The racial problem is badly obscured by its historical retrospect and presentation, much of which is unsound and untrue; it is obscured also by ancient hatreds and national jealousies. These are inherent in human nature but are fed and fostered by prejudice and those who are animated by ulterior and selfish intentions. New and rapidly arising ambitions are also fomenting the difficulty; these ambitions are right and sound, particularly in the case of the Negro. These ambitions are often exploited and distorted by selfish political interests and trouble-making agencies. Still other factors conditioning the racial problem are the economic distress under which so many labour today, the imperialistic control of certain nations, the lack of educational attainments, or a civilization so ancient that it is showing signs of degeneration. These and many other factors are everywhere present, conditioning human thinking, deluding the many affected by the problem and greatly handicapping the efforts of those who are seeking to bring about right action and develop a more balanced and constructive attitude among these minorities. Minorities, along with the rest of mankind, are subject to the unerring forces of evolution and are struggling towards a higher and better existence, towards more wholesome living conditions, towards more individual and racial freedom and a much higher level of right human relations.
The sensitivity of these minorities, the inflammatory condition of their immediate and expressed ambition and the violence and prejudice of some of those who speak and fight for them prevent the majority from approaching their problem with the calmness, the cool calculation and the recognition of relation to the whole of humanity which their problem fundamentally requires. Racial faults are more widely recognized than racial virtues; racial qualities find themselves in conflict with national characteristics or world trends and these still further increase the difficulty. The efforts of well-meaning citizens (and they are many) and the plans of the convinced humanitarian to aid these minorities are too often based solely upon a good heart, Christian principles and a sense of justice; these fine qualities are, however, often implemented by a profound ignorance of the true facts, of the historical values and of the various relationships involved. They are also often impulsed by a fighting fanaticism which borders on a hatred for the majority who (as the fighting protagonist sees it) are responsible for the cruel injustices under which the racial minority labours. They fail to recognize that the minority itself is not free from faults but is in a measure also responsible for some of the difficulties. These racial faults and difficulties are usually frankly ignored by the minority itself and its friends.
Racial faults may be entirely the result of the point reached in evolution, of unfair environing conditions and of a certain type of temperament, as is the case with the Negro minority in the United States of America, which leaves them basically not responsible for the difficulty; or the responsibility of the struggling minority may be far greater than it is willing to admit, as is the case with the Jewish minority in the world who are an ancient and civilized people with a full culture of their own, plus certain inherent characteristics which may account for much of their trouble. The difficulty again may be largely a historical one and based upon certain essential incompatibilities such as those which can exist between a conquered and a conquering people, between a militant group and a negative, pacifist group. These can be found existing today between the Moslem and Hindu populations of India—an ancient problem which the British inherited. To all these contributing factors in the problem of the minorities must be added the separative tendencies which the differing religious systems have fostered and which today they deliberately continue to foster. The narrowness of religious creeds is a potent, contributing cause.
At the very outset of our discussion, it would be wise to remember that the entire problem we are considering can be traced back to the outstanding human weakness, the great sin or heresy of separateness. There is surely no greater sin than this; it is responsible for the entire range of human evil. It sets an individual against his brother; it makes him consider his selfish, personal interests as of paramount importance; it leads inevitably to crime and cruelty; it constitutes the greatest hindrance to happiness in the world, for it sets man against man, group against group, class against class and nation against nation. It engenders a destructive sense of superiority and leads to the pernicious doctrine of superior and inferior nations and races; it produces economic selfishness and leads to the economic exploitation of human beings, to trade barriers, to the condition of have and have not, to territorial possessiveness and to the extremes of poverty and riches; it sets an important emphasis upon material acquisitiveness, upon boundaries, and the dangerous doctrine of national sovereignty and its various selfish implications; it breeds distrust between peoples and hatred throughout the entire world and has led since time began to cruel and destructive wars. It has today brought the entire planetary population to its present dire and dreadful condition so that men everywhere are beginning to realize that unless something is fundamentally changed, mankind is practically already destroyed. But who will engineer the needed change and where is the leadership which will bring it about? It is a state of affairs which mankind itself must face as a whole; and by meeting and facing this basic expression of universal wrongdoing, humanity can bring about the needed change and is offered a new opportunity for right action, leading to right human relations.
From the angle of our subject, the problem of the minorities, this sense of separateness (with its many far-reaching effects) falls into two major categories; these are so closely related that it is well-nigh impossible to consider them apart.
First, there is the spirit of nationalism with its sense of sovereignty and its selfish desires and aspirations. This, in its worst aspect, sets one nation against another, fosters a sense of national superiority and leads the citizens of a nation to regard themselves and their institutions as superior to those of another nation; it cultivates pride of race, of history, of possessions and of cultural progress and breeds an arrogance, a boastfulness and a contempt of other civilizations and cultures which is evil and degenerating; it engenders also a willingness to sacrifice other people's interests to one's own and a basic failure to admit that "God hath made all men equal". This type of nationalism is universal and everywhere to be found and no nation is free from it; it indicates a blindness, a cruelty and a lack of proportion for which mankind is already paying a terrible price and which will bring humanity down in ruins if persisted in.
There is, needless to say, an ideal nationalism which is the reverse of all this; it exists as yet only in the minds of an enlightened few in every nation, but it is not yet an effective and constructive aspect of any nation anywhere; it remains still a dream, a hope and, let us believe, a fixed intention. This type of nationalism rightly fosters its individual civilization but as a national contribution to the general good of the comity of nations and not as a means of self-glorification; it defends its constitution, its lands and its people through the rectitude of its living expression, the beauty of its mode of life and the selflessness of its attitudes; it does not infringe, for any reason, the rights of other people or nations. It aims to improve and perfect its own mode of life so that all in the world may benefit. It is a living, vital, spiritual organism and not a selfish, material organization.
Secondly, there is the problem of the racial minorities. They present a problem because of their relation to the nations within which or among which they find themselves. It is largely the problem of the relation of the weaker to the stronger, of the few to the many, of the undeveloped to the developed, or of one religious faith to another more powerful and controlling; it is closely tied up with the problem of nationalism, of colour, of historical process and of future purpose. It is a major and most critical problem in every part of the world today.
As we consider this crucial problem (upon which so much of the future peace of the world depends), we must make an effort to keep our own mental and national attitude well in the background and to see the emerging problem in the light of the Biblical statement that there is "one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in us all". Let us regard that statement as a scientific one and not as a pious, religious hope. God has made us all of one blood and that God—under some name or aspect, whether transcendent or immanent, whether regarded as energy or intelligence, whether called God, Brahma, the Abstract or the Absolute—is universally recognized. Again, under the great Law of Evolution and the process of creation, men are subject to the same reactions to their environment, to the same pain, to the same joys, to the same anxieties, to the same appetites and the same urges towards betterment, to the same mystical aspiration, to the same sinful tendencies and desires, to the same selfishness, and to the same amazing aptitude for heroic divine expression, to the same love and beauty, to the same innate pride, to the same sense of divinity and to the same fundamental efforts. Under the great evolutionary process, men and races differ in mental development, in physical stamina, in creative possibilities, in understanding, in human perceptiveness and in their position upon the ladder of civilization; this, however, is temporary, for the same potentialities exist in all of us without exception, and will eventually display themselves. These distinctions, which have in the past set peoples and races so far apart, are rapidly dying out with the spread of education, with the uniting discoveries of science bringing us all so close together and with the power to think, to read and to plan.
All evolution is cyclic in nature; nations and races pass through the same cycles of childhood, growth, manhood, maturity, decline and disappearance, as does every human being. But behind these cycles, the triumphant spirit of man moves on from height to height, from attainment to attainment and towards an ultimate goal which as yet no man visions but which is summed up for us in the possibility of being in the world as Christ was; this is the hope held out to us in the New Testament and by all the Sons of God down the ages and in every land and by all religious faiths.
In considering our theme we need now to do two things: first of all consider what makes a people, a race or a nation a minority, and then consider along what lines a solution may lie. The world today is full of [Page 91] clamouring minorities who—rightly or wrongly—are making claims upon the majority. Some of the majorities are sincerely concerned in seeing justice done to the struggling and appealing minorities; others are using them as "talking points" for their own ends or are championing the cause of the small and weak nations, not from any humanitarian reasons but for power politics.
There are both national and international minorities. In the international situation there are powerful majorities—the Big Three, the Big Four or the Big Five and numerous smaller nations, demanding equal rights, equal votes and equal position. These smaller nations are afraid of the more powerful nations and of their ability to enforce their will. They are afraid of exploitation by some powerful nation or amalgamation of nations, distrustful of favours and support because of future claimed indebtedness, and unable to enforce their will or express their desires because of military weakness and political impotence. You have, therefore, in the world today great and influential nations such as the U.S.S.R., the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America; you have also powers which have been great and then forfeited all right to recognition; you have other powers, such as France and Spain, who are secondary in influence, but resent it greatly, and finally many small nations each with its own individual life, civilization and culture. All of these without exception are characterized by a spirit of nationalism, by a determination to hold on to what is or has been their own at any cost, and all possessing an historical past and local tradition which condition their thinking; all have their own developed or developing culture and all are bound together by what we call modern civilization. It is a civilization at present founded on materialism and one which has signally failed to instill into men a true sense of values—the values which alone can bind humanity together and bring to an end the great heresy of separateness.
All these nations, great and small, have suffered cruelly during the years of war (1914-1945) and are doomed still to suffer through the years of immediate adjustment. Some have suffered more than others and have the opportunity to demonstrate a resultant purification, if they so choose. Others chose an easy way during the war and abstained from taking sides, losing thereby a great spiritual opportunity, based upon the principle of sharing; they will need to learn the lessons of pain in other ways and more slowly; nations in the western hemisphere have not suffered in any acute manner, for their territories have been spared, and their civilian populations have lived in comfort, ease and plenty; they too have lost something and will also need to learn in other ways humanity's great lesson of identification and non-separateness.
Great and small today face a new world; great and small have lost faith in the old ways, and few really wish to see the old manner of life restored; all the nations, great and small, are fighting diplomatically, politically and economically for all they can get for themselves; distrust and criticism are widespread; there is no true sense of security, especially among the minorities. Some of the great nations, with a sound realization that there is no peace for the world unless there is justice for all, are struggling to create an organization which will give place and opportunity to all nations but their efforts are largely based on a selfish common sense; they are founded also upon the knowledge that material security and a sufficiency of material supplies must be the result of a compromise between that which has been and the—as yet—impossible vision of the idealist. Their objectives, however, are still material, physical and tangible and are presented idealistically but with selfish motives. This is, however, a great step forward. The ideal is universally recognized even if it remains as yet a dream.
As we face the world picture today, we must see it in its true colours and must realize that if the best possible steps, spiritual and material, were to be taken for the smallest and least important of the minorities, it would create a situation which would completely reverse world politics and usher in an entirely new and more enlightened cultural and civilized age. This, however, is not likely to happen; so close are the interlocking selfish interests that the use of a system of perfect justice and fairness in any one case would upset major material interests, infringe the so-called rights of powerful nations, encroach on settled boundaries and outrage powerful groups even in most distant lands.
Today—on an international scale—the battle of the minorities is going on; Russia is reaching out after influence in many directions; the United States of America is seeking to hold the place of paramount control in South America and in the Far East commercially and politically and is earning a name in those countries (rightly or wrongly) as imperialistic; Great Britain is endeavouring to protect her "lifeline" to the East by political moves in the Near East; France is attempting to regain her lost power by obstructing the work of the U.N. and by championing the cause of the smaller nations in Europe. As the Great Powers play politics and angle for place and position, the masses of the people in every land—great and small—are full of fear and questioning; they are worn by the war, sick of insecurity, underfed and frightened as they look toward the future, tired to their very souls of fighting and quarrelling, weary of the tyranny of striking workmen, and wanting only to live in safety, to own the necessities of existence, to raise their children in a certain measure of civilized culture and to live in a land where there are sound economics, a living religion and an adequate educational system.
In every country the great sin of separateness is again rearing its ugly head; minorities abound and are abused; cleavages are everywhere to be found; parties are clamouring for attention and adherents; religious groups are spreading dissension and seeking to gain in membership at the expense of other groups; the rich are organizing so as to control the finances of the world; the poor are fighting for their rights and better living conditions; the tyranny of selfish politics permeates both capital and labour.
This is a true and tragic picture. It is, happily, not the only one. There is another; a study of this other picture will lead to renewed optimism and to constant faith in divine planning and the beauty of the human being. In every nation there are those who see a better vision of a better world, who are thinking and talking and planning in terms of humanity, and who realize that those who form the various groups—political, religious, educational and labour—are men and women and essentially, if unconsciously, brothers. They see the world whole and are working towards an inevitable unification; they recognize the problems of the nations, great and small, and the difficult situation in which the minorities today find themselves; they know that the use of force produces results which are not truly effective (for the cost is far too great) and are usually transient. They realize that the only true hope is an enlightened public opinion and that this must be the result of sound educational methods and just and exact propaganda.
It will be obvious that it will not be possible to take up the tale of all the minorities in the international field [Page 95] and deal for instance with the struggle of the little nations for recognition and for what they consider (rightly or wrongly) their just rights. The story of the little nations would take years to write and years to read. It would be the story of humanity. All we can do is to recognize that they have a case to be presented and a problem to be solved, but that justice and fair play, full opportunity and equal sharing of the world's economic resources will only be possible when certain broad and general principles have been enforced by the weight of public opinion.
The problems of two minorities are attracting at this time much public attention. If they can be solved a tremendous step forward will have been made towards world understanding. They are:
1. The Jewish Problem. The Jews constitute an international minority of great aggressiveness, exceedingly vocal, and they also constitute a minority in practically every nation in the world. Their problem is, therefore, unique.
2. The Negro Problem. This is another unique problem, with the Negro constituting a majority in that great (and as yet undeveloped) continent of Africa, and at the same time constituting a minority in the United States of America and one which is attracting great attention. This problem is unique in the sense that it is essentially the problem of the white people and one which they must solve because they produced it and have perpetuated it.
If we can get some idea of the significance of these problems, materially and spiritually, and can gain some insight into the responsibilities involved, much of usefulness may be gained. In the case of the Jews, the sin of separateness is deeply inherent in the race itself, as well as among those among whom they live, but for the perpetuation of the separation the Jews are largely responsible; in the case of the Negro, the separative instinct derives from the white people; the Negro is struggling to end it and, therefore, the spiritual forces of the world are on the side of the Negro.
This problem is so old and so well known that it is difficult to say anything about it which will not be in the nature of a platitude, that will not indicate a bias of some kind (from the point of view of the reader) and that will not arouse in the Jewish reader above all an undesirable reaction. There is little usefulness, however, in saying that which will be acceptable or which agrees with all points of view or is a statement of all that has hitherto been said. There are things to be said which are not so familiar and which have seldom been said, or have been said in a spirit of criticism or of anti-Semitism instead of in a spirit of love, as is attempted here.
Let us look for a moment at the situation of the Jews, prior to the bitter and unpardonable attack made upon them by Hitler and prior to the war 1939-1945. They were to be found in every land and claimed citizenship in every country; within the nation of their birth, they preserved intact their own racial identity, their own peculiar way of life, their own national religion (which is everybody's privilege) and a close adherence to those of their own race. Other groups have done this but to a much lesser degree and have been eventually absorbed and assimilated by the land of their citizenship. The Jews have always constituted a nation within a nation, though this has been less marked in Great Britain, Holland, France and Italy than elsewhere, and therefore, in none of these countries has there been any strong anti-Semitic feeling.
In every country and down the ages, the Jew has turned to commerce and has worked with money; they are a strictly commercial and urban people and have shown little interest in agriculture, except lately under the Zionist Movement in Palestine. To their extremely materialistic tendencies they have added a great sense of the beautiful and an artistic conception which has added much to the world of art; they have ever been the patrons of the beautiful, and have also been amongst the world's great philanthropists and this in spite of undesirable and devious business methods, which have made them greatly disliked and mistrusted in the world of business. They are and remain an essentially oriental people—which the occidental is apt to forget; if he remembered it he would realize that the Eastern approach to truth and honesty and to the use and possession of money is widely different to that of the Western, and herein is to be found a part of the difficulty. It is not so much a question of right and wrong as one of different standards and inherent racial attitudes which are shared with the whole of the East.
The modern Jew is also the product of many centuries of persecution and of migrations; he has wandered from country to country and from city to city, and in the course of these wanderings he has inevitably developed certain habits of living and thinking which, again, the occidental fails to recognize and for which he makes no allowance; the Jews are, for instance, the product of centuries of tent-dwelling and hence the untidy effect they have on any community in which they live and which the more organized Westerner (a cave-dweller) fails to recognize. They are also the product of their need, down the centuries, to live off the people among whom they wander, to seize the presented chance to take what they want, to see to it that their children get the best of everything available, no matter what the cost to others, to cling to their own people in the midst of the alien races among whom they cast their lot, and to preserve inviolate, as far as may be, their national religion, their national taboos and the ancient landmarks. This has been essential to their existence under persecution; it has been compulsory for them to preserve these factors in their ancient forms as far as possible, so as to provide evidence to other Hebrews in new lands and cities that they were Jews as they claimed to be. It is this that makes them the most reactionary and conservative race in the world.
Racial characteristics have become increasingly pronounced owing to the inevitable intermarriage during the past centuries and the emphasis laid by the orthodox Jew in the past upon racial purity. The young and modern Jew lays no emphasis upon this and has usually no objection to intermarriage with the Gentiles, but this is only a late development which meets with no approval from the older generation. The Gentile also objects in many cases.
The Jew is a good citizen, law-abiding, kindly and decent in his ways, anxious to play his part in community life and ready with his money when asked for it but—he still remains apart. The Ghetto tendency, as one might call it, can be seen spreading everywhere, particularly in the larger cities in the different countries. Down the ages, the Jews for measures of protection and for communal happiness tended to herd together and to seek each other out, and the Gentiles among whom they found themselves fostered this tendency; thus habits of association were formed which still control. Added to this, and due to the separative action of the Gentile world, restricted areas and cities began to appear in many countries in which no Jew was permitted to reside or to purchase property or to settle. Because of the aptitude of the Jew to live off other people and to live within a nation, benefiting by its customs, culture and civilization but retaining a separate identity and not becoming a true part of the national life, the Jew has ever been subjected to persecution; as a race, he is nowhere liked and people are on guard against him and his methods.
This general statement is often untrue where the individual Jew is concerned. There are Jews in every nation and locality who are deeply loved by all who know them, whether Jew or Gentile, who are respected by all around them, who are sought after and valued. These belong to the great spiritual aristocracy of humanity, and though they function in Jewish bodies and bear Jewish names, they join forces with men and women gathered out of all nations who belong to humanity and who have outgrown national and racial characteristics. These men and women are, as a group, the hope of humanity, the guarantee of the new and better world for which we all wait; their numbers are increasing daily. In a broad generalization about any race or nation, the individual necessarily suffers, but the statements made about the race or nation as a whole are correct, true and verifiable.
Perhaps the major factor which has made the Jew separative and which has cultivated in him the superiority complex which distinguishes him (under an outer inferiority) in his religious faith. This faith is one of the oldest in the world; it is older than Buddhism by centuries; older than many of the Hindu faiths, and much more ancient than Christianity, and there are features in it which have definitely made the Jew what he is. It is a religion of taboos, built up carefully to protect the wandering Jew as he drifted from one community to another; it is a religion with a distinctly material basis, emphasizing the "land flowing with milk and honey"; this was not symbolic in the days of its use, but a presented objective of his travels. The colouring of the religion is separative; God is the God of the Jews; the Jews are God's chosen people; they must be preserved in physical purity and their well-being is of major importance to Jehovah; they have a messianic destiny, and Jehovah is jealous of their contacts and interest in any other people or God. To these divine requirements they have, as a people, been obedient and hence their plight in a modern world.
The word "love" as it concerns relation to other people is lacking in their religious presentation, though love of Jehovah is taught with due threats; the concept of a future life, dependent upon conduct and behaviour to others and on right action in the world of men, is almost entirely lacking in The Old Testament and teaching on immortality is nowhere emphasized; salvation is apparently dependent upon the keeping of numerous physical laws and rules related to physical cleanliness; they go so far as to establish retail shops where these rules are kept—in a modern world where scientific methods are applied to purity in food. All these and other factors of less importance set the Jew apart, and these he enforces no matter how obsolete they are or inconvenient to others.
These factors demonstrate the complexity of the problem from the Jewish angle and its irritating and frictional nature to the Gentile. This irritating factor is something which the Jew seldom if ever recognizes. The Gentile today neither remembers nor cares that the Jews were instrumental in having Christ put to death (according to The New Testament); he is more apt to remember that Christ was a Jew and to wonder why the Jew was not the first to claim and love Him. He remembers far more acutely Jewish business methods, the fact that the Jew, if orthodox, regards Gentile food as impure for him and that the Jew considers his citizenship as secondary to his racial obligations. He regards the Jew as a follower of an obsolete religion; he intensely dislikes the cruel and jealous Jehovah of the Jews and looks upon The Old Testament as the history of a cruel and aggressive people—apart from the Psalms of David, which all men love.
These are points to which the Jew at no time seems to pay attention and yet it is these things in their aggregate which have set the Jew apart from the world in which he wants to live and be happy and in which he is the victim of an inheritance which could with profit be modernized. Nowhere is the emergence of a new world religion more greatly needed than in the case of the Jew in the modern world.
Yet—God has made all men equal; the Jew is a man and a brother, and every right that the Gentile owns is his also, inalienably and intrinsically his. This the Gentile has forgotten and great is his responsibility for wrong doing and cruel action. The Jew for ages has not been wanted by his Gentile brother; he has been chased from place to place; constantly and ceaselessly the Jew has been forced to move on or move out—across the desert from Egypt to the Holy Land, from there (centuries later) to the Mesopotamia Valley and from that time on in a constant series of migrations, with great streams of wandering Jews moving ceaselessly north, south and west and a small trickle going east; expelled from cities and countries during the Middle Ages, then after a period of relative quiescence again the displaced Jews were on the move in Europe, homeless, drifting hither and thither (along with many thousands of other nationalities, however), helpless in the hands of a cruel fate, or not so helpless but organized by certain political groups for international and selfish ends. In the countries where anti-Semitic feeling has been practically nonexistent for decades, antagonism is rising; in Great Britain its evil head can now be seen, and in the United States of America it is a mounting menace. It is for the Gentiles to bring the cycle of persecutions to an end once and for all; it is for the Jew to take those steps which will not arouse the dislike of the Gentiles among whom he lives.
The need of the Jew at this time is for a solution of this ancient problem which has disturbed the peace of countries down the centuries. The responsibility of the non-Jews, in the light of humanitarian demand, is vital; the record of the persecution of the Jews is a grievous and ghastly story, only paralleled by the Jewish treatment of their enemies, as related in The Old Testament. The fate of the Jews in the world war is a terrible tale of cruelty, torture and wholesale murder and the treatment of the Jews down the ages is one of the blackest chapters in human history. For it there is no excuse or condonation, and right thinking people everywhere are aware of this and are eagerly demanding that these persecutions end. The spiritual forces of the world and the spiritual leaders of humanity (both those working on the outer plane and those guiding from the inner side of the veil) are seeking a solution.
The solution, however, will be found only when the Jews themselves seek to find the way out and cease their present policy of demanding that the Gentiles and Christians make all the concessions, find the solution of the problem alone, and, unaided by the Jews, bring the evil situation to an end. The Jews voice loudly and constantly their demand for redress and help; they blame the non-Jewish nations for their miseries; they fail always to recognize any conditions on their own side which could account for some of the general dislike with which they are confronted; they make no concessions to the civilizations and cultures in which they find themselves but insist on remaining apart; they blame others for their isolation, but the fact remains that they have been given equal opportunity as citizens in all open-minded countries. Their contribution to the solution of this ancient problem is a material one, and shows no psychological insight or any recognition of the spiritual values involved; no problem can today be solved entirely along material lines. Man has as a whole outgrown that.
The problem of the Jews goes deeply into the entire question of right human relations; it can only be solved on that inclusive basis. It concerns the interplay between people of different races but recognizing brotherhood in the human family; it evokes the whole problem of selfishness and unselfishness, of consideration and of justice, and these are factors which must condition all parties. The Jew needs to recognize his share in bringing about the dislike which hounds him everywhere; the Gentile must shoulder his responsibility for endless persecutions and pay the price of restitution. The Jew has evoked and still evokes dislike, and for this there is absolutely no need.
To sum up, the Jew has set up an ancient pattern of living within other nations; as a citizen with all the rights of citizenship, he has built up a wall of taboos, of habits and of religious observances which separate him off from his environment and make him non-assimilable. These must go, and he must become a citizen not only in name but in fact. There is no other problem like it in the world today—an entire people of distinctive race, religion, goals, characteristics, culture and a uniquely ancient and most reactionary civilization, scattered as a minority in every nation, positing an international problem, possessed of great wealth and influence, claiming citizenship in every nation but retaining deliberately their racial identity, creating dissension among the nations, attempting in no way to meet harmoniously their complex problem on any large scale with due psychological understanding or consideration of the Gentile environment to which they ceaselessly make appeal, proffering only material solutions and constant, almost abusive, demands for the Gentile to shoulder the entire blame and end the difficulty.
Alongside of this, one must place the long and sorry story of the persecution of the Jews by the Gentiles—widespread in the Middle Ages (if one goes no further back), sporadic in more modern times, but culminating in the violent treatment of the Jews during the world war. It was, however, a treatment not uniquely theirs but meted out also to Poles, Greeks and the helpless of many nations. This is a point which the Jews today appear to forget. They have not been alone in their persecution. The Jews constituted only twenty per cent of the dispersed persons in Europe after the war.
This same sorry story of Gentile cruelty includes also the growing anti-Semitism which can be seen even in countries which have been relatively free from it; there is a constant discrimination against the Jew in business circles; restricted areas are increasing everywhere; the plight of Jewish school children in the U.S.A., for instance, who are discriminated against, hooted at and abused, is shocking to contemplate. The situation also exists wherein no country anywhere wants to open its doors and offer the unwanted Jews asylum. No nation wants to admit them in their hundreds. Right thinking people in every nation are seeking and will continue to seek a solution, and one will be found. This problem child within the family of nations is a child of the one Father and spiritually identified with all men everywhere. People know that there is "neither Jew nor Gentile", as St. Paul expressed it (facing two thousand years ago the same sad problem), and men and women in both groups have constantly and increasingly proved the truth of this statement.
Such is the problem of the Jewish minority, given with a frankness which will evoke much criticism, but given in this way in the hope that because it is prompted by love, the Jews will shoulder their own responsibilities, will cease crying aloud to the Gentiles to solve the problem alone, and will begin to cooperate with a full sense of spiritual understanding and so aid the thousands of Gentiles who earnestly want to help. There has never been a time when the Gentile world has been more keen to do what is right by the Jew or more anxious to solve this problem and make restitution for all he has suffered. Changed inner attitudes are needed on both sides, but very largely on the side of the Jews; there is evidence that these new attitudes are germinating, even if the finding of the right solution may take much time. There are Jews who today are saying what is said here.
This problem is totally different to that of the Jews. In the first case you have an exceedingly ancient people who for thousands of years have played their part in the arena of world history and who have developed a culture and identified themselves with a civilization which has enabled them to take their place on equal terms with what we call the "civilized" peoples. In the case of the Negro, we are considering a people who have (during the past two hundred years) begun to rise in the scale of human endeavour and have, in that time, made amazing progress against great odds and much opposition. Two hundred years ago, the Negroes were all to be found in Africa and are still there in the millions; two hundred years ago, they were what the European and American regarded as "raw savages", divided into countless tribes, living in a state of nature, primitive, warlike, totally uneducated from the modern point of view, ruled by chieftains and under the guidance of tribal Gods, controlled by tribal taboos, differing greatly from each other—the Pygmy and the Bechuanaland warrior would appear to have no point of resemblance except their colour—constantly fighting among themselves and raiding each other's territory.
For centuries they have been exploited and driven into slavery, first by the Arabs, then later by those who purchased them from the slave-owners and carried them into slavery to the United States or to the West Indies. They have been exploited also by the European nations who seized vast territories in Africa and enriched themselves on the produce of those countries and the labour of their inhabitants—the French in the French Sudan, the Belgians in the Belgian Congo, the Dutch and the British in South Africa and the West Coast of Africa, the Germans in German East Africa and the Italians in Eastern Africa. It is a sorry story of cruelty, theft and exploitation on the part of the white race, though much good also came out of it for the black race. The story of these relationships is still unfinished, and unless it is conducted in the future with righteousness and justice, may terminate in tragedy. There is, however, much improvement in the internal history of these territories, and there is much reason for optimism.
The problem of the Negro falls into two divisions: the problem of the future of the African Negro and the problem of the future of the Negro in the western hemisphere.
Africa is potential and the destiny of its countless millions of inhabitants is still in the embryonic stage; the relationship of its true inhabitants to the alien races who seek to dominate them remains still in the realm of political manoeuvring and commercial greed. It should, however, be recognized that in spite of the many attendant evils which follow ever on the trail of the exploiting white man, the impact of the white races on the "black continent" has brought great evolutionary development and benefits—education, medical aid, the ending of the ceaseless tribal wars, sanitation, and a more enlightened religious system in the place of the barbaric cults and crude religious practices. Much evil followed the explorer, the missionary and the trader but much good also followed in their steps, particularly in those of the missionary. The Negro is naturally religious and mystically inclined, and the major tenets of the Christian faith have a definite appeal to his nature; the emotional aspects of the Christian presentation (with the emphasis upon love and goodness and the life hereafter) is understood by the emotionally focussed Negro. Behind the many separative religious cults of that dark land, there emerges a fundamental and pure mysticism, ranging all the way from nature worship and a primitive animism to a deep occult knowledge and an esoteric understanding which may some day make Africa the seat of the purest form of occult teaching and living. This, however, lies several centuries ahead.
In considering the problem of the African Negro, it is the long range vision with which we must deal and the steady rising into power of millions of people who have, as yet, only made the first steps towards modern civilization and culture, but are taking others with an almost frightening rapidity. The undesirable aspects of civilization are present, but the benefits conferred far outweigh these, and the Negro, in spite of his natural and understandable antagonism, should recognize them as a debt he owes to the aggressive and acquisitive white nations. Contact with them has stimulated his intellectual perception; the white man's way of living has lifted the Negroes of Africa out of their primitive state into a more modern one; education and modern ways of thinking and planning are rapidly fitting the Negroes to take their place in a modern world; science, transportation and knowledge—brought to them through the medium of the white races—are tying them closely into the developing scheme of modern history; the new world with its better ways of living is as much for the Negro as for the white man.
But beyond this necessary recognition of indebtedness and the effort to benefit from the presented conditions and to ignore that which is evil and undesirable, the Negro problem, both in Africa and in the western world, is largely (if not entirely) that of the white race and one which it is their responsibility to solve. In Africa the Negro greatly outnumbers the white population; the latter is in so small a minority that they are faced with a most difficult situation, living as they do in the midst of an overpoweringly vast black population. In the West and in America, the situation is reversed and the Negroes constitute a minority, greatly outnumbered by the white people. In Africa the Negro is virile and militant; in America and the West Indies he has been somewhat emasculated and psychologically defeated by years of forced labour and slavery. Slavery exists also in Africa, but it has been of a different kind and has not produced quite the same results as it has in the West.
The problem facing the white races now in Africa is so to train the Negroes that they will be fitted for true self-government. They must be helped to take over their own destiny; they must be given a sense of trained responsibility; they must be taught to realize that Africa can belong to its own people and at the same time be a cooperating partner in world enterprise. This can only happen when the antagonism between the white people and the black races is ended; between the two of them goodwill must be demonstrated. Right human relations must be firmly established between the emerging Negro empire and the rest of the world; the new ideals and the new world trends must be fostered in the receptive Negro consciousness and in this way "darkest Africa" will become a radiant centre of light, ready for self-government and expressing true freedom. Increasingly these Negro races will forsake their emotional reaction to circumstances and events, and meet all that transpires with a mental grasp and an intuitive perception which will put them on a par and perhaps ahead of the many who today condition the environment and the circumstances of the Negro.
We might express the possibilities as follows: Will the Negroes of Africa arrive at control of their own continent by violently ejecting the governing white races and by a long cycle of wars between the different Negro groups which people that continent? Or will the matter be settled by an understanding farsighted policy on the part of the white people, plus cooperative planning for the future? Will this be paralleled by an ability on the part of the Negro races to move slowly and wisely, to avoid bloodshed and rancour, to see through the devious ways of selfish political agents (seeking to exploit them) and demonstrate also such an outstanding capacity to handle their own affairs and produce their own leaders that naturally and automatically, without conflict or violence, they will gather the reins of government into their own hands and gradually eliminate white control? Will the white nations who today commercially exploit Africa, holding on to their land tenure, relinquish their so-called rights (based on the fact that possession is nine-tenths of the law) and substitute the New Age methods of right human relations and intelligent cooperation, the sharing of resources, so rich and varied in that wonderful continent, and contribute their trained skill, their proved commercial benefits and their scientific knowledge to all that Africa has to offer of usefulness and productive materials to the world? The European nations and the British peoples are now following a programme leading to the release of Africa into the hands of its own people. At the same time, a sane patience should lead the African peoples to concentrate on educational processes, and agricultural and economic developments. The destiny of this great land will clarify itself and Africa will take its place as a great centre of cultural light, shining within a civilized land.
Unless both races, the black and the white, approach the problem of their relationship with sanity, with long range vision, with patience and without hatred or fear, the cultural history of our planet will be retarded for many years. The hitherto unused and unorganized power of the countless millions of Africa is something that the white race should carefully consider. They can place the Negro peoples as rapidly as possible on an equality of opportunity, of constitutional and human rights, and help them to pass through the stage of adolescence in which they are now to be found to that full and useful maturity in which they will handle their own problems and territory. This process is now going forward and Africa will thus take its place (through its many possible national groups) in the great family of nations and bring into the world arena a race with an amazing contribution to make of spiritual assets, cultural values and creative possibilities.
The innate endowment of the Negro is very rich in content. He is creative, artistic and capable of the highest mental development when taught and trained—as capable as is the white man; this has been proved again and again by the artists and the scientists who have come out of the Negro race and by the fact of their aspirations and their ambitions. The time has come when the white man must cease to look upon the Negro as a field labourer, a factory hand, a beast of burden, or one only capable of housework or unskilled labour and accord him the respect and the opportunity which is due him.
The Negro of Africa is emerging fast and when a few more years of education, study and travel have played their part, the problem of Africa will become even more acute than it already is. It need not become dangerous if the white race demonstrates wisdom, understanding, selfless thinking and a willingness to give complete freedom to the Negro races. The future peace of the world depends today upon enlightened, far-seeing statesmanship and an appreciation of the fact that God has made all men free.
The problem of the Negro in the western hemisphere constitutes a very ugly story, seriously implicates the white man and provides an outstanding disgrace. Brought to the United States and to the West Indies more than two centuries ago and forced into slavery, the Negro has never had a fair deal or any true opportunity. Under the constitution of the United States, all men are regarded as free and equal; the Negro, however, is not free or equal, particularly in the southern states. The situation in the West Indies more closely resembles that in the northern states, where conditions are somewhat better but where there is still no equality of opportunity and much racial discrimination. The treatment of the Negro in the southern states is a blot upon the country; there the fight is to keep the Negro consistently down, to refuse him equality of education and of opportunity, to keep his standard of living at the lowest possible level and well below that of the white, to refuse him political recognition and, in a democratic country where all men are entitled to vote, he is prevented from sharing in this constitutional privilege. In the northern states these conditions do not exist to the same extent, but the Negro is steadily discriminated against, is refused equal opportunity and has to fight for every privilege. A few corrupt and ignorant senators consistently outrage the good intentions of the mass of American people by perpetuating these evil conditions and fighting by every possible means to prevent their being changed; they play upon the fears of their constituents and block every move made to bring about a better and cleaner situation which would be in line with the constitution. These shortsighted politicians attempt to sidetrack the issue and throw dust in the eyes of their constituents by fighting for the freedom of distant small nations in Europe; at the same time they steadily defy their own constitution by refusing freedom and liberty to the Negroes of their own country. For their attitude and conduct there is today no possible excuse. It remains a mystery in the minds of other enlightened nations why the broad-minded people of the United States—vociferous in their demand for their own personal freedom and insistent upon the defense of the constitution—permit this condition to exist and perpetuate in office these men who bring about a constant infringement of the constitutional rights of American citizens.
The cry of the south that the Negro is not educationally fitted to vote is negated by the fact that he can and does vote in the northern states, in many cases as wisely as his white brother, and though his vote can often be purchased by electioneering politicians so also can that of the white voter; the cry that white women must be protected from the animal instincts of the Negroes means nothing, for they need equal protection from the animal instincts of the white man, and this statistics will adequately prove; the cry that paternalism is what the Negro needs and that only the southerner understands how to handle the Negro is disproved by the Negro himself who wants none of it; his repudiation of it demonstrates a sound sense of values and that he knows the distinction between paternalism (which keeps the Negro backward, uneducated and under obligation to the white) and the freedom which he wants to share with all men in the world.
The Negro is naturally easy, accommodating, kindly and anxious to like people and be liked; if today so many Negroes are arrogant, vindictive, full of hate and anxious to assert themselves it is because they have been made so by the white people. The white people face a grave responsibility and it lies in their hands to change conditions. When they do so, they will find the Negro as responsive to good and fair treatment, equal opportunity and right living conditions as he is responsive sometimes in the wrong way to the evil educational, political and living conditions under which he now labours. This applies to the entire Negro problem in the western hemisphere.
The Negro cannot be discriminated against for all time; he cannot be asked to defend his country and then have his country refuse him the ordinary rights of citizenship. Public opinion is on the side of the Negro and there is a steadily growing determination among the white citizens of the western hemisphere that he be given his constitutional rights, equal commercial and business opportunities, equal educational facilities and equally good living conditions. It is for the people of America to speak with a clear voice and demand that Negroes be given their just rights. Every white American should shoulder his responsibility for this minority and study the Negro problem; he should learn to know the Negro personally as a friend and a brother; he should see to it that he plays his part in changing the present condition.
On the subject of intermarriage, the best and soundest thinkers in both the white and black races at this time deplore mixed marriages. They mean no happiness for either party. When considering this subject it should be remembered, however, that intermarriage between the white peoples and the yellow races (the Chinese and the Japanese) is equally unfortunate and—with the rarest exception—seldom proves successful and is never satisfactory where the children of such unions are concerned. The world war (1914-1945) has itself produced a great admixture of races. Where marching armies go there is inevitable promiscuity and a resultant new population; the world today is producing and will produce the results of these (so-called) illicit unions between the soldiers of all nations and the peoples of the countries in which they find themselves. These children of mixed race, as well as the half-castes and the Eurasians may be the answer to a large part of the problem. There will be hundreds of thousands of these children of mixed parentage, forming part of the world population in the next generation and immediate cycle and they are a group with which we will have to reckon.
It will be obvious that a finding of a solution to the problem of the minorities is essentially the finding of a solution to the great heresy of separateness. This is immensely difficult not only because of humanity's predisposing tendency in this direction, but because that same human nature cannot be easily or rapidly changed. Also, this change and the breaking down of the spirit of separateness has to be brought about in a world of men which is today full of distrust and fear and hardly aware of what is really needed—able only to cry in unison: Give us peace in our time!
If by an act of immediate legislation the Negro minority gained its full rights the problem would remain the same, for the hearts and minds of men would not have been altered and the solution would be entirely superficial; although the Jews have gained their desire and Palestine was handed over to them the anti-Semitic feeling present—with practically no exception—in every nation remains exactly the same as before, plus the bloodshed in Palestine.
The problem goes far deeper than is often estimated; it is inherent in human nature and is the product of countless centuries of fostered growth and the wrong type of education of the masses. Nation is still pitted against nation in the political arena, group against group and (within the nations) party against party and man against man. The wise and the farseeing, those prompted by a sane and unselfish commonsense, the idealist and the men and women of goodwill are everywhere and are struggling to find a solution, to build a new world structure of law, order and peace, which will insure right human relations; but they are, in turn, a tiny minority in comparison to the vast multitude of human beings peopling our earth; their task is hard and from the point at which they must work, appears to them at times as presenting well-nigh insuperable difficulties.
Certain questions inevitably arise in the minds of the men of goodwill everywhere:
1. Can the Great Powers be trusted to function selflessly in the interests of the Little Powers and of humanity as a whole?
Can power politics and the various national imperialisms be forgotten and ended?
2. Can a world policy be devised which will insure justice for all whether great or small?
3. Can world opinion be sufficiently strong in the interests of right human relations that it can tie the hands of the selfishly aggressive and open the door of opportunity to those who have as yet had little?
4. Is the hope of establishing an era of right human relations within nations as well as internationally, an [Page 116] impossible dream, a waste of time to consider or an evidence only of wishful thinking?
5. Does the goal of right human relations, equal rights and opportunity for all men everywhere provide an entirely possible goal for which all well-intentioned men can work with some hope of success?
6. What are the first steps which should be taken to promote such right endeavours and to lay a secure foundation of world goodwill?
7. How can public opinion be sufficiently aroused so that the many steps to promote right human relations will be faced by legislators and politicians everywhere?
8. What should the minorities do in order to gain their just demands, without promoting more differences and feeding the fire of hatred?
9. How can we abolish the great lines of demarcation between races, nations and groups, and the cleavages that are to be found everywhere, working in such a manner that the "one humanity" emerges in the arena of world affairs?
10. How can we develop the consciousness that what is good for the part can also be good for the whole and that the highest good of the unit within the whole guarantees the good of that whole?
These and many other questions arise and clamour for an answer. The answer comes in the form of a generally accepted platitude and is unfortunately in the nature of an anti-climax: Establish right human relations by developing a spirit of goodwill. Then and only then shall we have a world at peace and ready to move forward into a new and better era. Though a platitude is, in the majority of cases, the statement of a recognizable truth, it is difficult in this case to make people admit its feasibility. Nevertheless, because it is a truth, it is bound eventually to demonstrate as such, not only in the minds of a few people here and there but on a large scale throughout the world. People are looking eagerly for the unexpected and the unusual, for an anticipated miracle and for God (whatever they mean in their own minds by that term) to take action, thus relieving them of responsibility and doing their work for them.
Not by such methods do men move forward; not by shifting responsibility do they learn and progress. The miracle may happen and the beautiful and the unexpected appear but only when men have themselves created the right setting and by the wonder of their own achievement made it possible for a still more wonderful expression of rightness to manifest. We can have no further expression of divinity until men act more divinely than at present; we shall have no "return of Christ" or a downpouring of the Christ consciousness until the Christ in every man is more awake and alert than is at present the case; the Prince of Peace or the Spirit of Peace will not make the presence of peace felt on earth until the peaceful intentions of men everywhere are changing the aspect of world affairs. Unity will not be the distinctive characteristic of mankind until men have themselves pulled down the separating walls, and have removed the barriers between race and race, between nation and nation, between religion and religion and between man and man.
The wonder of the present situation and its outstanding opportunity is that for the first time, and on a planetary scale, men are aware of the evil which must be eliminated; everywhere there is discussion and planning; there are meetings and forums, and conferences and committees, ranging all the way from the great deliberations of the United Nations down to the tiny meetings held in some remote village.
The beauty of the present situation is that even in the smallest community a practical expression of what is needed on a worldwide scale is offered to the inhabitants; differences in families, in churches, in municipalities, in cities, in nations, between races and internationally all call for the same objective and for the same process of adjustment: the establishing of right human relations. The technique or method to bring this about remains everywhere the same: the use of the spirit of goodwill.
Goodwill is the simplest expression of true love and the one most easily understood. The use of goodwill in connection with the problems with which humanity is faced releases the intelligence along constructive lines; where goodwill is present, the walls of separation and of misunderstanding fall.
Love and understanding will eventually follow upon a practical expression of goodwill as a factor in every type of human relation and as a mode of contact between groups, between nations and their minorities, between nation and nation and also in the field of international politics and religions. The expression of true love as a factor in the life of our planet may lie very far ahead, but goodwill is a present possibility and the organizing of goodwill an outstanding necessity.
There is today much talk about goodwill and a constant use of the word; there is a real intention to employ it in every field of human thought and in relation to every human problem; there is evidence that there is a real effort at this time to make goodwill an effective agent in negotiating world peace and understanding and in bringing about right human relations.
The major need is an immediate campaign, carried forward by all men of goodwill everywhere throughout the world to interpret the meaning of goodwill, to emphasize the practical nature of its expression, to gather together into an effective and active world group all men and women of goodwill and to do this, not in order to create a super-organization, but to convince the unhappy, the distressed and the abused of the magnitude of the intelligent aid which stands ready to assist them. They must also demonstrate their ability to strengthen the hands of all workers who are struggling to bring about right human relations and prove to them the potency of the force of an educated and alive public opinion (educated by the men of goodwill) upon which they can draw. Thus there will be established in every nation, in every city and village, men of goodwill—with trained understanding, practical commonsense, a knowledge of world problems and a willingness to spread goodwill and find the men of like mind in their environment.
The work of the men of goodwill is an educational one. They hold and advocate no miraculous solution of world problems but they know that a spirit of goodwill, particularly if trained and implemented by knowledge, can produce an atmosphere and an attitude which will make the solving of problems possible. When men of goodwill meet, no matter what their political party, nation or religion, there is no problem which they cannot eventually solve and solve to the satisfaction of the various parties involved. It is the production of this atmosphere and the evocation of this attitude which is the principal work of the men of goodwill and not the presentation of some cut and dried solution. This spirit of goodwill can be present even where there is fundamental disagreement between parties. But this is seldom the case today. There is a real spirit of goodwill controlling quite a few of the discussions of the United Nations organization on quite difficult and touchy points, and this is becoming increasingly apparent.
There is absolutely no reason to believe that the growth of goodwill in the world need be a slow and gradual affair. The reverse can be the case if the men and women who today feel within themselves a genuine goodwill and who are free from prejudice will seek each other out and work together to spread goodwill. A prejudiced person, a religious fanatic, or a staunch nationalist have a hard task in developing true goodwill within themselves. They can accomplish it if they care enough for their fellowman, and seek to leave him free, but they will have to seek for the dark area in their own minds where a wall of separativeness exists and tear it down. They will have to develop (with deliberation) true goodwill (not tolerance) towards the object of their prejudice, towards the man of an alien religion and towards the nation or race to which they feel antagonistic or upon which they look down. A prejudice is a first brick in a separating wall.
Goodwill is far more widespread throughout the world than people think; it simply needs to be discovered, educated and set to work. It must not be exploited, however, by groups working for their own ends, no matter how honestly, correctly or sincerely. It would, if that was done, be diverted into a partisan effort. The men of goodwill stand midway between opposing groups where such exist, in order to create a condition in which discussion and compromise can become happily possible. They tread constantly the "noble middle path" of the Buddha which runs between the pairs of opposites, straight to the very heart of God; they tread the "narrow way" of love of which Christ spoke, and they indicate they are treading it by an expression of the only aspect of love which humanity can at present understand: Goodwill.
When goodwill is expressed and organized, recognized and used, world problems, no matter what they may be, will in due time reach solution; when goodwill is a true and active factor in human affairs, we shall then pass on to a fuller and richer understanding of the nature of love and to an expression of some still higher aspect of that divine love; when goodwill is widespread among men, we shall see the establishing of right human relations and a new spirit of confidence, trust and understanding will be found in mankind.
Men and women of goodwill exist in every nation and in all parts of the world in their innumerable thousands. Let these be found, reached and put in touch with each other; let them be set to work to create a right atmosphere in world affairs and in their own communities; let them know that associated they are omnipotent and that they can so educate and train public opinion that the world attitude to world problems will be right and correct and in line with the divine plan; let them realize that the solutions of the critical problems with which humanity is faced at the portal of the New Age will not be found by deciding upon some line of action and forcing it on public attention by propaganda and by campaigning. It will come by advocating and developing a spirit of goodwill (with its results: a right atmosphere and a sound attitude) and an understanding heart.
The Christian era was ushered in by a mere handful of men, the twelve Apostles, the seventy disciples and the five hundred who recognized the message of the Christ. The new era in which Christ will "see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied", is being ushered in by the hundreds of thousands of the men of goodwill now active in the world and who can become still more active if recognized, reached and organized.
[PROBLEMS OF HUMANITY, 1947, pp. 85-121]