NEW YORK (May. 19)
The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith made public its annual study of racial and religious bigotry in the United States today, reporting “an astonishing stream of evidence pointing to the existence in this country of a vast enterprise of prejudice that feeds upon domestic disputes and capitalizes upon international strife.”
“Never in all the history of our land has there been such widespread recognition of the peril of uncontrolled prejudice, bigotry and group tensions, and never have so many people and organized groups taken so active a part in coping with these problems,” the A.D.L. report declares.
The nationwide survey noted, in particular, “an alarming increase in violence and hoodlumism attributable to racial and religious tensions.” It pointed to riots in Cicero, Ill., gang assaults in Boston, the series of still unsolved bombings in Florida and similar eruptions in other areas as “disturbing evidence of promoted lawlessness that has not stopped even at murder.”
Other major findings of the report disclose:
1) The undisguised injection of false racial and religious issues into political campaigns. This process, the A.D.L. reports, manifesting itself during the state and local elections of 1950 and 1951, has now erupted with greater force in the current Presidential campaigns.
2) The threat that “guilt by association” and smear techniques involving racial and religious slanders will become imbedded in American mores, doing violence to traditional democratic concepts of justice, fair play and “freedom to disagree.” Americans find themselves accepting hysterical, unproved denunciations with less and less repugnance; the A.D.L. warns.
3) Efforts by Communists to “injure racial and religious minority groups by posing as their friends and defenders, but actually working to exploit minorities for their own political advantage.” The Communists have “failed dismally” to win any support from minority groups, the report notes, adding: “But Communist activity has served to complicate and hurt the fight against bigotry. In that respect, the Communists and the phony, professional anti-Communists are doing each other a service.”
4) The continued successful operation of a network of professional bigots who–although they operate independently and compete for funds–maintain close contacts for purposes of mutual support, the exploitation of common propaganda themes and the exchange of “sucker” lists.
5) A recent trend among several prominent hate propagandists to switch from Jew-baiting to anti-Catholic themes–“a heretofore less competitive area among dollar-seeking hate merchants.” Anti-Catholic bigotry still seeks to carry on its century-old vendetta, the report declares, “and a number of pseudo-religious publications have been trying to revive the hysteria of the Know-Nothings.”
6) The operation of an “Arab propaganda invasion” that “substituted anti-Semitism for anti-Zionism.” It worked on high diplomatic levels through the United Nations, but made common cause with many of the nation’s outspoken bigots.
7) Widespread discrimination against Jews by resorts and places of public accommodation. Noting that its records are “not at all exhaustive,” the A.D.L. reports that its current files show 675 hotels in 21 states where “discrimination is a matter of public record.” It cited the case of Delray Beach, Florida, a community which realtors advertise as “the only city in the East Coast fully restricted to Gentiles, both to buying and renting.”
The outbreaks of violence and hoodlumism during 1951–the worst year on record, says the report, since the pre-war days of the Christian Front–“cannot be dismissed as juvenile delinquency, although many authorities have sought refuge in this unsupported explanation.”