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should manifest his
intelligence within the boundaries, within limits that -- in America, the most
sophisticated intellectual, with very few exceptions, would find it difficult to think of
a black person as someone who can think beyond the boundaries of racial problems, and
think in terms of the human predicament as a whole.
Now, it just so happens that I believe that being required to cope with the absurdity and
the idiocy of race in America must -- or certainly has forced me to look beyond that
specific manifestation of human absurdity, to try to understand the general problem of
human idiocy, moral idiocy.
Now, I see the American race problem as marely part of the problem of India, northern
Ireland, and so on. I do not -- and here is where I did part company
with the black nationalism, the black separatists -- to me, the problem is deeper than any
particular manifestation of it.
And I felt that, as president of the American Psychological Association, I was obligated
to share with my colleagues my broader view of the problem. What I wasn't prepared for was
their unreadiness to grant me the right to have a broader view.
That's a hell of a cynical statement, isn't it?
I wonder if here we're not coming to another full circle? Your reference that you had
expressed, that you characterized as what might be considered your “maverick
tendencies” while working for your PhD, yet at the same time, at least your
unconventional attitudes were apparent to your professors?
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