Albert Einstein – “The Negro Question” – A RAINBOW OF ROLE MODELS {WEDNESDAY SERIES}

I celebrate ACHIEVEMENT EVERY DAY!  WEDNESDAY’S  “A Rainbow of Role Models,”   I do not see race, skin color, religion, sex, attractiveness (ok, I do like beautiful ladies), age, or any other nonsense.  I love learning from inspirational people that inspire me to drop MY EXCUSES and JUST DO IT! Role models who stretch my ambitions and model GIVING BACK!  

There is dignity in achievement and success—in becoming a great factor in civilization.” Carter G. Woodson. 

I hope you will share these short articles; perhaps a few people will be curious to learn more.

Disclaimer: Good Day, Readers.  WealthBuildingPowers blog is a financial literacy/competency blog and does not provide specific investment recommendations.  

STYRON’S INTRODUCTION

In 1946, Albert Einstein published his Famous Essay On Race: “The Negro Question.”   Einstein, a German Jewish immigrant, had the courage to write about the evil of racism in his adopted country.   The harsh and sometimes deadly realities blacks faced every day.  

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  In 1946, the exception.  All men BUT The Negro. 

Jim Crow laws kept African-Americans in unequal and segregated communities, schools, and jobs. A never-ending social inferiority constrained to a social code imposed by the white classes. Lynchings were frequent, and African-Americans faced threats of violence daily.

Dr. Einstein, a theoretical physicist, developed the theory of relativity, which won him a Nobel prize and blessed humanity with one of two pillars of modern physics. What many may not know is his devotion to the plight of Black Americans in the United States. After living in the U.S. for ten years, he wrote: The Negro Question. He takes the nation to task for segregation, Jim Crow, and the assumption that blacks cannot succeed. This was a brave position in the 1940s.

If only the nation had heeded Albert Einstein’s wise, heartfelt words.

Nine years after Dr. Einstein’s publication, America’s disregard for black lives was displayed nationally when a 14-year-old child, Emmett Till, was abducted, tortured, and lynched in Mississippi after being accused of offending a white woman.  While people of both races knew the identities of the murderers, they were acquitted unanimously by an all-white jury.

A black life, even a child, did NOT matter.

WEDNESDAY’S SERIES ROLE MODEL – DR. ALBERT EINSTEIN

“THE NEGRO QUESTION “

EINSTEIN AT LINCOLN UNIVERSITY

This text was written by Sigma Xi member Albert Einstein in 1946. 

I am writing as one who has lived among you in America only a little more than ten years. And I am writing seriously and warningly. Many readers may ask: 

“What right has he to speak about things which concern us alone, and which no newcomer should touch?”

I do not think such a standpoint is justified. One who has grown up in an environment takes much for granted. On the other hand, one who has come to this country as a mature person may have a keen eye for everything peculiar and characteristic. I believe he should speak out freely on what he sees and feels, for by so doing he may perhaps prove himself useful.


What soon makes the new arrival devoted to this country is the democratic trait among the people. I am not thinking here so much of the democratic political constitution of this country, however highly it must be praised. I am thinking of the relationship between individual people and of the attitude they maintain toward one another.

In the United States everyone feels assured of his worth as an individual. No one humbles himself before another person or class. Even the great difference in wealth, the superior power of a few, cannot undermine this healthy self-confidence and natural respect for the dignity of one’s fellow-man.

There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.

Many a sincere person will answer: “Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.”

I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.


The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself.

A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.

It would be foolish to despise tradition. But with our growing self-consciousness and increasing intelligence we must begin to control tradition and assume a critical attitude toward it, if human relations are ever to change for the better. We must try to recognize what in our accepted tradition is damaging to our fate and dignity—and shape our lives accordingly.

I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.


What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.

I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed. But until this goal is reached, there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.

Source: Pageant 1 (January 1946), No. 12, 36-37; Einstein 1956, 132-134.

TO READ THE ARTICLE, CLICK BELOW:

https://www.sigmaxi.org/home/the-negro-question-by-albert-einstein

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I am a proud nerd (as my beautiful wife and daughter have told me) investment and finance blogger with an N.C. State, Chemical Engineering, University Rutgers, MBA and Harvard University, Advanced Management education.

I left a corporate career because I desired to make a difference as a speaker and writer. I was blessed to be coached and mentored by strong women and men in my family and professional life.  It is my time to serve and give back.

DISCLAIMER

I started my first business at ~13 years of age (a small but brilliantly created plant nursery). I am a successful investor in stocks, options, and real estate and am happy to share my finance and investment lessons.  I am NOT a licensed financial advisor.  Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog as recommendations for your situation. As an investor, you must establish your risk/loss tolerance. Investment in any asset involves risk, including complete loss. 

 Please seek your licensed CPA or fiduciary financial advisors for individual financial advice.  

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This blog will provide, information and simple strategies, that will assist you to achieve YOUR financial objectives and long term targets. For over 30 years, I solved multi-million dollar problems, for Fortune 10-250, companies. My formal education includes: Business, Finance and Chemical Engineering {Problem Solving} at: Harvard, Rutgers and North Carolina State. And an additional 30+ years, managing my family’s investment decisions. I currently manage/advise people with net-worths ranging from the tens of thousands to several million dollars.

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