Presentation on theme: "Race in America Laws of racial segregation directed against blacks. Racism is the belief that the physical characteristics of a person or group determines."— Presentation transcript:
Race in America Laws of racial segregation directed against blacks. Racism is the belief that the physical characteristics of a person or group determines their capabilities and that one group is naturally superior to other groups. Discrimination means one group enjoys an undeserved advantage over another group with the same capabilities. Racism has been a major factor of society in the United States throughout its history.
Race in America Racism was prominent during the colonial period in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the North American colonies were a part of the worldwide British Empire. Britons had traditionally associated dark skin color with negative behavioral traits such as evil and filth. Colonists brought this prejudice with them to North America when they crossed the ocean to settle in the seventeenth century. Slavery ended in 1865.
Race in America Passing new laws enforcing racial segregation (separation of black people from whites) known as Jim Crow laws. Beliefs about the inferior nature of blacks were perpetuated throughout much of the twentieth century. Discriminatory measures passed by state and local governments that sought to keep blacks at a lower social and economic position. Blacks could not buy houses in the same neighborhoods as whites. "separate but equal" principle.
Race in America Blacks could not eat in the same restaurants, drink out of the same water fountains, watch movies in the same theaters, play in the same parks, or go to the same schools as whites. Blacks had to sit in the back of buses and streetcars and give up their seats to whites when instructed to do so. Blacks could not nurse whites in hospitals. Signs reading "Colored Only" or "White Only" could be seen everywhere.
Race in America There were certain unwritten social expectations. For example, a black man was not to shake hands with a white man. He could not make eye-contact with a white woman or else he would be accused of highly inappropriate sexual advances. When speaking, blacks were expected to address whites as "Mr.," "Sir," or "Ma'am."
Race in America
Alabama governor George Wallace attempted to block the entrance of blacks at the University of Alabama.
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” Ethics: Moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior. “My first lesson in how to live as a Negro came when I was quite small. “ The railroad tracks. Lack of green. Gangs. “When night fell, my mother came from the white folks' kitchen. “ Punishment. Never fight white folks. “Each time I closed my eyes I saw monstrous white faces suspended from the ceiling, leering at me.” White houses = symbol of fear.
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” Move to Mississippi – heart of the Black Belt. Black churches and black preachers, black schools, black teachers, black groceries. “In fact, everything was so solidly black that for a long time I did not even think of white folks”. Only jobs available in white neighborhoods. Applying for a job. “I stood straight and neat before the boss, answering all his questions with sharp yessirs and nosirs. I was very careful to pronounce my sirs distinctly, in order that he might know that I was polite, that I knew where I was, and that I knew he was a white man.”
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” “Boy”. Wants to learn new things on the job. "Whut yuh tryin' t' do, nigger, git smart?“ "Well, don't, if yuh know whut's good for yuh!" "Say, are you crazy, you black bastard?“ "Nigger, you think you're white, don't you?" "This is a white man's work around here, and you better watch yourself!" Called a lazy black son-of-a-bitch.
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” Call Pease or Mr. Pease? How to make him quit his job. "Didn't yuh call 'im Pease? If yuh say yuh didn't, I'll rip yo' gut string loose with this f--kin' bar, yuh black granny dodger! Yuh can't call a white man a lie 'n' git erway with it, you black son-of-a-bitch!" “When I told the folks at home what had happened, they called me a fool. They told me that I must never again attempt to exceed my boundaries. When you are working for white folks, they said, you got to "stay in your place" if you want to keep working.”
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” Next job in a clothing store. Beating up the black woman. Woman gets arrested for drunkenness. "Boy, that's what we do to niggers when they don't want to pay their bills,“ Knows enough to keep his mouth shut. Riding his bicycle home. "Nigger, yuh sho better be damn glad it wuz us yuh talked t' tha' way. Yuh're a lucky bastard, 'cause if yuh'd said tha' t' somebody else, yuh might've been a dead nigger now."
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” Blacks can’t be seen walking in white neighborhood. Making deliveries: "Boy, tell your boss not to send you out in white neighborhoods this time of night.“ Next job as hall-boy in a hotel. Bringing liquor to rooms with naked prostitutes: “Your presence awoke in them no sense of shame, for you were not regarded as human. “ Black boy forced to marry black girl pregnant by a white man. Black boy castrated for sleeping with a white prostitute. We were given to understand that the boy who had been castrated was a "mighty, mighty lucky bastard."
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” Moves from Jackson to Memphis, works at optical factory. “Here my Jim Crow education assumed quite a different form. It was no longer brutally cruel, but subtly cruel. Here I learned to lie, to steal, to dissemble. I learned to play that dual role which every Negro must play if he wants to eat and live.” Getting books from the library. Negroes have no need for learning. Roman Catholic man and felt a vague sympathy for Negroes, being himself an object of hatred (by Protestants). "Please let this nigger boy have the following books."
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” How do Negroes feel about the way they have to live? How do they discuss it when alone among themselves? I think this question can be answered in a single sentence. A friend of mine who ran an elevator once told me: "Lawd, man! Ef it wuzn't fer them polices 'n' them of lynchmobs, there wouldn't be nothin' but uproar down here!"
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” Cruel childhood lesson of learning how to live with the prejudice and discrimination. Whites view themselves as superior to blacks and thus act in ways to express their superiority. Captures the dominant white attitude that imposed a low social status on blacks. The whites demanded respect from blacks and for the most part, blacks gave it to them.
“The Ethics of Living Jim Crow” The majority of blacks chose to accept the role made by whites for blacks. Displays the majority of blacks, including his mother, as submissive to whites.
"Cora Unashamed" “Melton was one of those miserable in-between little places, not large enough to be a town, nor small enough to be a village -- that is, a village in the rural, charming sense of the world. Melton had no charm about it. It was merely a nondescript collection of houses and buildings in a region of farms -- one of those sad American places with sidewalks, but no paved streets; electric lights, but no sewage; a station, but no trains that stopped, save a jerky local, morning and evening.”
"Cora Unashamed" Cora Jenkins is 40 years old, was what the people referred to when they wanted to be polite, as a Negress, and when they wanted to be rude, as a nigger -- sometimes adding the word "wench" for no good reason. She worked for the Studevants, who treated her like a dog. Maid of all work -- washing, ironing, cooking, scrubbing, taking care of kids, nursing old folks, making fires, carrying water, giving the dog a bath. She stood it. Had to stand it; or work for poorer white folks who would treat her worse; or go jobless.
"Cora Unashamed" The Studevants thought they owned her, and they were perfectly right: they did. There was something about the teeth in the trap of economic circumstance that kept her in their power practically all her life. How did the trap close so tightly? Poor family. Oldest of 8 children. She raised them all. All gone now. Father alcoholic, collects junk. Mother sick.
"Cora Unashamed" She wore the Studevants' old clothes, and ate the Studevants‘ leftover food. One by one, the girls left, mostly in disgrace. There was something about the cream-and-tan Jenkins girls that attracted the white farm hands. Cora had a lover once, a foreigner. He was the first man and the last she ever remembered wanting. She had never known a colored lover. There weren't any around.
"Cora Unashamed" “Love didn't take long -- Cora with the scent of the Studevants' supper about her, and a cheap perfume. Joe, big and strong and careless as the horses he took care of, smelling like the stable.” Cora gets pregnant. Not tried to hide it. She didn't feel that it was a disgrace. Cora was humble and shameless before the fact of the child. There were no Negroes in Melton to gossip, and she didn't care what the white people said.
"Cora Unashamed" About that time, Mrs. Art Studevant had a child, too, Jessie, and Cora nursed it. Cora’s child dies. She cussed out God for taking away the life that she herself had given. She screamed, "My baby! God damn it! My baby! I bear her and you take her away!“ All through the ugly town Cora wept and cursed, using all the bad words she had learned from Pa in his drunkenness.
"Cora Unashamed" The years passed. Jessie graduates from high-school. Jessie almost like an adopted daughter to Cora. Her mother was always a little ashamed of stupid Jessie. She remained a plump, dull, freckled girl, placid and strange. Everybody found fault with her but Cora. Nowhere in Melton, nor with anyone, did Jessie feel so comfortable as with Cora in the kitchen.
"Cora Unashamed" Jessie gets pregnant. Father is Willie Matsoulos, whose folks runs an ice- cream stand. Crying and praying followed all over the house. Scandalization! Oh, my Lord! Jessie was in trouble. Mrs. Art had ambitions which didn't include the likes of Greek ice-cream makers‘ sons. Jessie is secretly made to have an abortion. Cora's face went dark. She bit her lips to keep from cursing. Jessie gets sick and dies.
"Cora Unashamed" She never saw the Greek boy any more. Indeed, his father lost his license, "due to several complaints by the mothers of children, backed by the Woman's Club," that he was selling tainted ice-cream. Jessie’s funeral. All normal, except that Cora was there. "They killed you! And for nothin'... They killed your child... They took you away from here in the Springtime of your life, and now you'se gone, gone, gone! They preaches you a pretty sermon and they don't say nothin'. They sings you a song, and they don't say nothin'. But Cora's here, honey, and she's gone tell 'em what they done to you. She's gonna tell 'em why they took you to Kansas City. They killed you, honey. They killed you and your child. I told 'em you loved it, but they didn't care. They killed it before it was... "