How Would You Like It: Some Ghetto Grievances


Discrimination in unions: In any racist situation, what the "superior" race member has to gain is a sense of personal worth based on looking down on the "inferior" race. Those at the top of white society have plenty of other whites to look down upon, if they feel the need to look down on someone, and so, have a relatively small vested interest in looking down on Negroes (the supposed inferior race). Those at the bottom of white society have no one but the Negro to look down upon. Also, these are usually the least educated, and thus most prone to prejudice. Finally, as unskilled workers, many of them have an economic vested interest in excluding Negroes from their trades. If in a city there are 100 white trash collectors, making 4 dollars an hour, and 5000 Negroes who could do the job, and might even be happy to get 2 or 3 dollars an hour, it is not surprising that the trash collectors pressure their union to exclude the Negroes. Although some businessmen undoubtedly discriminate, given the relatively higher educational level, their higher position in white society, that even if they dislike Negroes, they will not have to work in as close contact with them as the unskilled employees will, and the fact that any increase in the supply of labor is in the businessmen's economic self-interest, I cannot believe that discrimination by businessmen is more common than by white laborers. Even when unions admit Negroes, they can act to discourage hiring, and individual workers can endeavor to get any Negroes that are hired fired. Only recently has much attention been focused on union discrimination. Liberals, as self-proclaimed champions of the common man, are still dependent upon union leaders to deliver the votes of their membership, and cannot afford to raise this issue.

Urban Renewal Means Negro Removal

Whatever the reasons, political control in nearly all American cities rests in white hands. To most of these people, the worst section of town, and therefore most in need of renewal, is the poor Negro district, Some may actively desire to get rid of Negroes per se, but most simply wish to create a more attractive city in which to live. There can be no objection to people, trying to make their city more attractive, but when they begin to do so at the point of a gun, when Negroes are forcibly driven from their homes and replaced by trees, cultural centers, or office buildings, there is.

Suppose the powers to be decide that a new government center or highway is needed, and the question arises: where do we put it? Each white councilman in turn vetoes his own district. When these are all eliminated, I don't have to tell you what's left, and where the highway goes. See housing.

Equality Before the Law and Equal Police Protection

Hardly anyone fails to recognize this as desirable. Some civil rights leaders have claimed that this has now been achieved. However, this is not at all the case. See the Kerner Report. Hersey's, The Algiers Motel Incident, and Time magazine, July 19, 1968, The Police and the Ghetto.

Government-Protected Monopoly

To an enterprising Negro, driving his own cab can be a golden opportunity, I know from my own experience that a man with a mechanical bend and a Sears' Roebuck catalog can keep an old car on the road quite cheaply. And, the car can be used for personal transportation, as well. Yet most cities require that taxicabs be licensed (In NYC, the number of licenses is legally restricted, and the market price has risen to over $20,000, while all the time, the city suffers from a chronic shortage of cabs), and in doing so, make driving one's own cab too expensive for most Negroes. Some have ignored the law and been prosecuted. Thus is a man punished for the "ignoble" act of trying to earn his own living.