thumbnail of What must be done; Black-White Relations Today
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Hello my name is Percy Sutton. I'm the president of the bar of Manhattan in the city of New York. For the next 30 minutes I'll be moderating a different kind of panel program. It is one of a series called What must be done. The title of these programs what must be done has two meanings. First it poses a demand for urgent solutions to America's greatest problem the crisis of the urban ghetto and the black community. But it also refers to what can be done and what must be done by you the listener because nothing stimulates action as effectively as the demand of an a roused population. This series of programs takes as it a point of departure. The award winning issue of Newsweek magazine published last November the 20th on the Negro in America. Today's topic is. Jack. White relations today. I turn first to Mr. Haas been out yet.
The editor of Newsweek magazine Mr. Sutton I think it might be useful to have a little brief review of how Newsweek came to do this issue last November. We felt that after the riots of the summer of 1967 the response by the political leadership of this country was totally inadequate. To the problems that were unearthed belatedly perhaps by those disruptions of the cities. We felt that on the one hand the appointment of a commission to report then the timing was this coming June presumably in the middle of the riots of one thousand sixty eight. That that decision on the one hand and the assignment of a day of national prayer on the other. They. Were totally inadequate and just just insufficient to meet the urgency of the problems at hand. We had Newsweek plus many other journals plus many other
institutions of of the academic world and of government have done a great deal of analyzing of this problem. Over the years but nobody until then at least had come up with what we thought was needed in the way of a series of suggestions of prescriptive remedies. This is what we set about doing in the belief that basically what was needed in this country was a total national commitment at every level of American life public and private to solve this problem. We also had a panelist today three distinguished men from American might. I would ask Shall I turn first to my left. Got to rock climbing right I know I'm right. I have three books. No 12 month period. On the subject of some of the survivors trying to wrestle with some of the issues involved and it's good being here. Yes.
I'm James Farmer and founder of. Former national director of Koran and now an adjunct professor in the School of Education at New York University. In St. Louis time assistant to inspect it order to great New York City Police Department. I want to Dr. Wright if you would give us some concept of where we are in black white relations now here in America today would be everything. The harvest of the failure however is starkly understandable that maybe there. Are a few bright people to enter me to leave power dynamics of the nation's right. Far as I have heard other minority groups and the sort of thing that we're doing today are devising their kinds of programs. Tomorrow I'll give an answer as to the needs of bright people it is to those building on the same kind of dependency that has bred the south pain and fury where black people are black people need the
capacity to determine their own needs and then the capacity or power to command the resources to meet these needs and the fun of it bothers me is the fact that if by some strange marital art tomorrow our all of the prescriptive for answers that have been given by Congress and by all kinds of benevolent people outside of the black community were suddenly given to black people tomorrow day after tomorrow we would have our the grandest most spectacular revivals in the history of this nation and white people will be confirmed even more deeply in their sense of selfhood and dependency. But I think fundamentally the problem is as Dr. Wright has pointed out but we have a mass of our population the likes of 25 million of them who are outside of the process is the decision making processes of this country. They are outside psychologically economically educationally
and politically psychologically because we have been programmed as a by people into rejecting ourselves and believing that we are inferior just as white Americans have been programmed into believing that we are inferior. We are outside economically. Because I want community is our ghetto communities are in the position of colonial territories consuming but not producing. We spend as a black community approximately twenty nine billion dollars a year but only roughly about 2 percent of that remains in the community. It goes out to build other communities. We're outside educationally because I was in the north as well as in the south. The education in the ghetto communities of black people is inherently inferior to that being provided to white children it is inferior not only because of the quality of teachers in many cases but because of the attitude which the teachers have to the kids and the. One of the children are continually programmed to be the low man on the economic
totem pole. I graduating from high school in mass with General diplomas rather than academic rather than commercial rather than technical diplomas. We're outside politically because I was in the past. We have not used our vote as a tool as an effective block vote and a swing vote. How do we deal with it. We do with it in three essential ways. One to seek to eliminate racism from American culture. Such a process will take at least a couple of generations and have to make use of all of the media which in the past have disseminated culture of preschool books textbooks comic books Hollywood Broadway a television radio community organizations labor unions businesses churches and so forth. But that will take time. Now in the meantime we must seek to checkmate racism and we can checkmate it by empowering the powerless by giving participation to the little people so that they will have some economic strength
and political strength in other words people might not love us but they will be compelled to sit down and negotiate and bargain with us. And that would be increased democratization and participation in the American framework. So thank you. I find myself in a sort of strange role as a policeman. We are sort of the middle man in the middle. We're sort of public managers in this reply movement and the change has come about not as Larry we have to find ways or means but the police can effectively take part in this change and the same time be recognized by both parties as a middleman as our neutral agency part of our job is you know is to be present at demonstrations and waged to change or stop being me. But he said we represent society which says I sometimes change is going to a fair city and we have to find ways or means where the police can be more effectively channeled into this process of a change in energy at a neutral agency at the same time be enough persecuted to recognize
both cares about Java to be sort of the model of society and the same time an agency to help this change don't take place I think we may as well start with you cheaply. You and a colleague of yours. Chief Healy here you are our highest ranking black police officials in America are you not. It didn't just happen that you were successful in dealing with public disorders. Does it have anything to do as so many of us believe with the desire of the black community where everybody hears to see some of their own members in position of authority in the police department community relations shareable such as Dr. Wright for the part I just mention the black community or the feeling of powerlessness and when they see a black sheep in the street giving orders directing a fear is a pretty apartment turning by Park compensators and doing mean from things that are last hundred years on and done by the right part of the society they feel. Unless we have someone we can go as a body at the rate that they were to meet to decide things for us in our
communities and I think they being in Harlem it would have parade permits able to get parade street fairs. It would take a lot on the small minor things they hear what they thought they couldn't get in they could have gotten these things but now they could have someone who knows them knows their problem they can get by with us. They say change silly the chief way to one of us when we have power we can go to city hall they can get ahead quote it and demand for a permit. Demand is standing by his permit we can have Charlie can get as big on the streets and know with their chief wait. Chief steely or Specter Hill will be there with his men to protect our rights and it will be a deal. And Charles can ya is one of the black persons in the ghetto. Haraam Hoole in the past there would have been an ostracizing of placing him out of bounds. He would have been unable to communicate with the police at our tears. Yet in this new era. We happily see men in positions such as yours who will communicate with them. I want to find my
switch back to Dr. Wright Dr. Reich you hit on any topic that I. Saw it was carried through by Professor farmer and that is this theme of self hate. So few people in white America know the injury that has been done to black America by a culture of self hate. I wanted you to expand upon that for sure and then your own other than the term moral more striking. Phenomenon among American women here is that you need on our cultural value or a devaluation of our old enemy of everything that pertains to brightness. To me the most significant thing that came out o the Kerner Commission Report read as emphasis upon racism I think they did an adequate job because of what they did was to suggest although not the state simply but suggest that it was racism on the part of white community against black people. Well it is anti-black racism in which black people
participate in African wear brown I'm annoying them. When people write people are meant to be American more than anybody else. And if America mentally attributes of being American is hanging back for him black friends some of these people are going to outdo him. People are on the fringe and will often attempt to outdo those who are in the center of things. Are black people in the sense of general into two camps those whom we have a tendency to make people in the cultural disdain for blackness and those who will become sad or where ever realizing that she was punched them too hard and so were on the other hand the most liberated people in American life are in terms of being able to control all this anti black sentiment How does LAX you know he committed be. Quick. He's a product of slavery in the aftermath of slavery. Well I think you've done something Jim Frommer's. It's much more eloquently than I do in the US. But just let me add one thing before I ask a question from our team of the band and to list
when it is done is arm of our community. Really I'm a deep sadness conscious are attitude because our cultural values are so conscious and they're different. Racism is different from prejudice prejudice is an act of the will. And our team to deal with racism is a much more hopeful thing because it doesn't should make anybody feel good. Our culture has had a tendency to make us this way. There's no way really to get rid of it. But if we all recognise that we tend to be anti blight we can control it. And even when I react to black people I don't react in a negative way but constantly change it because of the fact that I know all that it's the wrong thing and then to shoot pensions me very hard so that every one of us tends to Will. The desecration or destruction of black people and it's one of the reasons why when writing agencies and white institutions plan for us with good
purpose if they don't realize that they are anti-black racists and control it sub consciously the arm of the their subconscious will work effectively to undercut. They're going to mention I mean this is extremely important for us to do to magnetize a presence that this presence is there and I'm glad we're going to start. Yes you ask how has it developed it's developed through all of the cultural media. Look at preschool books you go to a startling Yes I mean it was when it started when the first slaves were brought over here there had to be a racial theory which was devised in order to justify their trafficking human slavery and that racist theory that convinced the people who were participating in the slave trade that black people were innately by act of God inferior they were children of Ham It was said and thus they were doomed to be drawers of water and he was a good boy. And
it has been disseminated through all media through the comic books which have had the black man as a subservient or as an idiot. Through preschool books which I've shown by people cleaning other people's houses carrying other people's bags or in some ridiculous position with a string tied around their total and other kids poking fun at them in textbooks used by white and black kids. Generally they have either ignored black people or presented a magnolia mythic image of them that they enjoyed slavery they fitted admirably into it and they love to sit under the magnolia tree strumming their guitars and singing sweetly of the hereafter. There is no mention of the contributions of black people in most of the textbooks nor mention of the slave revolts of Nat Turner Denmark V.C. Gabriel Prosser and many many others. We've come to such a state of affairs now that it is extremely difficult if not impossible for any American white or black born in this land. How to grow to adulthood without at least a residue was of racial prejudice. If it is not I hate what she develops or a self hate
then. It is a kind of patronizing attitude which assumes that the black man is just a child that you pat on the head as much as you would a puppy but need not respect to think what it has done to black people. Imagine a black man whose hair is Negroid. Referring to a negroid hair as black bad hair and straight hair has good hair. That's the kind of self degradation which has come about and that is what we mean by racism. No Mr Farmer a man asking a question Are you certain. I'm very interested by what you have to say and agree with most of it I wonder if you feel that the situation is now changing and in particular something you said a minute ago in passing. It seems to me to be very relevant but. The matter of the ignoring of the black person in this country is as almost as bad as the active hatred that we've seen in various parts of the country and surely in the past five years. This must have changed does it not.
Well it is beginning to change but the changes are still just drops in the bucket. Some of the publishers are now putting out better preschool books for example which show the role of black people as ordinary human beings and citizens and some of the publishers are putting out improved textbooks in this regard. But there are still a tiny minority. When one considers the mass of such books that are used by kids all over the country we are not even scratching the surface in bringing about those changes. I think however that the mood of the country now is such that we can get those changes and get them quickly if we move fast. But we've got to move. You know I wonder if I might gentlemen be subjective for just a moment I often tell a story about my growing up and I say one of the most cruel things that happened to people in America last summer. On black children were denied the chance to meet the nature of my own experiences for was out of what was just being said by Jim Farmer. And. Right. When I was a kid. Seven years of age in
San Antonio Texas writes You mean being a valley and Jean being a valley My father was a school principal got a car in a number of Internet users in the winters in my home on Christmas holidays yet I could not invite Dr. Carter because they would treat him Dr. Carson I could see miss people and it was the person whose name was Mr. Grail's my brother in former times to be sure openness to grow so I want to be a ballet for him I was about me I could shine Mr. Gross issue me and my shyness to brush issues while I was shining his shoes he would give me tips on the stock market and eat it from the stock market. If I could buy Breckenridge school which is the same good school that I went to and I feel my reading required and I brought Brackenridge park which was segregated parking only by children could go to 364 dark days of year and one day that children could go that is the day we celebrate the Emancipation
Proclamation. I was going to buy at that park in that school and take them by policemen from out in front of it and say yeah let all mutual drink go to that school. My point that I would like to make our ears seem image is by day only people in so Serbian positions I saw no black cowboys no black mayors no black people of import and the only way I thought I could is he from my position of nothingness to be a bow me any money at the same time I'm just dreaming even to dream of a white child. Riding on to the stage I might form a great harsh descending from the heart and then into the presidency of the United States now. Nice name drop a child and I remember in childhood so I want to say are you not a millionaire. Well. I I did b c there because everyone they saw that was unsuccessful.
Was black. We will have completely in our successes and tolerate and I think so much of that continues today is a fact. Oh I think so I think some are amenable you know officials of the and I'm aware of the legal offense fundamentally sleepy a little offense on the same runaway tremendous problems of the revenue side in terms of trying to get so much of their work barely use little self-esteem or the current right people to ask yourself the right people. When you were in Iraq. And our people do make surveys on the rock and you ask themselves are aware there are people who are savvy and they will tell you things that are so I don't have a way that I will do it here consistently and confirm their south meet and I think that one of the things that we have to do in the future is to be very careful in our planning to have self-aware fought for black people.
Candidate am competent to direct our So much of the research and planning in reference to my people's needs I was in Washington a major government agency plan for my people's means. I saw two movies where you have black women there who were. Clerks in the department and the people who were planning for average people and they were giving out contacts to write our views and institutions. My army harder today hasn't but two bright people are my kind of part of us are old. Right on a Stanford Harvard University that presumes to plan for bright people. These are institutions however noble of purpose and I speak of our own. But I name the amateur murder it will be an assumed situation until we recognize that our situation is of such an urgent meeting that we are only going to ask for the best resources and planning on calamity. What would be better than candid competent sat there we're black people who at least
are mine I'm well there so are you about to try to control it. Are and these are the best people to deal with. Cities again are people and when you're planning for cities. Black people personally line the cities in extremis and came up with black people. They are everything that we do in our US and our nation can is firmly committed to the idea of saving itself. Now if we want to do the same routine things by the same ground rules and continue to have a nation going to hell or be broke. Down our bell I think Welcome to your pair and I think we need new signs new occasions teach new duties and time makes ancient good unco. Dr. Wright you were talking about or seen Venus to be outsiders and I've not seen ourselves in realms of importance. Jim Harmon mentioned earlier that we are politically outsiders we are economically outsiders here educationally
outsiders. I gather. That he has said to us that unless we become insiders outsiders continuing to be outsiders who wish to move to a place where they can be insiders and where this lead towards the discussion of separatism does give us some understanding that the people we're going so long on. Outside I might seek to be separate. Well yes I think so old. I think we need to understand that people don't tear down burn up or destroy that which they have a stake and or control over all which they own and the same day people in America have come to this position with me cause they do not believe they have in me room for Steve he is married now but there is a debate that's right that's absolutely right Percy Sutton and there is a debate even among the black militants as to what objective we should seek. There are some who say that really giving up hope of getting into the mainstream of American life and say we don't want that anyway we don't want it and it's so rotten it's all corrupt and
we'll never get in because racism will knock us down every time we try to climb out of the bucket of crabs so to speak. And they say therefore we'll just destroy it and tear it down or we will move to Africa we'll move to a separate state. Now there are others among the black militants who have not completely given up hope who believe that it is possible for us to get into this nation. But the way that they see it getting into the nation is by. Getting our hands on those levers of power which effect social change within this nation economic and political They will point out and quite accurately that there are many people in America who for instance will sit down and negotiate with Jews in the country who are anti-Semitic. Many of his Semitic but we'll negotiate were Jews because power deals with power. So there is that split among the black militants. Now I happen to be in the latter camp. I think that it is possible for us to get into this nation even while racism exists but we can control it so that people might not love us but they will work with us and you don't really
like me back people who feel him former He's a question of being a black man isn't asking for he's asking for respect. Precisely. He's asking for an Fromm and now Chief Wayne you are in a hot area on him. See but all of the harms of America there are few black police officials of this child in the ghetto. Ok me too is natural as correct Gracie how do you get certain any fears that you are able to be more effective in the mission of your duty because you are black community and the child community can relate to you right. Now. Do you experience media ecology said a public official police official that is why I don't meet with the black community no I don't I don't have a tool full advantage and that I needed a black child as the images you can later on but also the white community and they connect to us on. It also amazes me about a lot of pretty partners
throughout the country. The normal times have neglected periods but after demonstration or some kind of disturbance within a six months or year be able to find for more black captains and bad commissioners and if we have these men there in a normal town within the community and black men in my community I'm pretty sure that give them some sort of black power to a pretty balmy. We can help to ease some of these families by station of the black man feelings community. You mention black power. I didn't want to comment on dry power per se. I just wanted to say that it would be fine if many of the black policeman who are elevated were like Chief weighed by GC and did not forget who they were where they came from and who sent them and I think that's all to their credit because when they're taken over by the police establishment and try to prove to the other policeman that they are really members of the club and forget like people then they tend to be more brutal and less understanding. Even the white policeman I'm
glad chief wait is one of the numerous exceptions. He had a different kind of doctor right. Yes doctor I would like to comment on. I think there are what we have to do here is to try and look at. Issues as objectively as we possibly can and undoubtably to really mind that has been brought up. Well I don't know. Will science and philosophy we recognise and inherent human concept of our power our use the most creative social and philosophical concept in our human history. Speaking to the need for everyone not just black people to deal with the issue of self-awareness and bright people have to discover their bright before they can become their best selves and their own life needs to be empowered for fulfillment. Dr. Wright thank you very much. We're coming to the end of a program much too swiftly. We'd
only touched on the issues of where we are in America black and white. I light. My fire with light. Thanks very much Professor James Farmer with the New York University here in New York and School of Education and continuing education. Dr. Nathan Wright was one of the most distinguished authorities in our nation on Urban Affairs and Assistant Chief Inspector. You know he's Wait who is one of the two top ranking black. Police officials in America and Mr. Osburn at yet the editor in chief of Newsweek magazine in a HUGE problems which we will have we will discuss education housing and city planning employment rather fairly guaranteed income and native income tax health physical and mental self-help meanest levels state and federal action money sources for changes in our environment. These things will be discussed some time they will be near the surface discussions but they are.
What must be done
Black-White Relations Today
Producing Organization
WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-3f4kqn48).
Other Description
Discussions about solutions to problems affecting ghetto, urban areas, race relations. Moderated by Percy Sutton, Manhattan Borough President. This prog.: Osborn Elliott, Dr. Nathan Wright, James Farmer, Eldridge Waith. See also next entry for info.
Social Issues
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-37-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:38
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “What must be done; Black-White Relations Today,” 1968-08-12, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 9, 2022,
MLA: “What must be done; Black-White Relations Today.” 1968-08-12. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 9, 2022. <>.
APA: What must be done; Black-White Relations Today. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from