Majority Involvement in Minority Movements: Civil Rights, Abolition, Untouchability
Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 27, No. 1, 1971, pp. 81-104

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Gary T. Marx and Michael Useem
Harvard University

Note to reader: this article is an example of how the sociological method can help situate personal issues within a broader social and cultural context. The impetus to write it grew out of the rejection of whites from segments of the black power movement. It hopefully demonstrates that beyond the specific personalities involved and local circumstances, the structure of the situation makes such conflicts likely. 1/2000.

A number of colleagues graciously offered useful comments on this paper but we are particularly indebted to August Meier, Elliot Rudwick, and David Riesman for their extensive critiques. We are grateful to the Joint Center for Urban Studies and the Clark Fund for support. An earlier version of this paper was read at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Washington, D.C., 1970.

Abstract: Social movements seeking to change the subordinate status of ethnic minorities have drawn activists from both the minority and dominant groups. Conflict has at times developed between movement members of these two groups. In a comparative analysis of three movements --the civil rights movement, the anti-slavery cause in the U.S., and the movement to abolish Untouchability in India-- the sources of tension appear quite similar. Ideologically, minority group activists viewed themselves as more radical and committed to that particular cause than did their dominant group co-workers and were more for a strategy of minority group self-help. Organizational conflict arose as majority members disproportionately assumed decision-making positions in the movement. A third source of tension developed because some movement members were carriers of prejudices and hostilities of the larger social milieu. Outsiders frequently played essential roles in the early phases of these movements, but pressures developed on majority members to reduce involvement or withdraw altogether.

An issue that leftist movements in America have continually confronted concerns the disadvantaged position of various racial and ethnic groups. Awareness of the discrimination, exploitation, and indifference long faced by black Americans was a primary catalyst in the creation of the New Left in the past decade. However, as the history of the civil rights movement of the sixties has shown, this concentration of energy on the situation of an oppressed minority was not without severe problems. In particular, sharp conflict developed over the participation of whites in organizations who resources were primarily devoted to working for and within the black community. As the civil rights effort evolved, the position of whites in the movement took on an increasingly ambiguous nature, eventually culminating in the exclusion or voluntary withdrawal of whites from central roles in the struggle and the emergence of the ideology of Black Power. Was this development entirely unique to the civil rights movement? Perhaps there are structural elements in this type of political movement which would inevitably lead to acute tension between dominant and subordinate group activists.

One manner in which to deal with this question is through the comparative analysis of similar movements. Our interest is in the role played by "outsiders" in other people’s struggles, individuals who do not share the stigma or socially debilitating attribute and who do not stand to gain in the same direct way from the desired social change. There are of course an immense variety of political movements in which both insiders and outsiders played important roles. However, for direct contrast with the civil rights effort we sought movements whose primary concern was altering the depressed condition of a minority group defined along racial or ethnic lines. Two efforts seemed particularly well-suited for a comparative analysis: the movement to end Untouchability in India, and the 19th century abolitionist movement in this country. In a cursory examination of these movements and of the civil rights effort, we were struck by the poignant and ironic parallels in the conflict that often developed between blacks and whites, or Untouchables and caste Hindus, working together in a common movement to bring about change. All three movements were intensely committed to ending the oppression of a relatively small ethnic or racial minority (whose condition was also of significant societal-wide concern), all were predominantly left-liberal in ideology and strategy but included strong radical currents, all had histories stretching over at least several decades, all took on a variety of organizational forms involving large numbers of people, all had both minority and dominant group members active in the struggle, and all were plagued by recurrent tensions between these two groups. In this paper we attempt to draw out several sociological themes which appear to be typically associated with outsider involvement in minority movements.

The recent American civil rights movement originated in the deteriorating situation confronting blacks as the nineteenth century drew to a close and the weakness of Booker T. Washington’s accommodationist strategy became apparent. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NACCP) formed in 1909 as an interracial organization to promote more aggressive action, reflected the growing impatience. Over the decades it has primarily been concerned with legal attacks on discriminatory practices. Since the Second World War, however a variety of organizations (e.g., Congress of Racial Equality [CORE], Southern Christian Leadership Conference [SCLC], Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), have crystallized around more direct offensives against general social conditions facing blacks, such as poverty, inadequate education, and segregated facilities. Strategies became more militant, nonviolent direct action in various forms spread widely, particularly in the early sixties, and the movement attracted a new generation of less affluent blacks and young northern whites. More recently the radicalization has led to the emergence of black nationalist and socialist ideologies within the movement, and whites have assumed a much more marginal role.

The antislavery crusade followed a course extending over a comparable period, with early abolitionist sentiment finding organizational expression by the time of independence. In 1817 a major effort to facilitate the return of free blacks and manumitted slaves to Africa was formalized in the American Colonization Society, but few departed and this solution to slavery was discredited by the prevalence of anti-black motives underlying the involvement of many advocates. By the 1830s more direct attacks on bondage were current and the New England and American Anti-Slavery Societies founded in that decade amalgamated diverse political strains under a common desire to end slavery immediately and unconditionally. In the following decades the numerical strength of the movement increased dramatically; by the fifties, the several thousand abolitionist societies claimed a membership in the hundreds of thousands. Abolition of slavery was the unifying cause, but serious schisms rent the movement throughout its history, in some cases resulting in separate organizations. Until the movement’s demise during t he Civil War, the issues revolved around whether abolition was to be viewed as a reformist end in itself or as a means to a broader transformation of American Society, the type of political action to be pursued, how to present the movement’s image to an initially unsympathetic public, and the degree to which the problems facing free blacks should be incorporated into movement concern.

In India the more than sixty million Untouchables, culturally and religiously excluded from the Hindu fold, and economically very depressed, have thrust up a variety of protest movements, ranging from Sanskritization to religious cults to struggles for political power. Early in this century their plight received the attention of the Congress movement as it agitated for independence and for a reformed social order that was to include an uplifted Untouchable community was becoming politically self-conscious and interested in solving its problems on its own political power. Early in this century their plight received the attention of the Congress movement as it agitated for independence and for a reformed social order that was to include an uplifted Untouchable community. In 1932, for instance, a number of caste Hindus, including Gandhi, established the Jarijan Sevak Sangh, a service organization aimed at ameliorating the Untouchable condition through propaganda, Untouchable education, and unionization. Concurrently a segment of the Untouchable community was becoming politically self-conscious and interested in solving its problems on its own political strength. Prior to independence this led to such strategies as symbolic transgression of religious codes (e.g., temple entry) and pressure to secure special guarantees in the Indian constitution. Since then Untouchable action has included the formation of a regular political party (the Republican party), and , beginning in the mid-fifties, a dramatic protest against Hindu society through mass conversion to Buddhism.

Before examining these movements, several possible problems of method and evidence should be noted. The empirical foundation on which our argument rests could be appreciably stronger. Historical materials on the Untouchable movement is sketchy, and sociological analysis of all three developments is limited. This has necessitated reliance on observations and personal accounts of movement participants, especially; activists from the minority group. Using subjective assessments presents certain problems, although such evaluations reflect an important social reality. The degree of accuracy in personal accounts may vary considerably between observers, and more systematic data are needed to transform the suggestive findings of this paper into firm conclusions. For example, assertions about ideological differences between insiders and outsiders require verification through standard survey methods. It should also be noted that we will be discussing modal tendencies and do not mean to imply that all involvement of whites in black movements, or of caste Hindus in Untouchable movements, has met with conflict, nor that differences characterizing the insider and outsider groups apply to all members taken individually, nor that other sources of conflict unrelated to race were not often present (e.g., class-based tensions have often been attendant). In addition we are dealing with relations among activists, not among uninvolved minority or majority group members, and we are not dealing with the way in which the movements related to the broader society. We have tried not to magnify the degree of internal tension in these movements by considering only extreme examples, but in emphasizing certain themes only material bearing on these has been presented. A paper focusing on intergroup cooperation in these movements would no doubt deal with a number of issues and data which we neglect.

Four Conflict Themes
A comparative assessment of these three movements --abolition, civil rights, Untouchability-- will be undertaken along four themes. The first considers lines of ideological disagreement which have often distinguished insiders from outsiders. Frequently (though certainly not always) minority group activists have held somewhat more radical and militant attitudes than their majority group colleagues, at least with respect to the struggle over the oppression of that particular racial or caste group. Outsiders, on the other hand, have often affiliated with a broader set of political causes and movements. Even if there is a consensus on questions of ideology and strategy, second and third sources of conflict stem from the fact that social movements are in many ways microcosms of the larger society. The divergent background and experiences of activists from the two groups may have important effects on the internal structure and culture of the movements. Structural conflict at times has arisen because dominant group activists, usually from more privileged backgrounds, have tended to come to the movement with more of the skills and experience which are important for the success of the movement, such as writing, internal organizing, planning strategy, and fund raising, but perhaps a lesser commitment to the goals of that particular struggle (though not necessarily a lesser commitment to changing the system). These initial differences may result in disproportionate numbers of outsiders being in decision-making positions and may inhibit the development of similar skills among insiders. A third source of tension, cultural conflict, may arise because movement members have often been the carriers, if in a somewhat diluted form, of the prejudices and hostilities of the larger social milieu from which they came. Suspicion, distrust, and scapegoating on the part of the minority group and stereotyping, patronization, and paternalism on the part of the dominant group have often resulted. The final theme to be considered concerns the development of these conflicts over lime. Outsiders frequently have played critical roles in the early phases of these movements, but as the struggle has gained strength (and/or failed to bring about meaningful change), the latent conflicts between the two groups have tended to become more visible. Pressures develop on outsiders to reduce their level of involvement or to withdraw altogether.

Ideological Conflict between Oppressed Minority and Outsiders
In the civil rights, abolition, and Untouchable movements, political divisions have been pervasive, perhaps a characteristic of most intense political movements. Some differences were benign and readily resolved, but others remained sharp and created considerable internal conflict. At times these ideological divisions paralleled the internal social cleavage between activists from the dominant and subordinate groups. A theme running through all three movements has been the occasional tendency for minority group activists to adopt a somewhat less reformist and more revolutionary perspective on the liberation of their own group, or at least to develop critiques of dominant group activists in these terms. Many instances of conflict between the two groups of activists could be traced to disagreements over the timetable for change, how far one should go in compromises, and the extent to which non-institutionalized protest means were acceptable. There has also been a tendency for outsiders to maintain interest in a wider variety of causes, which have often included the situation of women, the working classes, the poor, depressed castes and other ethnic minorities; they have lacked strong personal identification with any single issue.

Within the civil rights movement, for instance, this pattern was evident in CORE from its original inception until the middle 1960s. Meier and Rudwick (1969) observe that at the time of CORE's founding in 1942 the whites had interests ranging from nonviolence to racial equality, whereas involved blacks were primarily concerned with fighting racism. Two decades later this ideological divergence was still evident in CORE, as a study in the sixties reports:

Whites generally came to the movement with fairly stable, well-defined liberal views . . Their participation in the movement, which usuallv overshadowed other commitments, was one of a range of liberal political activities . . . Negroes, however, required no elaborate liberal conditioning to bring them into the movement. The movement was their cause . . . Negroes were always under direct emotional pressure resulting from segregation and discrimination Therefore, the potential for great radicalism was present in their personal relationship to the issue [Bell, 1968, pp. 126-l27].

The Untouchable movement evidences a parallel source of tension. B. R. Ambedkar, the foremost leader in the Untouchable movement until his death in the mid-1950s and himself an Untouchable, and Mahatma Gandhi, a caste Hindu, were frequently at odds over the proper solution of Untouchability. Gandhi was associated with a wide variety of causes including ending British colonialism, encouragement of village industry, and uplifting the Untouchables and women, while Ambedkar was concerned almost entirely with the condition of the Untouchables and related depressed classes in India. The two leaders also differed on the amount of change needed to improve the situation of the Untouchables. Gandhi felt that caste Hindus could be persuaded to accept the depressed classes as part of the Hindu fold, but Ambedkar maintained that the prospects for this were dim and that only through the application of political pressure could the rights of Untouchables be secured (Zelliot, 1966; Kerr, 1962). Disagreements also occurred over the effectiveness and acceptability of various protest means. In the 1920s and 1930s direct action campaigns were often conducted against various restrictions faced by the Untouchables. Typical action included the collective drinking from community wells normally off-limits to Untouchables, and the entry into temples reserved for use by caste Hindus. These tactics were less acceptable to caste Hindus engaged in the movement than to their Untouchable allies. The series of events surrounding these steps of direct action are remarkable similar in form to the events and aftermath of the freedom rides of CORE and sit-ins of SNCC in the early sixties. Within the abolitionist movement white militancy was not lacking, as evidenced by the actions of John Brown. but many black abolitionists at times urged more radical strategies on the movement and expressed a greater sense of urgency for the termination of slavery. In 1829 an early call to arms was issued by the black abolitionist, David Walker, which was frank in its encouragement of violent forms of action if circumstances were appropriate. Walker's "Appeal" was widely circulated and caused much consternation in the white antislavery camp. "A more bold, daring, inflammatory publication, perhaps never issued from the press of any country," asserted the white abolitionist publisher Benjamin Lundy (quoted in Litwack, 1961, p. 234); "I can do no less than set the broadest seal of condemnation on it." Though the position was denounced by many whites in the antislavery cause, a little over a decade later another black abolitionist, Henry Highland Garnet, delivered an address before a national black anti-slavery convention which strongly echoed Walker's tone and included the exhortation: "It is your solemn and imperative duty to use every means, both moral, intellectual, and physical that promises success [Garnet, 1843]."

Black abolitionists tended to have a shorter timetable for change than did their white co-workers. This difference became sharper as the antislavery movement increasingly sensed that its decades of effort had made little headway, particularly with the Dred Scott decision (1857) and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Militancy increased among blacks as they wearied of "exhortations to be patient and await that impartial and just God' who would inevitably rid the nation of slavery [Litwack, 1965, p. 151] . "

By the critical decade of the 1850s, black circles were openly discussing the encouragement of slave insurrections and forceful opposition to such legislation as the Fugitive Slave Law, and some even advanced the view that the entire political structure of the country should be overturned if necessary for the abolition of slaverv. The more radical orientation of blacks in the movement extended beyond the issue of formal bondage to the situation or the free black in America. Many blacks in the antislavery crusade felt that the reformist instincts (in some cases encompassing a variety of issues) of their white colleagues prevented them from confronting subtler but nonetheless pervasive forms of racial oppression faced by those not in formal bondage. White abolitionists were quite sensitive about advocating or evidencing a belief in full social equality and interracial mixing, and even black membership in some abolitionist societies was at times a hotly debated issue (Meier & Rudwick, 1966; Litwack, 1965).

A major strategic fracture, at times overlapping the division between insiders and outsiders, resulted from attitudes toward self-help. Minority group activists have often argued that the process of struggling for one's freedom is a necessary prerequisite for fully ending oppression. Conversely, outsiders have tended to stress the strategic advantages of involving majority group activists. This is seen as increasing the legitimacy of the movement, as well as offering essential resources, such as financial backing.

Frederick Douglass expressed a view shared by many black abolitionists that "the man who has suffered the wrong is the man to demand redress, that the man STRUCK is the man to CRY OUT-- and that he who has endured the cruel pangs of Slavery is the man to advocate liberty [l847]." At times white support was viewed more favorably since white activists were essential for gaining further white converts to the antislavery cause. However, as momentum gathered in the decades just prior to the Civil War, black activists increasingly asserted their special standing within the movement. A black abolitionist conference announced in 1854: The time is come when our people must assume the rank of a first-rate power in the battle against caste and Slavery; it is emphatically our battle; no one else can fight it for us, and with God's help we must fight it ourselves [Litwack, 1965, p. ` 155].

White abolitionists, on the other hand, often conceived of the black role as essentially symbolic --useful at ceremonial occasions, but secondary to the real political effort. Similar themes are present in the Indian movement. Many Untouchable leaders felt that the efforts of high status Hindus were inherently crippling because their presence meant the Untouchables would be denied control over even their own movement (Rudolph & Rudolph, 1967). Ambedkar adamantly opposed top-down reform and was strongly committed to the central involvement of Untouchables in the struggle. In his oven acrid assessment: The work of Harijan Sevak Sangh is not to raise the Untouchables. Gandhi's main object, as every self-respecting Untouchable knows, is to make India safe for Hindus and Hinduism. He is certainly not fighting the battle of the Untouchables. On the contrary by distributing through the Harijan Sevak Sangh petty gifts to petty Untouchables he is buying, benumbing and drawing the claws of the opposition of the Untouchables which he knows is the only force which will disrupt the caste system and will establish real democracy in India [Ambedkar, 1943, p. 69]. Similar tensions have been present throughout the recent history of the civil rights movement, culminating in the ascendancy of the idea of Black Power and the partial withdrawal of white activists. A variety of arguments have been advanced against having outsiders engaged in a movement working primarily in black communities (though combating racism in white contexts may be seen as appropriate). As in the case of the Untouchable leaders black activists were fearful that reform from above would ultimately leave black communities in a state of dependence. It was argued that the society's dominant white institutions had yielded only limited reform in the past and there was little reason to expect them in the future to be a major impetus behind the more massive changes critically needed. Furthermore, whatever improvement in the condition of black people could already be credited to these institutions was viewed as little more than a response to pressures from below The mobilization of the black community was therefore viewed as essential at minimum for prodding those with power to create reformist changes. But if the mustering was effectively accomplished, there were additional benefits which were not achievable under top-down reform. For instance, such mobilization may help produce a new sense of pride, self-reliance, and confidence. In addition, the new political awareness may eventuate in more intense and lasting pressure for radical change. White activists of course did not formally represent the dominant white power structure, but they did symbolically to many; their presence in the movement was seen to impede the creation of the desired self-confidence and political consciousness. The civil rights movement was attempting to relate to black people, but blacks had difficulty shaking loose from deferential tendencies around whites, no matter how well-intentioned the whites were. White workers, for instance, were at times able to get rural blacks to register to vote after black workers had failed. Litany of the negative aspects of outsider involvement are summarized in a position paper of a SNCC affiliated group (written just prior to the emergence of the Black Power ethos) which argues strongly for a black-led, black-staffed, and black-financed movement for organizing within their own communities. The rationale includes:

the inability of whites to relate to the cultural aspects of Black Society; attitudes that whites consciously or unconsciously, bring to Black communities about themselves (western superiority) and about Black people (paternalism); inability to shatter white-sponsored community myths of Black inferiority and self-negation; inability to combat the views of the Black community that white organizers, being "white," control Black organizers as puppets; . . . whites, though individual "liberals," are symbols of oppression to the Black community due to the collective power that whites have over Black lives [Vine City Project, 1967, p. 97].
The Privileged Position of the Outsiders
Almost by definition, outsiders in these movements tended to have privileges and opportunities that were systematically denied most members of the subordinate group. Consequently outsiders were often more skilled in a variety of ways relevant to the needs of the movement, and this initial difference often created a situation in which outsiders occupied a disproportionate share of high status positions and exerted what was seen as an excessive influence on decision-making. In this respect the internal structure of the movements reflected in microcosm many of the intergroup patterns typical of the broader society. This was tolerated and even accepted as necessary for a limited period, but many minority group activists came to conclude that such an arrangement inhibited the growth of the movement, was incongruent with its basic aims, dampened militancy, and reduced the opportunity for developing political competence among minority-group activists. This pattern is most apparent in the antislavery cause. In the signing of the constitution establishing the New England Anti-Slavery Society, only a quarter of the signers were black; only three blacks were officially present at the 1833 conference which formed the American Anti-Slavery Society. In the early phases of the abolitionist effort those organizations that were integrated were prone to relegate blacks to peripheral roles requiring little more than a black skin or a personal history of former bondage. As people truly representative of those in bondage they performed useful symbolic functions on ceremonial occasions, but most other roles, such as propagandizing, organizing forums and conventions, and raising financial support, were assumed by whites. With the exception of the underground railway (which involved comparatively few whites) this marginal role for blacks persisted throughout the antislavery movement.

Black abolitionists painfully sensed their exclusion; Martin Robinson Delany (1852) critically observed that white abolitionists "have each and all, at different times, presumed to think for, dictate to, and know better what suited colored people, than they knew for themselves . . ." Frederick Douglass corroborates this view as late as 1855: "Our oppressed people are wholly ignored . . . in the generalship of the movement to effect our redemption [Quoted in Meier & Rudwick, 1966, p. 105] . "

There are similarities, if less extreme and more benign, in the civil rights efforts of the 1960s. Writing of his own experience in the South, Staughton Lynd notes that "many of us had drifted into administrative roles . . . not because we wanted to be leaders, but because we were obviously better able to write press releases and answer the telephone than to approach frightened black people in remote rural communities. The objective result, however, was that we made more decisions than we should have made . . ." [Lynd, 1969, p. 14].

Several participant observers noting the same pattern suggest that an additional factor may lie in differences in cultural style revolving around the supposed greater emphasis whites placed on punctualitv, structure, and organization (Keller, Mabutt, & Ruhe, 1965) The influx of skilled whites into the movement and their assumption of authority roles created considerable resentment. In some cases local activists withdrew from the movement and many blacks came to feel that, as always, whites were truing to take things over to serve their own ends. An important role in decision making by whites dates far back in the civil rights movement; for instance, Ralph Bunche in the early 1940s saw white involvement as having a powerful indirect effect on keeping interracial organizations moderate, since blacks in the organizations often felt compelled to defer to white opinion (Myrdal, 1944).

A second structural source of tension in such movements may lie in what is perceived as the differential levels of commitment of the two types of activist. Regardless of background, people enter social movements for a variety of reasons and these may change over time. Yet minority group activists are working for their own liberation and the community with which they are politically, culturally, and personally identified. In most cases the individual can never leave the ascriptive minority status, and should the activist choose to give up full-time involvement, there may be fewer opportunities in the larger society. The minority member thus may be seen as more reliable and accountable for his or her actions than an outsider who can leave the struggle more easily. For dominant group activists, abstract moral principles may be more important as a guiding motive since neither they, nor their community of origin, stand to gain in the same direct way from involvement. Furthermore the very political principles that brought the outsiders to the ethnic movement in question may at a later date direct their energies into other causes. The overall commitment of outsiders to the creation of social change may be equivalent to that of the minority group activists, but it may be less identified with any single movement.

Adequate empirical evidence on differential commitment is lacking; yet common to all three movements is a questioning of the motives and degree of commitment of activists from the dominant group. In the case of the southern civil rights movement there are data indicating that many whites had a short period of activism. According to one study, only seven percent of whites who went South during the summer of 1965 remained there during the fall. Only one out of four white volunteers definitely planned to return to the South to work with the movement, and only a tenth of those in the study reported considerable guilt about leaving the struggle (Demerath, Marwell & Aiken, 1968, 1971). Unfortunately, comparable turnover rates for blacks are not available. Even when whites remained in the South there was resentment over the perception that they could more readily play two roles. Julius Lester comments:

Sure whites came South. They got a little taste of jail, got beaten, but they were white. That meant they could go back home and not have to worry as they walked down the street…. [N]o matter where they were in the South, they could sneak off and go to a nice white restaurant or the movie theater….They could drive down the highway and if they were not known as civil rights workers, their minds could be easy [1968, p. 103]. Furthermore, some whites became engaged in civil rights for reasons only indirectly relevant to the concrete struggle of blacks. In one study, among reasons given by whites for their involvement were: "the opportunity for active rebellion against everything from the oppression of capitalism…to my own parents"; or "I like Negroes…relationships with them are not neurotic and are free of deception"; and to "make a witness to what I believe [Pinkney, 1968 , pp.97, 180]." Though similar motives might characterize some blacks, they were not as apparent or suspect because of the minority group members’ direct personal stake in the struggle. Some blacks felt they were being used as therapy by conscience-stricken white activists.

The abolitionist movement also saw some whites involved for diverse reasons and short periods of time. An historian reports the presence of those for whom the movement represented "a release for private devils," and the cause was not without its "summer soldiers who after a season disappeared in the shadows [Quarles 1969, p. 53]." There was a tendency for the commitments of some whites to be dictated more by a general social conscience than by a deep radical determination to overthrow slavery, and at times this led to a greater concern with assuming a proper moral posture than with obtaining the movement’s goals. A prominent white abolitionist observed, "My friends, if we never free a slave, we have at least free ourselves, in the effort to emancipate our brother man [quoted in Quarles, 19679, p. 53]" Such sentiments were a factor in the widespread dismay blacks felt with their white allies in the later decades of t he movement. Speaking in 1837, a black minister declared that in the early days there were few white antislavery advocates and their commitments were clear and deep, but "now a man may call himself an abolitionist and we know not where to find him [Wright, 1837]."

Many Untouchable leaders were also suspicious of caste Hindus concerned with the condition of the Untouchables. They felt their commitment was never transformed into anything but promises after Gandhi assumed leadership in the 1920s. This led to considerable disillusionment among Untouchable activists (Heismath, 1964). Suspicion of caste Hindus’ motives was manifest, for instance, in debates over whether Untouchables ought to have separate reserved seats in various electoral schemes under consideration by the British government. Ambedkar, 1943). This deep distrust of outsiders is also evident in the politically conscious sector of a large Untouchable community recently studied by Lynch (1969). He notes a widespread feeling that only Untouchable leaders could "really understand and achieve empathy" with the community, a sentiment reflected in the strong identification with Ambedkar’s movement at the national level.

Bringing in Cultural Prejudices
Independent of the structural conflicts in the movement, interpersonal relations within the movement may inadvertently manifest many of the social patterns of the greater society Though the most virulent and blatant forms of group prejudice were not evident in any of the three movements, mild negative group attitudes and a sense of inferior or superior group status were manifest; and condescension, patronization, paternalism, and stereotyping, On the part of the outsiders were also frequently noted. Like Captain Lingard in Joseph Conrad's The Rescue, the dominant group activist too often "prided himself upon having no color prejudice and no racial antipathies . . . only he knew what was good for them." At times this was reciprocated by passive acceptance of an inferior social position on the part of activists from the subordinate group, although enmity toward thc dominant group co-workers has often been a simultaneous development. All of this was further exacerbated by a feeling among insiders that many dominant group activists behaved hypocritically; they espoused a creed of egalitarianism within the movement, yet often denied it in practice. Many of these deeply felt tensions between the two types of activists were sharpened by a tendency noted by Coser (1956), for conflict to be particularly pronounced in close-knit groups. There is much evidence that the internal culture of the abolitionist movement was pervaded by both racial and class prejudice to a much greater extent than was true in the civil rights movement. The sense of racial superiority was retained by many of even the most ardent white abolitionists, and the "patronizing air of the uplifter" toward the "downtrodden and unwashed" frequently characterized the manner in which whites in the movement related to free blacks (Pease & Pease, 1965). Whites often offered advice and observations on a variety of matters in a fatherly and demeaning style to black activists. An exceptional black received effusive praise from some white abolitionists, perhaps reflecting a mild astonishment in encountering a black person of any caliber. The effects were not lost on the black abolitionist, who often complained that the anti-slavery cause itself was psychologically oppressive. Racial prejudice pervaded much of the atmosphere. A black minister warned an antislavery convention that 'abolitionists must annihilate in their own bosoms the cord of caste. We must be consistent recognize the colored man in every respect as a man and brother [Wright, 1837]," Another source of tension was the feeling that white abolitionists oftentimes were Quilts of discrimination outside of the movement. Many abolitionists bitterly denounced the system of slavery and devoted much energy to its eradication, but drew back from behavior that suggested social acceptance of the free black. In some public places and in the home and other private settings white abolitionists often were sensitive to charges of racial mixing, and their private associations were something less than fully integrated. Furthermore, free blacks in the North faced serious economic discrimination. Many whites active in the antislavery struggle were successful businessmen, but they frequently failed to make efforts to hire blacks, or did so only for the most menial positions (Litwack, 1965).

A caste Hindu activist frankly assessed the lingering prejudices many brought to the Untouchable movement.

It will take some time before even the best amongst us begin to look upon Harijans [Untouchables] as an important and integral part of the great Hindu community. Even the most enightened amongst us perfectly unconconsciously recognize inwardly the distinction between Harijans and non-Harijans [Quoted in Sanjana, 1946]. Accusations of hypocrisy and inconsistency were also directed at caste Hindus. Like some of the white abolitionists, various Congress spokesmen were quick to denounce the sins of Untouchability but were hesitant to transgress traditional taboos against socially mingling with Untouchables. Some simply refused to share dinners with members of the depressed classes when invited or, if unavoidable, shunned too close a seating arrangement (Natarajan, 1959). When they did join in such dinners they often later underwent symbolic acts of disavowal. Gandhi insisted that orthodox Hindu communities should not be distressed by the process of reform, and when he made the removal of Untouchability a part of the Congress program, he explicitly excluded intermingling.

Similar sources of friction along racial lines have also been evident in the civil rights movement. On a number of projects whites felt themselves to be more skilled than their black leaders and refused or were reluctant to follow orders they perceived as unnecessary or strong. One activist (quoted in Poussaint, l966) indicated that she felt like "the master's child come to free the slaves," a feeling sometimes revealed in behavior. Levv [1968] reports the case of a civil rights office that was managed by a black activist but which included some white workers. When several whites unfamiliar with the office entered they directed their initial queries for information to the white person rather than to the black in charge. Even with the best of intentions race has a persistent relevance that is hard to overcome. Traditional social forms and etiquette, as well as stereotypes, facilitate (or at least do not directly counter) usual patterns of dominant-subordinate relations, even among those committed to a more equalitarian society. One volunteer recalls: "A white man never turns black in Mississippi [Y]our secret belief [does not disappear] that you are, after all, superior . . . you're still college educated, still play acting, and still white [Sutherland, 1965, p. 58]." Everyday language in an interracial setting often came to have unintended implications. "Following a marvelous dinner at the house of your local landlord, you hear yourself say, 'Boy, was that a great dinner' and you choke involuntarily on the expletive. You can't forget that you're still white [Sutherland, 1965, p. 59]."

However, social expectations may also ensnarl even the most tolerant, if in a reverse fashion, in the process Goffman (1963) has called "deminstrelization." Some whites overcompensated in trying to deny their outsider and middle-class backgrounds. Whites, in over-reacting to the racism of the larger society, occasionally adopted a subordinate position and hid skills that would be inconsistent with it, or refused to argue with blacks even if strongly provoked. Some gave away personal possessions and were unable to deny any black request. A white volunteer in the South recalls, we’ve sort of laid down and let them run over us." In another case a white took over the job of toilet cleaning in a civil rights office to prevent blacks from assuming a stereotyped role (Levy,1968). The effort to appear as non-white as possible may also be seen in the adoption of aspects of black and working-class culture (Marx, 1967a; Warren, 1965). Hard work by whites for the movement, partly inspired by a desire to prove their commitment, was sometimes seen instead as proof that they were trying to take things over. Interracial sexual affairs were seen by some as a way of transcending race and, for whites, a way of demonstrating their lack of prejudice; but often such affairs appeared to be strategically unwise, were a source of anxiety and jealousy, and were perhaps detrimental to the development of black pride.

Activists were also affected by some of the sexual mythology And fears of the larger society. Thus a white staff member of an organization dedicated to the accomplishment of a completely integrated society, on hearing the screams of a girl at an evening conference, reports that his "immediate reaction was that one of the Negroes was raping the shit out of her [Levy, 1968, p. 81]. "

In addition to being suspicious of outsiders, some minority group activists displaced their general anti-white feelings onto the white workers. Robert Moses notes that "it's very hard for some of the students who have been brought up in Mississippi and are victims of this kind of race hatred not to begin to let all of that out on the white staff [Quoted in Warren, 1965]." In the face of numerous frustrations, these whites were accessible and provided a relatively safe target, unlike most members of the dominant group. The sense of collective guilt which initially brought many outsiders into the movement in some cases predisposed them to accept passively this scapegoating, or even to seek it. Even if, in their face-to-face interaction, whites and blacks can relate authentically and avoid the kinds of conflict mentioned here, the culture of the outside world, as it impinges on the movement, may create internal conflicts. For instance, in the South, white activists when arrested often faced more tolerable jail conditions, and national indignation over the few whites martyred in the civil rights struggle has been far greater than over the much larger number of blacks. Though one reason for involving whites in the summers of 1964 and 1965 was the desire to draw national attention, when this attention came, many blacks were resentful and took it as one more manifestation of American racism. Survey data reveal that many white activists sensed distrust and hostility from black activists (Demerath, Marwell, & Aiken, 1968; Pinkney, 1968). However, the attitudes of black activists on these issues may be very different from those of the masses of uninvolved blacks. Thus, surveys frequently find that the overwhelming majority of the black population look favorably on white participation in civil rights activity (Marx, 1967b; Campbell & Schuman, 1968).

The Changing Role of Outsiders –Independence Needs of Oppressed Minority
Thus far we have focused primarily on the static question of insider-outsider discord. Certain structural features of the movement have been seen to have various consequences. We now turn briefly to the more dynamic social process question of the evolution of conflict over time.

Rarely have oppressed minorities been entirely responsible for their own liberation. Privileged groups played prominent roles in the ending of slavery in Greece and Rome, were conspicuous in the French and Russian revolutions, and, at least since the time of Karl Marx, observers have noted a tendency for some among the privileged to defect and take up the cause of the oppressed. In the movements examined here, and in others of a similar type, it appears that the role of outsiders may be critical in the early phases of the struggle. The more oppressed the minority group, the more essential may be aid from members of the dominant group in initiating the liberation movement.

However, as the movement gathers strength, the importance of outsiders is often greatly reduced, at times leading to their complete withdrawal. Caste Hindus initiated many of the early efforts aimed at ameliorating the condition of the Untouchables, and white abolitionists were primarily responsible for the formation of many of the early antislavery societies, and for hooking these into a national system. In the case of civil rights, whites played a crucial role in the founding of the NAACP, the Urban League, and CORE, although not in organizations emerging later, such as SNCC and the Black Panthers (Kellogg, 1967; Meier & Rudwick, 1969; Farmer,1966).

Outsiders generally have had greater command over resources, have been freer to act, were likely to be closer to centers of power, and have often had essential 'organizing" experience. Their presence in the struggle may add an aura of legitimacy to the protest movement's goals, and when they are harassed or killed in the cause, the situation is dramatized far beyond what happens when minority group members themselves face similar brutalization. In addition, in the germinal phase many members of the oppressed group may be isolated from alternative definitions of the situation, and, in the absence of a strong protest tradition, may not actively question the-legitimacy of the system; and of course some may have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Thus the important, often even predominant, role of outsiders in the beginning stages of these movements is not surprising. However, an additional factor in the early involvement of outsiders in some organizations such as CORE and the British Committee Against Racial Discrimination (CARD) is an ideology that defined interracial cooperation as an end in itself.

Once outsiders are involved in this type of effort, however, their presence is potentially problematic for reasons discussed above. Some of the virtues of the involved outsiders in the beginning stages may come to be seen as liabilities as the movement evolves. Several developments facilitate the separation of minority and majority group activists. First of all, with engagement in the movement, insiders acquire necessary skills and confidence and become less dependent on outsiders. Second, the latent structural conflicts become more manifest with continued interaction of the two groups. Third, as the objectives are not reached or even approached despite intense activity and sacrifice, militancy and susceptibility to new strategies may increase, as well as internal scapegoating. Finally, as the movement recruits new members from the oppressed group and the character of its membership shifts, it may become increasingly less dependent on manpower from outsiders. Thus, structural aspects of such movements are likely to give rise to severe conflict, and this in turn helps generate beliefs justifying the separation of minority and dominant group activists. On the other hand, the adoption of such beliefs may in some cases precede internal conflict and hasten the division of the movement. Ideology may diffuse between movements, as seems to have occurred in Britain, where a Black Power perspective has been adopted by some blacks in an effort to oust whites from CARD, the major civil rights organization. The processes noted here are not irreversible. The American Left has vacillated between emphasizing the uniquely racial, as against the shared economic class-aspects, of the situation of blacks in America. At times in the 1930s and in the past two decades, the class component has been ascendant, but at other times the racial line has been considered prime. Concomitantly, tactics have shifted between a racially separate movement and a common integrated struggle. In the mid-1960s with the rise of the Black Power movement, the unique ethnic aspects of black subordination were stressed. Associated with this trend has been the tendency among whites who left the black movement to become engaged in social movements in which they no longer were defined as outsiders (e.g., campus issues, the anti-war movement, draft resistance, women's liberation, ethnic associations). More recently much leftist thought has argued that the problems of blacks and other ethnic groups, the white working class, females, and to some degree even those of students stem from shared economic and political oppression. With this perspective goes an emphasis on cooperation in a common struggle. Similarly, various periods in American history show blacks moving toward and then away from inclusion, depending on the receptiveness of the dominant group. Beyond the internal sources of tension noted here, when the dominant group's supposed receptiveness proves illusory, blacks have increasingly turned inward and in a separatist direction. For instance, the hopes raised by the Civil War and World War I led to an initial emphasis on inclusion; the shattering of those hopes facilitated the ascendancy of separatist leaders such as Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey.

The future of the relationship between the white left and the black movement in America is hardly clear at the present. Tensions and impediments to interracial cooperation remain present. Yet movements do not exist in a vacuum. While both the white left and the black movement are made up of highly diverse groups, important segments of each are coming to reflect a growing ideological similarity which stresses the presence of a common enemy and the need for cooperation to build an interracial society free of exploitation and racism. This is apparent in the coalition ties which have been developing over the past few years between the Black Panthers and various white racial groups, though the relationship yet remains an ambivalent one. Thus the tendency for interracial movements to splinter along racial lines may be followed by a tendency to regroup as the limits of independent action and separatism are realized, and because of solidarity created by shared repression at the hands of the government and other powerful institutions in the society.

In Conclusion
A comparative look at these three movements reveals several recurrent themes of intergroup tension. There is much variation depending on the time period and-on the segment of the movement involved; yet ideological cleavage frequently exists between dominant and minority-group activists. When conflict of an ideological nature along this line emerged, there was a tendency for insiders to see themselves as more radical and committed than outsiders, more eager to create changes immediately than gradually, less willing to compromise their program for the sake of expediency, less hesitant to use non-institutionalized protest means, less concerned with a variety of political movements, and more likely to espouse a creed of self-help. As microcosms of society, these movements often developed internal authority- and skill-structures resembling, in diluted form, the subordinate dominant relations characteristic of the broader societal context, as well as atmospheres containing many of society's intergroup hostilities and prejudices. Over time many of these latent conflicts became manifest, and dominant group activists who played an important role in the formative phases of the movement were excluded or forced to assume greatly reduced roles.

In making inferences about these patterns to still other social movements, generalizations must be undertaken with caution, for the civil rights, Untouchable, and abolitionist causes all represent responses to somewhat common forms of oppression. However, a very impressionistic look at related movements, such as those of Mexican-Americans in this country;.-the Burakumin in Japan, blacks in South Africa and in the Caribbean, and Asians and Africans in England, suggest many of the same themes. The interaction between insiders and outsiders in a variety of other movements not involving race or ethnicity may also show similarities. It would be interesting to examine movements where the source of outsiderness stems from characteristics such as sex, class, age, religion, or even past experience (e.g., the activity of those without records of confinement in reform movements for prisons or mental hospitals, non-working-class activists in the labor movement, men in the feminist movement, and colonials in nationalist movements). In the case of class struggles, for instance, outsiders (activists without working-class backgrounds) may exhibit more militancy and commitment than insiders. Commentators with viewpoints ranging from Lenin (1943) to Selig Perlman (1928) have argued that conditions facing members of the working class will at best lead to the emergence of a job-oriented consciousness. The "intellectual organizer" as outsider plays a crucial role in interpreting and placing the work experience in a generalized critique of the social order, and thus he tends to formulate more radical and comprehensive programs than the workers. Lenin attributes this primarily to the greater freedom and capacity which the socialist intelligentsia possess for careful analysis of the society's structure, ills, and potential for change. Coser (1956), drawing on the work of Simmel, has suggested another factor. Those who identify with the interests of the entire group, and view themselves as carrying forward the group's mission, tend to become more committed to the goals of the movement than do those who see it primarily as a solution to oppressive conditions personally faced. This objectification of the struggle and consequent generation of militancy has probably been more likely to characterize outsider "intellectuals" active in the labor cause than the workers, although many workers, of course, do translate their immediate situation into a collective solidarity with all workers. In the three movements examined here, the whites and caste Hindus were typically well educated, and in many instances they were experienced political analysts whose coming to these movements paralleled, in some respects, the highly ideological approach of revolutionary intellectuals in labor unions. But we have already discovered that blacks and Untouchables in these minority movements in fact tended at least to believe that insiders were more radical and committed to the cause than their outsider counterparts.

Several additional factors must be taken into account with respect to ethnic movements and outsider militancy, however. First of all, the most active insiders were also frequently highly educated and very aware of the complex social issues involved in their liberation struggles, with many performing the role of the "intellectual" within their own movements.

Furthermore, this capacity was built on a commitment stemming from an oppression personally experienced, which served to reinforce rather than undermine a more depersonalized identification with the collective cause. Finally, the intensity of commitment to a particular movement may be mitigated if involvement is shared with other political movements --and in the Untouchability, abolition, and civil rights movements, outsiders were much more prone to be active in other causes or to shift their allegiances from movement to movement. Such factors help to explain why the radicalizing role for outsider-organizers anticipated from Lenin's and Coser's analysis might be reversed in these movements; and this suggests that a variety of conditions must be specified in dealing with the ideological role outsiders may be expected to assume in political movements. A variety of other issues might also be pursued. We have focused mainly on factors conducive to conflict and separation of insiders from outsiders. Some important additional questions for analysis might be what factors facilitate cooperation among inside and outside activists, and in what stages in a movement's life history such conditions might occur. For instance, strong external pressures from an unsympathetic, and occasionally repressive, dominant society have often been conducive to inter-group solidarity. Numerous examples of interracial cooperation are described in the growing literature on the civil rights movement (Zinn, 1965; Pinkney, 1968; Sutherland, 1965; Sugarman, 1966; Belfrage, 1966). Another important question has to do with differences in the extensiveness of conflict and the separation of activists in the different organizations that are part of the same general social movement, such as NAACP, CORE, and SNCC. Rudwick and Meier note that, beyond differences in constituency and in top leadership, the strong bureaucratic structure of the NAACP may have made it more stable and resistant to the separatist thrust that completely changed CORE (Rudwick & Meier, 1970). Finally, it would be interesting to explores whether the internal tensions of a movement portend broader societal changes. The activists' awareness of ideological and inter-personal strains in their movement may encourage many people outside of the cause to become conscious of similar factors in their own lives.

In contrast to the Untouchable and abolitionist movements, the civil rights struggles of this decade are still very much with us. Perhaps one indirect benefit of comparing these three movements is to make our own period of history a little more intelligible, though this is a comment on neither the morality nor strategic value of these developments. Many whites who had contributed much to the civil rights movements were initially shocked, angered, and bewildered at the development of the Black Power movement. Some sought explanations in terms of the presumed unstable personalities of radical blacks, rather than in terms of the social structure of the movement. However, similar processes in the three movements examined here suggest that tension among activists, and the concomitant rise of the Black Power movement, were partly, at least, in response to political differences and interpersonal conflicts common to this type of social movement. An identification of historically recurring conflict generated by the structure of such movements might also help future movements avoid or minimize the conflict that ironically may develop among those of different backgrounds committed to common goals of social change.

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