The amount of income cleared by the states on convict labor is something enormous.
The poorer class of Negroes [is] naturally indolent..."";
[Newspapers preferred European immigrants to the] "lazy, improvident, child-like, irresponsible, chicken-stealing, crap-shooting, policy-playing, razor-toting, immoral and criminal" Negro.
Wells was thwarted in her attempts to be heard because the idea that whites were more civilized than blacks was deeply ingrained in white journalists' belief systems... The second barrier against Wells was that she belonged in the three categories that elites used to define "non-objectivity:" she was an outsider, a woman and a member of an "uncivilized race."
Baker covered lynching in the North and South, and relied on newspaper reports and a range of white informants.He acknowledged that many lynchings were not related to rape. But like the Times, he is sympathetic to claims about black criminality. He concludes:
Lynching in this country is peculiarly the white man's burden. The white man has taken all the responsibility of government; he really governs in the North as well as in the South, in the North disfranchising the Negro with cash, in the South by law or by intimidation. All the machinery of justice is in his hands. How keen is the need, then, of calmness and strict justice in dealing with the Negro! Nothing more surely tends to bring the white man down to the lowest level of the criminal Negro than yielding to those blind instincts of savagery which find expression in the mob.
The most learned Negroes have less interest in their race than any other Negro as many of them are fighting against the welfare of their race.
Part of what makes Baker's work intriguing is that we can see evidence of his pursuit of objectivity as Mindich defines it. In pursuit of facts, Baker cites statistics on both positive and negative aspects of black life: business and property ownership, education, alongside crime data. He acknowledges that statistics belie assertions of rampant criminality in predominantly-black areas in the South. He cites racial discrimination in the courts and the profitable practice of convict leasing as factors in the disproportionate imprisonment of black men. In pursuit of balance, detachment and non-partisanship, his sources range from the white supremacist editor and politician James Vardaman to the militant civil rights journalist Monroe Trotter. He circulated his drafts for feedback. Unlike the journalists cited by Muhammad and Logan, he doesn't make invidious distinctions between African Americans, immigrants and the US-born white working class. He anticipates today's solutions journalists by highlighting black self-help and potential areas of interracial cooperation.
Click for audio
Well, I think that there is just too much indifference to the whole idea of diversity... I mean, the number of newsrooms in this country that have no people of color at all in them is appalling.
Black men are still being used as scapegoats for crimes they didn't commit. I remember the almost mob-like frenzy to get the Black men who beat and raped the white, female Central Park jogger in 1989. Five Black teenage males were arrested and convicted of the crime. They served 7-11 years for a crime they didn't commit. In 2002, those five men were released after the one man who actually committed the crime was convicted.
Most Negroes, as I have said, were (and still are, of course) farm-dwellers, and farm-dwellers in the hitherto wasteful Southern way. Their living is easy to get and very simple. In that warm climate they need few clothes; a shack for a home. Their living standards are low; they have not learned to save; there has not been time since slavery for them to attain the sense of responsibility which would encourage them to get ahead. And moreover they have been and are to-day largely under the discipline of white land owners. What was the effect, then, of a rapid advance in wages? The poorer class of Negroes, naturally indolent and happy-go-lucky, found that they could make as much money in two or three days as they had formerly earned in a whole week. It was enough to live on as well as they had ever lived: why, then, work more than two days a week? It was the logic of a child, but it was the logic used. Everywhere I went in the South I heard the same story: high wages coupled with the difficulty of getting anything like continuous work from this class of coloured men.
Lynching in this country is peculiarly the white man's burden. The white man has taken all the responsibility of government; he really governs in the North as well as in the South, in the North disfranchising the Negro with cash, in the South by law or by intimidation. All the machinery of justice is in his hands. How keen is the need, then, of calmness and strict justice in dealing with the Negro! Nothing more surely tends to bring the white man down to the lowest level of the criminal Negro than yielding to those blind instincts of savagery which find expression in the mob. The man who joins a mob, by his very acts, puts himself on a level with the Negro criminal: both have given way wholly to brute passion. For, if civilisation means anything, it means self-restraint; casting away self-restraint the white man becomes as savage as the criminal Negro. If the white man sets an example of non-obedience to law, of non-enforcement of law, and of unequal justice, what can be expected of the Negro? A criminal father is a poor preacher of homilies to a wayward son. The Negro sees a man, white or black, commit murder and go free, over and over again in all these lynching counties. Why should he fear to murder? Every passion of the white man is reflected and emphasised in the criminal Negro.
Thousands of Negroes in this country are fully as well equipped, fully as patriotic, as the average white citizen. Moreover, they are as much concerned in the real welfare of the country. The principle that our forefathers fought for, taxation only with representation, is as true to-day as it ever was. On the other hand, the vast majority of Negroes (and many foreigners and poor whites) are still densely ignorant, and[Pg 303] have little or no appreciation of the duties of citizenship. It seems right that they should be required to wait before being allowed to vote until they are prepared. A wise parent hedges his son about with restrictions; he does not authorise his signature at the bank or allow him to run a locomotive; and until he is twenty-one years old he is disfranchised and has no part in the government. But the parent restricts his son because it seems the wisest course for him, for the family, and for the state that he should grow to manhood before he is burdened with grave responsibilities. So the state limits suffrage; and rightly limits it, so long as it accompanies that limitation with a determined policy of education. But the suffrage law is so executed in the South to-day as to keep many capable Negroes from the exercise of their rights, to prevent recognition of honest merit, and it is executed unjustly as between white men and coloured. It is no condonement of the Southern position to say that the North also disfranchises a large part of the Negro vote by bribery, which it does; it is only saying that the North is also wrong. As for the agitation for the repeal of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution, which gives the right of suffrage to the coloured man, it must be met by every lover of justice and democracy with a face of adamant. If there were only one Negro in the country capable of citizenship, the way for him must, at least, be kept open. No doubt full suffrage was given to the mass of Negroes before they were prepared for it, while yet they were slaves in everything except bodily shackles, and the result during the Reconstruction period was disastrous. But the principle of a free franchise fortunately, as I believe, for this country has been forever established. If the white man is not willing to meet the Negro in any contest whatsoever without plugging the dice, then he is not the superior but the inferior of the Negro.
The good landlord, generally speaking, is the one who knows by inheritance how a feudal system should be operated. In other words, he is the old slave-owner or his descendant, who not only feels the ancient responsibility of slavery times, but believes that the good treatment of tenants, as a policy, will produce better results than harshness and force.