Survey Associates.

The Survey (Volume 58) online

. (page 91 of 130)
Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 91 of 130)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


ness, ill-concealed and ill-restrained, all the more manifest
because it was unuttered. One felt that she inherited some
of the qualities of her father who had been too high spirited
to go back into "his place" when, for a moment, he had
glimpsed the prospect of climbing out of it.



The Anderson family epitomizes many of the
significant tendencies that have emerged from the
University of Buffalo study of Nationality, Color
and Economic Opportunity. Who shall say where
the chief responsibility for this family's misfortunes
lies. Race prejudice there is, undisguised and in-
escapable; but this is not all. Mr. Anderson's
own attitude made it impossible for him to go
back to his track-working job to bide his time for
more favorable opportunity in the future; but who
in John Anderson's place would have done other-
wise? Could any man, white or black, after having
suffered such a calculated and undeserved rebuff,
have done less than go to make a fresh start some-
where else? Again, perhaps there was no special
animus behind John Anderson's last lay-off at all.
He was middle-aged and not skilled, and the fore-
man rriay have dropped him without any particular
reference to his color, or to the validity of the
excuse for his earlier absence. Not that anyone
could persuade John that race prejudice was not
behind the foreman's actions. After a lifetime of
snubs and injustices, it would be but human for
him to interpret this final misfortune as simply an-
other manifestation of race feeling. Finally, John's
"trouble" was chiefly of his own making. Yet,
even here, the sense of loss of status growing out
of his previous experience may have helped make
him rather less heedful of his obligations concern-
ing "law enforcement" than he might otherwise
have been.

So throughout the various separate studies entering into
the Buffalo monograph, it was well nigh impossible to un-
ravel the tangled strains of race prejudice, of economic in-
efficiency, of personality defect and of the misinterpretation
of the acts and motives of others, in the vicissitudes and
misfortunes of the 17,000 or more individuals who, either
through interview or statistical tabulation, were covered by
the study. One fact is certain. All of these elements were
present. One cannot read the tables and charts growing
out of the tabulation of the 15,000 men and women covered
in a survey of twelve industrial and mercantile establish-
ments without realizing that some form of resistance is
being put in the way of the economic advancement of cer-
tain groups. It may be that Negroes particularly the
southern-born "plantation" Negroes, composing the bulk of
Buffalo's colored population are not suited for the higher
ranges of manual or clerical tasks ; but it is hardly probable
that out of 1604 Negroes, not a single one should be quali-
fied for any occupation higher than skilled labor, and that
only 161 should be qualified for any occupation higher than
unskilled and general labor. Likewise, it may be that Poles
and Italians, particularly the immigrants and their children
included in this study, are not particularly qualified for
office work. Yet again, it is hardly probable that out of
1,178 Polish and 299 Italian men in these twelve establish-
ments, only one should be competent for office work.

BUT this same set of data suggests that other factors than
preference and prejudice affect the progress of the im-
migrant and his children. Otherwise how account for the
relatively low status of the English, Scotch and Welsh?



The investigator murmured his gratitude to Mrs. Ander- The males of this group showed a "probability coefficient"



son for her time and departed.



ranging from .02 to .05 of becoming highly skilled workers,



July 15, 1927



THE SU R V E Y



405



foremen, ordinary office workers, or high
grade office and professional men, as against
coefficients ranging from .01 to .57 of be-
coming general' laborers, unskilled laborers,
semi-skilled or skilled laborers.

How again is one to explain the fact that
a study of some 1,300 women office workers
showed that Jewish and Italian girls belong-
ing to groups who could expect little in the
way of favoritism on the part of employers
earn considerably more money, when allow-
ance is made for education and experience,
than girls of such generally esteemed "Nordic"
nationalities as Germans and Scandinavians?
It seems that certain factors of training, op-
portunity and selection have been so power-
fully operative in the case of these groups
that, on the one hand, those possessing a pre-
ferred nationality status have progressed some-
what slowly, and on the other hand, those not
belonging to these preferred nationalities have,
nevertheless, made rapid progress. 1

Again, if there are case studies, such as the
one summarized at the beginning of this ar-
ticle, that give poignant evidence of the effects on the worker
and his family of restricted economic opportunity, yet there
are other cases, coming from every major ethnic group, that
reflect economic and social advancement so rapid as to seem
more appropriate for a motion picture director's stock of
"happy ending" scenarios than for an investigator's notebook.
There is a colored man holding a responsible executive posi-
tion where he meets dozens of white customers and business
people daily. There is a young Jewish couple who, after
being left for dead at the close of a Russian pogrom and
fleeing, penniless and broken to America, have after five
brief years here, become proprietors of a thriving business
and owners of an attractive home. There is a Syrian girl,
earning over $35.00 per week in secretarial work after less
than four years of experience. There are four Italian-
Americans, children of a shoemaker who immigrated in the
i88o's, one of whom is a corporation official, another a
skilled mechanic, a third a successful professional man, and
a fourth a distinguished artist. Undoubtedly we have here
exceptional people, favorably situated and motivated by par-
ticularly powerful emotional driv-es. Nevertheless the fact
remains that Negro and Italian, Syrian and Jewish, they
have all established themselves on a solidly prosperous eco-
nomic footing.

Finally, there remains the significance of subjective attitudes
and emotions. The complex of human and economic relations
expresses an immense variety of individual feelings and states
of mind. On the one hand, many of the decisions and prac-
tices of the greatest moment to the Negro and immigrant are
conditioned largely by the ideas, beliefs, and opinions of
various persons. On the other hand, the reaction of the
various race and nationality groups to their economic situation
is richly colored by the habitual mental patterns and emo-
tional associations of the individuals composing those groups.

Yet, if the tendencies revealed by this study are com-
plex, and to some extent contradictory, their local signifi-
cance is nevertheless unmistakable. Faulty race relations in

1 In this connection reference may be made to the special tendency to-
ward office work to be found throughout the Jewish group in America. See
Chapter on Occupation in Carnenter's Immierants and their Children, U. S.
Census Monograph Number VIII, just published.




THE NEGRO TREKS NORTH

Routes taken by ten Negro migrants to Buffalo, shown by a map prepared
by Mary E. Wesley



industry are bad for the worker, bad for industry, bad for
society. It must always be remembered that the job colors
the entire life of most men and many women. The job
fills the bulk of their waking hours, and the money that it
brings conditions the whole range of their activities, all the
way from the clothes they wear and the house they occupy
to the tone of their recreations, the quality of their friend-
ships, indeed the tempo of their entire existence. The emo-
tional reactions upon the individual, therefore, of a with-
held economic opportunity reverberate throughout the whole
gamut of their interests, and damage their entire person-
alities. There were encountered in this study men who
had all but lost their mental integrity through the accu-
mulative impact on sensitive personalities of insults, snubs
and opportunities denied.

Again, bad race relations mean bad industrial relations.
There have not been in Buffalo such disastrously spectacular
manifestations of race feeling in industry as have occurred
in certain other cities as, for instance, East St. Louis. There
was, however, one instance of a near-riot engendered by the
unwillingness of a number of white workers to await their
turn at a paywindow behind a number of recently hired
colored workers; and the interviews entering into the study
include several cases of quarrels, feuds, altercations, and
fights, due to race and nationality differences, which could
not tut impair the morale of any working force. More-
over it is a poor personnel manager who cannot measure the
loss in unexpended energy, wandering attention, faulty work-
manship and spoiled material together with the cost of a
high labor turn-over and the consequent retraining of new
workers, that are directly traceable to the depression, the
worry and the rebelliousness of men forced to suffer the
daily irritation of doing work beneath their capacity in con-
tact with hostile fellow workmen or supervisors.

The absence of "hope on the job" to use the colorful
phrase common among Negro workers for the immigrant
and for his children and for the Negro, means waste of
economic efficiency, of raw material, and of human person-
ality, and these are commodities that society cannot afford
to waste.




The Common Welfare




STRENGTH to The Survey's elbow will come with
the opening of a new publication year in October
when John Palmer Gavit will join the staff as an
associate editor and as secretary and a member of
the Board of Directors of Survey Associates, Inc.
In this triple capacity he will take over responsibility for
the financing of the enterprise, bear a hand in the general
engineering of a cooperative organization and, as associate
editor, have charge of foreign affairs, in the Americas as
well as in Europe and the East, and including the domestic
aspects of the international field immigration, race rela-
tions and the like. Both inclination and experience qualify
him for editorial service in a field which the whole trend
of the times is to make creatively important in American life.

Mr. Gavit, known chiefly as a newspaper man, has had
an unusually varied experience. Born at Albany, New York,
he began at 14 his newspaper training, on the old Albany
Evening Journal, going in 1890 to the Hartford, Conn.,
Evening Post. Three years later and for an intermission
of nine years from daily journalism, he entered the field of
social work, first in Hartford, then in Chicago, still later in
the Pittsburgh region. Returning to Albany in 1902, he
began ten years' service with the Associated Press, first as
Albany correspondent, then as chief of the Washington
Bureau, finally as superintendent of the great Central Di-
vision with headquarters at Chicago. From 1912-18 he
was Washington correspondent and then for several years
managing editor of the New York Evening Post. After an
interval of two years with Harper and Brothers, he returned
to the Evening Post, until the purchase of the paper by
Cyrus K. Curtis. During that period he made a pilgrimage
among colleges in America and abroad, writing a much-
discussed series of articles, and subsequently a book, College
(Harcourt, Brace.)

While traveling in Europe in 1924 he became intensely
interested in the work of the League of Nations and has
spent the past three winters in Europe "watching the
wheels go round." He has written from Geneva for many
American journals, particularly on opium, and is the author
of Opium (Routledge, London, 1925) the only book dis-
cussing the whole subject.

Even in so busy a life of journalism there has been time
for two extended periods of social work and research. Mr.
Gavit was a member of the field staff of the Studies in
Methods of Americanization, financed by the Carnegie
Corporation, and the author of one of its volumes, Americans
by Choice, published by Harpers in 1922. In the same field
is Americans from Abroad (American Library Association.)

He was a resident of Chicago Commons for five of the
first years after it was established by Professor Graham
Taylor, secretary of the association and editor of The
Commons, one of the forbears of The Survey. He brought
out the first directory of social settlements and he was the
general executive of the first Chicago playground enterprise,
which equipped five school-yards with primitive apparatus
at a total cost of $1,500. That was the year of the Spanish-
American war and at a time when the streets of Chicago



were paved with wooden blocks. The youngsters all turned
soldiers, built forts of the blocks and played at war. In
each playground some dark-skinned boy was elected to be
a Spaniard and was pelted with the paving-blocks until
he had to run for it to save his hide. A long way, in time
and distance, from the League of Nations; but hard by in
the understanding it gave one young man of the simple
things that lie behind the clash of races, in Chicago or at
Versailles.




FROM the trial court in California to the Supreme
Court of the United States, learned legal authorities
agree that Anita Whitney, Oakland social worker and
"lifelong friend of the unfortunate," violated the California
Criminal Syndicalism Act and is therefore guilty of a felony
in having attended an organization convention of the
Communist Labor Party eight years ago. But she is not
to serve the savage sentence of from one to fourteen years
in the penitentiary, imposed on her in punishment for her
crime during the frantic months just following the war.
She has been pardoned by Governor Young of California:

Because I do not believe that under ordinary circumstances
this case would ever have been brought to trial;

Because the abnormal conditions attending the trial go a
long way toward explaining the verdict;

Because I feel that the Criminal Syndicalism Act was
primarily intended to apply to organizations actually known
as advocates of violence, terrorism or sabotage. . . .

Because the judge connected with the case as well as the
authors [of the Act] and some of the strongest advocates unite
in urging a pardon;

Because not only the evidence but also the testimony of all
Miss Whitney's acquaintances show her to have the utmost
respect for law and to be averse to violence in any form. . . .

Because whatever may be thought as to the folly of her
misdirected sympathies, Miss Whitney, lifelong friend of the
unfortunate, in any true sense is not a criminal and to condemn
her at sixty years of age to a felon's cell is an action which is
absolutely unthinkable.

Miss Whitney's birth and breeding, the influence of her
innumerable friends, her state-wide prominence as philan-
thropist and clubwoman, saved her from the worst that
hysteria and terrorism could do to her. But the Criminal
Syndicalism Law remains in full force in California, and in
the state prisons there are still men, without social standing,
means and influence, who were sentenced under it. Because
of the basis on which Miss Whitney's lawyers conducted
her defense and drafted her appeal, it was impossible for
the United States Supreme Court to enquire whether "at
the time and under the circumstances the conditions existed
which are essential to validity under the federal Consti-
tution." Nevertheless Justices Holmes and Brandeis, who
were thus forced to concur in the Court's opinion upholding
the constitutionality of the law, joined in a separate opinion,
written by Justice Brandeis, which searchingly and elo-
quently goes into the principles of free speech involved in



406



July 15, 1927



THE SURREY



407



the case. Justice Brandeis agrees with the majority of the
court that the exercise of free speech "is subject to re-
striction, if the particular restriction is required in order to
protect the state from destruction or from serious injury."
But he points out further:

Those who won our independence believed that the final end
of the state was to make men free to develop their faculties;
and that in its government the deliberative forces should pre-
vail over the arbitrary. . . . They recognized the risks to which
all human institutions are subject. But they knew that order
cannot be secured merely through fear of punishment for its
infraction; that it is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and
imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds
hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of
safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed griev-
ances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for
evil counsels is good ones. . . .

Those who won our independence by revolution were not
cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not
exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant
men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning
applied through the processes of popular government, no danger
flowing from speech can ever be deemed clear and present
unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that
it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion.
If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehoods
and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education,
the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.
Only an emergency can justify repression. Such must be the
rule if authority is to be reconciled with freedom. Such, in my
opinion, is the command of the Constitution. It is, therefore,
always open to Americans to challenge a law abridging free
speech and assembly by showing that there was no emergency
justifying it.




"""HE new field of adult education keeps pushing back its
J_ boundaries to take in further territory. The new
regime at Wisconsin University continues to show an open-
minded attitude toward educational experiment, in keeping
with the Wisconsin tradition. Because these two heartening
statements are both true, President Glenn Frank has reached
into The Survey office to take back to the Middle West
Joseph K. Hart, editor of our education department.

After taking his doctor's degree at the University of
Chicago, Professor Hart was a member of the department
of education at the University of Washington and later at
Reed College. More recently, he has been on the staff of
The Survey, with a roving commission that took him to
various parts of this country and to Denmark and resulted
this spring in two notable books, Adult Education (Crowell)
and Light from the North (Holt). At Wisconsin, Mr.
Hart's official title will be professor of the philosophy of
education. Hand in hand with his work on the campus
will go an exploration into the present educational activities
in the state, and the possibilities for developing a genuine
adult education movement in Wisconsin. Survey readers
know the hope and promise that Professor Hart found in
the folk highschools of Denmark, through which young
people eighteen to twenty-five years of age study both
cultural and practical subjects, closely knit into their actual
life experience. Whether some such extension of our
present grade and highschool systems is desirable in an
American agricultural community not unlike the Danish
countryside in interest and accent ; whether people's colleges
in the German sense or people's forums in the Russian sense



have anything to offer rural America; whether the men and
women on Middle-Western farms or in Middle-Western
towns want to continue the exploration of the book world
which so many of us abandoned at the close of formal
schooling such questions will guide and illumine Professor
Hart's explorations in his new field of work. It will be a
satisfaction to Survey readers, as it is to the staff, to know
that he will continue as an associate editor of this magazine.




THE doctrine of the class war is commonly assumed to
be a peculiar characteristic of radical propaganda. The
concensus of editorial opinion in the British liberal and
labor press holds the Conservative government to be its
present most drastic exponent. This view is based upon the
character of the Trade Unions Bill which Mr. Baldwin's
party has just driven through Parliament. Ever since the
general strike of last year, it was to be assumed that some
legislative barrier would be set up against its repetition.
But the government has gone far beyond both the general
and the sympathetic strike. It has attempted to paralyze
the political activity of the trade unions and of the Labor
Party, its most formidable political rival.

The full text of the bill is not yet available. The most
complete analysis of its provisions that has come to our
attention was contributed by Harold Laski to the New
Republic for June 8. The bill is designed to prohibit
general strikes, to prevent the intimidation of workers who
do not wish to strike, to prevent trade-unionists who do
not belong to the Labor Party from being compelled to
contribute to the political funds of the unions, and to re-
strain civil servants from belonging to any association
affiliated with a body such as the Trade Union Congress
which is not exclusively composed of other civil servants.

Even Labor members of Parliament seem to have been
prepared to accept restraints upon the general strike. They
were not, however, prepared for legislation so sweeping
and ambiguous in its terms as to cast doubt upon the
legality of almost all strikes. The clause defining an illegal
strike forbids all strikes "designed or calculated to coerce
the government either directly or by inflicting hardship upon
the community." This, as Mr. Laski points out, would cover
not only general and sympathetic strikes, but also many
primary strikes such as might arise on the railroads and
the mines with which the government invariably concerns
itself and which inevitably bring hardship upon the com-
munity. If enforced, these provisions would involve
restraints that have not prevailed since the last century.

As a weapon of class warfare the provision which forbids
the unions to levy a political assessment upon their members
without their individual sanction specified annually in
writing and by post is the most menacing. Before 1910,
trade unions were free to raise political funds as they chose.
The verdict of the House of Lords in the Osborne case of
that year put an end to this freedom. In 1913, the Asquith
government, through the Trade Union Act of that year,
authorized the unions to establish political funds by a ballot
of their membership, with the proviso that any member
who did not wish to contribute might refrain by giving
notice. The present legislation reverses this procedure. It



408



THE



makes the levying of assessments cumbersome, difficult and
expensive. It is obviously designed to dynamite the only
wells whence the Labor Party can draw substantial support.
The Conservative Party has thus raised the issue over
which the next general election will be fought. By-elections
have been running strongly against it. The British voter
has traditionally opposed vindictive legislation. By using
legislation as a weapon of class warfare, Mr. Baldwin's
government seems to have alienated the liberal opinion which
swung to it during the general strike. It has greatly
strengthened the position of the Labor Party.




SCRUBBED until they shone like Shakespeare's school-
boy, one hundred social and health workers of New
York City met with the leading soap-makers of the country
at the official launching of the Cleanliness Institute, which
has for its purpose a leveling up of the standards of clean-
liness, personal and industrial. John H. Finley of the
New York Times reminded the diners that cleanliness
among humans was first a religious rite, ceremonial and
more or less skimpy ; then a matter of morals ; later of
hygiene; now, in addition, a clear case of social obligation.
In the unwashed past, those men and women of position
who walked with their noses in the air had a more practical
and homely reason than the pride and vainglory which has
been charged against them. In all times, Dr. Finley said,
he who "comes with clean hands" has been welcome. Health
Commissioner Harris deftly suggested that this be applied
to the more than a million school children in New York



Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 91 of 130)