A Problem to be Faced
Sir,-1 have not read Mr. Constantine's "Colour Bar," but I think many people in England without first-hand knowledge of the question are being misled by the very one-sided campaign which is being conducted on behalf of "Colour" as opposed to t he "Whites."
F have had a fair experience of black people and have a great affection for them, but they are by no means as "white" as they are painted. The practising missionary has few illusions about them. One must have a sense of proportion. They are souls before God. as we arc, but they are also very, very human.
The normal characteristics of the black man who has not reached an advanced stage of civilisation are conceit, ambition and, as he advances, an extreme touchiness about his social position. Given a little power, even as a clerk or a medical orderly, he can be more tyrannical, and cruel very often, than his white counterpart. In politics. very often too, his actions are governed by the main chance and not really by conviction. Even with considerable educational and cultural attainments, his civilisation is sometimes very much a veneer, We must be careful, when we speak about coloured people, which those who write about them usually are not. Vast numbers of them in fact are literally hundreds of years behind the whites in true civilisation. They are very quick to learn all sorts of skills, mechanical, educational and political, but so often the real understanding is not there.
It is extremely difficult and distasteful to point out this to one who from his outward qualifications would appear to be already on a footing of complete equality. In any case, if equality exists in a few cases it does not begin to average up the black race as a whole in any particular country.
If Colour Bar intends a halt to all progress. it is, of course, wrong. If the intention is gradual progress I should say that it was much more right than the present "enlightened" rush to acknowledge full civilisation in a hundred years or much less.
Violent opposition thousands of miles from the scene can only serve to embitter those concerned and cause judgment and commonsense to disappear completely on the spot.
Generally speaking the black races are nowhere near so advanced as they think they are, hut they are not in the mood to accept advice. They are too ready to forget the benefits they have received, to remember and enlarge the ills and to attribute the basest motives.
The black man's time will undoubtedly come. and if he will attempt to overcome a tendency to arrogance and modify his ambition, it should come more quickly. It would come more quickly still if he would seek gently to dissolve prejudice rather than to blow it sky-high. C. G. Bowen Stem thorne Lodge, fluddon, Cheshire.
All generalisations are dangerous, and everyone should realire that there is a problem to be salved. if many coloured people have an inferiority complex, so have many white people. and these should know better. The Christian. in particular, should combine kindness and understanding with the courage to help and explain difficulties. Nor should he he offended when the coloured person points out the defects of the white man.Editor, CATHOLIC HERALD.