thumbnail of Last citizen; Color and race
Transcript
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The person who is always reminded that he is a second class when of course he isn't second class but who is told that he belongs to a second class group. He must always be pushed back a bit. You must always sit at the back of the street car or sit at the back of the bus or go in the side entrance called Khaled. That person is deeply injured psychologically. Now the person who does that to him is injured psychologically too. It works both ways. Prejudice affects both the negro and the white. How does it do this. Listen as we explore the effects of prejudice in discussing the last citizen. The last citizen the Negro in America a series of programs devoted to the extension of our knowledge of the largest minority group in the United States its
problems and the problems it poses to all Americans. The last citizen is produced by Radio Station WBA a Purdue University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. The discussions are the producer of the series E-W Richter and Dr. Louis Schneider a professor of sociology at Purdue University. Today's program it works both ways. Here now is Mr. Rector. During the course of our program last week we explored the nature of prejudice as well as the nature of people who are prejudiced. But an important question with which we did not deal is what does prejudice do to people. What happens to the person against whom prejudice is directed. And this instance the negro and what does that do to the person who holds prejudiced opinions. Let me say Walt that I think it will be a good idea in this program to have it understood
that we are using the term prejudice in a very wide sense indeed. Last week it was important for us to distinguish prejudice from discrimination and we might even further distinguish segregation as a particular form of discriminatory behavior. But what we are seeking for this week is a broad understanding of all of these forms prejudice discrimination and segregation in their effects on the personality negro or white to help us with our program today we have portions of recorded conversations with Jackie Robinson a businessman and a baseball great doctor kind of a Clark educator and professor of psychology history Frederick morrow assistant to President Eisenhower misled Ian Smith author and a Miss Polly Murray lawyer and author. And our chat with Miss Murray she gave us what may well be used as an introduction to today's program dealing with the effects of prejudiced attitudes by and large I would say that some of the
negative consequences of these attitudes on the part of the larger community. Are that the self image. Which the Negro has is constantly something which he must overcome in himself. The continual pounding away from let us say segregationists people who are full of bigotry and prejudice on the theme that the Negro is inferior that he has not yet developed to the point where he should as a matter of right receive all of the opportunities which other people do has meant that the Negro has constantly had to overcome this feeling of inferiority.
Sometimes he himself is almost apt to believe it. This has created certain undesirable attitudes within the Negro community itself sometimes based upon color the belief that the more one approaches and physical aspects the Caucasian group the more favored one is or the more superior one is. And so there have been actually. Disadvantage is within the negro group itself based upon gradations of color. Now I don't think that this is anything more than a secondary reaction to the total community's judgment and evaluation of the Negro but nevertheless this has been one of the reactions and has I think created a
great deal of disadvantage within the group itself must Marree sharpens our awareness of this very significant concept of self-image. It's a commonplace of social psychologists that self-image is grounded in the way in which people view themselves are profoundly influenced by the attitudes that others have toward them. As Mr. Mori has pointed out in general it's certainly difficult to maintain a flattering image of oneself when there was constant and insistent pressure from others which enforces a definitely unfavorable view of oneself and the formation of a self-image begins in earliest childhood. Doctor kind of Clark a noted psychologist and his wife have done research on this question and regard to the negro child. When we visited him in his Harlem office Dr. Clarke described his findings for us. The negro child very early in his life I would say around the age of five or six when they grow child of normal intelligence.
He learns Not only that he differs from the predominant society in terms of skin color but he also learns that the larger society evaluates his skin color negatively and because of his difference in skin color he is seen as inferior. He learns that he is generally relegated to an inferior status that he is rejected by the larger society. At this age the child seems to be confused about. The this pattern in the larger society of rejecting him in terms of his own skin color. And he tends to adopt. The values of the larger society. That is he tends to reject himself. It is not uncommon. In fact I would say on the basis of our research over two thirds or two thirds are approximately two thirds of Negro children. At the age of five
six and seven have. Claire demonstrative of feelings of inferiority about their status as negroes they feel inferior and they believe themselves to be inferior. They reject themselves. They consider themselves. Dirty. Or. Inadequate. They wonder if they recognize that the larger society does not. Grant fam the same respect. Which it is granted to. White children. I would say that we have accumulated. A great deal of evidence of that. Points conclusively to the fact that. Negro children growing up. In our society which makes perfectly clear that they are
second class. Citizens that they are not given the respect that other children are. They. Have. Terrible problems in self-esteem. For the most part. Thus Dr. Clark gives us an idea of the dilemmas and the problems the negro child faces and evaluating himself and building his self-image. There have been certain technical criticisms of the investigative phases of Dr. Clarke's work but in the statements from which we've heard he puts forth views that seem to be generally compatible with such information as we have. They would seem at least highly plausible in light of much contemporary psychological food and a conversation with Jackie Robinson this problem of self-image was taken out of the clinic or laboratory and we learned how one youngster had to face this negative evaluation and how his parents coped with the problem. But I think the thing that awakened me more than anything was only first moved up
into Stanford Connecticut. It wasn't anything vicious about this incident but my little boy my youngest one. Came home one day from school and he seemed It's extraordinarily quiet. And something happened at school where that somebody had kidded him about the coloring of a sketch called him dirty or something and and he was deeply hurt by it. And when we found out what it was it certainly made us think and away he stopped and talked to him and explained that. If he looked at the coloring of his mother and his father and if he had the same kind of pride that we have and the fact that we are made as we are that God had given us this skin because this is what he wanted us to have. And he shouldn't feel badly about it. And regardless of what people say or do for him not to ever worry about it because name's going to hurt him. And he had
similar experiences later on and he has really come through in fine with flying colors and his story Mr. Robinson suggest to us the possibility of a conflict and self-images. The boy was given one image at school and another boy whose parents whose kind of conflict was actually more than a possibility had represented something very real. Let's take a close look at conflict and self-images and note what it does to the individual. We might begin by assuming a society in which the fact of color difference was absolutely meaningless to people. And then which therefore young Robinson's would never be told at school that they were dirty because they were colored in such a case. The self-image of the negro child would not differ because he was negro from that of a white child. This is a situation which supported conservatively we've hardly reached. We might also conceive a very different situation in which your right judgments of all negroes were distinctly unfavorable. Inevitably negroes would incorporate much of the on favorably tinge
the attitude toward themselves of the whites. If there were in this case any favorable elements in the self-image of the Negro they would somehow have to be generated within the negro group itself without any aid from whites. And since neither of these situations exists the Negro is then given a much more complex even a confusing image of himself. You're quite right. I describe these two hypothetical situations merely in order that we might operate one more clearly just what the actual situation is. There is a stream of criticism from members of the larger white society. This is bound to influence the negro and to make the content of a self image on flattering to himself. And we remember also that it is criticism on many fronts. Criticism that comes to the negro in many ways. Some of that comes by way of verbal matter. The negro learns that he's dirty considered dirty inadequate low animal like generally inferior. But the quota system is more than vulnerable. It is one might say bulletins of the physical structures of society. The differentiation of lavatories for whites and Negroes
is more than all beyond a verbal criticism. It is a rigging of the environment in such fashion that even when there was no white man around to remind the negro that he isn't supposed to be up to snuff. The environment itself will remind them this gives us both the barest notion of the manifold ness of the things that constrain the negro toward having an unflattering view of himself. But it is also true that the whites do not represent a united front. Some of them insist that the Negro is as good as the white man. And this is bound to influence the negro self judgments. We may recall the American creed to which we referred in the last program that creed which is based upon equality under the law. Opportunity justice democracy. The pervasive valuations in the Creed certainly would not all poll the notion of the intrinsic inferiority or lesser worth of minority groups. What kind of psychological picture do we get then. Well as I said I believe in a group of us have a complex image of themselves. The word complex surely seems justified to me on directly many negroes are involved
in hard in a struggle centering on this matter of our self-image. Some seem to come out pretty well and have a solid sense of in a worth. Others seem to come off less well. It may even be that this kind of complexity helps to generate some of the distinctive negro cultural contributions forced to struggle with this problem of self-image. Many a Negro may push themselves to achievements designed to prove once and for all his ultimate worth. On the other hand I can readily conceive that in many other cases the outcome would not be one favorable to achievement artistic scientific and the like. The troublesome list of stabilizing the self-image I should certainly think might lay down psychological dispositions to things like delinquent or criminal behavior. Torture I suppose may lead to creativity but it may also lead to what our society must regard as culpably deviant even criminal behavior. Well Dr. Clark too has some words on this subject Lou as it continues talking about
Negro children. As they get older some of them may. Develop protective. Devices against this assault on their personality. Some of them particularly working class or lower class Negro children. Resent this so deeply that they become aggressive and tag an estate hostile. Toward themselves. Toward other negroes. And toward members of the dominant group. These children. Will sometimes act out their hostility. In the form of. Antisocial. Aggressive behavior which the larger society calls delinquent. This is a kind of a self destructive way of reacting to the basic problem in self-esteem but. I think as long as the injustice. Persists. Society will have to pay this cost in terms
of human beings reacting to this injustice in antisocial. Forms. Middle class may grow children. Are not as prone to. Act out. Their basic feelings of inferiority and this direct aggressive way. Many times they sort of turn their aggression inward and become disturbed about themselves and rather punitive toward themselves. They feel that their problems are inevitable because they are negroes. They sometimes blame the lower class and the girls for. Their difficulties. Sometimes negroes are able to deal with this basic problem of self-esteem by. What the psychologist called compensatory.
Activity that is they engage in a pattern of outstanding achievement. You know they insist upon being. Extra excellent or very good. This is particularly true I think of. Children who are fortunate enough to have parents who. Give them the guidance that middle class parents. Are expected to give to make them realize the importance of educational achievement. Who very early in the life of the child the parents may tell them that the only way to overcome the handicaps of being Negro is by excelling in certain activities particularly academic activities. These children are in a sense required to be walking stereotypes I mean
walking refutation of the stereotypes they are required to be exceptionally clean exceptionally honest exceptionally bright. Because their parents. I presume with some justification believe that this is the only way that they can fight against the pressures of. An inferior racial status without being self-destructive. I think this may account for some of the way I'm standing contributions which individual Negroes have made to various aspects of American life. I think Dr. Clark exemplifies very world what can happen in various types of personality because of this conflict of self-images. We've been discussing in connection with what we have been speaking about. I've been constantly impressed with the feeling of responsibility towards the group on the part of those negroes who have it broken free in a sense from the limitations imposed on the group. This was brought out rather eloquently by Mistry Frederick morrow assistant to
President Eisenhower. Perhaps his comments will give us another clue to the matter of self-image. Well a Jackie Robinson or Ralph Bunche or any persons who have been fortunate enough. To rise to statue to rise positions of prominence in this country there is always this burden of 17 million other people. Whom you. Carry along because of. Race pride and because of. A tremendous interest. In having your race develop and becoming recognized. In the human family. This is something that most of us are taught at our parent's knee. If you succeed and that is not enough you must reach down and help others rise to it because only when many of us have been able to achieve the top. Will we be able. To look back with any degree of pride or will we be recognizing the
human family as a group of people who have achieved and who have. Arrived. This is something that is with us every waking moment. Of the day. And it. Kills a great many of us because it is a tremendous. Responsibility and every move we make everything we do every action we take. We must remember that this is going to affect the destiny and the future of 17 million other people. Do you find this at all a limitation upon your ability to just be a person. That's a perhaps a pretty good. That's a pretty good question. Maybe. It prevents us. From relaxing as much as we would like to relax as always a sort of at times nice as always and then the demanding this as a day of doing one's best at every
time no matter how simple the occasional how simple the operation because. What you do may determine what happens to someone else so it's a pretty tense life that one lives who has had the good fortune of the misfortune to achieve a little beyond the ordinary. I think that we can say then that the white mind who excels achieves reaches a distinguished position or the like may well help his self image by his achievements and that is the end of the matter. Not so for most tomorrow. He is constrained. He is constrained to include in his self-image the picture of a person who having attained something must further identify himself as a representative of a disadvantaged group which he cannot let down or must somehow continue to wade. All this represents attention in connection with self-image that is peculiarly attached to being a negro in present day America. And Mr. Maher was not an isolated individual I found his sentiments echoed among the great majority
of Negroes prominent in public and academic life. And I think Lou that we might even consider this as being an direct positive result of discrimination and prejudice and segregation. For it is these things which motivate almost force the capable negro to become a leader to work actively for the advancement of the negro. Thus prejudice helps to sow the seeds of its own destruction. I don't think I'd put circularly quote with a wall but don't we have a rather paradoxical and tragic situation here. It seems true enough that prejudice discrimination and segregation erodes opposition among Negroes and stimulate leadership to get rid of these very things. But if these things hadn't existed in the first place there would have been no stimulation of the kind you referred to. One can't help feeling that there is here an unhappy waste of energy. Well we've looked at a few of the more important aspects of the negro psychological problems which are generated by prejudice discrimination and segregation but what of the prejudiced person as he goes scot free in this situation. I reminded of the oft quoted statement of
Booker T Washington that you can't hold a man down in the gutter without getting down there yourself. Doesn't this imply a psychological damage to the white man. Let's return again for a moment to the American creed. I think we've seen that this creed has some power in American life and in the moral outlook of Americans. And so far as this is the case they're bound to feel guilt for prejudiced discriminatory behavior and segregate of action. The subject of guilt on the part of the white man and the guilt that arises in him in connection with his treatment of the Negro is a large one. And I wonder whether it mightn't be a good idea to have a look at how this guild functions in a specific area in our chat with Lillian Smith. She brought up this matter of buildable relating it to sex and even love between white men of the South and Negro Women of the south as we know historically this existed and and existed. Among large numbers of our people and that was a relationship of disses steam to U.S. and also
a relationship of of guilt. And guilt. We human beings I think it's wonderful that we can feel guilt but a guilt that we don't understand and a guilt that is suppressed in US does us great psychological harm when we can bring it out and say yes I should feel guilty about this thing that I've done because this thing is wrong. We're not that kind of guilt can help us grow. But the kind of guilt there is very big and we can find no name for and we find instead curious rationalizations for that kind of guilt can hurt us Marlie and psychologically we won't quite admit that these things happened. And so instead we build up anxiety and guilt feelings and. A desire not to think about it clearly. And so I feel that the mind of the South has been injured by segregation because of all of these dark Harmison
ambivalences and ambiguity as they have been created by our attitude and built up by our actions. So I feel that we really have been hurt by it. I am reminded of Myrtle's views on the psychology of sexual relations between white men and the GRO women. These give only one example of how guilt feelings can be build up in the relations of whites and negroes but a rather dramatic one. Let me say that I don't claim that these views represent absolute truth but on the other hand they do make a good deal of sense out of various striking things that have appeared in the complex relationships of white men Negro women and white women. I should also mention that the views were not entirely new with Myrtle were at least partly suggested to him by a Southerner W of cash by way of cash his book on the mind of the South model then contends that guilt feelings result for the Southern white man from his treatment of Negro Women and further that these guilt feelings
lie behind certain of the attitudes toward white women found among Southern white men. Let me try to clarify the matter. White women were certainly often aware of their men's sexual adventures with Negro Women and were disturbed by them. You know it by the way I use the past tense. This whole interpretation of models I believe had stronger force some years ago than it would have today although it still partment enough to refer to now. The white men for their part felt guilty because of these adventures. After all they were the inheritors of a culture that stressed the American creed that contained puritanical elements that did not allow of easy and don't disturb adultery or fornication. It's therefore understandable that they felt guilty and feeling guilty they sought to absolve themselves of guilt to explain or make clear to themselves why they had been such sinners. They sometimes invoke the irresistible animality of the Negro Women woman. Also they glorify the virtues of their own white women feeling that they were thereby compensating them for
the wrong that they had done them. The hurt that they had inflicted upon them by the sinful relations with Negro Women. At least one way to respond to the feeling that one had been very wicked and hurt the white woman was to say to her darling you're so very wonderful and to reform her wonderfulness with a glaringly I as if to defy anyone to deny it. Perhaps the unquiet conscience could be eased by putting the southern white woman on a pedestal and asserting that she was the most marvelous creature that ever was and this must not be challenged lest the Southerner feel that he had not given adequate compensation to his own white women for the terrible things that he had done. For such he felt them to be. He being the relatively nice decent respectable fellow that he was. Moreover we shouldn't forget that there's also involved with all this a certain fear of retaliation a fear that the negro will get back at the white man for what a lot has done to his The negroes woman busways see that really it works both ways.
But both the negro and the white are the victims of the prejudice held by the whites. Examples of guilt and fear we cited are not the only manifestations of the damage inflicted upon the person who holds prejudice although they are perhaps among the most dramatic ones. And the weeks to come will be pointing out other manifestations as we continue to explore the topic of the last citizen the Negro in America. Lord. Lord. Let. Me. Ask you you and Governor Rick. Scott about a mass exodus of this program was produced on record by a guy would you go to university. Undergrad from the Educational Television and Radio Shack with me and just give the good. Recreational drug out.
Series
Last citizen
Episode
Color and race
Producing Organization
Purdue University
WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/500-h7081p0d
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-h7081p0d).
Description
This program explores issues of race and skin color and their importance in the United States.
A series of programs devoted to exploring the problems facing African-Americans and how these issues impact all Americans.
Broadcast
1959-01-01
Topics
Social Issues
Subjects
Human skin color--Social aspects--United States.
Media type
Sound
Duration
00:29:40
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
Guest: Burdick, Allan B.
Host: Schneider, Louis
Producer: Richter, E.W.
Producing Organization: Purdue University
Producing Organization: WBAA (Radio station : West Lafayette, Ind.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-50-3 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:16
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
Chicago: “Last citizen; Color and race,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 18, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-h7081p0d.
MLA: “Last citizen; Color and race.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 18, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-h7081p0d>.
APA: Last citizen; Color and race. 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-h7081p0d