Toward Equal Opportunity: a Study of State and Local Antidiscrimination Laws

Toward Equal Opportunity: a Study of State and Local Antidiscrimination Laws

Toward Equal Opportunity: a Study of State and Local Antidiscrimination Laws

Toward Equal Opportunity: a Study of State and Local Antidiscrimination Laws

Excerpt

GUNNAR MYRDAL identified a classic American dilemma when he pointed to the conflict between our asserted belief in the equality of man and our practice of denying equal status to nonwhites. We have far to go before resolving that dilemma, but we have come a considerable distance in the two decades since An American Dilemma was published. We have in fact gone far enough to perceive a new kind of dilemma: although there is greater readiness to grant equality to the Negro, we grope wildly as we seek to remedy the curse that slavery bestowed on us. For reasons of pure expediency, if for no others, it is mandatory that corrective action be taken, but the evil of the past is so indelibly etched in our institutions and beliefs that almost any imaginable course of action seems inadequate. Slavery institutionalized the inferiority of Negroes and warped the attitudes of both whites and blacks, leaving the black tenth of the nation in poverty, in subjection, and often in despair. The result is that millions of Negroes are doomed to a life of bare subsistence because they have been denied equal opportunity to gain the skills and education required for high paying jobs. Millions of adult Negroes, bogged down by poverty, caught in slums, embittered and alienated by abuse, and apathetic from despair, will never develop their own potential. Whites, when not openly hostile to Negroes, are commonly oblivious to the realities of Negro life. Both conditions tend to be self-perpetuating: the defeated Negro passes his despair to his heirs; the successful white passes on opportunity to his young along with subtle prejudice and the habit of looking the other way when the Negro's plight appears.

As the Negro Revolution progresses, the frequency of violence increases. White communities, experiencing riots and pillage, are incredulous that such a thing could happen, and when the riot is suppressed, order an investigation. But the investigators find it difficult to supply answers to the problems that sparked the violence. Part of the reason for the inadequacy of their recommendations is the unwillingness to face the realities of our internal colonialism, but even if the reality is faced there are no easy answers. Whitney Young, executive secretary of the Urban League, has proposed an immense program to improve the conditions of Negro life, reminding . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.