Value in Social Theory: A Selection of Essays on Methodology

By Gunnar Myrdal; Paul Streeten | Go to book overview

PART 2

CHAPTER THREE
INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF THE NEGRO PROBLEM

1. THE NEGRO PROBLEM AS A MORAL ISSUE

THERE is a 'Negro problem' in the United States and most Americans are aware of it, although it assumes varying forms and intensity in different regions of the country and among diverse groups of the American people. Americans have to react to it, politically as citizens and, where there are Negroes present in the community, privately as neighbours.

To the great majority of white Americans the Negro problem has distinctly negative connotations. It suggests something difficult to settle and equally difficult to leave alone. It is embarrassing. It makes for moral uneasiness. The very presence of the Negro in America;2 his fate in that country through slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction; his recent career and his present status; his accommodation; his protest and his aspiration; in fact his entire biological, historical, and social existence as a participant American represent to the ordinary white man in the North as well as in the South an anomaly in the very structure of American society. To many, this takes on the proportion of a menace -- biological, economic, social, cultural, and, at times, political. This anxiety may be mingled with a feeling of individual and collective guilt. A few see the problem as a challenge to statesmanship. To all it is a trouble.

These and many other mutually inconsistent attitudes are

____________________
1
From the Introduction to An American Dilemma.
2
The word America will be used in this book as a synonym for the continental United States.

-55-

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Value in Social Theory: A Selection of Essays on Methodology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • Part 1 1
  • Chapter Two - The Relation Between Social Theory and Social Policy 9
  • Part 2 55
  • Chapter Four - American Ideals and The American Conscience 65
  • Chapter Five - Valuations and Bbliefs 71
  • Chapter Six - Encountering the Negro Problem 89
  • Chapter Seven Facts and Valuations 119
  • Chapter Eight - Facets of the Negro Problem 165
  • Chapter Nine - The Principle of Cumulation 198
  • Part 3 206
  • Chapter Eleven - The Logical Crux of All Science 231
  • Postscript 237
  • Index 263
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