The Colour Problem: A Study of Racial Relations

The Colour Problem: A Study of Racial Relations

The Colour Problem: A Study of Racial Relations

The Colour Problem: A Study of Racial Relations

Excerpt

The so-called 'colour problem' in the world to-day resolves itself into one fundamental question: How will the economically and politically dominant 700 million people who call themselves 'white' respond to the pressing demands for advance from the 1700 millions who are called 'coloured'? The answer to this question may be as important for the future peace of the world as the ultimate consequences of the conflict between Communism and Anti-Communism. In fact the two problems cannot be so easily distinguished. Already Anti-Communists suspect that the seeds of Communism have been sown among the socially and economically backward peoples over which they rule, and are ready to stamp upon any signs of germination. They do so with greater vigour because they have an uneasy feeling that, by their own neglect, they may have created the very soil on which the seeds of Communism may flourish.

In the last resort the promotion of harmonious racial relations depends upon the application of the principles of social justice laid down in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article two of which reads, 'Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other status'. Like most conflicts in human relations the 'colour problem' is ultimately a moral problem. But the moral problems that arise in a changing and complex society often appear difficult, if not insoluble, not because there is disagreement concerning the underlying principles that should apply, but because the facts of the situation are complex and not fully understood. It is often difficult to see how any practical policy can succeed in achieving justice for all concerned. Even when divergent moral principles are involved, as Professor Morris Ginsberg has pointed out, 'the rational solution of a social conflict requires, in addition to moral insight and the will to act on it, an exact knowledge of the objective . . .

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