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fairly well or has done well up to now, but whether what happened 30 years ago is going to happen from here on in becomes a major issue; and some of us have some questions about what the progress will be, in view of what we see as a result of the situation in our schools.
Senator KENNEDY. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
PUERTO RICAN OUTFLOW IS AN ECONOMIC BAROMETER
Senator RIBICOFF. Mr. Monserrat, I understand you have got quite an outflow of Puerto Ricans from the United States back to Puerto Rico. Could you give us an idea of how many Puerto Ricans are returning to Puerto Rico as against how many Puerto Ricans are coming into the United States on an annual basis?
Mr. MONSERRAT. Senator, the Puerto Rican migration is one of the most sensitive economic barometers that we have in the Nation. It is much more sensitive than the cost-of-living barometer and even much more sensitive than the Department of Labor statistics figures.
We have kept records on Puerto Rican migration since the year 1908. Puerto Rico being a port of entry, we do have records, and what these records show and demonstrate is the following. We can, in fact, establish a postulate.
Puerto Rican migration will go up when employment opportunities are high in the States. Puerto Rican migration will drop when employment opportunities drop and there is a recession. Migration to Puerto Rico takes place and has taken place during each major depression that we have had since 1908.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES CONTROL MIGRATION
Now what has happened is that as you look at the figures, since 1960 we have had 2 years in which, in terms of net migration, the flow back to the island has been higher than the flow to the States. That is, in 1961 we had 1,754 more persons returning to Puerto Rico than coming here, and in the year 1963, we had 5,400 more people returning than coming here. But in 1965, the movement is again toward the mainland, and the reason the movement is again this way is because of the tremendous demand for Puerto Rican workers.
We had 16,600 people coming up this way. This year, because the needs are greater, the migration will again be greater. I think the most dramatic example of this is that the year in which the largest Puerto Rican net migration ever occurred was the year 1953, when 69,124 persons came up. Now you will recall that at the end of 1953, and the beginning of 1954, we went through a period of difficulty. Migration dropped that year 69 percent, to 21,000. And so, job opportunities in the states and the needs here are the factors that statistically seem to control migration back and forth.
I might add that this is true with internal migration in the United States. People who move out of Tennessee and Kentucky into Detroit, move when the automobile industry is busy, but when the automobile industry is closed down, you will see Detroit license plates back in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Senator RIBICOFF. You made I think one of the most sophisticated statements that has been made in the course of the entire hearing. It went something like this: We have two systems of education. We have one for the upper and middle class because we expect that child to achieve. We have another for the lower income groups whom we don't espect to achieve. What should be done in our educational system to turn that around and to make sure that our curriculum and our system gives the same opportunity to the children in the lower income schools?
EQUAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES SHOULD BE PROVIDED
Mr. MONSERRAT. Senator, let, me, if I may, sound very naive, perhaps a little idealistic, but I believe that we in the United States are great enough and rich enough to have as a goal that every public school in the country be at least as good as every private school. I don't think that this is beyond our reach and I think this should be part of our goal, No. 1.
No.2, I think we should look at children as children. A Puerto Rican child in New York City is not Puerto Rican in the way in which he would be in Puerto Rico. He cannot be. But then “neither is he American," because his peers do not permit him to be, so he is a child in limbo. In Puerto Rico this child would be seen as a child. In New York he is seen as a Puerto Rican.
What I said earlier, I believe that what we need to do is to find the ways of being able to provide our school systems with the resources they need to meet the educational needs of the children who attend those schools, and I repeat that I think many of the programs that we have going now are an attempt to go around the basic issue and are tangential to the problem.
If we do this, I believe that there is enough imagination and dedication in our school people who, once provided with resources they need, would be able to fit and to make the curriculum meet the need of the child in question.
As I said before, a child who will be born today and not go to school for 6 years has already been marked and thus his future has already been determined. His teacher is being taught in colleges how to teach the culturally deprived. She is also being taught something called the culture of poverty. She is also being involved in a conditioning situation which makes it very difficult for her to look at this child as a child on the one hand, and makes it very difficult to feel that this child is going to achieve. How can he? She has been taught that these children don't.
Senator RIBICOFF. This isn't as complicated as everyone seems to make it or is making it, but it is a question of attitude and philosophy.
BETTER SCHOOLS COULD ELIMINATE NEED FOR SPECIAL PROGRAMS
Mr. MONSERRAT. Well, that is not a simple issue and I am not trying to belittle it, but what I am trying to say, Senator, would we need a Headstart program if we had sufficient kindergartens around the country? Would we need something called a higher horizon program? What is the higher horizon program that was established in New York? It was the selection of a number of schools and putting into those schools the resources that the children needed.
What are these special novelty and new approaches that we are dealing with in program after program? We are putting into those programs what we do not have in the regular system, and then we measure the effects of these things, and then we call this a special program. I am saying that these ought to be in every school.
"LA VIDA" -A STUDY OF THE CULTURE OF POVERTY
Senator RIBICOFF. A book has just been written that has had very wide circulation and many favorable critical reviews called “La Vida” by Oscar Lewis, on the Puerto Rican family culture of poverty, in San Juan, and New York. Mr. Lewis was to testify here but became ill and couldn't come. Could you comment on the views of Mr. Oscar Lewis?
Mr. MONSERRAT. I am very familiar with the book, and with a series of other books that Mr. Lewis has written, because I believe that here again we are confronted with some rather serious problems. Senator, I don't know if you recognize the meaning of the word “la vida,” the title of the book.
Senator RIBICOFF. I think so, but you probably know it better.
Mr. MONSERRAT. The term "la vida" as you will see from the introduction itself comes from the Spanish mujer de lavida, which means really “woman of the life" and mujer de la vida is a woman in la vida, which means that she is a prostitute.
Here is what concerns me. Here is a purportedly anthropological study of something called the culture of poverty. It is entitled in effect “Prostitution.” My question is, Is the "culture of poverty" a study of prostitution? If it is, then it is perfectly valid. But if it purports to be a study of poverty, then it is invalid. That book is going to harm thousands of kids. The author says he recognizes this, he says that in the long run he hopes it won't, he hopes it will help. But I doubt it. From my own experience across the country I know that I am going to have to answer teacher after teacher. They are going to tell me that the reason why these kids won't learn and the reason why the parents aren't going to be involved with the kid's education, is because of what the Puerto Ricans are like, as indicated in Mr. Lewis' study. This a false picture of the Puerto Ricans and it is going to do much harm.
LEWIS' METHODOLOGY QUESTIONED
I am for studies. I am for science. I do studies myself and I believe in them. But I believe that we must begin to take on a certain amount of social responsibility for some of the kinds of things that are being done in the name of science. I have seriously questioned the methodology.
Mr. Lewis indicates that he became tired of, or he questioned the general approach to anthropology, which was to study a broad culture and then to try to generalize from that down to the individual. What I am saying is that Mr. Lewis is guilty of the same thing in reverse. He studies one family and then is going to generalize through the totality.
There are many things. I have a 14-page review on the book, Senator, if you are interested, where I take Mr. Lewis' quotes, and they are like quick silver. The more you concentrate on a finding, the more you find that it disappears. I think Mr. Lewis is a greatly talented anthropologist. I have read almost all of his work. He has done some excellent work. But I believe that this kind of book is questionable in the area of science. I believe in a sense it is a novel, and Henry Miller did it better.
Senator RIBICOFF. I am very grateful to you, Mr. Monserrat. I am going to ask the staff to send your testimony to John Gardner, Secretary of HEW. Getting phrases into the sociological stream, on the culturally deprived, can do great residual harm.
You make an awful lot of commonsense, and I think that you have made a great contribution and I do appreciate your coming here and thanks very much.
Mr. MONSERRAT. Thank you for inviting me.
Senator KENNEDY. Mr. Chairman, before we adjourn I would like to introduce to the subcommittee, Mrs. Helen Suzman, who is a Member of Parliament from South Africa, a woman of great courage.
Senator RIBICOFF. The subcommittee will stand in recess until 2 p.m. (Whereupon, at 12:30 p.m., the subcommitee recessed until 2 p.m. of the same day.)
Senator RIBICOFF. The subcommittee will be in order.
Our first witness this afternoon is Whitney M. Young, Jr., executive director of the National Urban League.
Mr. Young, would you be good enough to take a seat? Mr. Young, you have a statement. Proceed as you would, sir.
STATEMENT OF WHITNEY M. YOUNG, JR., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE
Mr. Young. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Whitney M. Young, Jr. I am the executive director of the National Urban League.
The National Urban League is a 57-year-old interracial community services agency operating in some 80 cities around the country with a professional staff of over 800 people, supported by a much larger corps of volunteers.
We are delighted to have an opportunity to appear at your invitation before this subcommittee on a subject which is of vital interest to us.
I would not like to read the full statement. I will skip around. But I would like for you to feel free, Senator, where you would like to stop me to ask a question, to please feel free to do so.
Senator RIBICOFF. The entire statement then will go into the record as if read in its entirety.
Mr. Young. Thank you. We have spent a great deal of time in the preparation of it, and we feel that the entire statement has value. We are hopeful that our failure to read the full statement will not prevent you and your staff from getting the benefit of our staff work on it.
CITY CRISIS INVOLVES PEOPLE
Let me make clear that I assume here that what we are talking about, in talking about the crisis in the cities, is more than a brick and mortar question, that it is the question of people, that we are concerned with people in an urban environment, an environment to which they do not come naturally.
Many of the problems that have been discussed here, and are very real tangible problems, represent a part of the problem, but I would also suggest that there are some intangible problems, feelings of anonymity, of being faceless and nameless, and a feeling of being lost in an urban mass. Many of these problems result from rootlessness and the lack of a feeling of a personal stake in the community.
Therefore, the question before us, it seems to me, in many respects becomes the question of how to provide the urban resident, and most particularly the man in the ghetto with a stake in his own community, how to diminish the sense of anonymity that he feels, how to reduce the impersonality of the urban environment.
AMERICAN NEGROES HAVE IMPORTANT ROLE
I would also like to say that in the final analysis what happens in the urban environment or, more specifically, what happens to the Negro in America-and in this case the Negro is largely an urban dwellerwill to a large degree determine what happens to America and its image around the world.
The Negro has become the barometer of the validity of our free enterprise system, and of all of our institutions. In the final analysis, the real test of whether America is a great country and whether we are in fact a humane and decent people, will be determined by what happens to this citizen who, dates his coming to this country back some 20 generations, and who has given his blood, sweat, and tears to the development of this country.
Many people have testified to the extent of the problems we face, the problems of unemployment, of inadequate education, and particularly the problems of poor housing and overcrowded conditions and segregation.
Most important, you have had placed before you the damaging indictment that the gaps between the average Negro citizen and the white citizen in our society have not been closed. In many cases the gap has actually widened.
Segregation in housing, for example, is much more crucial today and is much more prominent and significant than it was 10 years ago.
FACTORS LEADING TO CIVIL DISTURBANCES
Neither my organization nor myself as an individual is known as alarmist or as people who would incite any kind of civil disturbance, but at the risk of being accused of this, I would like to suggest that, at this moment in time, I believe that we are running a very serious risk in the next few months of serious civil disturbances. I would
rather run the risk of predicting disaster than, by my silence, simply be relegated to an observer of it. There are a series of factors which are leading up to confrontations that I think will prove very serious to our cities and to our whole national image.
MINORITY GROUPS CONCENTRATE IN URBAN AREAS
As I have said, the plight of the minority population is concentrated more and more heavily in the cities. Despite dedicated efforts and inspired experiments in the recent past, the situation is becoming