The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Friday—It is rather shocking to see the pictures and read the stories of the rioting young people in City Hall Park, here, yesterday afternoon. Nobody could have prevented their doing what they did, I suppose, except perhaps their own teachers.

It is too bad that the teachers couldn't have prevented the demonstrations from taking place. I am sure that some of them must have attempted to prevent rioting on their account.

Surely, teachers are dignified and important enough to go themselves and put their case before the authorities. I can't imagine them wanting their pupils to create the kind of uproar that occurred yesterday. It is bad for the young people now, and will reflect on them in the future. To take part in a scene of riot and disorder is not good for youth.

Wednesday night I had one of the most delightful evenings at the theatre I have had in a long time. I'm sure I had never seen "The Devil's Disciple," though I had read it before. The cast is, of course, outstanding. Marsha Hunt was as charming and demure, yet as wicked a lady as one can imagine. Maurice Evans, Victor Jory, Dennis King and all the rest made up a wonderful supporting cast. The irony in the lines and evident pleasure that Bernard Shaw had in certain characters and the way in which he overdraws those he dislikes, such as the old Puritan mother, make the play delightful. I went out tired and wondering why I ever tried to go to the theatre, and I came home far more rested than before I started out. This shows how much of one's weariness is a matter of what goes on in one's head.

I played hookey from the Human Rights Commission yesterday afternoon. But I was there all morning and we quickly finished Article 19 and started the consideration of Article 20, which is the non-discrimination article and considered by most of us, I think, one of the most important articles in the Covenant.

The delegate from Chile made a most interesting speech in support of his amendment to change the words "without discrimination of any kind such as race, color," to the simple designation "without discrimination of any kind such as ethnic origin." He explained that scientifically there was no such thing as either race or color; people were human beings and the pigment of their skin made absolutely no difference.

I could not help thinking how shocked one or two of my correspondents would be if they listened to this scientific argument because I have a few correspondents who think that the Lord took a hand in this color business and it was a sign of his displeasure if you happened to be born anything but white.

The argument has always struck me as a little odd, for the colors are so varied and when you break them up, as our delegate from Chile explained, the only people who have no color are the white people. They are the ones who really lack the gift that was given to others.

This long and scientific argument was interesting, but someone later said if we did away with the words "race and color" there would be a great many people in the world who would not know what discriminations you were forbidding when you used the words "ethnic origin."

The little word, sex, probably came in for some discussion in the afternoon, but I was gone from lunchtime on. A woman must go once in two weeks at least to have her hair curled—unless she is fortunate enough to have naturally curly hair!

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 29, 1950

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.