thumbnail of Seeds of discontent; Episode 26 of 26
Transcript
Hide -
This is the twenty sixth in a series of programs and titled seeds of discontent presenting the program tonight as Harvard Smith Jr. assistant professor in the School of Social Work Wayne State University Professor Smith. Tonight marks the close of the series of programs and title seeds of discontent. During these twenty six weeks we have attempted to provide some additional insight reflections and commentary on the causes of discontent which is mushroom to the surface and large American cities. Juvenile Delinquency that hippie's the problems of the poor. The plight of the American Negro. The student activist and the discontent of teachers have been voiced loud and clear by the dialogue from week to week. The mood and message of various groups and classifications from many different backgrounds are very much alike in some respects and others obviously they are very different. Our intent on this program has not been to give a fine cutting research analysis of their differences. Rather it has
been to present a fleeting glimpse of common elements and features of the whole situation put together. This glimpse of the totality is most important because at a given point in time there is a real question as to how much discontent and disenchantment any society can withstand before it disintegrates or is forced to evolve into something that is more natural or unnatural for the future development of human beings. By using this approach the whole question of differences become less relevant to the problem at hand. For example it might be argued that many youngsters at the bottom of the socio economic scale become delinquents because the opportunity structure does not allow them to enter the more affluent society of the middle and upper middle classes while the hippies are very angry and drop out because they are running from the middle and upper middle classes. On the surface at least this would appear to be such a difference as to require a separate treatment of each group. However
the fact of the matter is that both are discontented both are dropouts and both have a bone to pick with the middle and upper middle classes who develop and perpetuate the institutions that all of us in one way or another must respond to as best we can. What is most important is that together they are asking for change. They are saying we have had enough. We will not take any more. The line must be drawn here. And so it is with the American Negro teachers and the student activists. Another reason for this holistic approach is the spiraling effect that the discontent of one group has on another. For example one of the major gripes of the hippies is a racism or narrow mindedness and hatred that they see firsthand while growing up while one of the chief gripes of the blank ones is that the attitude of the police and the adult community towards the adolescent world of the negro and the student activist are witnesses and react to the same thing.
When a teacher faces a crowded classroom with little equipment and witnesses the reaction of the public towards providing the services necessary to do something about preparing people to live with people her level of resentment and discontent rises. What has happened to the teacher the language hippies and the poor it has been happening to the American Negro for centuries. This then robs and feeds into their level of discontent. The final and most important reason for this holistic approach from week to week relates to the fact that we believe that the rule the essence of the many problems reveals such as alienation meaningless existences economic deprivation and employment racism large population shifts and social upheaval and personality and indifference and injustice stemmed from the backwash of a civilization bent on material progress and expansion without due reference to the human factors
involved. As a result many discontented voices that you've heard and that we have talked about during the series where denies some of the very basics that all human organisms strive for and must obtain if they are to survive and find social meaning. These basics are acceptance. Dignity respect security shelter and food as men become more aware of these deficiencies on the part of themselves our others in similar positions in relation to the world of plenty around them their fervor for something better will increase the fervor of small countries for nationhood and dependence and the discontent widespread in cities throughout America. But flip sides of a forever spiraling cone. What the many pressures built up by the discontented groups throughout American society. A revolution must take place. The only question remaining is whether or not it will come about by peaceful or non
peaceful methods. The record of mankind on an international level would suggest that it can only come about by peaceful means. The riots and rebellions of recent years and the violent blood stained history of this country would appear to support that premise also. We believe however that America with its vast amount of resources does not have to follow a more violent course unless we are negligent or give up the struggle. Indeed if we look back over a short 10 years we can see a peaceful process of revolution gradually taking shape. The question is are we moving fast enough and can we move any faster on the basis of what we have seen and heard. We must conclude that we are not moving fast enough. Until the Vietnam crisis is settled it is doubtful that we can move at a faster pace. As long as the Vietnam problem remains unresolved we will remain divided and our energies drained. It is near
impossible to work on the many emotionally laden problems at home in a peaceful manner in a social atmosphere that plays and demands hostile and aggressive impulses. There's a well documented fact of history that during times of war especially unpopular wars children at a given age group tend toward greater expressions of delinquent behavior. It is also documented that intra group tensions and conflicts increase. Witness for example the treatment of Japanese-Americans in the land of the free during the Second World War and the general level of widespread abuse and distrust and witness the treatment of German Jews as Germany fought her war against the world. We must therefore repeat again that a settlement in Vietnam is a first prerequisite of a peaceful less violent change in America. Aside from the Vietnam settlement what are other steps that must be taken if America is to follow a less
violent course of development towards a more sane peaceful meaningful and creative environment for all citizens. As a starting point men of all ages face and races must accept the recommendations and message of the Newsweek magazine report of November twenty one thousand sixty seven and of the Kerner Commission Report of March one thousand sixty eight. All levels of government and private organizations must be press toward immediate action on recommendations expressed by both report. Anything less could be catastrophic. The days of compromise are over human rights human dignity and just as are never subject to compromise. The voices heard on this program during the past months are word for word so strikingly similar to the named reports as to make one wonder whether or not we have been interviewing the very same individuals and groups and an attitudinal and causation sense we have.
The second prerequisite relates to the problem of racial unrest. Housing welfare jobs and employment. Well the onset of violent turmoil in northern Midwestern and western regions of the country there has been a tendency to overlook the role of the South in creating the conditions of life and large American cities. The problems of race housing welfare and jobs in urban centers will never be solved until there is created a greater sense of justice under law in the south. A large part of the migration rate which is dumped and stacked people on top of people and problems on top are problems and urban centers is directly related to the brutal and inhumane treatment of citizens kept in bondage for centuries. This is especially true in regards to the SOLs treatment of the American Negro. In his case it has been particularly tragic because it led to a second uprooting and destruction of his cultural history and heritage. After being
uprooted and brought to America and change in slavery and being separated from his family and other primary groups the south forced him to pick up and leave again to another strange alien land where the skills and customs were very different. The results are that many are in a perpetual state of exile. The negro and the North has paid its price for this exile in terms of suffering further degradation poor housing unemployment and intergroup tensions hostilities and conflicts. If a man at least has a homeland in the world is not so alien frightening and overwhelming. At least the world is familiar and he can invest in the dream of someday returning. The history of the South has not allowed this familiarity. Urban areas of northern states have for the better part of this century Real done and the overwhelming weight of the problems generated by millions of exiles from the south. There was little time to plan an environment to deal with the many resulting problems of
space Health Education Welfare and Recreation. Those who could have planned better were too busy with other things such as taking care of cooperative failures and profits as times passed on fear distrust resentment and frustration. The seeds of another form of bigotry and hate started to take form and then became more expedient to deal with the problem by denial stereotypes and slogans are by moving a safe distance from the monster of our creation. In the meantime millions of other fleeing citizens moved in on top of others after years of bondage. Many were ill equipped to survive and acquire a better life in the rugged urban terrain. Resentment anger frustration and fear became more widespread on the part of all talk and programs of help welfare and housing were developed. But the tide of problems were not stemmed. Each year the need became greater. More and more was put into welfare and other
problem areas but with very little success and additional frustrations pressures and resentments were set in motion and the process continues. If the North is ever to come to grips with the problems of the cities the conditions in the south that lead to the continuing flow of exile citizens must be removed. This will however require massive federal intervention and economic sanction if Nexus theri in order to bring about the cessation of hostilities and brutalization of Negro Americans. Along with this must be a massive counter program of economic development in the area of interest free housing and jobs in the south. There are many undeveloped areas in the south where low cost public housing and low interest loans for the development of decent private housing could be undertaken. There are tremendous areas of natural beauty where parks and reserves for all citizens could be developed by public work programs.
There is a great need for the development of hospitals and schools. There is also a trend now on the part of private Andhra street to build in the south with proper incentives from the federal government more when undoubtably move and that direction. There is also a great meet for large numbers of national screening and information centers staffed by people of all races and persons of specially trained backgrounds to assist citizens in getting the real information about the job market. The cost of living and other problems in urban centers in relation to the skills that citizens have to market the concept of the frontier is dead. Whether we like it or not and a planned stabilization of the population from south to north must be undertaken now if set of cities are ever to fight their way from underneath the problems of education jobs housing transportation and the eradication of racial tensions and
bigotry. This is not to say the northern cities can cop out and merely point the finger at the South. On the contrary the North must point the way and act as a model for the South to follow unless the north by demonstration and leadership points the way the south will be provided additional justification for trying to hang on to the old styles that have intensified the problems in the first place. One stabilization of the population has been achieved. Then perhaps both North and South can get down to the business of doing something about the problems that each of us witness every day of our lives throughout the country. We know what needs to be done and there is adequate knowledge to do it. If we can free our minds and energies to the task. If such a course of action is undertaken in the south and north digs its way from underneath the mountains of problems there would still be a large number of citizens and their offspring who have
been so restricted and damaged by history that a significant increase in their economic lot would not be possible. We must therefore be prepared to develop a system of annual income for some citizens. A third prerequisite for solution of the problems presented by discontented forces in American life relates to the need for a reexamination of the problem of adolescence. Adolescents such as juvenile delinquents hippies and some student activists must live in the most contradictory of all worlds they're given very little decision making power about the actions that determine their fate to a certain extent their position is symptomatic of a condition that is rapidly enveloping. Modern man that is a feeling of being trapped. A sociologist C. Wright Mills describes his condition quite well in the opening chapter of his book and title the sociological imagination.
Nowadays men often feel that their private lives are a series of traps. They sense that when then their everyday worlds they cannot overcome their troubles. And in this feeling they are often quite correct. What are narry men are directly aware of and what they try to do. A bounded by the private orbit in which they live their visions and their power are limited to the close up scenes of a family neighborhood and other mill you. They move vicariously and remain spectators and the more aware they become however vaguely of ambitions and of threats which transcend their local towns the more trapped they seem to feel. When men feel trapped they can do desperate things things down in desperation can be quite ugly. The delinquents are you who follow adepts desperate course because they see no way out. As one boy put it might as well die now in the street or later as a consequence. Many do die very
young in the streets. This alone is a great tragedy. To say nothing about others hurt by them. The wasted talent untold amounts of property damage and the millions of dollars spent on large institutional programs which does very little in the way of prevention or rehabilitation. The hippies are also youth who pursue a desperate course in search of meaning and a greater level of participation. Beyond the drugs the flowery dress and the Love Pain is a feeling of being trapped. Their reaction to this sense of being trapped involves a lot of suffering and reach futures and even psychotic breaks. And the student activist is another youth trapped by the impersonality of today's world. He's subject to the draft and yet not allowed to vote. He too often has been dealt with dishonestly by the adult models who still make decisions about his life as if he were a child. As things now stand many brilliant
minds may follow nihilistic empty suicidal courses at a time when the country is badly in need of intelligent sense of the leadership. These three mentioned groups of youth must be dealt with as if there is to be a peaceful sane society. And the case of the delinquent immediate steps must be taken to treat and recognize problems at an earlier age. There must be a greater trend toward working with them and smaller more natural groups. There must be a movement away from the building of large institutions. There must be a greater emphasis on the preventive work at the block and neighborhood level. This will require utilizing involving and training those in the immediate neighborhoods. Those who walk the same streets and understand the lifestyle and developing programs and services. There is a whole untapped area of manpower including a rehabilitated delinquent who can be quite constructive in a total attack
on the problem. This does not require a psychiatrist or a highly trained clinician for every group. Very few delinquents are disturbed to the point of needing psychiatric care. On the contrary most are normal human beings reacting to abnormal contradictory and overwhelming forces and situations and terms of the hippies. The dishonesty and hatred and routine eye's existence of suburbia must be re-examined. The protective shield erected around children that does not allow for differences. Creative search and experiences with people of varied backgrounds will have to go. Many youngsters who become hippies do so as a result of this stale existence. The student activist must be given real and greater powers in terms of determining the rule and regulations and content of academic subjects. For all three groups there must be a re-examination and movement towards lowering the
voting age the age requirement for jobs and positions and involvement in all areas of government and private life where policies for better or worse are made. The record of the I dont world in deciding social policies at this point in history leaves much to be desired. Even though we cannot swallow our pride and take a back seat we can at least share the power. After all it is their life too. If we do not share the power the history of Europe with its many violent upheavals on the part of the young may soon be with us. The fourth prerequisite involves the social and educational training of the very young. This too will require massive intervention on the part of the federal government. Local and state levels have been unable to provide the funding leadership and direction in this area. If your generations are to rise above the mistakes of history there must be an early exposure of children to many
different people at the concept of man as man is to come about. It will not come about by separate racially divided districts with the best resources located in suburbia. While kids less fortunate are stacked row on row and rundown buildings in the central city these conditions can only lead to greater division and perpetuation of hostilities that has led to the fear and the alarming volume of purchases of firearms across the country in recent years. A final prerequisite involves a total reorganization of police departments. A large number of citizens both black and white have lost confidence in various police departments. The only way that this situation can be remedied is by making police departments representative of the community that it must serve. Training screening and salaries must be increased. Citizens review borough
boards are also necessary if confidence is to be restored. There must also be a movement towards assigning police officers to neighborhoods on the bases of their recognition of the problems of people living there. The community needs to get to know the policeman and the policeman the community. It is only out of this kind of arrangement with the police and the community get to know each other anymore trust in fashion. If there are no improvement in police community relations very soon. Greater civil disturbance may be triggered on such a large scale as to make a peaceful society a far away dream. Under such conditions all of the knowledge that we have about solving todays pressing problems will be a moot point. And looking back over the past 26 weeks and the principles of action that we have derived we are convinced that America as a nation cannot afford to go backwards in the history to the days of the confortable slogans and stereotypes.
The tide of discontent and dissent can only be repressed at the expense of the peace of all. Anything to goes backwards and away from the first childlike steps of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other social measures such as the poverty program would make life totally unacceptable to a large number of people. When life becomes unacceptable to large numbers of people many will be to the point of death. It is doubtful that we can move forward fast enough with a man like Eastman sitting on the Senate Judiciary Committee or man like Stannis McLeod on Mills and forward setting on powerful committees and the bodies that must provide the necessary policies and resources. As the American mind in feeling for his fellow man Richard to the point where his aggressive destructive impulses can be kept in check. Had we mature and to the point where relentless pressures will be put on the government to a point where
obstructionist who by their attitude and power have done as much as anyone else towards a creation of the present level of discontent it will be rooted out. One thing is certain if we do not move forward the days of riots are over and already the stage and line of battle will be drawn for civil and guerrilla warfare or a police state. You know. You want to do that. We're no longer overwhelmed. I
just don't know what it's all a long. Long. Long Long Long Long Long Long Long and coming along with. Me all around. Me and Little long long long. You'll see that in their. Training. I don't know what is troubling me around
town and. I don't know what the trouble is. With trying. To get my mind around. The full. Truth.
Series
Seeds of discontent
Episode Number
Episode 26 of 26
Producing Organization
Wayne State University
WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/500-fn10t451
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-fn10t451).
Description
Other Description
For series info, see Item 3313 and 3314. This prog.: Hartford Smith, Jr.'s, observations, comments and conclusions regarding the nature and meaning of discontent in American society, and what needs to be done.
Date
1968-08-27
Topics
Social Issues
Media type
Sound
Duration
00:28:13
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
Producing Organization: Wayne State University
Producing Organization: WDET (Radio station : Detroit, Mich.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-15-26 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:01
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
Chicago: “Seeds of discontent; Episode 26 of 26,” 1968-08-27, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 24, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-fn10t451.
MLA: “Seeds of discontent; Episode 26 of 26.” 1968-08-27. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 24, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-fn10t451>.
APA: Seeds of discontent; Episode 26 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 http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-fn10t451