Viewing page 14 of 27

EDITORIAL
[[image - drawing of a man working at his desk]]

A BATTLESHIP

All the newspapers to-day are filled with the agitation of the Japanese people against certain restrictions and discriminations which the people of California are attempting to make against them. If California ceases to insist on these restrictions it will be because millions of miles away there are a few islands with men of power and, what is more important, with battleships. Now, throughout this country there are ten million people who are striving to make something of themselves against all the prejudices against all the discriminations, against all the obstacles that eighty other millions of Americans can place in their path, and what have they to oppose to this victorious conquest of prejudice? No distant island to plead for them, no battleship; only one organization of Americans to fight for them. The distant battleship of the American Negro is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, that fights not with bullets and with ammunition, but with the conscience of a people who will and must have justice. 

J. E Spingarn.


THE OSTRICH.

Some folks are mental ostriches. We are not referring to their intellectual digestions although there we realize is room for a whole editorial. We are referring now to the method of mind that is able to persuade itself that is the unseen is non-existent. An astounding number of people rushing through earth's deserts escape the evil that haunts them by sticking their heads in a hole in the ground and saying insistingly: "I don't believe it, and even if it is true I won't regard it." 

Now the world is without doubt full of things, incidents, thoughts, men that are best disregarded; that are best unheard, unseen, ignored. But make no mistake, friend of the unseeing eye, for there is no evil in the world which may not be ignored and that cannot be escaped by sticking out heads in the ground and closing our eyes.
 
The race situation to-day is not beautiful; although the reasons for hope and encouragement far outweigh the evil, yet he is a fool who ignores that evil or tries to forget its threatening aspects. The first step toward the sightings of wrongs is knowledge-illumination. 

Face the race problem like men, frankly and carefully, but none the less determinedly. Let your children face it. Don't seek to sneak away from the evil and forget the poor suffering brothers and sisters who cannot escape, who must work and writhe and fight. Remember that bad as the truth is, it is a little better than the apprehension and as devilish as the situation in certain parts of the South is, it is just a little better than the Negro in the North pictures it - particularly in the part of the North which wishes to hide its head. 

There is absolutely nothing in the race problem to-day which is insoluble by peaceful human endeavor. The world 



EDITORIAL      79

has cured worse ill than it faces to-day, and the Negro race has triumphantly survived worse oppression than that which it suffers here and now. Why then hide our discouraged heads? Why seek to escape that which true manhood must know, if it will fight intelligently? All things are bad? Very well; let's first know just how bad they are, and then let's make them better. Social reform without knowledge is futile. Knowledge without attempted betterment is criminal. The complacency of the donkey is annoying, but the cowardice of the ostrich is dangerous.

THE DEMOCRATS.

THE Democratic party has been in power three months and the colored population is still free. Only one Negro official has been summarily, and rather rudely, dismissed from office and no "Jim Crow" legislation seems in immediate sight.
 
On the contrary, every single bill for the prostitution of colored women introduced into half a dozen different legislatures has so far either been defeated or postponed, and this by the help of Democrats as well as men of other parties. 

Thus the situation is not discouraging. Of course, the real trouble is that President Wilson may not realize the danger points of the Negro problem and may continue to think that the Tariff and Corporate control and China are the only pressing questions on the National politics. THE CRISIS is here to emphasize the fact that Lynching, Disfranchment [[disenfranchisement]], Peonage and Discrimination in Civil Rights are just as large and in many respects larger questions, and that no party that ignores these questions can long retain control of the government. Does this sound like an overstatement? 

It is not.

THE NEXT STEP

THE vicious attempts to degrade colored women in Washington, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and the District of Columbia have been killed by the defeat of the intermarriage bills. But let not Negro be deceived. This is but the first step and the Negro haters may congratulate themselves on the good shoeing made in the North. They will hasten to try again.

For this we must prepare. Do not let the organized efforts so well shown be lost. Make the organization permanent. Make it a branch of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People if possible. Then proceed to systematic work. 

Get the records of the men who introduced these bills and supported them. Find out their future intentions. If their propose to persist, go to the party leaders. Put the argument strongly before them. If they cannot dissuade the men from their purpose, then make every effort to defeat them at the primaries. Do not wait for the elections, but defeat them at the primary elections.

If the vicious promoters of the race hatred succeed in being nominated, then use every effort to defeat them. No matter what parties they belong to, it is our duty to vote for the opposite party.

Here then is the two years' work for an organization. Only in this way can we win our battle. Will you do it?

You will if you love this land, for the greatest menace to the well-being of the United States lies in the fact that there are ten millions of people in this country who can be treated in certain unreasonable and uncivilized ways without arousing in the minds of the mass of the people of the United States any thought of protest.    
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact transcribe@si.edu.