. There is some blame when I say blame I mean as far as some of the things that we're doing I don't particularly approve. Of it. I feel that. Looting no one I can buy that I can understand a man just is just completely destroying but looting for his own personal gain. I think that that really hurts our cause I would rather see him just totally destroy a building and not take anything but just totally destroyed out of it. B to give vent to these frustrations. But when we just break in for just personal gain. I can see that possibly some reason for it but I just can't go along with it because it's just TV. There's no question that the American. America has
a need. Well I mean it's obvious you've got 20 million Negroes or more in this country and we're definitely at the bottom. And the portion to the other groups we hold the fewest. Good jobs we have the fewest. Opportunities. There's things that I probably could go on in a building may be able to controversy over me some of what I actually think is one of the basic. Causes. And while I don't don't worry about it being controversial we extend this to you to speak your opinion and what you feel about the situation. Well I'm going to do frank with you I think one of the. Reasons is
if you go back to the old Southern days back during the time of slavery where. The white man violated. The negro. Woman. Period. This is why you have so many. Mixed in the Negro race you know yourself if a white person has. 1 percent Negro blood in him then he has that as an equal. And I think that course this is my personal opinion I think that the white man has a fear. Of. Manas. If this makes us social retaliation I think he feels that the. Negro now is looking forward to invading his world
his world socially. Is the association with the white woman and he's afraid of this and I'm not saying what I've heard. I've just as what I actually talked to and Bishop's experience there is a fear that the only male. Will be attracted or the other white women would be attracted to the male. And Mr. have sloops remarks. One can see a strong emphasis on morality and the placing of moral blame and fall on the shoulders of a man whether white or black. And his remarks. One can see a stream of thought also that runs back as far as English poor laws and the emergence of the Protestant ethic. Although there is emphasis on certain external are environmental features especially in regard to the attitudes and unspoken problems in the area written and unwritten laws and fears in the area of interracial marriage and
socializing. He unlike others interviewed places great emphasis on a personal morality and personal code of conduct that transcend known sociological facts. This is not apparently in contradiction to what has already been said but merely an extension of it. We now turn to Mr Albert J Dunmore for additional remarks on the subject riots and rebellions. He had picked up on this thing but I'm loving number have. Seemingly been interested in exploring the concept of. Of a organize externally controlled body stimulating arrive and there have been various theories proposed that. Suddenly a leader appears on the street.
By a series of speeches fiery speeches or somehow gets his brothers in a state of insanity. They explode. Why exactly go away. Yes three years what I'm trying to get is why what what ten minus three years it means this history which you talked about came to this explosion. There he he particularly where were these countries block the whole thing to it. You're going to continue your fair failing it's our mounting number off. Of complete disregard. Of the rights of the maker of the continue repetitious. You've got to earn your way. And yet when a Negro does what society dictates that should be done. He is still denying that which he feels is his
right. You see if he succeeds he is. Put into a certain. Category let's go is to the man who has achieved more within the realm of doing the right thing than any other individual. Rock crunch rock punch is still regarded as a great Negro American in spite of the fact that he has attained so much international recognition for his work toward peace. He's been a Nobel Prize winner. And yet he is still a negro. When he was in Washington he could not move into a section of the Washington where he wished to live because he was a Negro. All his other. Contributions to international peace to this country were disregarded because he was a Negro. Now white America doesn't recognizes that what he is doing is piling.
On top of other insults to the American Negro and the American Negro becomes frustrated. He becomes complete. He frustrated he is contain bike is colored by his racial identification and the Boer containment the boy oppressing. There has to be an explosion. Dick Gregory talks about this about the conflagration that comes from containment. You see I don't think that any one of us expressed it as well as Dick Gregory has but it's been said over and over again that and. The American Negro has been contained by his color by no other rule and I think in terms of the stereotyping of the Negro of being criminally already unpaid You see criminally minded. And yet 95 percent. Of Negro America has had no contact with the law. And yet the Negro is identified as a criminal. If you are I who I.
Know has. Backgrounds of being law abiding who. Have been out obtaining our education to the regular channels of really pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps I believe that you have come from a family. That would have every excuse not to allow you to be educated. You see I know I came from a family of 10 from a very or Philadelphia get tone from one of the worst ghettos in the country. You see. But I had. Kept within the regimen of the law I had been a law abiding citizen I've taken my bad three and four times a week. I think I dressed properly. I don't smack white with a person when I walk by but I am a Negro and if I go into a wait community I would be subject to all kinds of abuses and suspicion because I'm a negro. You see this happens to the average of the group. The average law abiding Negro has to be confronted by this I have seen
too many occasions. I mean I had incidents. Right before the riots. I was on a plane flying to New York and next to me was this very prosperous white man and he became involved in this discussion racial discussion which I always find myself becoming involved in when I'm with whites they always want to talk about race. They probably don't think that I am intelligent enough to talk about anything else. You see but the discussion got to race and he was telling me about how he was an industrialist in Grand Rapids and the problems he was having in his factory getting his white workers to accept negroes and when he finally did get them to accept negroes some on the group boy X stamped a white boy on the street and therefore he was forced to hire the negroes that he had to fire the negroes he denied and so I said sir did you have to. Dismiss all of the white people in your factory. When Richard Speck killed those seven white nurses in Chicago. Which half of them incidentally about the same time this
incident was talking about you see. So what I'm trying to say is the stereotyping of the naked city has been the thing that has hindered race relations in this country is that immediately weird that I had a good friend of mine a man who was in public relations and who worked for the United Negro College Fund. Who said to me you doing the same thing it's got situation it's in prostitution a way of life in the GRO community. And white men really believe this I mean whites really believe this. Just today you can find white people who really believe that all negro women are prostitutes. You see they believe in. Things. And somewhere. There is a reaction against this kind of belief. They sing we can understand what you're reacting to again. It's the fact that Negroes can be systematically eliminated when they apply to the police department and yet they can be drafted. To fight to do to do police
work work for the nation in some other country. But they can't be utilized in the police department in this country to police communities which are. Not only me Rose. I mean nobody can come up with an explanation like the big we have less than 300 negroes in the police department of better than forty five hundred in a city which is 40 percent Negro and they seem to have a great deal of problems finding negroes qualified to work as policeman but they don't have any problem. Finding negroes finding the drafting Negroes to go and fight a war on Vietnam. Say. And they can't understand why me groups resent these things. So what happens is that you have a series of things that are mounted by the continue abuse of the negro by a predominantly white police department and you take any police and put them up against any GI guy. Who's just come back.
After two years and find out who is the more intelligent. But. You put him down to a test which is systematically designed to eliminate the negro the negro notices but the white man refused to admit that this is sour. The piece systematically eliminated in jobs that he feels he's qualified for. Do you find this recent. Are on the run. In Ford Motor Company with most of the Negro workers were relegated to the so-called plantation. It was modeled at the foundry operated because this is when Negroes being all these were going to grow jobs. And the grocer who worked for Ford for 20 and 30 years given their all and yet they can't find negroes capable of holding administrative jobs. See they say that they are educating the negroes in the public school systems and yet they can't find girls to stay at. Office jobs just recently they discovered that negro girls can operate typewriters.
See they can take short C and it took and yet they say that the educational system is preparing our young people for the world of work. But they're not doing it. And why aren't they doing it because there is a stereotype. Add to that the groups can't learn and yet when they need them they can learn to do the jobs that they feel they grow should see. And. I said these amounting kind of. Abuse of the insults to the intelligence of the MC groups they can't let it get just can't be understood. It's just like I was told going back to this matter of of negroes playing in Organized Baseball. We make brooms pick them and we're told that Negroes did not have the brains to play and prefer. Fictional big school. Now this was said to make 25 years ago and now today some of the greatest stars in professional sports happen. To be black Americans.
But why the reason why they were brought to the Organized Baseball is because to they it was to boast to aid the gate receipts. They also found that the negroes were colorful football players. You see I happen to been with Marion bottling and do with us when they went into the Cleveland Browns camp. And Paul Brown had to sneak them. Into the Cleveland Browns game. You see now today the Negro is the guts of professional football but 20 years ago he wasn't smart enough he wasn't good enough to be a professional ballplayer and white people. Sincerely believe that. Now do you mean to tell me. That. In 20 years just one generation they have been able to produce came athletes. Look at such a pace to set up a story is one such a page couldn't play in organized baseball until it was 50 years old and that 51 to me was able to strike out the great as good as the white professional baseball would not have been able to produce. Now you need to tell me that he suddenly was got that capability at the dating
site. Let negroes play professional football baseball. I mean this is a story in every era. Eric I see that the Negro has been the big lie. Not because he didn't have the talent but because he didn't have the capability but because white America in command of a situation decided that negroes could not be allowed in this particular area. Take myself for instance. See I have been. Right when I first came to Detroit after 20 years of experience as a newspaper man. I could not get a job on a daily newspaper and John Danson one of the most respected negro was in this community referred me. To Three of the newspapers the Detroit News and The Detroit times which was publishing at that time and the Detroit Free Press none of them thought. That I was capable of being a newspaper man. But today I'm being offered a job by each one of those newspapers now do you need to tell me that I've heard a whole lot of late
years. But this is this is what's happening. That the Negro has been denied. U.S. and he is aware of this denial but the white man does have the same view. You've got to earn your way. He has been earning his way and he has had the capabilities wherever he has been given the opportunity. He's proven this capability. But there's always this referring back to some incident to say you know what you can't be this because of that. Like that white man up in Grand Rapids who said that he couldn't hire Negroes because a negro state the white boy on the street U.S. and I were referred to the suspect and the league Arsenal's U.S. people didn't go around firing all the white people in their factories because in the off hours well shot President Kennedy. But if this had been a negro every Negro in this country would have had to suffer U.S. and fact. I could remember
this attitude that when if you recall when President Kennedy was shot the first thing I did was sit in the negro had done it. Once when Specter was amounts of this man to kill those seven nurses in Chicago the first thing that was said that this was a negro and then we thought it was a white man every Me group in this country side. So I really thank God it wasn't a crow. But we shouldn't have. Think like this we shouldn't have to feel like this. We shouldn't have to be responsible for the guilt of some of this unfortunate psychotic or some person that has some emotional disturbance. White America is a magnet to suffer for this but we are right we were told that we have to suffer for this. See we're told that we're unclean we're told that we are I mean I have had people tell me that only girls had been eerily diseases. Yes this is a belief that white people have. And then in spite of all of this ticks against it. But white people believe this and generally they believe it. I can talk to highly upset with the white people. Who come
in with these misconceptions about the negro because this is what they are told and they tell me they write talk to them. You're different but find different 90 percent of the negro. So these countries are then this country a different. See I don't know what statistics 90 and 95 percent but somewhere in that area you see are negroes who have never had any criminal involvement whatsoever except probably a traffic ticket or probably were picked up for hanging around a corner or arrested and given prison. I mean given criminal records for nothing and this is happening. See we're white voice and I mean you know we can speak of this where white boys are are probably still in the automobile. Are we covered before they are able to get this kind of criminal record. See because this whole matter of criminals to sticks be lie. And yet it is used against as they grow and is used to prove a point. Look at the ridiculous thing about open housing. The fact that they wanted to.
Do and secure the poor innocent white people who might be victimized by big charge with being discriminatory that they have to be so protect they rule amendments into the open Housing Act. That if a person wrongly accused a person for being discriminatory that therefore the accuser. Had to pay the penalty. Now how many negroes are wrongly accused and nobody pays of damages. And what are we told when we protest the Sukkot police crackdown. That's what we told. If you were innocent you. Mind. Being subjected. To. What I mean by the police. But white people can't be accused of being discriminatory. You see and the laws have been written. And this is what brought us hope and I want to say see it's the way white America thinks. The key areas of consideration and Mr. Don Miller's approach to the causes of the massive
disturbances and Negro communities and cities throughout the country relates to the way white America thinks which simply means there's centuries of stereotyping the negro. If they are you to accept the negro as a law abiding productive and creative citizen and a history of insults which lead to an eventual build up of anger and resentment. Again his comments seemed to be quite consistent with attitudes and opinions expressed by Negroes from other walks of life. From the point of view of expressions of feelings about problems affecting Negro life these three gentlemen from the ranks of the middle class seem to have much in common with those still trapped in disadvantaged areas. On next week's program we will ask the same junkman to respond to the questions of what needs to be done. And is America ready to do it. We will also hear their thoughts on what the future holds for the Negro and America.
Seeds of discontent
Episode Number
Episode 14 of 26
Producing Organization
Wayne State University
WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Other 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.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-15-14 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:41
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Chicago: “Seeds of discontent; Episode 14 of 26,” 1968-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2022,
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APA: Seeds of discontent; Episode 14 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