Opportunity Versus Color


Opportunity Versus Color


"Opportunity Versus Color" is an editorial cartoon that appeared in the Chicago Defender, in the September 1, 1934 edition. The cartoon has an African American man standing in what might be his home with an African American woman. The woman asks the man why he doesn't open a successful business, and points out to the Chicago skyline, which is dominated by text imprints of successful immigrant businesses. The man responds, "I would, but I'm terribly worried about my color!!". Although this cartoon deals with attempts by African Americans to open businesses in Chicago, it also reveals something about how racial attitudes shaped the housing market. In my essay, I briefly discuss how African Americans feel cheated because of how blacks were singled out from other, previously "undesirable" immigrant groups, such as Jews, Greeks, Slavic peoples, Mexicans, and Japanese. The cartoon, and the situation in Chicago, recall Matthew Jacobson's essay "Whiteness of a Different Color", where he argues that capitalism and market forces are determinants of who is conferred "social whiteness", or the social and economic benefits of white status. African Americans in Chicago felt especially cheated as they watched previously marginalized immigrant groups gain the privileges of whiteness, widening the gulf between themselves and those who had previously been their neighbors-physically and socially.




Chicago Defender (National Edition). September 1, 1934. Chicago, Illinois. Pg14


Editorial Cartoon 1 -- No Title. 1934. The Chicago Defender (National edition) (1921-1967), September 1, http://www.proquest.com/ (accessed December 7, 2010).




Unknown, “Opportunity Versus Color,” Inbetween Peoples, accessed December 1, 2020, https://as205.omeka.net/items/show/84.