Race and Shame in America
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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Among the many people whose conversations and e-mails have provoked fresh research and rethinking during the last eight years, I’m particularly indebted to Joanne Braxton, Bill Hardwig, Jonathan Holloway, Evelin Lindner...
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In 1959 Bo Diddley experienced what he later recalled as the most humiliating moment of his life. When he and his band were playing in Las Vegas at the Showboat Casino, one afternoon they jumped into the hotel’s swimming pool...
1. Fear, Honor, and Racial Shaming
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Racial shaming affirms the coherence of a dominant racial group. When that fails, the next step is to terrorize. Then come brutality and murder, and finally ethnic “cleansing,” a word that exposes the group’s preoccupations...
2. How Does it Feel to be a Problem?
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A year after Bo Diddley jumped into the Las Vegas swimming pool and faced a sign declaring “Contaminated Water” and days after the 1960 presidential election, John Lewis and two black companions went into a Nashville fast-food...
3. Honor Bound
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“Every Democrat must feel honor bound to control the vote of at least one Negro, by intimidation, purchase, keeping him away, or as each individual may determine.” That declaration was Point Twelve of a 33-point agenda drafted...
4. Four Novels
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In the last chapter, I sketched the expansion of the honor code from protecting a small group’s survival to protecting a very large group’s racial supremacy. Racial shaming not only separated insiders from outsiders but also helped...
5. Two Wars
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Growing insecurity about white cohesiveness wasn’t restricted to canonized novels. American foreign policy reveals similar tensions. Racial shaming has played a key role in gaining support for wars, though the targets have shifted...
6. The 2008 Campaign
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Near the end of the 2008 presidential campaign, a young white woman working for John McCain in western Pennsylvania appeared with a backward B carved on her cheek. Ashley Todd said she had been sexually assaulted and mutilated...
7. To the Tea Party - and Beyond?
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Racial shaming has by no means disappeared in the United States. It focuses on Muslims and Mexican immigrants or pours into the ceaseless cascade of films about aliens. Some argue that it has shifted from race to class. New modes...
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Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2012