My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Wednesday—This is the Fourth of July, and in the column which I wrote for this day I said what I deeply believe: that to the majority of the people in this country, human rights stood above everything else. I am beginning to wonder, however, whether certain small and powerful groups consider that human rights apply to all human beings.

I have some material printed by an organization in Chicago, and in the letter which accompanied it the gentleman complains bitterly that the FEPC is unfair to the white people because there are more people of other races employed in its offices. I do not happen to know whether this statement is true or not. But since the FEPC was set up to give an equal opportunity to minority groups in this country, it would seem to me eminently fitting that, in its offices, those minority groups should be more heavily represented among the employees than the majority group.

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Men who organize into the kind of group such as the one writing me represents seem to me both short-sighted and very stupid. Incidentally, the gentlemen who talk for hours in the halls of government also seem to forget that their little part of the glove is very small and their peculiar problem is very minor. They are important only because they show the world that a great nation is so poorly represented that a little group of stubborn, greedy and fearful men can hold up equal economic opportunity for human beings who are citizens of their country. These men seem to be afraid of what might happen if people belonging to minority groups had equal opportunity in the economic world.

What do they think the people—the millions of people in India, in China, in South Africa, in Latin America—will think of some of the things which they have uttered? The best that can be said is that men who are ruled by fear are always stupid. This fear is not just a racial fear; it is an economic fear and a political fear. Loss of power is an ever present fear to these men.

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You cannot have a statesman's vision of the future if you are afraid of the present. We are going to live in a world where people of many races are going to be close to us and are going to have equal economic opportunity whether a small group, temporarily powerful here, wishes them to have it in this country or not.

These men are making enemies for us at the present time—not just of minority groups in this country, but of large majority groups throughout the world. For our action on FEPC is not merely a domestic question; it is a question which will have repercussions in international conferences in the immediate future. We fight to stamp out Hitler ideologies, and then people hold similar ideologies at home.

E. R.

TMs, AERP, FDRL