Black People : RACIAL ETIQUETTE IN JIM CROW AMERICA...

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Isaiah, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Racial Etiquette: The Racial Customs and Rules of Racial Behavior in Jim Crow America
    By Ronald L. F. Davis, Ph. D.
    California State University, Northridge

    Most southern white Americans who grew up prior to 1954 expected black Americans to conduct themselves according to well-understood rituals of behavior. This racial etiquette governed the actions, manners, attitudes, and words of all black people when in the presence of whites. To violate this racial etiquette placed one's very life, and the lives of one's family, at risk.

    Blacks were expected to refer to white males in positions of authority as "Boss" or "Cap'n"--a title of respect that replaced "Master" or "Marster" used in slave times. Sometimes, the white children of one's white employer or a prominent white person might be called "Massa," to show special respect. If a white person was well known, a black servant or hired hand or tenant might speak in somewhat intimate terms, addressing the white person as "Mr. John" or "Miss Mary."

    All black men, on the other hand, were called by their first names or were referred to as "Boy," "Uncle," and "Old Man"--regardless of their age. If the white person did not personally know a black person, the term "******" or "******-fellow," might be used. In legal cases and the press, blacks were often referred to by the word "Negro" with a first name attached, such as "Negro Sam." At other times, the term "Jack," or some common name, was universally used in addressing black men not known to the white speaker. On the Pullman Sleeping cars on trains, for example, all the black porters answered to the name of "boy" or simply "George" (after the first name of George Pullman, who owned and built the Pullman Sleeping Cars).

    Whites much preferred to give blacks honorary titles, such as Doctor, or Professor, or Reverend, in order to avoid calling them Mister. While the term "******" was universally used, some whites were uncomfortable with it because they knew it was offensive to most blacks. As a substitute, the word "niggra" often appeared in polite society.

    Black women were addressed as "Auntie" or "girl." Under no circumstances would the title "Miss." or "Mrs." be applied. A holdover from slavery days was the term "Wench," a term that showed up in legal writings and depositions in the Jim Crow era. Some educated whites referred to black women by the words "colored ladies." Sometimes, just the word "lady" was used. White women allowed black servants and acquaintances to call them by their first names but with the word "Miss" attached as a modifier: "Miss Ann," "Miss Julie" or "Miss Scarlett," for example

    For the rest of this story, click on the web address below...

    http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/resources/lessonplans/hs_es_etiquette.htm


    pEACE!
    ISAIAH
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Great thread Isaiah...and thank you for posting the link...
     
  3. MrBlak

    MrBlak Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The first thing this made me think of was two popular brand names "Uncle Ben" and "Aunt Jemima"(sp?). When did those brand names come about? Does anyone know? Does it relate here?
     
  4. Isaiah

    Isaiah Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yeah, Mr. Blak, it does relate to some extent... It would be considered a carryover from a time in history when African women were regarded in that racist way, as the image of mother, the mammy image... And, of course, Uncle Ben the faithful good negro... The article is attempting to convey how every aspect of southern society was arranged and configured to meet the "needs" of the caste system, the carryover from slavery... It was sheer madness...

    An African man could not light a cigarette for a White woman, and a Black Woman could not smoke in the presence of a white woman... African people could not express love for one another by kissing and hugging one of the opposite sex... African men could never shake the hand of a white man publicly, nor could we eat together in a restaurant... Sheer stupidity... You could be killed or jailed for knocking on the front door of a white person - particularly if you were a man, and some white chick got shocked and went into a fit of hysterics... This was akin to a death warrant for Black Men...

    Peace!
    isaiah
     
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