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August 31, 1967 - Image 129

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-08-31

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US. Labor Oficial


for 'True Black Power'

A U.S. Labor Department offi-
cial has called for "true Black
Power' as an antidote to riots.
Black Power, said Arthur M.
Ross, commissioner of the Bureau
of Labor Statistics, could be "a
method to integrate the Negro
into the tumult of American pol-
It could, he said, combat the
impatient and deparate gestures
and fantasies expressed by riots
and apocalyptic movements."
Ross was one of the speakers
in the two-day conference on
"Breaking the Poverty Cycle,"
August 25-26, sponsored by the
social work school.
Ross said that "probably any
kind of ethnic organization in-
cludes a certain amount of zeno-
phobia." But the attainment of
"true black power" will counter-

act the appeals of "irresponsible
And it would diminish hatred of
whites because "a group with so-
cial power will be on the side of
authority because it will have a
share in authority," he said.
As examples of "true Black
Power" Ross suggested:
-"Local and state political
blocks within the democratic and
Republican parties. A separate
political party for Negroes would
be self defeating for the same
reasons which have worked against
a separate labor party in the U.S.
These blocks would include elected
Negro officials . . . (and) a corps
of Negro lobbyists."
-"Mass membership organ-
izations working for the poor Ne-
groes in the same way as the Ur-
ban League and National Associa-
tion for the Advancement of

Colored People have served middle
class Negroes.
"They would include Negro
labor caucuses analogous to the
Association of Catholic Trade
Unionists and the Jewish Labor
Committee. They would include
organizations of welfare recipients,
Negro business organizations, con-
sumer cooperatives, urban renewal
organizations. Negro attorneys
would have a central role."
Ross asserted that "true Black
Power" might be developed in vari-
ous ways. One would be the cre-
ation of leadership roles for intel-
ligent and aggressive young peo-
"Aggressive young men are fac-
tors in any protest movement," he
said. "This would bring stability
to the emotionally overwrought
young Negroes who have no one
to trust, nothing to believe in,

no program, and no ideology."
Another feature would be the
assurance that social and econ-
omic gains are a matter of right
and justice, rather than bene-
volence and welfare, he said.
Ross pointed out that "indi-
vidualism is not a strong tradition
among the ghetto masses" and
that because Negroes lack suffi-
cient financial resources and fam-
ily solidarity he was "not sug-
gesting that Negroes go it alone
or turn their backs on white so-
"All of the resources of the
white community will be required,"
he asserted.
Ross explained the "unparallel-
ed severity" of 1967's racial ten-
sion on the basis that most Ne-
groes were not affected by recent
civil rights legislation. He pointed
out that "the middle class Negroes

dominated the movement," and
that "Negroes in a position to pro-
fit from new opportunities did
gain considerably.
"The Negroes who gained the
most had motivation, self con-
fidence and were able to hold their
families together-they were 'mid-
del class'-though many were poor
by white standards," Ross added.
Ross contended that whites who
granted the concessions of recent
years "had little or nothing to
lose. They did not feel endanger-
ed by the presence of, perhaps
one, Negro physician on the block.
"Their own jobs were not
jeopardized by the elimination of
discrimination in employment," he
"The 1 o w e r socio-economic
groups were not fooled for a min-
ute. They continued to fear each
other and knew that one day they

would confront one another di-
rectly," he added.
Ross asserted that the warfare
between the lower income whites
and Negroes "is being fought over
real and vital stakes. The fact is
that if Negroes were permitted to
compete freely and share equally
in a fixed supply of the good
things in life, in many cases there
would not be enough to go around.
"Warfare between the young
ghetto Negroes and police is a
revealing aspect of the more gen-
eral struggle. White policemen
are generally recruited from the
lower socio-economic ranks."
Attempts to enforce the law are
met with cries of police "brutality"
and false rumors that arrested in-
dividuals have been beaten to
"At the same time. a great deal

of police brutality is in fact going
on," Ross charged.
"We have not succeeded in
eliminating the ancient evils," he
continued, "but desires and hopes
have been aroused, through TV
commercials, the war on poverty,
and the rhetoric of the civil rights
He described the recent riots as
"the familiar revolution of rising
"It is clear that there will have
to be a vast reordering of prior-
ities in the U.S.," Ross contended.
"There Will be required an un-
precedented amount of social as-
sistance. The second stage of the
war on poverty will have to be
immensely larger than the first."
Ross hinted that this vast re-
ordering of priorities should also
include relatively less spending for
the Vietnam War. He expressed

skepticism that permanent gains
can come from such proposals as
"reverse income taxes" to assist
minimum incomes for the poor, or
from massive public works pro-
Ross contended that all move-
ments to aid minority groups are
characterized by a certain amount
of "pathos, troubled conscience,
and sweet charity." And that
"eventually the sympathy dries
up" and the "charity becomes
more costly than beneficial."
He said that all minority groups
pass from the state of wardship
to the state of maturity and that
"we are fast reaching it in the
career of the Negro community."
"Although the government can-
not cure the weaknesses of the
Negro family, it can cease and
desist from cultivating them," he


Detroit Councilman Blames Rioting on Indifference
Of White Establishment of Poor Negroes' Problems


"The indifference and indecen-;
cy with which we have dealt with
the people of the ghetto is in
large part responsible for the
senseless rioting and looting" dur-
ing the recent Detroit riot, Detroit
City Councilman Mel Ravitz told
an audience at Rackham Lecture
Ravitz, a sociologist at Wayne
State University, concentrated on
urban housing in a paper prepar-
ed for the conference "Breaking
the Poverty Circle," sponsored by
the social work school.
"The plain fact is that all of
us share major complicity with
these absurd and self defeating
Crippled Get
D riving Aid
Often blamed for the killing
or maiming of 1.5 million persons
yearly, the automobile will soon
begin to play an important role
in patient rehabilitation at the
University Medical Center.
A driver training program is
being introduced for paraplegics,
amputees and other handicapped
patients by the Michigan Division
of V o c a t i o n a l Rehabilitation
They will be trained on a spe-
cially equipped car featuring an
array of levers and switches which
permit safe operation by patients
whose arm and hand movements
are severely limited.
"Today's patients are terribly
dependent upon their own auto-
mobiles," explained Joe Fisher,
head of the DVR office in Ann
"Paralysis and other handicap-
ping conditions cause severe psy-
chological and vocational stresses
on the patient and his family.
"But by training handicapped
people to drive their own cars
again, we help them make a big
stride toward regaining their in-
dependence and their role in so-
The University of Michigan's
Highway Safety Research Insti-
tute has announced plans to pub-
lish a new journal to serve as a
medium of exchange of research
It will be published by Pergam-
mon Press of New York and Lon-
don, with two University of Mich-
igan scientists serving as editors
in chief. They are Drs: Verne Rob-
erts and F. Gaynor Evans.

acts of destruction and death,"
Ravitz said.
"People who get shifted and
shunted around long enough as a
result of urban renewal will one
day lose their pent-up animosity
and hatred in wild ways against
the symbols of the system that
contains them.
"The cause of our urban riots
is the fact that we have maintain-
ed a dual society, while pretend-
ing either that the other Ameri-
ca didn't exist or that we had
given its members enough to keep
them quiet if not content," he
"From the beginning urban re-
newal has been essentially a neg-
ative approach to the problems of
the slums," he continued. "In
their concern for the larger task
the proponents of urban renewal
haven't seen the people and their
interests. This is a blindness which
they share with the builders of
Ravitz contends that "despite
the bulldozing operations of the
last two decades, we have not yet
met our basic housing needs."
Detroit alone has 8000 fewer
housing units now than in 1960,
Ravitz said. He feels much of
the city's new housing is beyond
the financial reach of the people
displaced by urban renewal.
"Actually, we merely move these
families around from one slum to
another in a vicious game of musi-
cal houses."

Ravitz said there was nothing
"unusually sinister about the way"
urban renewal officials act. "It
follows the general path of ig-
norance and neglect which has al-
ways characterized our treatment
of the voiceless."
Renewal Devaluates
According to Ravitz the im-
minence of urban renewal con-
tributes to the devaluation of
property. "The result of this is
blight, even if the area is not
fully blighted in the beginning."
Ravitz conceded, to the amuse-
ment of his audience, that "this
was not an inevitable accompani-
ment of urban renewal, but only
happens most of the time."
Ravitz said it is "understand-
able the program is viewed with
legitimate hostility by a great
number of citizens. Very little
effort has been expended to in-
vite appropriate agency interven-
tion to assist in the so.. tion of
individual or family p.roblems."
Civilian Casualties
"The civilian casualties in the
war to save the cities are often
neither aware of nor involved in
the decisions that affect their
lives," he added.
Ravitz suggested that "displace-
ment should be viewed as an op-
portunity to encounter persons not,
otherwise reached." He suggested
the program be "prepared with
necessary back-up agencies and
staff to provide health, welfare,
anti-poverty, education, economic,
employment advice and aid."

Ravitz said the first step to- 1hbenefits-such as the economic

ward improving housing must be a
survey of existing housing to de-
termine what must be demolished,
what can be rehabilitated, and
what must be built.
Although not opposing scatter-
ed-site public housing units, the
councilman urged a comprehensive
rent subsidy program as "more
dignified and even easier and
cheaper to operate" than public
"Urban renewal is not without

revolution in inner cities and the
reinvigoration of the tax base,"
he said, but insists that "federal
and state funds must be avail-
"We may preach persuasively
about the poor of our society, and
we may mount all manner of so-
called anti-poverty efforts, but
unless the poor and many of the
not-quite-so-poor are somehow as-
sisted to dwell in suitable hous-
ings, all else will be a mockery."

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