Discrimination (1911)

Discrimination (1911)

Northern paper defends race discrimination in this wise:

A Negro is good enough to associate with a Negro. If not, why not? Why is not a ‘Jim Crow’ car good enough for a Negro to ride in if it is just as good as the cars used by white people? Why is not a colored church good enough for a colored congregation? Why is not a colored school good enough for colored children? To say that they are not is to join Governor Vardaman in declaring that Negroes are an inferior and criminal people.

A red-headed man is good enough to associate with red-headed men; all persons with bald heads might be made to ride in special coaches; all Irishmen could be forced to go to the Irish school; cripples might be debarred from Grace Church—why not? Because the color of neither hair nor skin, no merely physical peculiarity and no merely racial difference, is sufficient to be made a basis of far-reaching and positive discrimination and segregation in a democratic government; it is silly, and dehumanizing.

If Scotch or Negro or Welsh people wish to unite in their own churches or schools that is their business; but to force them to do so is unchristian and uncivilized. If a separation on a basis of ignorance throws more Italians in one group than in another, that is a matter of learning, not of blood, and can be cured by schools. But for a sane, decent American here in the twentieth century to encumber his paper with a defense of caste and discrimination based on nothing more than race and color shows the moral plane on which a certain class of Americans are living.

Citation: Du Bois, W.E.B. 1911. “Discrimination.” The Crisis. 2(3):114.