Race Prejudice and Discrimination: Readings in Intergroup Relations in the United States

By Arnold M. Rose | Go to book overview

equally together on a specific problem by which they were deeply affected. They began to see the practical measures they could take to regain and to safeguard their rights. They were able to communicate their understanding to many groups who might ultimately be affected by the law. Effective educational campaigns and the creation of psychological receptivity, therefore, do not precede the attempt to mobilize the forces of social control. They emerge as part of that process of mobilization itself.

That type of education becomes of particular importance after the law is passed. When people suggest that the ends a law to end discrimination in education seeks could be achieved without so much ado, that university administrators could be induced to abandon their present practices or employers persuaded, without the benefit of law, to reform their hiring policies, they miss a very important point. Assurance of a change of policy or pattern of behavior, even a law or an agency making non-discrimination mandatory, are never enough. There must be continual vigilance to make certain that these assurances are honored and that the law is enforced. But unless the masses of people have been aroused by the facts and educated through action and participation, where will that vigilance come from?

The critics who so easily apply the term "hasty" and "ill-advised" to efforts to mobilize the forces of social control against racism equally reveal their lack of understanding of the nature of the democratic struggle. If one were to apply the criteria they employ, then all but the ultimate stages of every important democratic victory in history would have to be considered "hasty" and "ill-advised." No significant gain has been won for democracy in a day or a week; and extremely few pieces of progressive legislation have been adopted on their first introduction or basic principles established on their first test.


53. The Influence of Legislation on Prejudice *

Arnold M. Rose

[In this selection, evidence is brought forward to indicate how the legal, and even the authoritarian, approach can be used to diminish prejudice and its effects.]

____________________
*
From "You Can't Legislate Against Prejudice--or Can You?" Common Ground, 9 ( Spring, 1949), 61-7. Copyright 1949 by Common Ground. Reprinted by permission of Common Ground.

-545-

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