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Techniques for Achieying Interracial Cooperation 
By HARorp A. LETT 

Mr. Lett, Executive Secretary of 
the New Jersey Urban League, has 
had extensive experience on the 
‘Atlantic Coast and in the Middle 
‘West in the human relations fields 

of industrial and civic life. From 
this experience he writes with 
illumination on one of the most 
crucial problems of contemporary 
society and education. 

IN AppRESSING our thoughts to this 
subject, I think it is incumbent upon 
each of us at the outset to indulge 
in a period of rigid self-analysis = 

opposing forces, separated by walls of 
tradition and moats of animosities, 
whose height and depth are measured 
in almost exact proportion to our 
personal knowledge and understand- 
ing of, and sympathy with, the 

Segregation, and its inevitable con- 
concomitant, discrimination, have 
created much bitterness and resent- 
ment in the hearts of many Negro 
Americans, but admission of that fact 
does not imply that Negroes are un- 
willing to join hands in working 
toward the alleviation and ultimate. 
elimination of these twin evils. The 
continued existente of segregation 
and discr even in limited 

of a coldly objective 
those factors which force us to ae 
of the topic as a peculiar problem. 
Such examination will disclose that 
the need for community effort toward 
achievement of interracial codpera- 
tion has been made apparent by the 

fears, and 

degrees, leads inevitably to the adop- 
tion of a Master race philosophy by 
an increasing number of white citi- 
zens, who accept the easier course of 
conforming to tradition in preference 
to risking the dangers of reprisal by 

conflicts which are inherent in a “bE 
racial society such as we in our nation 
have created. These attitudes in turn 
are strengthening and deepening the 
dangerous expressions of racial in- 
sularity which created them, setting 
in motion a vicious cycle of 

these practices. But this 
fact does not indicate that all white 
citizens permit such fears to becloud 
their judgment and sense of decency. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that 
the pattern of physical separation 
creates a state that might be termed 

and counter-aggression which today 
represents the greatest single threat 
to the democratic ideal. 

It is this racial insularity which 
makes the usually well-defined task 
of community organization seem to 
assume baffling proportions when di- 
rected to, interracial activities. In- 
stead of seeing citizens who are to be 
drawn together in a common experi 
ence, we are conditioned to see two 


psy through 
operation of which, each group as- 
cribes to the other different aims and 
ideals, different thought patterns, dif- 
ferent motives and objectives; living 
as it were, in separate and distinct 
thought worlds as well as in segre- 
gated physical environments. It is 
this almost universal condition of 
misunderstanding, suspicion, and dis- 
trust that presents real but soluble 
problems as we entertain plans for 


interracial action in our respective 

And yet, the task of achieving 
interracial coöperation, of itself, holds 
no great mystery. It is the old, old 
problem of human relations, to which 
has been added the sharper spice 
which skin-color provides as an in- 
creased stimulus. White pepper in 
one’s soup will provide plenty of heat, 
but the same amount of black pepper 
would be unbearable to the average 

late because of the added visual 
stimulus. The Negro's “high visi- 
bility,” as it appears to the white com- 
munity, symbolizes the many super- 
stitions i with 


or the fight will cement them into a 
hard-hitting combination. 

In the ‘white world, the Negro- 
phobe who opposes any form of inter- 
racial contact that is on a plane of 
dignity, and the person whose inse- 
curity is such that he adopts the “me 
too” attitude to escape the reprisals 
of his more intolerant race brothers, 
are known factors. These we learn 
to discount or eliminate from imme- 
diate consideration as we plan our 
organization. Whether or not we de- 
vote sufficient time to the identifica- 
tion and selection of the positive fac- 
tors—the forthright element of the 
white c the socially in- 

by American society, and makes the 
problem appear in such magnitude 
that rationality often is excluded. 
Thus, there are the tendencies in 
community organization to enter 
upon this phase of work skeptically, 
Yearfully, or hopelessly, because of 
our proneness to magnify its diffi- 

It seems to me that our first con- 
sideration in discussing method is 
that of starting from the firm founda- 
tion upon which is based all deeper, 
human relationships. To achieve any 
kind of mutual understanding and 
regard, people must share experiences 
which permit the interplay of charac- 
ter and personality. They must share 
a common objective; work together 
toward its achievement; experience 
the chagrin of frustration and the 
thrill of accomplishment — together. 
Football teams, business firms, and 
armies are built upon this principle. 
One teammate, partner or comrade- 
in-arms may have little in common 
with the other, but the mutually de- 
sired objective of the game, the deal, 

telligent member of the Negro com- 
munity—is that which will determine 
the effectiveness of our efforts. 

Granting that a solution to the 
problem of racial antipathies in 
America will not be found by the 
white population alone, and cannot 
be evolved by the Negro population, 
working in a vacum, it is our task 
to discover how interracial move- 
ments on the local community level 
may prove effective, and by what 
means time-proven rules governing 
community organization may be ap- 
plied to this area of activity. 

As implied earlier, the task of form- 
ing a functioning organization has 
been accomplished on all levels of 
life by building around an objective, 
and by applying methods which pro- 
vide a common interest. The greater 
the emotional blockings and the high- 
er the intellectual barriers, the nar- 
rower is the field of common or 
mutual interest. How well we are 
able to evaluate the emotional fac- 
tors, again, is a test of our own abjec- 
tivity. For instance, the Jewish schol- 


ar and the Gentile scientist, whose 
one major barrier may be religious 
prejudice, have much more in com- 
mon than the Scotch-Irish industrial- 
ist and the Scotch-Irish labor leader, 
between whom lies a broad abyss of 
class, caste, economic conflict, and all 
their evil by-products. The latter 
two can be brought together, as they 
are in increasing measure today, by 
a concern over their mutual security 
against each other in a peace-time 
economy, and in mutual protection 
against common enemies in a war 
economy. It would be foolhardy in- 
deed to call them together for Sunday 
afternoon recitals as a measure of 
achieving mutual appreciation, or to 
embark upon a codperative program 
intended to provide a cure-all for 
society's ills. 

The area of common interest be- 
tween the Negro and white com- 
munities seems to many persons in 
both groups to be severely narrowed. 
The field of interest is not at all re- 
stricted; but the choice of workers in 
that field is seriously limited because 
of the existing pattern which has left 
its livid imprint upon the emotional 
lives of otherwise decent, upstanding, 
neighborly people. Most of those who 
are available are not themselves en- 
tirely free of restraint, making it more 
necessary that tact and patience be 
employed in service that brings grati- 
fication without extending them be- 
yond their limits. I believe all of us 
have known the white associate who 
believes in employment opportunities 
for Negro workers, but who will balk 
at the thought of removing restrictive 
barriers in restaurant, theatre, or resi- 
dential areas. I am sure we all have 
known the Negro who has a practical 

[VoL. xv, No. 1 

outlook on the race situation, but 
who will decline to waste time in 
pointless discussions with white per- 
sons whose sincerity he questions. 

In such situations, too frequently 
there has been the tendency to adopt 
the “all or nothing attitude.” By 
charging the white person with in- 
sincerity because he holds some reser- 
vation, and the Negro with fear, 
inferiority, or antagonism because he 
is impatient with vacillation, both 
are discarded and we have lost values 
which cannot be measured by failing 
to find that practical, active program 
which would have afforded both an 
opportunity to re-appraise themselves 
and their attitudes. 

In the immediate past, the term 
“interracial committee” has carried a 
connotation of cloying paternalism 
and purposeless posturing. Yet, we 
cannot question the sincerity of pur- 
pose or quarrel with the motives 
which have inspired many such move- 
ments deserving this description. 
Earnest people striving courageously 
against the artificial confines of our 
bi-racial social system were themselves 
reduced to a state of blindness, so 
that they stumbled through a tortu- 
ous maze of Dunbar poems and Bur- 
leigh-arranged spirituals, and waded 
through oceans of tepid tea, with the 
hope of reaching an objective which 
might have been found at the end of 
a direct, well-travelled path. Here we 
found completely discarded every 
common-sense approach to a problem. 
Instead of a studied plan, there was 
aimless drifting; instead of living 
Life, members of both groups entered 
upon a stage, played a brief, ill-fitting 
role, and made a grateful exit; instead 
of naturalness and productive effort, 

JANUARY 1945] 

there were pretense and empty ideal- 

Or, the other alternative which too 
frequently has occurred has been the 
urge to employ the organization as 
an omnibus, a cure-all; urging it to 
rush blindly into all conflict areas. 
The obvious result is that of irritating 
both individuals as their fears and 
suspicions are sharpened by provid- 
ing too many potential and real areas 
of conflict. Both are likely to carry 
away from such an experience more 
deeply fixed emotional scars than 
were present at the outset. 

On the other hand, our personal 
knowledge of Mr. White (let us call 
the one) made us know him as one 
who believed firmly that skilled 
Negro workers were entitled to work 
in any place where such skills were 
employed—and would fight a buzz- 
saw in registering his conviction. Mr. 
Brown, among his many pet theories, 
believed in this same program with 
all his heart. Here was a valuable 
combination which shared its com- 
mon interest in high enthusiasm and 
rare teamwork. Our mistake occurred 
when we urged the interracial group 
to take up the cudgel against the 
restaurant which refused service to a 

The situations described are purely 
hypothetical, but most of us can re- 
call their parallels 


ills is bound to end in disaster be- 
cause we deliberately intrude upon 
what we know to be forbidden 
ground. Impatience, thoughtlessness, 
and lack of skill have caused many 
such difficulties. 

In both instances, the common fac- 
tors appear to have been, first, the 
failure to measure carefully the capac- 
ity of the composite membership, and 
secondly, the need for shaping and 
defining a program that would tax 
that capacity to the point of chal- 
lenge, and no further. 

The natural question to arise 
would be, “How then may we utilize 
the talents and energies of both the 
progressive and the more hesitant 
people in programs having such limi- 
tations?” My answer would be, by 
simply following the rules of com- 
munity organization which apply out- 
side the interracial sphere; by depart- 

to which you wish to give attention, 
and mobilizing Negroes and Whites 
on the basis of their social stature. 
Housing enthusiasts, white and col- 
ored, share that particular passion 
even though having violent disagree- 
ments in other areas of thought. Anti- 
segregationists, regardless of color, 
can be of tremendous value when di- 
rected toward certain flagrant condi- 

tions; yet they could completely 
block the first move for local Hous 
here in our by the liness of 

past experiences. I present it to illus- 
trate my point that our planned inter- 
racial program must have its specific 
objective, which must of necessity be 
the common denominator of the in- 
terests of the people involved; and 
that the urge to thrust upon the 
group the burden of all our social 

their crusade, if drawn into the plan- 
ning stage of such a community enter- 
prise. Direct actionists, however 
commendable their purpose, can ruin 
irreparably the carefully laid plans of 
arbitrators. Conciliators, on the other 
hand, usually send the blood pressure 
of actionists to the bursting point by 


their cautious, fearful, delaying tac- 

In the national scene three splen- 
did examples of interracial action are 
provided to accommodate the advo- 
cates of the several types of control 
and method just outlined. A great 
many whites are bewildered and mis- 
led by what appears to be needless 
duplication and waste of effort; and 
far too many Negroes, consciously or 
unconsciously, create minor areas of 
conflict by insisting that each assume 
the role of the other. I refer to the 
National Urban League, the NAACP, 
and the National Negro Congress. 

The League, with its objective, 
scientific approach attracts the social- 
ly-minded elements of both races who 
see an ultimate solution of racial 
problems in the creation of enlight- 
ened self-interest, and through the 
universal application of socio-econom- 
ic remedies. The NAACP appeals to 
the more militant, equalitarian point 
of view, and to champions of civil 
liberties. These, too, pursue a course 

T ski 

[vor. xv, NO. 1 

could or should occur as long as each 
holds to its course. So, on the local 
level can such departmentalization be 

I have said that the job of achieving 
interracial coöperation contains no 
great mysteries; that it is the old prob- 
lem of attaining good human rela- 
tionships. It is my conviction that 
the basic principles guiding the 
formation of community organiza- 
tion and group-work activities apply 
in every respect to this area of opera- 
tion—that is, if they are permitted to 
apply. The conscious or unconscious 
urge to surround the task with a cloak 
of mystery is that which has caused 
many failures. Naturalness in at- 
tempting interracial work too fre- 
quently is tampered with by those 
wiser persons who presume to know 
bout the so-called “race prob- 
lem”; who create new rules with 
which to cope with their particular 
concept of this phenomenon of indus- 
trial civilization; and who prevent 


of t, seeing 
the abrogation of civil rights affect- 
ing one group as a constant threat 
to themselves through other groups. 
The Negro Congress, attracting popu- 
lar front and direct action advocates, 
provides an outlet for the less re- 
strained, more impatient, mass pres- 
sure adherents. Although the ulti- 
mate objective of each is exactly the 
same, membership is drawn from the 
elements of both racial groups, to 
whom the organization represents a 
medium of expression for their inter- 
ests, associations, and methods. Each 
has its particular job to do in the 
accomplishment of the whole task, 
and no conflict between the three 

the operation of techniques which 
k ience has proven to 
be effective. 

I believe that there are certain fun- 
damental landmarks which apply to 
the area of interracial action with 
even greater emphasis than is true in 
community organization generally: 

1. We must be purposeful. I am 
convinced that more harm than 
good has been done by the tra- 
ditional “interracial committee” 
to which I have made reference 
—perhaps too facetiously. Here 
we usually discovered neither 
purpose nor goal, and it was im- 
possible for anyone to penetrate 
the veneer of frigid formality 
and aloofness which inhibited 

JANUARY 1945] 

most members of the group. 
People do not become acquaint- 
ed in such an atmosphere; rather, 
they are inclined to become fur- 
ther confused by the strangeness 
which artificiality has imposed 
upon each. Purposefulness pre- 
sents an objective. Interest in 
the objective induces people to 
lose themselves and their self- 
consciousness in the common 
We must be sincere. An organ- 
izer who is not possessed by a 
conviction will not be able effec- 
tively to overcome the suspicions 
which have been acquired in 
current racial attitudes. Convic- 
tion, of necessity, requires un- 
assailable knowledge of the facts 
in the situation. 
We must be practical. In every 
group there will be the advocates 
of an all-out crusade; and there 
will be those whose fears will 
cause them to shrink from any 
direct action. Calm judgment is 
required to maintain an even 
balance and to steer a practical 
course between these conflicting 

4. We must be scientific. I mean, 
by this, an adherence to basic 
principles of community organi- 
zation, with application of the 
wealth of knowledge amassed by 
social-scientists in the realm of 
human behavior. We must keep 
in our consciousness—in_ facing 
any situation—that we are deal- 
ing with human beings and hu- 
man superstitions. Beware of 
him who would forsake science 
for rule-of-thumb methods. 

In considering the question of or- 




ganizing procedure, I am inclined to 
favor the selection of a general objec- 
tive as the first step, with personnel 
mobilized around the objective, in 
the second step. For the reason that 
emotional elements are more compel- 
ling in the interracial area than gen- 
erally applies to other organizational 
ventures, it would appear that the 
hazards are minimized when prospec- 
tive recruits are made aware of ser- 
vices which will be exacted of them. 
Obviously, the efficacy of the attrac- 
tion will depend upon the nature of 
the objective. Is there purposefulness 
there? Will the program assume the 
formlessness of the old “cultural 
appreciation” effort? Will it propose 
to attack the entire area of racial 
restriction, exclusion, and conflict? 
Shall it be a temporary gesture for 
expediency’s sake, which shall employ 
words only as tools to achieve good 
will, and to avert open conflict in the 
community? Or, shall it become a 
consistent and clearly-defined ap- 
proach to community discipline, 
through utilization of the construc- 
tive forces, whose aid will be required 
to remove or minimize the causes of 
tension? Here again, as in the realm 
of general community organization, 
the definition of a clear-cut program, 
directed toward a specific goal, will 
eliminate much doubt, hesitation, 
and confusion in attracting recruits. 

But what will be the committee’s 
function In other words, how spe- 
cific may the organizers be in pre- 
determining the committee's scope? 
The answer to the question will be 
found in programs operating in our 
communities at the moment, even 
though they may not be interracial in 
character. For example, you and I 


see the need for attention of a citi- 
zens’ group to a particular, local situ- 
ation. It may be some defection in 
the public school system; or it may 
be a weakness in local political ad- 
ministration. We organize a commit- 
tee and attract to that committee the 
individuals who would have a like 
interest in the eis The chal- 

[vor. xv, No. 1 

eral interracial committees, each 
functioning in a specific field of inter- 
est, each attracting to its membership 
individuals who find in the commit- 
tee objectives outlets for their pri- 
mary interests. The important thing, 
here, is that there be close coordina- 
tion of the work of the several com- 
mittees. ne all, is not this the 

lenge is th is 
mobilized around he challenge and 
the job to be done. It isn’t likely, 
however, that we will attempt to em- 
ploy the organization to remedy all 
the evils existing in our community, 
because our judgment makes us real- 
ize that the wider the scope of re- 
sponsibility we dare assume, the fewer 
will be the people who will see eye- 
to-eye with us on the several issues 
involved, and the weaker our organi- 
zation is likely to be. In racerela- 
tions, as in other problem areas, the 
“omnibus” type of organization has 
little chance to achieve real success. 

The “all-or-nothing” advocates, 
however, will object to this proposal 
by saying that discrimination in the 
use of public facilities is a symbol of 
the whole problem, and exclusion of 
these areas of study and work would 
be a retreat before the forces of re- 
action. Not at all! There is nothing 
to prevent the formation of a second 
group whose avowed function would 
be to remove these restrictive bar- 
riers. To such a group, obviously, 
would be attracted individuals whose 
interests lie in that direction, and be- 
ing fearless and like-minded on the 
issues involved, presumably could 
function with a minimum of friction 
and a maximum of effectiveness. It 
is entirely conceivable that a given 
community might well support sev- 

in the 
professions GE contador soe med 
cine—of education? Have we not seen 
the need for specialization in every 
service intended to meet the needs of 
human beings? 

In the city of Newark, New Jersey, 
such a program of specialization is 
working to excellent advantage, in 
the well-codrdinated activities of 
three citizens’ groups, whose pro- 
grams supplement the work of the 
Urban League, the Congress of In- 
dustrial Organization, the Conference 
of Christians and Jews, two poli 
cally-created bodies—the N. J. Wel- 
fare Commission and the N. J. Good- 
will Commission and others. The 
oldest of these three groups is the 
Newark Interracial Council, which 
after several years of operation as an 
“omnibus” type of organization de- 
cided to concentrate upon the task 
of securing hospital facilities for 
Negro professionals. During those 
early years, it had swayed from project 
to project experiencing high mem- 
bership turnover in the process and 
losing prestige in the larger com- 
munity. For the past six years, it has 
given itself almost exclusively to this 
specific task, attracting to its member- 
ship white and colored citizens who 
felt that the exclusion of Negro doc- 
tors, nurses, and trainees from local 
hospitals was affecting the future of 

JANUARY 1945] 

the entire community. In the latter 
process, it has won an enviable repu- 
tation for courage and consistency. 
Only recently has it won its first vic- 
tories, with the admission of Negro 
staff physicians to one hospital, a 
nurse-trainee to another, and staff 
nurses to three institutions. Mean- 
time, a spirit of kinship among its 
members have been welded, and ra- 
cial identities have been forgotten. 
But we needed reform in our pub- 
lic-school system, in which there had 
never been more than eleven Negro 
teachers in a community of nearly 
500,000 souls, 10% of whom are Negro. 
We considered it unwise to swamp 
the Interracial Council with a task of 
this magnitude in view of its current 
commitments. The community was 
combed for individuals whose pri- 
mary interest was Education but 
whose racial views were liberal. Our 
immediate objective was that public- 
school teachers now in the system be 
exposed to a program of interracial 
and intercultural training, to mini- 
mize the dangers of racism and in- 
tolerance appearing in the schools. 
Italians, Catholics, Jews, Protestant, 
Anglo-Saxons, and "Negroes joined 
hands to promote the major plan and 
deliberate upon the secondary plan 
for the integration of Negro teachers. 
This committee has. achieved its 
first goal by enrolling twenty-five 
public-school teachers in the first 
course on i 


books; preparation and use of a sylla- 
bus on intercultural relationships for 
classroom use, and an increase in the 
number of Negro teachers, particular- 
ly on the secondary level and in guid- 
ance and counselling. The recent 
addition to the Board of Education 
of its first. Negro member has given 
us a strong, influential ally that 
promises well for our plans. 

As a wave of race-rioting descended 
upon the country, another challenge 
was accepted. Although there has 
been no evidence of subversive activi- 
ty in our community, points of fric- 
tion are noticeable where Negro and 
Italian youth were in proximity. Our 
daily press is fairer than average; our 
Negro press is militant as the average; 
and our police force as tough as the 
average. An organization accepting 
responsibility for easement of these 
tensions must be calm and objective, 
broadly representative of the leader- 
ship of groups most likely to be in- 
volved in local clashes, and possessing 
sufficient influence or prestige that its 
findings and recommendations would 
be heard. 

First we listed the civic, social, la- 
bor, nationality, and racial groups 
whose influences would be needed at 
some stage in our plan. Then we 
centered upon individuals who pos- 
sessed liberal views and who fitted 
into these several groups. Next by 
applying the test of our program out- 
line, we elimi: d those who could 

ever offered by our Teachers College. 
We have presented to the Board of 
Education, which has approved them 
in principle, a list of recommenda- 
tions including in-service training 
courses for all teachers; review and 
elimination of unsatisfactory text- 

not stand the pressure. When the 
survivors were invited, they respond- 
ed almost to the last man. 

Today a group of over a hundred 
people, not more than a dozen of 
whom are identified with the two 
groups previously mentioned, are 


formed into five active sub-commit- 
tees and an executive committee. Al- 
ready they have launched educational 
programs in industrial plants, reach- 
ing labor, supervision, and manage- 
ment alike. Another group has had 
the temerity to discuss news-angling 
methods with r ives of the 

[vor. xv, NO. 1 

acts as clearing house, referral center, 
and coordinating agency for its mem- 
ber constituency. Thus, all danger 
of overlapping, duplication, or com- 
petitive waste has been minimized, 
and the means for instantaneous mo- 
bilization of all the liberal forces in 

Negro press, as well as with the daily 
and the language press. A third group 
is planning its way carefully for an 
approach to police officials on the 
training of policemen in attitudes and 
treatment of minorities; while still 
another is joining forces with group 
work and leisure-time programs for 
teen-age youth who have been at 
the center of most minor clashes. In- 
to these sub-committees have been 
channelled committee members ac- 
cording to their primary interests and 
social stature. 

One other technique has been em- 
ployed which I believe deserves men- 
tion. From a nucleus of a few all-out 
liberals have been chosen six whose 
time and interest are such that they 
have been assigned to spark each com- 
mittee. Chairman and secretary were 
selected on the basis of interest and 
prestige—the spark plug on the basis 
of interest and time to devote to the 
work, plus possession of sufficient tact 
that will always assure recognition of 
and i to the i 

the have been provided 
for any emergency. 

Just a brief moment for considera- 
tion of local committee objectives. 
Each successful interracial effort has 
as its ultimate aim the accomplish- 
ment of the following general results: 

Exposure to each other of people 
of both groups, as a means to 
mutual understanding and re- 
spect, and as the one certain 
method of eliminating racial in- 

Initiation of joint and consid- 
ered effort toward remedying lo- 
cal conditions which are the 
sources of suspicion, resentment, 
and conflict; and 

Provision of a medium for shap- 
ing an informed and positive 
public opinion, to replace the 
misconceptions and fears now 



Among these can be discovered in- 
numerable challenges stemming from 
specific problems which need reme- 


Our most recent step has been to 
form a Codrdinating Council whose 
membership is composed of two elect- 
ed delegates from each of these three 
citizens’ groups and from eleven other 
organizations whose programs relate 
to some phase of intercultural rela- 
tionships. This Council is a planning, 
rather than functional body, which 

dial In a group such as 
this, no argument is needed to em- 
phasize the fact that racial tensions 
observable today are the surface 
symptoms of underlying social and 
economic dislocations, It may require 
some discussion to convince a few 
that the treatment indicated by pres- 
ent symptoms must be more than the 
counter-irritant of lecture or repri- 
mand, more than the sedative of edi- 

JANUARY 1945] 

torial sentimentality. The social ill- 
ness which almost has reached a 
chronic stage needs drastic and con- 
sistent medication. This is to say that 
a program that will be meaningful 
must recognize one or more of the 
obvious causes for dissatisfaction in 
the Negro community, as well as 
those that are responsible for much 
of the guilt feeling existing in the 
white community—the two represent- 
ing the powder and the spark! . 

iscri: is the 


the average city or town. These are 
just some of the basic issues in the 
local scene, and the committee's 
stature will be measured by the intel- 
ligence, the consistency, the diligence, 
and the dignity with which it tackles 
any one or combination of these 
tension-producing factors in the com- 

Members of the social-work profes- 
sion rank high on the list of the Na- 
tion’s Tealists: It is going to require 
the 1 hip of realists to bring or- 

greatest, single ‘challenge, followed 
closely by the universal picture of 
poor housing. Any clear-sighted, fair- 
minded citizen could enlist in either 
cause without losing face or being 
charged with advocating that fearful 
though undefinable thing — social 
equality. Increased health and recre- 
ational facilities and revised and ad- 
justed systems of public-school ale 

der out of our most confusing and 
contradictory domestic problem. As 
realists, we have been aware of the 
scientific fact that racism is a super- 
stition which has been permitted to 
weaken our democratic structure. As 
realists, we must marshall scientific 
fact to our aid, in order that we may 
fulfill our obligation to the society 
we serve. As realists, we know that 

cation are restoring 

is a poor for 

self-esteem in the white and colored 
citizens of many progressive Ameri- 
can cities; but many more show seri- 
ous need for application of corrective 
measures. Interpretations and pro- 
tests directed to newspaper editors on 
the biased slanting of racial news, and 
to police officials on the almost uni- 
versal prevalence of police brutality 
in minority group areas, can remove 
many of the most potent irritants in 

progressive action; that sympathy 
alone cannot serve in the stead of 
understanding aid; and that paternal- 
ism can never supply man’s constant 
demand for justice and fair dealing. 
Let us not permit emotionalism to 
blind us to our responsibility; tradi- 
tion to distort our perspective of the 
basic issues involved in this problem; 
nor superstition to impede us in the 
pursuit of our task.