Special of the week; Issue 11-70 "Great Decisions 4 of 8"
NDE are the national educational radio network presents special of the week. This is program number four from the w d e t Wayne State University a series called Great Decisions 1978 in the 1970s. Great Decisions must be made in foreign policy. We talked with the Honorable William P. Rogers secretary of state in most cases if the problems could be said in a sensible way. Peaceful way. I mean one bet would benefit to such a considerable extent that all the arguments about principles and justice and fairness and all that would be long forgotten. I notice for example that in discussions involving the inflamed areas of the world people argue about having exact justice equality and fairness. But if they could forget that for a moment just say to themselves how much better we'd be if we could work out a peaceful settlement because then we'd all be happy in this. Plenty of opportunity for all of
the areas viable. But whether that's possible or not I'm not sure it's going to require a good deal of patience. And I suppose a good deal more public education before that could be achieved the mean time we have to maintain our strength. And that's what we're doing we are patiently pursuing every possible avenue for negotiations. At the same time making it clear that we are strong and going to continue to be strong. That was the William P. Rogers secretary of state. We'll continue in a moment. Great Decisions 1970 today race and world politics the fourth in this eight week series focusing attention on those critical issues of foreign policy facing the American government and people today. These programs produced by Wayne State University in Detroit are designed to provide a deeper understanding of international problems.
Now here is your moderator dean of administration at Wayne State University Dr. Harlan Hagman the honorable Franklin H Williams is president of the Phelps Stokes fund and his former United States ambassador to Ghana. Racism in America particularly black and white. But is there not equally serious racism of other kinds in other parts of the world. I think racism is an international disease and almost every part of the world you can find some group whether it's a separate tribe members of a different cast members of a different religion who simply because they're members of a group are rejected oppressed and hated frequently by a larger group or sometimes by a minority who consider themselves superior. It would be fair enough to call all of these kinds of group untag in
isms racism in a broad general definition. However. Racism of the kind that marks the black white confrontation in the United States I think is especially damaging. It's damaging to us because we are such a large country such an important country. But perhaps more important because of the philosophy which gave rise to the founding of this country. The British make no bones about the legitimacy of their establishing a variety of kinds of restrictions directed against immigration of people of what they consider different races from the race or races that constitute the traditional composition of the British the Australians who also view themselves as a democracy.
Never apologize for the limitation upon emigration of Asians and Africans but America was founded on a different philosophy. No other country in the world has ever pretended to try to achieve what we say we set out to achieve. The thing that is reflected at the base of the Statue of Liberty was reflected in the Declaration of Independence. It reflected if you will in the very make up of our nation people from every continent of every race and of every background. And so when we are guilty either as a government or as a people of practicing racism discrimination oppression rejection of a people soley because of the accident of their birth. It is especially damaging and especially to be condemned for it is a contradiction of what we claim to stand for.
When Buster Williams Would you say then that the racial conflict within the United States is a major factor in our relations with other countries or is it mainly an embarrassment. Well I guess it's a matter of degree among colored nations and among colored peoples of the world. I believe it's a major consideration. People tend to view us as a nation not to be trusted because we say one thing and do another. It's an embarrassment to my white sister nations who incidentally in my judgment would be guilty of the same kind of discrimination if there were in their midst large numbers of a minority race of a substantial different complection I happen to believe that the disease of racism is a worldwide disease.
Which breaks out. In varying degrees and in various places almost in proportion to the number of. The group which is the one to be disliked. Rejected or fear I noted for example very recently outbreaks of anti-black attitudes in Norway one of the countries that has been so outspoken in its condemnation of the United States. In Russia African students have experienced many unpleasant experiences in Eastern European countries. In my view however the black white confrontation in the United States is particularly if you're you and because of our history of slavery and of the presence of such a large number of black Americans. Many of whom whose ancestors were here long before the vast majority of white Americans and our struggle has been one that the world has watched. It's not a struggle
just to achieve an ideal or to struggle to achieve the ideal which we said we were. Mr. Williams You've been talking about racism in the United States. It seems to me as principally a philosophical problem is racism principally philosophical as a problem or is it primarily an economic problem. Well I think it's more than economic there. There are those who believe that racism in the United States beginning with slavery. Was rooted almost solely in the economic structure of the nation I think that has and does play. A major part in. The cotton economy of the south not only gave rise to slavery but sustained it. The fear of the blue collar worker today of competition from the large masses of unskilled black American workers gives rise to a certain kind of racism today. But I think it's deeper than that. I think it's a social problem and a political problem. In New York City for example the pattern of
increased segregation in housing which has been observed. As black people moved into the center city and middle class and lower class white people fled to the suburbs. Was reflecting not an economic concern as much as a social concern and antagonism based upon race. It's also a political problem as best demonstrated when black groups in an effort to gain control of the areas in which they do live or in areas in which they are predominant such as the public school system of the city of New York. Where you find suddenly that you run head on into political groupings whose power and influence is threatened. And so it's broader than economic social and political and runs very deep in our society and the friend Mr. Henry Ashmore is the executive vice president of the Center for the Study of democratic institutions. We asked Mr. Ashmore about racism in America thinks more
racism is often thought to be an American and particularly a black and white phenomenon. Is is there racism other kinds in other parts of the world. Well I think definitely there is I think without any question for example you took the present hostility Chinese people Republic which is directed not only against the capitalist West. But against the communist east in the form of the Soviet Union. I think aside from the ideological question it colors. Those considerations I think is quite a relief a racist tinge to much of that. So I think there's a pride of race among the Chinese It has to be identified as race. But it creates is a part of this hostility that maybe is as effective a part as the growth of the ideological part of the revolution of the Cultural Revolution.
We recognize that in many parts of the world a rise of nationalism pride in particular particular and national groups in their own countries and their desire to be free to be independent and so on is a fact a beacon to the convict considered. To what extent is nationalism and the race problem connected. And I think it's very intimately connected I take nationalism in a primary I'm supposed to read nationalism to be a searcher and a man seeking for identity and identity not only with place but with the larger sense of community and almost of necessity this becomes a racial consideration. It's certainly true in places where racial identity is obviously important as in the case of Black African nation or like you know Oriental nation coming out of a long period of colonialism where the dominant powers have been white I would think
that the racist feeling that would come with a nationalist strong nationalistic edge I don't really think you could separate the two I think would be very few places and united in the country in the world where you would find a total absence of or any kind of racist feeling. Do you feel that this is increasing as a negative factor in world relations. It would appear to be and I happen to be optimistic enough to hope that it's more or less transitional that it's a part of the breaking up of the old order that existed pretty much up until World War Two which was undergirded by the old colonial arrangements which have now gone by the board almost everywhere and that we're in a period I think a kind of reestablishing new power arrangements and new orders of governance and many burning of the parts of the world which tend to accentuate this feeling of racism I suppose you
could treat with rape as it racism as almost a neutral term. And in a moral sense and say that to some extent it's not necessarily bad and it's not perhaps to say also that it's almost inevitable. If some repressive policy has not been used as an extension of the racist feeling and it seems to me it might even be considered essential for people coming out of that. How do you feel Mr. Rushmore that the problems we have in Southeast Asia are in any way related to racism in that area. I think there's an edge of racism in the Vietnamese attitude. They are strongly nationalistic people. I think that nationalism at least is my impression when I was twice in Hanoi that the strongest single impulse and their resistance to the United States intervention in Viet Nam and is related to their national feeling are again there's no way to separate the
racial identity that they strongly feel from their national feeling they're militantly anti-Chinese. And I suppose the Chinese are kinds of cousins of theirs in that case she wouldn't make it so much on an ethnic or racial basis as you would on an ancient historical nationalist basis. But I think definitely there's a quality of it there. Once again the honorable Franklin H Williams and to William you have suggested that the United States is the leader of the world is very visible in every way everything it does. Do you feel that there has been any progress made in the United States progress which might be appreciated by the rest. The world as it moves toward the solution of race problem. I think there's been a great deal of progress in terms of extending broader opportunity to black people in the United States primarily However in the area of destroying barriers which have
been created against their full participation in our in the privileges of citizenship. No one can deny that over the last 50 years we have seen one of the most successful revolutions in so far as legislative restructuring is concerned through the efforts of black and white Americans alike utilizing primarily the courts to destroy our traditional Jim Crow statutes our segregation laws. And following on that he says the creation by state and local and federal legislatures of a variety of kinds of protections against discrimination is a matter of fact however this is not achieve the objective. This must be put under the label of progress and change. But the objective of integration in public schools the objective of full equality of opportunity in job opportunities and so forth has not yet been achieved. This gives rise to
bitterness and frustration and disappointment. But it would be unfair to say that the failure to achieve the ideal means that there has been no progress has been a great deal of progress in the United States since there are no curators and sense of likenesses among people outnumber the differences. Should we not expect that racism as a source of conflict will diminish. I don't really have an intelligent judgement on that I think. Hitler's Germany certainly was a group of people the German who happened to be Jewish who had more in common with his Christian German neighbors than he was different. Nevertheless when Naziism gave rise to enter Semitic attitudes and conduct the rooting out of the slightest kind of Jewish ancestry represented no problem and the fact that there had been generations and decades
of. Intermarriage did not prevent racism from rearing its head there. We returned to Mr. Henry Ashmore Mr. Rushmore in the world perhaps two thirds of the people the world are nonwhite. Are you suggesting that the basic confrontation is between white and nonwhite in the world as well. No I think that's residual I think this feeling this and white feeling with its racist overtones is an understanding and understandable heritage from the colonial times when the white races were generally those who imposed government throughout much of the world. What we now call the Third World. But clearly if you take the example of India the racist feeling which may be religious perhaps in base but has all kinds of connotation between the Pakistanis and the Indians for example I would think would be as sharp as any feeling that either
Pakistanis like Indian would have against the British or the United States. Our own problems of race within the United States say particularly the black and white separation has been well publicized around the world by omission by observers from elsewhere. Do you feel that the problems of race within the United States. I've given this a serious problem outside the United States with respect to our relations with other countries. I think there's no question that it has. I think it's been a distorted reaction emotional reaction in many cases I think the greatest at Bernie's reaction I ever may very well have been among the you know white or white colleagues rather than among the colored peoples of the world who resent it and are exercised by it and identified to some degree the oppression of the black by narrative as good in this country with their own fate seemed to me as I travel to be somewhat less emotionally involved in this than the
ideological critics among the whites. And in a place like Britain or in Western Europe certainly in the Soviet bloc. But it's. I think the race is the business of the United States is distinctly different from the kind of racism we've been talking about. American Negroes and the old fashioned way I'm still referring to that I don't know that black is a currently fashionable term but they have been in this country so long and there's been so little recent immigration there really been no influx of color of black people into this country and almost 200 years or over 100 years and slavery was halted in the importation of slaves so used. So I think that the American blacks are far more assimilated culturally than the kind of argument that goes on these days political and otherwise would indicate. And back despite all of the difficulties and I don't. Don't discount them in a very really
threat of violence. Most of our major cities which has a rude and racist feeling both white and black is not anything to be dismissed as quite serious but I have an idea and I'm pretty optimistic that this is a transitional but uses could be called a part of the American Blacks revolution of rising expectations and he is realizing many expectations it would have been almost unthinkable even 20 years ago when this country has been a complete rewriting of the Constitution and the period of about 20 years in the favor of the black minority knocking down and I think quite effectively knocking down most of the last legal barriers to an integrated society. And many of the defacto barriers are also coming down I think for at least middle class negroes and for all these reasons it seems to me that we we may be doing a rather remarkable job of
genuine assimilation into the larger culture perhaps a majority of Negroes at the same time a minority of maybe a small majority. Are still arguing that they are hopelessly repressed by the whites of society and that only some kind of separation will lead poured into an all black community. Can't secure their necessary well-being. It is Europe. Is it your observation was Rushmore that in Africa the African peoples identify strongly with the American Negroes. Or do they regard these American black citizens as more Americans than fellow Africans that are saying. Well I suppose and I know not much about this from my own experience I have never been in black Africa but my impression is that the issue of repression of blacks in the United States is primarily symbolic. That and any point of actual contact with American Negroes going into black
African or black Africans coming to the United States that there is an immediate difference and that this is very visible and it actually it turns out for all the reasons I've just been stating about the cultural assimilation very little empathy really between a black African coming out of these tribal culture with these separate language and cultural background. And that of an American Black whose background while it was in many cases did embody some degree of repression was still essentially that of the white community. Their standard mores language religion dress all of that is not really different in kind from that the word that pervades the white middle class community. So I think there is a very different a very distinct difference between blacks African blacks and American blacks has been charged by some of our own people that some of America's foreign policy is
basically races that is based on and attempts to protect the position the status of the whites of the world as against the non-whites for example our policy in South Africa. Do you feel that that's a fair criticism. And does racism affect our foreign policy. I think that the effect of our foreign policy in many instances becomes in a sense racist. I don't think that's a major motivation and setting it up I would think that the primary reason that we maintain the relationship we do in to that extent support an obvious racist regime in South Africa is more economic and expedient and political than it is based on some kind of sympathy with that attitude as a matter of fact I would say the prevailing average typical American attitude is unsympathetic to South Africa in regard to raze that is that we I think have
finally in this country pretty much exercised any theory of white supremacy which was once quite openly talked about particularly in the southern part of the United States and I'm not saying that there are not some Americans who still hold to it. But I think it has no popular support. Put it this way I think you'll find very few Americans who would say publicly for the record that they really believe in white supremacy of the kind of policy that underlies apartheid in South Africa. Put it another way I don't think you could impose the appropriate policies in South Africa and even in the most conservative of the Southern states there would be a great difference between the practices local practices as well as federal practices in this country and the practice of apartheid. We conclude with these questions to Ambassador Williams Dr Mahathir your long experience in
diplomatic posts. The United Nations and you work with the organizations that you have served so well. Have you come to the conclusion that there is now no hope for unity. No hope for a feeling of common humanity no hope for a one world of all peoples. No I have not come to that conclusion at all as a matter of fact while from time to time. Working in the United Nations or living or working around the world one tends to be terribly discouraged about the hope of achieving Wendell Willkie his ideal of a one world. I think that dream is still very much alive in the hearts and minds of a substantial minority of the people on the face of the earth. One of the things which proves this to me was the love and affection directed towards John F. Kennedy. He hardly had enough time in office
to do very much. So it can't be that one finds this affection in the remote corners of Gabaon. Or in the mountains of Afghanistan simply because he delivered some worldly goods to someone. It must be the drains that he that he dreamt out loud and shared with the people of the world for the elimination of a national conflict of racial untag an ism of human hatred. And he is loved and he is remembered and there's a deep affection for him. That one thing alone would prevent me from being too discouraged about the future. I see substantial setbacks I don't think the United Nations is today given the support we had hoped it would receive. But then maybe when the United Nations was established we thought it might be able too soon to do too much. It can only go as far and as
fast as the member nations permitted to go. The member nations can only go will only go as far and as fast as the people let them go. I sense around the world today a greater fraternity of interest for example among young people of Western Europe of Africa Latin America Asia and North America on a number of issues. Of common concern to people everyplace they may not immediately seem. To be a basis for eliminating nation states and creating one world. But when Mann for example finds that whatever his political persuasion whatever his race whatever his status environmental pollution threatens his very existence. This is a very real beginning point a real basis for the slow eradication and the erosion of preoccupation with the with race and with a nation. No I'm not ready. I must say I am not as hopeful. As I was
at the birth at the time of the birth of the United Nations. But there are ups and downs and with each down we don't go quite as low as we were at the last great decisions 1970. Programme number four race and world politics. Our moderator DR HARLAN Hagman dean of administration at Wayne State University had his guests the Honorable William P. Rogers secretary of state the honorable Franklin H Williams president of the Phelps Stokes fund and former United States ambassador to Ghana and Mr. Harry more vice president of the Center for the Study of democratic institutions. Join us next week for a discussion on Japan. Great Decisions 1970 is produced by Wayne State University in Detroit in cooperation with the Foreign Policy Association. NPR's special of the week. Thanks Wayne State University in Detroit for the recordings in this series. Part 5 next week.
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