The American Race Problem: A Study of the Negro

The American Race Problem: A Study of the Negro

The American Race Problem: A Study of the Negro

The American Race Problem: A Study of the Negro

Excerpt

The Negroes have at all times been a source of friction in American social life and the various political, economic, educational and other problems that have arisen in consequence of their presence in numbers have been endlessly discussed. All manner of men, wise and stupid, Northern and Southern, black and white, have been moved to express opinions and the literature is singularly rich in sociological material. As in the case of other problems that come in for popular discussion the opinions that gain currency are in major part simple rationalizations. For certain purposes these opinions may have independent value but the sociologist is not concerned to debate their validity. But he is interested in analyzing and describing them, in defining the situations to which they are inevitable responses, in tracing their mutations in a changing social order, and in defining the rôle they play in social life.

The rich variety of naïve material makes racial life and opinion a suitable point at which to introduce the student to the scientific study of concrete social reality. But the absence of any convenient organization of the material has been an obstacle in the way of its use. The very wealth of concrete data, in the absence of expert guidance, is sometimes a source of embarrassment. Discussion groups do not always distinguish between the formulation of opinion and the analysis of opinion. In this connection the present volume should be found useful. It is designed to serve as an outline and as a point of reference as well as to provide an organization and a . . .

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