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Hello my name is Percy Sutton. I'm the president of the borough of Manhattan in the city of New York. Today we come to the last in a series of 13 programs 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 their been 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 Arabist population. This series of programs has taken as its point of departure the award winning issue of Newsweek magazine published last November the 20th on the Negro in America. Today's topic is white racism and black nationalism. The members of our panel are Whitney Young Jr. executive director of the National Urban League Floyd McKissic national director of corps now on leave and Mr. Ozment Elliot the editor of Newsweek. Mr. once again for the final time we would like you to lead off
our discussion. Well I think that one of the. Interesting developments that has been gaining some momentum since we did our study last November has been the movement in black America toward a greater feeling of separatism and black nationalism in the various other terms that are applied to it. I think it'll be interesting this half hour to spend some of our time and he waited in discussing the meanings of this of this move and some of the attitudes both black and white about it. Now being a white man myself I've been told by a number of my black friends that white America fears this this new black nationalist move this or this move to what might be an intensified form of black power this move to a separate state in effect to a degree I think this is probably true that white America fears such a move but I think at the same time a great many of white Americans who perhaps very belatedly have
become concerned about the problems of black America. View it not so much. View this new move toward nationalism toward separatism toward that whole theory not so much from a point of view of fear but of concern that in the soul moving black America is moving away from and rejecting the very tools including the green power of money that white America has that have finally perhaps become available for black America to use. Now I think it's a matter of concern as much as it is of fear and I think this would be a good point of departure for this discussion. Not tonight I mean kissy. I suppose that I can speak as an authority on this point because it is separate from a black nationalist nationalism. I think what we're talking about is nice to listen and nationalism is an inward view as to how the
black man sees himself in a racist society. It is it is seen from a historical perspective. It is also seen the rejection conception rejection of a black man over a period of years and a black man constantly trying to knock on doors and constantly being refused in the name of integration in the name of any other thing. First of all I don't think the word nationalism really concerns people. But when you put an adjective in front of it black nationalism then everybody becomes a friend. It's the same thing that I would do the same thing with black power. I was advocating the Bill of economics I think Percy you notice way back before it became popular and I'm glad to be live in the USA Today part of the feeling NAACP USA right after the debate we really were on the front. Right I see we're back there in the 60s and 50s I was advocating when I was president of the business and professional chain around North Carolina. Now I
see this come into being nationalism simply is looking at oneself as a part of the nation. It so happens that you put black in front of it. We talk about looking at ourselves as black people you see as a nation we have seen that you can't get respect beyond a color man. We have seen that you can't get in effect as being a negro. The end Negro is a creation of a part of white many is no such country as an equal no when where are its the creation of the right minds white people have always interpreted who we were and what we are and we have to reject this idea some rejection of white value as if the gift acceptance of those white values are going to put us behind the eight ball and God knows we have been behind the eight ball and crushed by the eight ball and the eight ball is a black ball of white no more lonely. So here we go. So we're not talking money is green and we're not talking about money.
But I believe black people I think that it's a white society rather adult white society really. It has got to think in terms of solving this problem in terms of not really the center of it. Canonical benefit to the white man. It is an economic benefit to the white man to build toward solving this problem. But I think that he's going to have to look towards solving this problem on the basis of his guilt. Also he must admit that he is wrong that he has been wrong and he must admit it is time to stop this. What I would say that whatever motive there is whether it's an economic motive or a motive of guilt or a motive of altruism doesn't make much difference to me what the mixture of motives is as long as the motivation is there what concerns me or has concern me in the past really is whether the motivation is there at all. Now I think there have been some signs over the past six months or so or a year that there is some motivation on the part of White America maybe Whitney Young would like to
address himself to the media. I think white America is going to have to understand several things one. That we have in fact had for all of America's history as far as a black man is concerned the kind of separatism and assumption of superiority with all of the arrogance that goes with it. And the decision making a farce of Saturday as well as for black people has up to now for the most part been done by white people. Now that white people are getting more civilized more educated thinking more of their own enlightened self-interest and are beginning to move to the point that they see integration as a positive thing. I think that many are becoming upset because suddenly when they decide that after 400 years to accept black people if black
people say to them oh maybe I don't want to be accepted included into your saddle it may not necessarily mean what it says it may mean that there comes a time when I want to make the decisions. You made a decision though now are all up to now to actually do this. Now you make the decision to include us. When are we going to make some decisions. There are many white people I know who are feeling alienated and hurt these days because they say they're trying hard and they run into abuse and and rejection. All I can say to those white people is that black people have been abused and brutal as mentioned and humiliated for 400 years. And we we hung in there we didn't give up. We we still believe basically in the system and this is sad. Now if we can do it for 400 years suffering they can of brutality and
emasculation that we suffered white people unless they are made of less sterner stuff ought to be able to put up for a few years with some appreciation. For what is happening and that is a release of aging resentments about why people always making the decisions about when they will are they will not accept black people. Well I think that let me make one other point and that is that I think what we are really asking today is that as black people have historically had to understand why people my grandfather had to for survival purposes. He understood every nuance of his white bosses behavior all of his vanity characteristics all of his weaknesses his moral flaws. He studied him because he had to study him in order to survive. Thats why people did not have to study black people and understand them in order to survive and they
didn't bother. Now White America has to take that extra special amount of energy and time to understand black America and realize that all he is really asking is to put just a pain in those decisions affecting his life is to be a partner not not a supplement not not somebody who comes and begs for acceptance. At the at the whim of white America somebody that white America sees as a productive constructive partner that he wants to be associated with. I think that point is very well taken. I think that it is incumbent on all blacks who are in as important positions as you Mr Sutton you Mr Young man you Mr McKissic R.E.M. to explain this to white America more
clearly than it has been explained I might add that it's also incumbent on white America and people such as myself in the business of writing and editing the news to come to this with a great a greater degree of understanding than I think many of the media have in the past. It's a very complicated and subtle thing which I don't think white America has grasped yet. And I must add that I think that in part the fault lies with the euro and in part before it lies with the news media and in part it lies with white America as a whole. May I just interrupt Floyd to ask a question of me. Yeah yeah tell me there's often black people and whites of course but it effects us more relieved that there is a back you'll find us constantly seen there's a vacuum in black leadership. How many of us on the black side of the fence think there's a vacuum in white
leadership. We think a much better job can be done by the white community and I call along with many others for what might be described as missionaries to the white society. Yesterday they came in March with the civil rights movement and some of them feel shunted aside now because they can't come in the black community as easily as they did before and work with us. Do civil rights work. But we're asking them now to do some civil rights work in white society. Is it even a possibility you feel a probability in the immediate future of a band of whites going into a white society just as Whitney Young suggested a white march on Washington. Can we have a white march a white educational process by missionaries white missionaries to the white society. Well I would hope so. I put it in terms of all white march on white America or a white march on Washington I think is dealing in
terms that are things of the past I think that was the kind of thing that was very successful in 1983. I think we're beyond the stage of that kind of gimmickry. I can only say that I would hope that I share your your view that that there is a vacuum and white leadership in this country today. I remember on an earlier program that we taped somebody complained about being referred to as a black leader. He said I never really read about people being referred to as white leaders and perhaps that's because there aren't so many syntax. Wait let me get it right because to me I where yeah I just wanted to make a come here two or three comments. One of the things that disturbs a black leader is really how I look how the news is interpreted. I could think of like Powell for example I can go back all of those days which were very populist things to me. It took many years of my life my
family. Life and Love my friends live in COLA to really pick up the papers every day. Periodical and see you federally castrated and displayed out of proportion. To see the words power as a white man uses the word power. He exercises that power but power in the hands of black people somehow or another. White people believe it's got to be flipped. It's got to be blind not to be products that were so trepidation that Newsweek gave it that was interpretation that pun gave about not being prejudice and that was the letter you referred to that brand X as the only current In other words that said this there was a brand of racism. It was a bread recipe. If black people talk about power they can't be talking about political power. You can't be talking about economic power yet a body could have grown in North Carolina. You've got my record. I've got the history and have sort of seen that economic power has been the history and philosophy of my thinking since a college student. Many papers and pieces I
have written will back down when Whitney Young was a good man a school social worker. This is the band that I'm talking about but they conceived the power in the hands of black people not because the kind of irrational power that is being exercised by white people but only one can and that is it can cause riots what I think is bad not just a comment on the fray whether or not I will have to read brother about it but the idea I want you to comment on but let me get this point so you can come in on it too. It was the greatest period in history where black people and I say the Congress of Racial Equality was rejected by white people rather than rather than rejecting white people. It ended up there was no choice for us to become all black because we were rejected. We've done stuff coming from white people. So we had to get funds from black people and black people said we're our own best friend. We
have to reach that conclusion. And we had to make it a prideful conclusion once we reached it because we reached a point in making up our own minds and setting our own timetables and we found it in a time we did that we were ejected out of the white community just on the other can not understand that nationalism consciously developed because of a rejection on the part of white people. And that rejection becomes more real and more refer and embedded in the body. So black people when the rejection continue is every time we make a decision unilaterally because we cannot make it jointly. John on that point before you go Michel you are removed once hearing Whitney Young speak. Whitney Young said that black pollo was a reaction to White House. Let me just ask Whitney to hit on something else I already mentioned quite a march on Washington and has been as you had said that perhaps this was going to create which was
good for 1964 but not good today. Today I remember 1968 with me young calling for a march on Washington. I would like very much to make history a collab think it's terribly important. We said a white march on Washington. And when I said that I didn't necessarily mean to interpret down getting some of these corporate executives who could march 1 block to physically March. It was when I was talking about is symbolic witnessing a visible tangible concrete witnessing of their convictions I see corporate management in this country as more than makers of profits they are also the role models they are the image makers they are the influences of public opinion and I don't just want to see corporate management take out full page ads when one of our models like Dr mood Martin Luther King is slain and they take out full PDA ads and they say we are so sorry and we are
grieving and we This does not represent white America. I'd like to see full page ads and I'd like to see the full paid ads in Newsweek and I'd like to see him on television where the people who are identified as the top people in this country and that's why I said Henry Ford and David Rockefeller and me where they would in fact give visible witness to their convictions about equality of opportunity. This means so much in terms of convincing that large mass of what I call the affluent peasants you know these white people who just made it if they can somehow see that it is now the thing to do to to be liberal and not to be a bigot. I think today it's a tragedy that black men must carry the burden of responsibility for purifying white America. I think it's a tragedy that the people
who have been the victims and who are in fact the patients should be expected to be the doctors. I think the people who have benefited the most from the American dream and credo have a stake in making the American dream a reality. And I think white people want to stand up and fight for civil rights because they have a stake in it as much as anybody else. Now that's a kind of white March I'm talking about hometown and not a visible witness of the convictions of people. Let me say one other word if we have a moment about the business of what can I do. So since Dr. King's death. I guess we received thousands of letters from people saying how ashamed they are to be white and how grieved they are. Trying to convey to me their sorrow. And I have written back to all that I could to say look we at this point cannot be satisfactory with with hearing the
expressions of your feeling we want to see your actions. Now you asked me what can you do. Miss housewife you can do several things one in your own house. You can exhibit the fact that you believe in dignity by calling you a maid. Mrs. Jones not letting you go two and three year old child call a maid Sally when you don't know to two and three year old child call your white friends who are 40 years old by their first names. You can do about paying Social Security you can do it by seeing that that country club that used the power of two that's now lily white and in many cases may be antisymmetric will open its doors to people who are different. You can do it best thing that your school has black teachers in it even if you have to transport them. You can do it by signing a fair housing pledge and telling the real estate people in your community that you willing to accept black people in your community.
You can do it by writing your congressman saying that you are far poverty programs right now a congressman here from MA the John Birchers and the Klansman and the bigots in our society who are saying what we need more concentration camps. We need to suppress. They don't hear from the nice decent people the people do. Some people call consciousness genteel people who never write who their congressman and so Congress is flooded by back the souther. There are things people knew where the trouble Harkin name whose husband the big businessman can say honey and not just give me a mink coat but can say Honey how many black people have you employed in your business and I would think more of you and our children would think more of you if you had black folks working not just as you and your fellows who are in the mailroom and who clean up the place but who up there in the office with you and white people maybe as white kids need this kind of exposure in a world that 75
percent nonwhite right. Yeah I'd like to back up a witness statement. I'd like to say one of the things we talk about does this march of Washington White people have been marches on rushing through year after year hour after hour minute by minute and gave what they wrong. Black people have white people get to get it. What a great big railroad company gets its welfare but we don't call it welfare we call it such as this. How do you compete. This girl a little troop and we conceded to Richie get the Richie get the fewer taxes that you have to pay and when you reach the point that you do have to pay taxes you establish your foundation. I mean let's look at the thing as it really is and I think the point that I'm talking about black people can march march march but I really think the conscience of this nation is an unfair and disproportionate share
of conscience because the only conscience that's left in this society is the conscience of the black man because any time a white man looks at a black man he know rules that he has wronged him and he knows that he must do something about it. Third point to make and that is that a white liberal can no more food black people by saying I am for integration and because you don't think the we that I think that you ought to think with drawing my support. If I say look I got a headache and I need some aspirin and I'm holding up my hand for aspirin. My friends ought to give me the aspirin. My enemy as a game is not Mel's my enemy is a good reporter. If you're liberal and you suppose I give you my friend and I tell you I got a headache and I need aspirin give it ask me if I got care. And I still don't eat radium treatment. I don't expect you to argue with telling me that I want to have aspirin instead of radio. I expect you to give me that radium. If you're supposed to be my friend
and this is one of the problems that I have with the so-called liberal society in return I would say that I'd like to see white people sit down right now instead of making all of the weird contributions that they make to society for the Prevention of the cruelty to animals for society to find out the biological sexual life of bumble bees and etc.. I like to see him sit down and kill another check to the Congress of Racial Equality to a sleepy Urban League preferably a good clear out. I'm talking about. I'm no bloody good employee. Well baby will subscribe to this review of Newsweek continues. I'm making a commitment to save that time for a commitment that's what you came out with. Period focus Yeah I think we're going to subscribe to you now. But I'm talking about really doing something and let black people make up their own minds and say that I've got confidence in a black man to think and determine and defies
his destiny and his future. And I support his ability to do this. I'm contributing because I have faith and believe that if that black man is participating in the society he will destroy has been I look at as the editor of Newsweek. And one who has deep concern for the problem on who has written eloquently on it. Is that coming about any commitment on the part of White America whether by fear or truly as a chain of the black man status. Well I think there is I think that it's not coming about fast enough or in this deep degree as it should have long ago or should be now. I'm concerned. At the same time that progress is being made in certain fields and among certain groups that there is taking place in white America in other parts of white America I should say A and almost equal backlash to the progress that has been being made among the more educated groups. One thing that we haven't
mentioned in this discussion I think should be mentioned is the enormous power of black power that now exists through the ballot box. Over the past three elections I think that the statistics will show that the Negro vote has been the most volatile and the biggest swing vote in the country. And when you Mr. McKissic talk about whites want marching on Washington year after year our AF. The hour minute after minute you're really saying that they've been voting and I think that could very well be that this year the black vote in America will decide the presidential election. I'm not too sure that me as a person who is elected by a black and white vote say that. I wish what you were saying was actually true. I'm not too sure that we ought to commit ourselves to the ballot box on Gnome because I didn't mean to suggest that we don't have we can't
read fast enough in America for black people to raise to put themselves to positions of real power in America. It appears that America with regard to the ballot box in the election and who are black people get into the majority. We don't have black people elected to office so that it can change anything. But the person that. As Whitney Young sat here with white man's deli and I have I do believe that our best chance of the media acquisition of power is probably more likely through the political at least nationally. The strategic police position of the black personally concentrated in the central state is given a close election can make all the difference now. Economic power takes a little time we are working on this political power we can. If we can move that 37 percent register the
goading population from Holland to 90 percent. If we can have that a vote not committed to any political party but committed to a issue and a position then a plant and a person we can I do believe in 1968. Have this major role to play if we organize and if we are registered to vote and we got a vote I'm one of those people who do not believe that we can afford the luxury of going fishing. We need the balance of power good always leave politics without talking about money. Would you do about it without politics and gentlemen this concludes the finally dish and what must be done. Our panelists were Whitney Young Jr. executive director of the National Urban League Floyd McKissic national director of corps now on lead and Osbon Elliott the editor of Newsweek magazine. In this series we have attempted to cover the many aspects of
America's urban crisis and what must be done to stop them. We hope that you found this series interesting and more improper and that it has provided you with guidelines for actions you can take. What must be done was created and produced by Sam chase for the radio in New York with the cooperation of Newsweek magazine. I am Percy Sutton saying thank you for our panel and goodbye. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
What must be done
Summary and Review
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For series info, see Item 3635. This prog.: Summary and Review. John V. Lindsay, Mayor, New York City; John Gardner, director, National Urban Coalition; Dr. Kenneth Clark, Metropolitan Applied Research Center; Osborn Elliott
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Producing Organization: WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
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Chicago: “What must be done; Summary and Review,” 1968-11-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
MLA: “What must be done; Summary and Review.” 1968-11-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 13, 2024. <>.
APA: What must be done; Summary and Review. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from