STATEMENT OF GAY JOHNSON MCDOUGALL TO THE TWENTY-FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM

by Gay Johnson McDougall
Washington, DC, United States
August 20, 1980
16 pages
Speech delivered in Hamden, Connecticut. McDougall says it is rare to have an opportunity to consider one of the most repugnant concepts of all times - racism - in its global context. On a day to day basis, we are forced to address racism chiefly as it is manifest within the narrow context of national boundaries; but it is imperative that from time to time we step back and consider racism in its historical and global contexts; due in large part to the international response to the racial atrocities of the Nazi regime, and subsequently to the anti-colonial campaigns and racial violence in many countries, particularly the south of the United States, the issue of racial discrimination has become one of the major issues of the 20th Century; it is quite inaccurate to speak simply of "developed" and "underdeveloped" nations; within every nation, whether industrialized or developing, various social strata share unequal portions of their country's wealth; educated, privileged classes live in poor Brazil, and no one can doubt the undeveloped nature of the ghettoes of the United States; the vast majority of Black people, Hispanics, Native Americans, and other oppressed national minorities in the United States live in desperation and misery; in order to understand racism in the 1980's it must be seen in-terms of certain fundamental economic and social relationships which are in part the legacy of the western world's history of slavery and colonialism, and in part the repercussions from more current changes in the world order, involving the international division of labor and production, and the operations of multinational corporations; South Africa, the self-defined bulwark of Western civilization in Africa, could not repress its overwhelming black majority without the enormous support it continues to enjoy from the United States, West Germany, Great Britain, France, Canada, Japan and Israel; President Mobutu of Zaire has arrested thousands of his people and slaughtered many, yet the level of economic and military support from western democracies does not change. McDougall discusses the first Pan-African Congress, W.E.B. DuBois, the National Urban League, the Black family, Eric Williams, capitalists, tax incentives, repatriation of profits, the U.S. Department of Health, the Agency for International Development (AID), Howard University, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, the poverty line, discrimination, native Americans, the African slave trade, coffee, industrialization, Western Powers, World War II, Michael Manley of Jamaica, self-determination, Allende of Chile,  terms of trade, fair prices, markets, energy resources, raw materials, Ian Smith, Rhodesia, the Portuguese in Africa, Pan-Africanism, El Salvador, South Kora, Latin America, nuclear capability, China, wealth redistribution, sexism, and famine. [The plural for of the word is also spelled ghettos. This speech was delivered shortly before or shortly Africa McDougall became Director of the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.]
Used by permission of Gay McDougall.
Collection: Elizabeth S. Landis collection, National Archives of Namibia