Power and the Black Community: A Reader on Racial Subordination in the United States

By Sethard Fisher | Go to book overview

28. The Role of White
Resistance and Facilitation in
the Negro Struggle for Equality

Although the degree and kind of Internal mobilization of the black community is an essential element in achieving social gains, the white community, too, can be viewed in terms of its areas of differential amenability to this process. In the following article Glenn discusses the differential amenability of the white community and stresses the importance of strategic and powerful black-white alliances.


NORVAL D. GLENN

The fate of Negro Americans has been and remains largely in the hands of the dominant white population. Since whites are almost 90 percent of the population, are more than 95 percent of the college graduates, and have perhaps 95 percent of the wealth, and since they occupy almost all key positions in the social order and control the armed forces and law enforcement agencies, they could, by acting in unison, prevent any economic, educational, or other gains by Negroes. In fact, Negroes could be pushed much lower in the social heap than they are now. Whites have not only largely controlled the opportunities for Negroes; they have been responsible also for the experiences and circumstances that have conditioned the aspirations and incentive of Negroes to take advantage of available opportunities. 1

The harshness of the fact that Negroes are largely at the mercy of whites is tempered by the fact that they have had many white benefactors. White abolitionists worked to free them, a white president gave them legal freedom, and the efforts of thousands of white soldiers made that freedom a reality. White people were responsible for the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution. They were more numerous than Negroes among the founders and early leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and for many years they provided most of the financial support of that organization and of the National Urban League, until recently the only other major organization devoted solely to the welfare and advancement of Negroes. All Negro

____________________
From Phylon ( Summer 1965), Vol. 26, pp. 105-116; reprinted by permission.

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