DEFENSE OF LIBERALS
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
In recent years Negroes have undertaken the leadership of anti-liberalism. I should like to say a few words in defense of liberals.
1) Negroes such as the CRIMSON writer of last Friday oppose the separation of the Negro from society and by expansion the lack of true communication between liberals and Negroes. Liberals worry, liberals give, they concede, but liberals do not understand.
The first criticism of this stance is that it fails to assess the possibilities of human understanding. In a kind of soul-to-soul communication among men possible? Their scorn is directed at a group-white liberals-while the understanding they feel is their right is a quality of the most delicate relationships between individuals.
Secondly, Negroes do not know liberals, that is, those white Americans who worry about the Negro with real social passion. Negroes do not want to know or understand these whites who are certainly neither less corrupt nor more good than others. Negroes have learned how much more easy and comforting is the stereotype, indeed the caricature. We all complain of 'the ghetto." One admirable quality of liberals has been their attempt to expand their understanding to bridge the social gap, while anti-liberals have done little to expand theirs in the other direction. Perhaps the anti-liberals are only caught in the contemporary trend that views love as a one-way affair. Certainly when liberals find resentment toward them in the Negro community they exhibit the awkwardness and confusion of any refused lover.
2) Negroes have not suggested any alternatives to liberalism. Instead they cry a vague, whining idealism about the Negro's right to the world's deepest love.
The question is: What can the white man do? Jimmy Baldwin judges the hearts of his white audiences who either revel in masochism or are too afraid, too apathetic, too charitable, or-is it possible-too humble to shout back.
Some day sophistication will come to these Negro rebels against everything or nothing. If white liberals are as wicked or as shallow as they say, then I hope they might provide an alternative for them. There was a time when whites treated Negroes as children and Negroes, sad to say, often acted the part. I hope we shall all soon leave this, our present adolescence. To be honest, I am quite confident that we shall. Peter Loeb '63