The northern white liberal has taken a "half-hearted, hyprocritical approach" to the problem of Civil Rights, Martin L. Kilson, lecturer in government, said last night.
Speaking to an audience at the International Students Association, Kilson said that throughout American history the liberal has been trying to find a way out of the problem of civil rights, rather than a solution for it. "The liberal has the correct orientation," he said, "but in a specific situation he leaves a lot to be desired."
Pointing out that Jefferson kept slaves while writing the Bill of Rights, Kilson said the white man has always tried to "have his cake and eat it too." Liberals must be confronted with this deficiency, he said, before they can start helping the Negro to "get the monkey off his back."
At his introduction to modern society the Negro was technologically and culturally inferior, and this is the "monkey" with which he must deal, Kilson said. As a result, a cultural inferiority complex has become as integral part of being a Negro, he continued.
Kilson said that a new Negro attitude is needed, which accepts this inferrior position, rather than trying to get around it. "Negritude" or "Negroness" is a philosphy which recognizes a pattern of inferiority, but sees a unique human contribution by the Negro within, that context, he explained.
In his initiation to the industrial world. Kilson said, Negroes have always been able to "maintain the sense of being human." "Joy for life, for uninhibitted expression," Kilson said, are qualities which they can claim are superior.
Many whites have recognized this capacity, Kilson said, but they have seen it as an extension of the Negro's inferiority. For the Negro intellectual, this capacity is a positive fact. By accepting a modern industrial life based on a white culture, the Negro is not admitting inferiority, Kilson said. Negritude affirms his contribution to that culture.