Einstein: The Negro Question (1946) | On Being

Einstein: The Negro Question (1946) | On Being.

In 1946, Einstein wrote the following with regard to white Americans’ prejudice against Blacks. I believe we need to challenge ourselves today to consider the way in which we think about and treat people who migrate to our society from Haiti — and their children and grandchildren as well.

It would be foolish to despise tradition. But with our growing self-consciousness and increasing intelligence we must begin to control tradition and assume a critical attitude toward it, if human relations are ever to change for the better. We must try to recognize what in our accepted tradition is damaging to our fate and dignity—and shape our lives accordingly.

I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.

What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.

I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed. But until this goal is reached there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.

Much of the discussion I hear about “illegal immigrants”, which clothes itself in trappings of patriotism and concern for Bahamian sovereignty, has plenty in common with the racist rhetoric directed by whites against blacks. I long for the day when we can discuss the issue of immigration without using the rhetoric of racism to do so.

One thought on “Einstein: The Negro Question (1946) | On Being

  1. I, too, always thought it hypocritical that Bahamians could decry the racism about previous white rule and yet practice such discrimination against the Haitians scrabbling for a better life for themselves and their families.

    If we considered ourselves worthy of being a people united who have overcome the odds in order to thrive, we should be able to give of the same consideration to others, even if they are less fortunate.

    Like

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