Jim Crow: A Euphemism for Legal Segregation

Topics: Black people, White people, Ku Klux Klan Pages: 3 (897 words) Published: April 1, 2008
Jim Crow was a pre-civil war character in a minstrel show, A white man was made up as a black man by make-up, an incorporated character called Jim Crow, in 1832. Soon the term Jim Crow became on euphemism for “Negro” and the term Jim Crow Laws became a euphemism for legal segregation.

Jim Crow was not just a set of anti-black segregation laws though but was a way of life. It was a racial hate system that ran mainly in southern states of America in between 1877 and the middle of the 1960's. Jim Crow portrayed the legitimization of black hatred. The highly intelligent as well as the poor white community saw black people intellectually and culturally inferior to themselves, all societies of white people including Christian ministers, supported the oppression of the black community. The Jim Crow system was strengthened by many irrational beliefs such as: Whites are superior to Blacks in all important ways including intelligence, morality and civilized behavior; White and Blacks breding would produce a mongrel race which would destroy America; Treating Blacks equal would promote inter-racial sexual relations; if needed violence is acceptable to keep Blacks at the bottom of the hierarchy. Here are some examples of what was considered the norm in a life under Jim crow: A black male could not offer to shake hands with a white male as it implied being socially equal. Nor to a white female could he offer any part of his body as he was accused of rape. White motorists had the right-of-way at all intersections.

Blacks were not allowed to show public affection as it offended white people. Jim Crow laws affected every aspect of normality. For example, in Birmingham, Alabama it was made illegal for black people and white people to play checkers or dominoes together. Jim Crow signs where posted anywhere and everywhere, water fountains, toilets, entrances and exists. The where even separate schools, hospitals, prisons and cemeteries for black and white people.

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