Mr. Washington appears to be an intellectual jack-of-all-trades -- theologian (cf. Black Religion -- 1964), philosopher,...



Mr. Washington appears to be an intellectual jack-of-all-trades -- theologian (cf. Black Religion -- 1964), philosopher, social scientist, polemicist; and there is also something of the suspiciously unresolved evangelist in arrant statements such as ""Intermarriage is the imperative resolution because it demands reconciliation, the suffering of whites through what has heretofore been unsufferable (sic)."" Certainly in the opening and closing chapters which are mostly Mr. Washington's there are many other overstated and undeveloped contentions: ""Assimilation is the white man's pattern because he is unable to receive, he can only give. Marriage in black and white is the black man's pattern and initiative because he has the grace, the courtesy,. . . to receive. . . . Herein lies the superiority of the black man, his superior strength over the white man."" But the book is not to be altogether invalidated by Washington's less than superior argumentation since he assembles a great deal of material from the time of slavery on re our legal and moral intolerance toward black/white relationships (at one time 38 states had statutes prohibiting marriage); on what Boas (an early proponent of miscegenation) and Du Bols and Herskovits et al have written about acculturation and assimilation; on passing (its exaggerated importance to the Negro) and the privilege of light color; on the marriages per se (limited evidence available but a limited incidence too); on the stances of the churches, de facto rather than de jure; etc. etc. It is difficult to say just when Washington (a Negro college chaplain) has applied his own insights and inferences but where is the corroboration for his belief that black men do not want white women, ""it is that white women want black men,"" and will it serve his intention or the integrity of the book?

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 1970


Page Count: -

Publisher: Beacon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1970