Commentary Magazine


Race & Economics

To the Editors:

I have just read Hans J. Morgenthau’s terrifyingly frank, brilliant piece [“The Coming Test of American Democracy,” January]. It is an exceedingly important thing that Professor Morgenthau has done, to put together the race problem and the basic economic problem in this country. One thing wrong, I believe, with the strategy of the leaders of the Negroes at the present time is that in their fight against discrimination they are looking to a better place in a world that no longer exists. The building trades were always in effect ethnic or family guilds. They are on the way out with automated building. The Negroes should really work all out for basic economic changes, and so far as they work for self-improvement and against job discrimination, should engage in working toward the kinds of education and training which will most likely be useful in the future, instead of seeking an equal place in those occupations which are now on the way out. But I do not really complain—for who indeed is making this projection toward the future which will have to be made if we are to correct the tendency toward increased unemployment and poverty of that peculiar alienating kind that we have in our cities, the violence-producing kind?

Everett C. Hughes
Brandeis University
Waltham, Massachusetts

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