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David Coolidge

When Race Discrimination Hits Whites in Manila
and Negroes in Georgia

(26 January 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 4, 26 January 1942, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

American Negroes must have been amused about one piece of news that was carried in the daily press recently. This was the report that American whites in Manila were terribly shocked and indignant over rumored or actual race discrimination against them by the Japanese, When Negroes in the United States read the press accounts of how good American white folk (some of them from Georgia and Mississippi) were being kicked around and discriminated against and “Jim Crowed” because they were white, the blood of these Negro Americans must have boiled. How dare these “Japs” bring race prejudice, discrimination and segregation into the United States or its “possessions.”

Why, everybody knows that these American whites have a spotless record with regard to race prejudice and Jim Crow! Everyone knows that Negroes aren’t discriminated against in Frank Knox’s Navy – they’re even allowed to advance to the lordly posts of messboys, where they can wash the officers’ dishes, and valets, where they can shine the officers’ shoes. Could anyone ask for more?

And everybody knows that America is a country where there are NEVER any lynchings. Negroes in the South live a life of complete equality and freedom. Ask that well known friend of freedom, Georgia’s Governor Gene Talmadge, about that. He’ll tell you how the South “takes care” of its Negro people!

And if once in a while – say, every day – there is a report like the one from Fort Bragge, where white military police assault Negro soldiers, or from Arkansas, where white police drive Negro troops in military formation off the road – nobody would hold that against the Southern white folks, would they? Why, it would be rank ingratitude if they did! And everyone knows about how Negroes are permitted to work on an equal footing with white workers. Why, just look at the Glenn Martin factory in Baltimore, for example, where there are about a half dozen Negroes employed as porters in the factory of thousands of men. There’s American equality and fair play for you!

Truly, it must have been an awful shock to those American white people when they discovered that there is such a thing in the world as race prejudice and discrimination! Why, the word “Jim Crow” isn’t even in American dictionaries; no one ever heard of it in this country until those Japs started it in Manila! Negroes who claim that such evils exist in the United. States must certainly have distorted minds and most vivid imaginations. They must know that this is a war for democracy. Just look at the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. Yes, look at them!

Yes, we say, Negroes have a right to laugh. They also have the right to get mad when they read of such brazen “indignation” on the part of American white people who run into race prejudice against them. Perfidy and hypocrisy can reach no lower depths. Negroes read of the great indignation of the white people in Manila against the Japanese because the Japanese are resorting to race prejudice and discrimination.

On another page they read that the Red Cross will not take Negro blood. On still another page they read that the White officers of a Negro regiment near Philadelphia have posted a notice on the regimental bulletin board that cohabitation between Negro soldiers and White women, even with the consent of the women, is considered “rape” and that in time of war is punishable by death.

Negroes are Jim Crowed, pushed to the bottom of the heap, mobbed and lynched all over the United States. They have no more share in democracy now than before the great and holy crusade for “democracy” began.

Think of it! The Red Cross announces that there is no difference in the blood of the various groups of humankind but still they will not permit Negroes to give their blood to a blood bank. Negroes will only be permitted to feed their blood to the earth after being run through by a Japanese or German bayonet. Negroes will only be permitted to give their blood to the mob and the lynchers. They will only be allowed to give their blood under the lash of the plantation overseer in the cotton fields.

Negro soldiers can guard the factories, bridges, highways and homes of white people but they must not accept any courtesies from white people. They are treated like a faithful dog; praised for their “loyalty and courage” but never permitted to do more than serve the master. These white Americans who perpetrate these savage acts against the Negro, even the Negro soldier in uniform, are the same white people who grow indignant over Japanese race prejudice against the white people in Manila.

We don’t pretend to know what all the Negroes think about all this; we don’t know what kind of stomachs they have; but as for us, our stomachs are not strong enough to hold this brew of lies, deceit, hypocrisy and Hitlerism.

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