Far Rockaway, N.Y., October, 1961
 
As I See It
By Richard Posner

“Negroes are animals when they’re together!”

“Negro opportunists have gotten ahead without integration!”

“You can’t push integration!”

If you haven’t already thrown this article aside with a disgusted, “Not another brotherhood story,” you can throw it aside now, because that’s just what I’m going to talk about: brotherhood! So if you have a guilty conscience, go back to your rock and roll records before I get started.

Those little biting comments that start this article are not mine. But they’re real. I’ve heard them all; they weren’t shouted by Southerners. They were said by people in this very school! And all the preaching about equality of man won’t change their narrow-minded attitudes. So I won’t preach. I’ll just show you how these remarks stem from ignorant hate, and I shall try to still the voices before they get out of hand.

Take that first “crack” up there: “Negroes are animals when they’re together!” Well, I should hope so! Because if they weren’t animals, they’d be plants, and although I know some human vegetables quite well, I don’t agree with that theory at all! Besides being biologically incorrect, the implications of the remark are ridiculous. If you’re talking about small groups of Negroes, I’ll match you “animal” for ‘animal,”hoodlum for hoodlum, white for Negro. I’ve seen too many mobs of mean, slovenly white boys with three feet of hair, two feet of dirt, and six pounds of fat where their brains should have been, loping through the streets, and they weren’t en route to a church social! On the other hand, if you want to implicate the Negroes as a people, answer me a few questions: did the Negroes train the Nazi armies? Did the Negroes begin World War II ? Did the Negroes slaughter

“One band of creatives proud to bear the title of Man!”

6,000,000 Jews ? Did the Negroes develop the almighty H-Bomb and A-Bomb? Did the Negroes drop this vicious weapon on a defenseless city, massacring thousands of people and torturing thousands more? Ignorance and hate triumph again!

As for Negro opportunists: friend, any opportunist, any exceptional person, white, black, green, or polka-dot, will get ahead because he is an opportunist, because he is exceptional. But what about the average, run-of-the-mill person? The average white man will get a good education, will get the best jobs, will have the better life because he is white! But take an equal Negro, equal in strength, maturity, and intelligence. He’ll struggle for a second-rate education, he’ll wind up with a second-rate job, he’ll lead a second-rate life because he is a Negro! Opportunists, pfui! The word is wrong! We don’t need opportunists; we need opportunities!

The third remark answers itself. Not only can we push integration, but we must push integration! You can’t cure the blind hatred of these segregationists; they hate for hate’s sake and brag about it. But the children; the youngsters with clean, fresh minds, can be brought up to disregard the color of a man’s skin, the shape of his nose, and the texture of his hair. If we achieve integration, we will achieve what the lowly ant has had since eternity - the ability to work, to play, and to conquer together, as one people, as one race, as one band of creatures proud to bear the title of Man!