Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 9. May 21 1968
The Negro — Integration Deportation Apartheid Slavery?
Integration Deportation Apartheid Slavery?
This article is by Alan F. Perry, an American who spent two years at the University of Massachusetts before coming to finish his degree in History at Victoria. He has returned to do graduate work at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Looking back on the recent summers of violence in the United States and on the very recent waves of destruction triggered by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, it seems increasingly clear that over the long term only a very few solutions arc possible for that nation's racial troubles. In the short term, further violence, looting, and confusion of purpose on the part of both Negroes and Whiles is inevitable. But so far as a permanent solution is concerned. there are only four possibilities.
This is true not only for the United States, but also for Britain, with her increasingly apparent racial problems, and indeed for any and all nations containing two or more distinct racial groups.
The first possibility, ludicrous is it may sound, is the reestablishment of slavery. True. it may sound far-fetched, but the much publicised Report From Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace explores this possibility for America! there is no good reason why it should not be considered as well on the grounds of settling once and for all the relationship of the races. For that mutter, rational men in Germany perpetuated outrages worse than slavery upon their fellow beings not so long ago. This then, is one possibility: slavery, either as a legally buttressed institution or else as a tacitly accepted but strongly enforced domination of one race over another.
This option, obviously, could only be realized after a full scale second American civil war even bloodier than the first.
What of the second Option, apartheid? This, in effect, is what some of the extremist Negro leaders are now calling for. They are saying, as does Dr. Vorster, that the two races are incompatible; that they can only coexist peacefully if they are completely separated from each other. Some American Negro leaders arc now calling for separate areas of the country to be given over exclusively to the Negro community. But is this not just the South African "Bantustan" transferred to North America? "Bantustan", alter all, are the expressed ultimate development of apartheid; American "Negrostans" would be nothing less. In America, as in South Africa, one of the two supposedly "separate but equal" races would be more equal than the other. The stronger group will want to control the worthwhile areas and resources—and both groups will want weapons. Endless squabbles and bloodshed would inevitably result from the system, and wo are back to civil war.
The third option at hand, mass deportation of Negroes to (presumably) Africa is a practical impossibility. The American Negro, generations removed from Africa, has no real ties to that continent. He is as detached from Africa as the fourth generation German or Italian American is from his ancestral homeland. and he certainly has no desire to start a new life in an unfamiliar continent itself beset with disunity and economic troubles. For that matter, no African state would accept American Negro immigrants in any numbers. They have enough problems of their own. Any attempt to impose mass deportation on the American Negro could only lead to civil war as I have argued already.
The fourth possibility seems to be the only reasonable alternative for Americans, for only integration on the model advocated by the late Dr. King can avoid the otherwise inevitable civil war. Only acceptance of the coloured community into the larger American society can avoid a bloodbath. This is a reasonable alternative, but can the people concerned be reasonable? Can integration Still be accomplished in the wake of the recent experiences which have embittered both black and white?
Integration at bayonet point, even if Congress or the legislature had the stomach to attempt it. could not succeed, but would only engender more intransigence and lead to more violence on the part of the Europeans.
However civil rights laws without "teeth" can be and are easily ignored by those who do not wish to obey them, and such a farce could only lead to more violence by those Negroes who have made it clear that maintenance of the Status quo is unacceptable to them. Many more from the hitherto quiet Coloured masses would then join the "activists" if it became apparent that their hopes for a better life, hopes aroused in the last decade, were to be shattered. Hopefully, steady progress toward the goal of equal opportunities in schooling, employment, and housing, plus massive doses of urban housecleaning should give the Negro community something to live for-something worthwhile to be gained without violence. Most Negroes will probably spurn the demagogic apostles of "Black Power", but only if they can see real opportunities for them to get into the "great American middle class".
The status quo itself is little better than modified apartheid, with the great mass Negroes still restricted by while intransigence to housing, jobs, and social positions separate From (and inferior to) those still tacitly reserved for whites only to use. The last few years have shown beyond question that this situation cannot continue.
So it is over to the European community. If white Americans are willing to come to accept the Negro as an equal, to continue the progress made in the late fifties and early sixties toward equalizing the races, then perhaps the second American Civil War can be avoided.
There are only four possible choices for the United States three of them can only lead to tragedy. There are no other alternatives.