Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dear White Friends of Facebook | A Brief History of American Racism

Dear White Friends of Facebook, 

Maybe it would be more constructive to stop getting so angry about the fact that racism still exists and, rather, admit it and actively fight against it. Your replies to mine and others Facebook posts are peculiar in the fact that you are free to ignore any post at will, yet, in angry and emotional tirades, you waste valuable energy that could otherwise be focused on solving the problem of racism. 

The resurgence of hateful and violent rhetoric in the recent years towards black American, latinos, and other people of color is alarming and further proof that we do not now, nor have we ever, live in the postracial society you so adamantly insist upon.

I am at a loss here. I read your comments about how the race card is being played and about how this is all one big media spectacle. 

I am left to wonder if you have ever taken time to listen to the stories told by black Americans. If you have ever listened to the stories of discrimination and of hatred. Have you ever taken seriously the black voice in America? Do you care about the lived experience of those denied basic citizen and human rights? Have you ever stopped to reflect on the fact that your experience as a white American is incredibly different from those that are not white? 

Why are you so violently against the pursuit of equal rights? Why are you so violently convinced that racism is a conspiracy theory conjured up by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?

Why does your heart not break and the continual lack of care for black lives? Why are you not outraged that young black males are continually murdered by white police officers? What will it take for you to connect the dots between theses stories of injustice and the actions and reactions of white Americans?

What is it going to take for white people to realize that just because whites are not hanging blacks from trees and referring to them as niggers (a word that is still used and is being used more often as days go by), that the underlying perceptions and prejudices whites hold about blacks informs their emotions and interactions with blacks? What is it going to take to connect racism with the continual use of words like - animals, thugs, ghetto, those people, criminals, etc - with racist beliefs and behaviors? 

I realize that for most of you, there is nothing that can be said, written, or done to change your heart or beliefs. 

However, I know there are may whites that feel uncomfortable with what is happening in our country and are paralyzed by the fact that they are unsure of what is real and confused about what to do. For those of you, who like me, feel it is no longer possible nor moral to stand by and watch, I have only a few recommendations:

  1. Read about our history and the history of racism
  2. Be open to facts and stories that do no fit the what you have been taught and the frame through which you view the world
  3. Listen to your black friend, hear their stories, legitimize their experiences, and learn more about our society
  4. Speak up. When white friends tell jokes, use racist language, or misrepresent the history and contemporary circumstance of race in America 
  5. Finally, be empathetic. Don't feel pity rather actively engage your ability to listen, understand, and feel along with those that society treats as less than
I write this for those of you that want to understand more and develop a more critical knowledge of how racism works in this society. I by no means pardon myself from the ways in which racism is enacted and perpetuated through me. I am white and I am privileged in this society because of my whiteness. But I can always strive to do better, to be better, to listen and to empathize.

Below, I have provided a brief history of American racism that I hope can be a valuable resource for those of you seeking a deeper understanding. Read it or don't read it, but it is my small and hopefully humble attempt to be better and do better.

Systemic Racism and the White Racial Frame

White privilege, superiority, and citizenship inclusion and black inferiority, oppression, inequality, and citizenship exclusion have been embedded in and maintained systemically through political, economic, legal institutions. These institutions have been reinforced through cultural institutions (family[1], media, religion[2], education, labor unions), violence, and rhetoric (elite and non-elite) and have been justified through science (biology, economics, social science), cultural stereotypes (blacks as hypersexual, violent, lazy, uncontrolled, lust for white women, immoral, aloof), and liberalism (individualism, hard work, thrift, morality). Racism in this sense is systemic - endemic and foundational to American society[3]. Explaining the systemic structure of racism, Joe Feagin states that:
white-on-black oppression and inequality were built into the foundation of this society in the 17th century and have been manifested for centuries in its basic institutions – including the legal and political system, the mass media, the educational institutions, the labor market, and other economic institutions[4].

Central to the persistence of systemic racism, according to Feagin, is the “white racial frame.” The white racial frame is an organized set “sincere fictions, stereotypes, images, emotions, interpretations, and discriminatory inclinations that legitimize systemic racism and incline or allow whites to participate in the routine exploitation of people of color” – consciously and unconsciously[5]. The white racial frame operates as the cognitive filter by which individuals organize and interpret everyday experiences, information, and facts[6]. Thus, Feagin explains:

If facts do not fit in a person’s frame, that person typically ignores or rejects the facts, not the frame. In the case of most white Americans, their racial frame included negative stereotypes, images, and metaphors concerning African Americans and other Americans of color, as well as assertively positive views of whites and white institutions (Feagin 2006, 26).

In the four major epochs of American racial history (slavery, Jim Crown, Civil Rights, and post-Civil Rights) whites have explained and justified white-on-black prejudice, discrimination, oppression, violence and economic inequality through the white racial frame. Explanations and justifications have remained consistent over each four periods, though they have morphed rhetorically to adjust to the changing intellectual, moral, political, legal, and cultural climates[7]. During slavery, whites explained and justified black oppression “scientifically” through theories of black biological inferiority. In the Jim Crow era, whites mixed notions of cultural inferiority with notions of biological inferiority as more antiblack stereotypes and prejudices were integrated into the white racial frame. After World War II, whites somewhat abandoned the theory of biological inferiority. After the Civil Rights era, biological and cultural inferiority justifications of inequality were recoded into rhetoric of individualism and moral failure. In each epoch, the white racial frame has had a cyclical affect, it has legitimated and shaped “societal institutions and individual actions” and in turn has been shaped by those institutions and individuals[8].

Contemporary reframing of white society has taken the form of individualism, personal responsibility, and moral failure. Contending that America is now a post-racial society, whites deny the systemic nature of racism, white privilege, or that any barriers restrict blacks from full participation in and protection of the constitutional rights of American citizenship. Thus, any existing inequality is the fault of individual blacks. Explaining and justifying existing inequality as the fault of individual blacks, whites can claim to not be racist (or color-blind) while opposing cultural movements, political legislation, and economic policies intended to correct racial inequality in America. The white racial frame has been a resilient and powerful foundation for the continued construction and modification of systemic racism, reinforcing individual racial beliefs and actions – thus reinforcing the white racial frame.

Historically, most whites have not been content to exploit African Americans and other Americans of color and then to just admit candidly that such action is crass exploitation for their own individual or group advantage. Instead, white Americans have developed a strong racial frame that interprets and defends white privileges and advantaged conditions as meritorious and accents white virtues as well as the alleged inferiority and deficiencies of those people of color who are oppressed (Feagin 2010:25).

In order to understand how the white racial frame has enable whites to explain and justify oppression, marginalization, discrimination, and economic inequality in contemporary America, it is necessary to trace the adaptation of the frame from slavery and Jim Crow through the Civil Rights and post-Civil Rights era. By placing contemporary manifestations of racism within their socio-historical context, we can better understand how “The racist institutions established during the slavery period and undergirded by the U.S. Constitution have generated, enhanced, and reproduced the privileges and prosperity of most white Americans for many generations” (Feagin 2010:57).


The attitudes, beliefs, rhetoric, and actions of the founding generation reveal a nation systemically founded on racism, racial exclusion, racial oppression, and violence towards non-whites[9]. In the Declaration of Independence, the leaders of the American Revolution rhetorically constituted a society based on the principles of self-evident truth, that all men were created equal, and endowed with inalienable rights, including the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”[10] However, this citizenry of free and equal men, endowed with universal natural rights intentionally excluded women, indigenous peoples, and African Americans[11]. The most extreme contradiction of this new nation was the system of slavery that excluded all African Americans from individual citizenship rights and human rights “and rendered them subject to property ownership of whites that could afford to buy them.”[12] The system of slavery ensured that whites would not respect the universal and natural rights of man, even for free northern blacks[13]. In order to reconcile the contradictory institutions of universal rights and slavery, the founders and ordinary white Americans had to appeal to the same notions of liberal naturalism and rationality that employed science to identify the universal laws of nature. The solution was to employ scientificity to explain how blacks and whites were different by nature and how blacks were biologically inferior and therefore not able to employ reason in a way that enabled them to act as free beings. Thomas Jefferson speculated about on the natural differences between whites and blacks in Notes on the State of Virginia:

Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and the scarf-skin… whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature….[14]
Explaining how blacks were biologically inferior, incapable of progress and civilization, and naturally adapted to slavery, as James Henry Hammond, Governor of South Carolina explained:
In all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties, to perform the drudgery of life. That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect and but little skill. Its requisites are vigor, docility, fidelity. Such a class you must have or you would not have that other class which leads progress, civilization, and refinement…. Fortunately, for the South, she found a race adapted to the purpose of her hand…. We use them for our purpose and call them slaves.[15]

This framing of blacks as naturally different and biological inferior to whites enabled whites to justify the oppressive and violent denial of the liberty and equality so passionately pursued by the founding generation.[16]

Jim Crow

Whites continued to frame blacks as biologically inferior long after the 13th Constitutional Amendment ended legal slavery in 1865, the 14th Amendment granted blacks full citizenship in 1868, and after the 15th Amendment gave black males the right to vote in 1870 (Sears, etal 2000). The equality promised by the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were subordinated to the American system of racism and oppression legally, politically, and culturally. Legally, the narrow interpretation of the courts kept the amendments from granting any form of equality[17]. Polls taxes were implemented to prevent black men and women from exercising the right to vote granted to them in the 15th and 19th constitutional amendments[18]. As whites became obsessed with racial purity, numerous states instituted “racial blood laws” that “stipulated that people with ‘any ascertainable Negro blood’ were to be regarded as and legally segregated as ‘Negros.”[19] Culturally, “large-scale terroristic violence” by white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, “killed and injured thousands of black southerners and their white allies,” rendering the Reconstruction governments weak and leading to the reinstatement of the old slaveholding elite to control of southern states (Feagin 2006:123). Politically, the reinstated former slaveholding elite “moved to cement into place an extensive system of legal and customary segregation (Feagin 2006:123). Just as in the era of slavery, Jim Crow era whites continued to justify the contradiction between a belief in universal natural rights and the exclusion of blacks from those rights. Intellectually, social scientists adapted Darwin’s theory of natural selection to argue the theory of “social Darwinism.”[20] Social Darwinists, such as Herbert Spencer and William Graham Sumner, “argued aggressively that certain racially ‘inferior races’ were less evolved, less human, and more ape-like than the ‘superior races.’”[21] Social Darwinism enabled whites to explain how natural differences in races explained the success of white civilizations and demise of non-white civilizations. Arguing that the mixing of white and black races would lead to the destruction of American civilization, Mississippi Senator James Eastland exclaimed:

I believe in white supremacy, and as long as I am in the Senate I expect to fight for white supremacy, because I can see that if the amalgamation of whites and Negroes in this country is permitted, there will be a mongrel race, and there will come to pass the ideal condition under which Egypt, India, and other civilizations decayed…. The cultural debt of the colored peoples to the white race is such as to make the preservation of the white race a chief aim of the colored, if these latter but understood their indebtedness[22].
Further, explanations of cultural inferiority were mixed with notions of biological inferiority and more antiblack stereotypes, prejudices, and obsessions were integrated into the white racial frame and perpetuated through print media (the primary form of mass media) and entertainment (such as minstrel shows). Cartoons illustrated in newspapers and minstrel shows celebrated whiteness and white virtue while characterizing: blacks as hypersexual, violent, mentally inferior, culturally inferior, child-like, carefree, disease ridden, susceptible to vagrancy, crime, and prostitution; black men as lustful of white women; and black women as sexualized and promiscuous[23]. Alabama Governor George Wallace asserted that blacks were naturally prone to the “most atrocious acts of rape, assault, and murder.”[24]

Prelude to Civil Rights

Up until at least the 1940s, segregation, discrimination, and openly verbalized prejudice toward minorities of all kinds were entirely acceptable throughout much of the United States (Schuman, etal 1997).

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the intellectual climate began to change as consensus among northern whites had concluded that the Jim Crow System would have to me modified or overthrown. Michelle Alexander (2011) cites four factors contributing to this growing consensus: the political power of blacks increased due to Northern migration; the NAACP grew in membership and influence; the NAACP successfully challenged a number of Jim Crow laws in federal court; and the fear that without greater equality, blacks would become susceptible to communist influence.[25] Further, in the face of the embarrassing and “blatant contradiction between the country’s opposition to the crimes of the Third Reich against European Jews and the continued existence of a racial caste system in the United States,”[26] scientists, biologists, social scientists, and psychologists began to abandon the notion of biological inferiority[27]

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the Supreme Court established a pattern of desegregation but the Brown v. Board of Education decision (1954) was unique because it signaled the end of national “deference to Southern states and noninterference in the racial affairs” and the end of Jim Crow[28]. Just as the reaction to the end of slavery halted the progress of equality legislation, the political, legal, and cultural reactions, backed by white rhetorical and violence, halted the legislative progress of Brown v. Board of Education and desegregation[29]. Politically, 101 of 128 members of congress supported North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin Jr.’s “the Southern Manifesto,” that “vowed to fight to maintain Jim Crow by all legal means.”[30] Legally, “five Southern Legislatures passed nearly fifty new Jim Crow laws.”[31] Culturally, “White Citizens Councils were formed in almost every Southern city and backwater town, compromised primarily of middle- to upper-class whites in business and the clergy.” [32] Once again, the “Ku Klux Klan reasserted itself as a powerful terrorist organization, committing castrations, killings, and the bombing of black homes and churches.”[33]

The Civil Rights Movement

Despite the setbacks following Brown, the civil rights movement had been “emboldened by the Supreme Court’s decisions and a shifting domestic and international political movement.”[34] Civil rights activists continued to protest the systemic disenfranchisement of blacks. Enduring “fire hoses, police dogs, bombings, and beatings by white mobs – as well as by police,” they organized boycotts, marches, and sit-ins as the rest of America watched the violent reaction of southern whites unfold on television[35]. The Civil Rights act of 1964 “formally dismantled the Jim Crow system of discrimination in public accommodations, employment, voting, education, and federally financed activities.” The Voting Rights Act of 1965 “rendered illegal numerous discriminatory barriers to effective political participation by African Americans and mandated federal review of all new voting regulations so that it would be possible to determine whether or use would perpetuate voting discrimination.”[36] Culturally, for a short time, “some influential members of the white elite” strongly supported civil rights laws and “their interpretive discourse abandoned the blaming of black Americans for racial problems, and some even adopted” civil rights terms such as white racism and institutional racism[37]. However, the change in some white elite’s rhetoric on racism and “apparent support for dramatic antidiscrimination intervention in society soon evaporated” as a majority of “the white elite or of rank-and-file whites” never fully accepted such rhetoric or intervention[38].

Post-Civil Rights Culture of Color-Blind Racism

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the white racial frame of systemic American racism began to be expressed through new, subtler rhetoric. No longer was it fashionable to publicly assert overtly negative racial prejudice or black biological inferiority[39]

When people of color were property or regarded as secondary human beings, there was no reason to be concerned in talking about them. But the Civil Rights era shattered, among many things, the United States’ norms about public discussions on race. Hence using words such as ‘nigger’ or ‘spic’ and even saying things that sound or can be perceived as racist is deemed immoral[40].

While many whites now reject, or at least publicly or on a conscious level, a blatantly biologized racism, they still hold without misgivings many of the conceptions and images of black men and women that have been long associated with a biologized racism accenting certain ‘inferior races’ and ‘superior races.’[41]

This time, white reactions to the Civil Rights legislation were expressed symbolically in “opposition to black demands and resentment at their special treatment.”[42] Rhetorically, the shift to symbolic racism provided a race-neutral discursive space for whites to explain and justify inequality and exclusion on the basis of the moral failure of individual blacks. In this sense, individualism becomes racism, as Sears etal explain:

In short, prejudice today is preoccupied with matters of moral character. At its center are two complementary contentions: that blacks do not try hard enough to overcome the difficulties they face and that, with the connivance of the government, they take what they have not earned. Today, we say, prejudice is expressed primarily in the language of individualism; today individualism is part of racism[43].

Framed within the rhetoric of individualism and morality, the four main tenants of Symbolic Racism are: “blacks are no longer especially handicapped by racial discrimination; they still do not conform to traditional American values, particularly the work ethic, as well as obedience to authority, and impulse control; they continue to make illegitimate demands for special treatment; and they continue to receive undeserved special treatment from government and special elites.”[44]

The shift from overt to symbolic racism explains how whites justify negative racial attitudes when it is no longer socially acceptable to use racial slurs, impose poll taxes, or legally deny blacks equal access to public and private facilities. Systemic racism, still embedded in legal, political, economic, and cultural institutions is justified through denial. Whites, now emphasizing “individual rights and individual achievement as the touchstone of success in the United States,” [45] can deny race as a factor of inequality and oppose policies (or implementation of policies) designed to address the historical system of inequality and exclusion. In the American tradition of exclusion based on biological and cultural inferiority, whites now cite individual moral failure to explain racial inequality and perceive demands for equal treatment as demands for special treatment.

The belief that blacks do not work as hard as they should, or as hard as whites, has been a central racial stereotype since the early days of slavery… whites have long resented blacks’ demands for better treatment, but these demands are now perceived as demands for special rather than equal treatment[46].
The coding of racial prejudices in the “American ideals” of hard work and individualism, denies the history and continuation of discrimination and oppression that has systemically excluded blacks from full political participation and protection of citizenship rights. Eduardo Bonilla Silva explains the contemporary justification of exclusion as “color-blind racism.” He explains how racism is neutralized in terms of market dynamics:

Whereas Jim Crow racism explained blacks’ social standing as the result of their biological and moral inferiority, color-blind racism avoids such facile arguments. Instead, whites rationalize minorities’ contemporary status as the product of market dynamics, naturally occurring phenomena, and blacks’ imputed cultural limitations. For instance, whites can attribute Latinos’ high poverty rate to a relaxed work ethic … or residential segregation as the result of natural tendencies among groups[47].
There is so much more to say but I hope this provides a jumping off point for further reading,

[1] “Consciously or unconsciously, a majority of whites have long extended language and misunderstandings from the patriarchal model and patriarchal family setting to discuss, defend, and prescribe the hierarchy on which whites are generally dominant and people of color are generally subordinated. They have accented and honed the common folk model of a ‘natural’ social order, what has historically been called the ‘great chain of being.’” Feagin 2006, 29
[2] “For centuries, white religious official have been leaders in developing the ideology that rationalized slavery and the subsequent societal oppression in more or less patriarchal terms.” Feagin 2006, 29
[3] “Specifically, the systemic racism perspective developed by Joe Feagin and his colleagues suggests that white racism is not an incidental part of this society, but is endemic and foundational. It is much more than an undesirable component of an otherwise healthy whole.” Wingfield and Feagin 2010, 7
[4] Wingfield and Feagin 2010, 7
[5] “Central to the persistence of systemic racism has been the development of a common place white racial frame – that is, an organized set of racialized ideas, stereotypes, emotions, and inclinations to discriminate. This white racial frame generates closely associated, recurring, and habitual discriminatory actions. This frame and associated discriminatory actions are consciously or unconsciously expressed in the routine operation of racist institutions of this society. At an early point in colonial history, the highly structured reality of white-on-black oppression generated the first incarnation of this color-coded framing of society – a composite that has been maintained, albeit with some reworking, to the present day.” Feagin 2006, 25
“As Feagin has explained this new concept, the dominant white racial frame consists of sincere fictions, stereotypes, images, emotions, interpretations, and discriminatory inclinations that legitimize systemic racism and incline or allow whites to participate in the routine exploitation of people of color.” Wingfield and Feagin 2010, 13
[6] “… this white racial frame operates somewhat like a house, for it provides a structural skeleton on which much else is built. It organizes and structures much thought and action and tends to be deeply held, with numerous bits of stereotyped knowledge and many racist understandings. Everyday experiences are interpreted within it. As whites make use of essential bits of the frame to interpret daily events, and as they apply racial stereotypes, emotions, images, and interpretations in their discriminatory actions, they embed this frame ever more deeply in their minds.” Picca and Feagin 2007: 245
[7] Periodically, the dominant racial framing developed in the first century of North American development has been added to, subtracted from, or rearranged in its emphases. Powerful whites have periodically dressed it up differently for changing social circumstances, although much of its racist reality has remained the same. New ideas and interpretations have been added to deal with the pressures for change from the oppressed, particularly in regard to government remedial and antidiscrimination policies. After World War II, as we will see below, certain aspects of the dominant racial framing were altered a bit to fit new circumstances of the 1950s and 1960s, during which era blacks increasingly challenged the established patterns of compulsory Jim Crow segregation.” Feagin 2010, 77, 78
[8] “The white racial frame legitimates and shapes societal institutions as well as individual actions, and it is in turn shaped by those institutions. For example, sociologist Wendy Moore describes how the legal system systemically advantages whites through policies, rulings, and interpretations that deny full participation, citizenship, and opportunity to Americans of color. Similarly, a white racial framing shapes much of the operation of the mainstream news media, as is evidenced in the frequent depiction of black people as less honest, forthright, and moral than whites.” Wingfield and Feagin 2010, 15
[9] “The United States was originally built as a white republic. It was a principle part of the world racist order created by European colonialism and imperialism to enrich Europeans and impoverish indigenous peoples. The racist institutions established during the slavery period and undergirded by the U.S. Constitution have generated, enhanced, and reproduced the privileges and prosperity of most white American for many generations.” Feagin 2010, 57
“The demand for land was met by invading and conquering larger and larger swaths of territory. American Indians became a growing impediment to white European ‘progress,’ and during this period, the images of American Indians promoted in books, newspapers, and magazines became increasingly negative. As sociologists Keith Kilty and Eric Swank have observed, eliminating ‘savages’ is less of a moral problem than eliminating human beings, and therefore American Indians came to be understood as a lesser race – uncivilized savages – thus providing justification for the extermination of the native peoples.” Alexander 2011, 23
[10] “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence 1776
[11] “In the late 1700s, Thomas Jefferson and the other white founders of the new United States advocated strongly an ‘all men are created equal’ perspective. Yet their broadly stated phrasing of equality was hypocritical, for they intentionally and openly excluded African Americans, indigenous peoples, and women from the scope of this ideal.” Feagin 2006, 1
[12] “Furthermore, the system of slavery abolished all of African Americans’ human rights as individuals and rendered them subject to property ownership from whites who could afford to buy them.” Wingfield and Feagin 2010, 8
[13] “Even African Americans who were not enslaved had, by decree of the Supreme Court, ‘no rights a white man was bound to respect.” Wingfield and Feagin 2010, 8
[14] Feagin 2006, 91 quoted from Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. Frank Shuffelton (new York: Penguin Books, 1999 [1785]), 145.
[15] James Henry Hammond, 1Governor of South Carolina 1842-1844
Feagin 2006, 93 quoted from Myrdal, Gunnar. 1964 [1903]. An American Dilemma, vol. 1. New York: McGraw-Hill . Pg. 442,443
[16] “In their framing of society, the white founders and their white subordinates generally regarded African Americans as biologically inferior and incapable of significant grief, sensitivity, or reflection.” Feagin 2006, 121
Feagin 2006, Sears, Sidanius, Bobo 2000, Schuman, Steeh, Bobo, Krysan 1997
[17] Feagin 2006, Sears, etal 2000
“African Americans continued to find themselves vigorously subordinated and alienated from substantial control over much of their daily lives by white-imposed laws that made everyday life very complex and extraordinarily difficult.” Feagin 2006, 124
“Most black Americans were forced to labor, by law or economic necessity, for white employers at low wages.” Feagin 2006, 125
“Asymmetrical employment relations continued between the white and black Americans and these, in turn, generated, regenerated, and maintained an array of racial inequalities and social structures essential to well-institutionalized segregation.” Feagin 2006, 125
[18] “Two amendments to the U.S. constitution broadly expanded the franchise and the right to other political participation – first, from black men in the 15th amendment after the Civil War (1870); and then for all women in the 19th amendment right after World War I (1920). However not long after southern black men got the official right to vote, during the long legal segregation era, whites barred most blacks from voting with violent threats and legal mechanisms such as poll taxes.” Feagin 2012, 26
[19] “In numerous states, the laws defined, and the local and stated governments enforced, racial ‘blood’ laws that were much stricter than even the racist laws of Nazi Germany. Numerous U.S. laws stipulated that people with ‘any ascertainable Negro blood’ were to be regarded as and legally segregated as ‘Negros.’” Feagin 2006, 126
[20] Schuman, etal 1997
[21] Feagin 2010, 74
[22] Feagin 2006, 176
[23] “Evidence of this racist obsession can be found in all decades of the nineteenth century. The print media, the primary mass media of this era, were full of anti-black cartoons and other visual and verbal depictions that constantly reinforced anti-black and pro-slavery views, North and South.” Feagin 2013, 74
“Cartoons accented ‘ugly’ (to whites) physical characteristics: distinctive hair, skin, lips, and odor. Such physical traits were accented in palpably tangible, visual, and emotional ways and commonly linked to other negative cultural images of blacks.” Feagin 2013, 74
Perhaps more important than print media in spreading old and new aspects of the white racial frame were other forms of popular entertainment, especially minstrel shows and, later, vaudeville shows. A great range of racist imagery, stereotyping, and emotionality was communicated in popular settings from the early nineteenth century onward. White performers in blackface were popular with working class and middle-class white men. Such shows spread the racial frame across the country, especially among the illiterate. The minstrel performances celebrated whiteness by indicating that the audience members, mostly white workers, were not like the ‘darkies’ negatively portrayed on stage. Black men were mocked vigorously as ‘Zip Coon’ dandies, and black women were stereotyped as sexualized and promiscuous. ‘Aunt Jemima’ imagery originally surfaced in an 1870s minstrel show, later becoming widely circulated on commercial products.” Feagin 2013, 74
[24] Feagin 2006, 178-186
[25] Alexander 2011, 35, 36
[26] Alexander 2011, 36
[27] Schuman, etal 1997
[28] Alexander 2011, 36
[29] ‘As quickly as it began, desegregation across the South ground to a halt. In 1958, thirteen school systems were desegregated; in 1960, only seventeen.” Alexander 2011, 37
[30] Alexander 2011, 37
[31] Alexander 2011, 37
[32] Alexander 2011, 37
[33] “The Ku Klux Klan reasserted itself as a powerful terrorist organization, committing castrations, killings, and the bombing of black homes and churches. NAACP leaders were beaten, pistol-whipped, and shot.” Alexander 2011, 37
[34] Alexander 2011, 37
[35] Alexander 2011, 37
[36] Alexander 2011, 38
[37] Feagin 2006, 227
[38] Feagin 2006, 228
[39] Huddy and Feldman 2009, 425
[40] Bonilla-Silva 2003, 54, 55
[41] Feagin 2010, 98
[42] Huddy and Feldman 2009, 425
[43] Sears, etal 2000:61
[44] Sears, etal 2000, 77
[45] Schuman, etal 1997, 292
[46] Sears, etal 2000, 77
[47] Bonilla Silva 2003, 2

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