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Harmful Effects of Bias on U.S. Economy Outlined to Senate Body by Ncrac Head

Both business and labor have come to realize that discrimination in employment depresses wages, increases the cost of production and cuts down the size of markets, Henry Epstein, former Solicitor General of New York State and chairman of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, today told a sub-committee of the Senate Committee on Labor, as hearings continued on the Ives FEPC Bill.

In addition, discrimination handicaps our relations with other countries, Mr. Epstein said, citing U.S. diplomats as his authority. He pointed out that in our foreign policy we stand committed to a policy of non-discrimination, since by the Senate ratification of the U.N. Charter, the U.S. undertook to promote “universal respect for an observance of human rights and fundamental freedom” for all persons. “We can no longer appease and tolerate amongst ourselves the self-same practices we denounce so strongly in others,” Mr. Epstein declared.

He placed in the committee record a survey of discrimination against Jews recently completed by the NCRAC, which disclosed the following facts: in 15 major cities there was a 195 percent overall increase in discriminatory help-wanted advertisements for 1946 as compared with 1945. In six major cities there was an overall increase of 93 percent in complaints of discrimination received by Jewish agencies in the post- V-J Day period, while in New York, which has an anti-discrimination law, there was a six percent decrease. Eighty-nine percent of the employment agencies in 12 cities–outside of New York City and Newark, where state anti-bias laws are in effect–included questions about religion on their registration forms. A survey in Chicago during the year ending March 1947, showed that 93 percent of the employment agencies asked applicants about their religion, which was a 10 percent increase over the previous year.

Hubert H. Humphrey, Mayor of Minneapolis, in a strong statement supporting the Ives Bill, testified that the Minneapolis City FEPC had shown “positive evidence” of its value in overcoming discrimination in employment in that city since its creation two months ago. In response to questioning by Senator Allen J. Ellender, of Louisiana, Humphreys said that Minneapolis does have “a problem of anti-Semitism, the same as any other city.” He said there was an “embarrassing extent” of discrimination against the 30,000 Jewish people of Minneapolis, in the universities, in clubs, in restrictive covenants in real estate tracts and in employment, primarily in the retail and clerking trades and certain professions.

Queried by Ellender as to the cause for such animosity toward the Jewish people, Humphreys replied that “the problem of anti-Semitism has been with us a long time” adding that he thought there had been progress made in combating it during the last ten years through the efforts of church, school and civic groups such as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Humphrey said “without the provision for the use of force in the bill, it would become merely a sermon. Lets Leave the sermons to the clergy.”

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