The Etiquette of Race Relations in the South: A Study in Social Control

By Bertram Wilbur Doyle | Go to book overview

PREFACE

THE American people seem to exhibit a perennial interest in problems pertaining to the contact and association of the many races which constitute the general population. Not the least uninteresting of the problems is that of race relations, and not the least unregarded is the Negro racial group. It is, indeed, frequently assumed that "the Negro problem" is the problem and that Negro-white relations are the relations which should stimulate, although they may not require, the greatest attention.

Publications in the field of race relations, especially within the last two decades, testify to a flourishing and continual interest in the subject and have provided a motive, if they have not furnished an excuse, to publish this volume.

In an appraisal of books, which dealt less frequently with analysis than with solution of problems of race relations, Dr. Donald Young was moved to remark that "solutions to the problems of race relations have been offered freely, but not by scholars." He implied, even if he did not state in the generalization, that such volumes, generally benevolent in tone or political in purpose, have for the most part presented plans or programs for reform of the existing conditions in race relations.

Dr. Robert E. Park, distinguishing between moral, civil, and natural law, says that "if natural law aims at prediction it tells us what we can do. Moral laws, on the other hand, tell us, not what we can, but what we ought to do. The civil . . . . law, finally, tells us not what we can, nor what we ought, but what we must do. . . . . We do not know what we ought to do until we know what we can do; and we certainly should consider what men can do before we pass laws prescribing what they must do."

These statements, taken together, may be said to be the point

-vii-

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