Editorial: Racial disturbances help Hitler; they do only harm to America (6-18-44)

The Brooklyn Eagle (June 18, 1944)

Editorial: Racial disturbances help Hitler; they do only harm to America

Last Sunday, eight armed hoodlums charged through a crowded Brooklyn subway train yelling, “This is D-Day for colored folks; white folks get off!” Their rampage was climaxed by the shooting of a passenger after the gang had knocked him down.

Friday night, other youngsters – teenaged Brooklyn youths – charged through Fort Greene Park, swinging clubs and fists at each other. One group was white; one group black. The white hoodlums were said to have been “aided” by two uniformed sailors.

Sociologists say the Negro boys were “compensating for assaults and injuries they, or other Negroes, daily receive on trains in the South.”

The white youths, who appear to have instigated Friday night’s attack, may have thought they, too, were compensating for something. Maybe they had the subway hoodlumism in mind. Maybe they thought they were “defending the white race.” But neither the white race nor the black race needs or wants that kind of “defense.”

We in Brooklyn must keep our energies in channels that will help the war rather than something that will do us – white, black, Indian, Jew – Americans all – harm.

We are a city of war workers. We are a city of racial mixtures. So is all of America. We have petty racial strife and we have distrusts and all the ugly little things that go with the odious idea of a “superior” race. But we also have a Brooklyn heritage, a tradition of getting along together. We are all Americans in our schools, on our jobs. We Brooklynites usually vent our tensions on the Dodgers – but not on each other.

Finally, let us remember that Dr. Goebbels will make much of the Fort Greene incident. It will be presented to the Germans as an example of our disunity and will be used to encourage the German people to stick to the Nazis a little longer.

The racist idea does not work for people of any color. The dark Japs thought it would. The fair Germans thought it would. See where it got them?

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