Chapter 13: Racism
14 June 1963, 0200 hours EDT
"Kalo, Bob. We are going to relay to you a communication from the planet Mandakor in the galaxy called by your astronomers M-31. The speaker will be Master Arno-Kron Terwi, of that world. Relay now commences."
"Kalo, Brother. My topic is, very plainly, racial bigotry. I have been watching with great sorrow the recent flare-up of violence, hatred, and bloodshed in the south AND north parts of your country due to the inevitable uprising by what you call 'colored people' in a demand for their rights as free and equal citizens of the United States.
"This we feel to be a violation of all laws and principles of tolerance and peaceful settlement, on the parts of both white AND black. As a matter of record, the dark-skinned people were a thousand years sooner than the whites in coming to Earth, so by rights it is their world. However, it seems that the Negroes were lax for several thousand years, whereas the white man progressed slowly but inexorably. Now, after many years of suppression and enforced inferiority, the Negro has come to his senses and demands to be given his just share of the world in peace and coexistence with the white race. However, the whites seem not to want to relinquish their racial lead. So, in the usual Terran manner, everything erupts in violence.
"I personally do not see that their demands are so implausible. What do they request? Certainly not the right to intermarriage. What then? Basically, the right to eat at lunch counters; the right to read at libraries; the right to enjoy leisure time in parks and recreation facilities; the right to worship the same Creator that made both colors; and the right to get a good education. These rights are denied them by the white race for unknown reasons.
"True, they have their own facilities in each of the above respects, but what is that? Certainly not true freedom, since these are not always available, and one doesn't want to be inconvenienced no matter what his skin color.
"I ask of segregationists, are they demanding something preposterous or unethical? No. They merely want the same freedoms as white people in their places of learning, dining, and worship. One can only consider how the Creator's senses must reel to see people turned away from churches because their skin is a color that belongs to a minority group or some such thing.
"Witness the recent assassination of Medgar Evers, the noted integration leader. Is this the type of thing that the Almighty will turn his back upon just because some fanatical fringe insists that the Bible demands segregation at all costs? Does one assume that beatings, torture and killing will lead to anything but more beatings, torture, and killings? As William Shakespeare's Puck said, 'Lord, what fools these mortals be.'
"I am not by any means putting all the blame on the whites. While I am in full sympathy with the Negroes' intentions, I do feel that they need not resort to demonstrations and the type of savagery exhibited in the Thanksgiving Day riot a few years back at a football game. Whatever they need or want can be gotten by peaceful negotiation between the leaders of each community, provided that both sides meet halfway. Admittedly, it does no good to talk to such as certain governors and mayors who apparently are either diehard bigots or else are pitching for votes from other segregationists, and who don't give a hoot, as one of your expressions says.
"Next we have the distressing scene of police dogs attacking Negroes, of high-pressure water hoses being used on them, of hundreds of them being arrested. One notices a conspicuous absence of these measures in handling white mobs.
"As long as the white people insist on segregating, the blacks are going to demand their rights. However, they will not gain them by scaring the wits out of the whites. That merely defeats their purpose, and turns those against them that might help them otherwise. To consider it in true light, what is it but an aggregate of nonsense anyway?
"The whites know well that their holding out on the human rights of Negroes is wrong, unchristian, immoral and inhuman. The Negroes are using the wrong approach in gaining these rights, by demonstrations and inevitably agony on both sides.
"How much talking does it take to get your people to listen to reason, Brother Bob? I realize that the actual instigators and rabble-rousers are but a small minority. The vast majority of your population wants to live and let live. They are people we do not wish to reach, since they already have the spirit of peace and brotherhood within them. It is the fanatical groups that we are approaching with our messages of peace, love, tolerance and the other universal virtues.
"To the white supermen, we can only say, as your 'hipsters' might phrase it, 'Like, come off that gig, man. Split the Dark Ages scene and get grooved to the 20'th Century.' To the Negroes, we will say, have patience. You have waited this long. What are a few more months? Don't do anything you'll regret. You have a good cause. Don't debase it by rashness.
"Brother Bob, if I sounded a bit bitter in my tongue-lashing, forgive me. I do not wish to seem so, but it deeply disturbs me when I see some of my brothers wronged by others.
"For the moment, that is all I will say, having delivered to you what is probably the severest reprimand ever given you by anyone not of your world. However, perhaps it will have an effect where soft-pedaling would be ignored.
"Have no doubts, Brother. I want as fervently as do you to see the people of your world united in brotherhood. The best place to start is with reconciliation between the various races. The pattern is obvious. The method is clear. The need is compelling. For the sake of all men on Earth, make something of it.
"Va i Luce eno nol si unir."
"Lin-Erri here again. We will be mailing you a few papers in the near future. They will become very important later. For now, we must go, since there is much work to be done, and there are only 20 Galuns allotted us per day in which to do it.
"Va i luce eno nol si unir, Brother."
[Note: Galun is a contraction of "Galactic Units". 20 Galuns is equal to approximately 24 hours. Also note the term "Negro". This was, after all, in 1963.]
© 2008 Robert P. Renaud -- all rights reserved