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Reverse Freedom Rides

In the Mail


To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

The author of the editorial "Freedom C.O.D." [CRIMSON, May 17] seems to have the typically Northern and grossly mistaken view that the "Negro problem" is essentially a Southern problem. There is no place in the United States where Negroes are found in number that there does not exist a race problem. As Professor James Q. Wilson has pointed out in his book Negro Politics, the amount done in behalf of Negroes in a locality seems to be the inversely proportional to their number.

Southerners recognize this universality of the race problem, and they are no doubt fed-up with being singled out and cited for their failure to "face squarely" their problems. The fact is that Southerners have traditionally been quite open about their racial attitudes and have not yet acuqired the Northern technique of "smiling and saying 'no'"...

I am afraid that America needs the "reverse freedom rides" as much as it needs the "forward" ones. If the South persists in sponsoring these one-way trips, the North will eventually have to face the embarrassment it is due. For the world will note that these Negroes will not be welcomed in Wostebester, N.Y., or Break-line, Mass, but rather they will join their Northern brothers in the slums of Harlem and Roxbury.

We will find their names not on the rosters of the Chambers of Commerce, but on the local relief rolls and the unemployment lists. Regardless of the motives behind them, should the rides succeed in focusing attention on the Northern race problem, the Citizens Councils will rank with no less than CORE as helpers in the fight for freedom. John G. Butler '63

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