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1 30Southwestern Historical QuarterlyJuly Mexicans, though real, were also directed against various other immigrant groups. And much of the reforms of the Progressive Era were arguably directed against these other ethnic groups. González Herrera does not deny this, but he does not connect the discrimination against Mexican immigrants to the broader trends in the United States as a whole. Overall, this book is interesting and useful, especially considering that it has aimed to tell a particular story (of Mexicans in El Paso) to a particular audience (in Mexico) with the implicit goal of shedding light on the current issues of Mexican migration and the treatment of Mexicans in the United States. At the same time, it is weaker in addressing issues in United States, as well as Mexican, history and historiography. City College ofNew YorkJ. A. Zumoff Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race. By Jennifer Ritterhouse. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006. Pp. 320. Illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 080783016X, $49.94 cloth; ISBN 0807856843, $19.95 PaPer·) In Growing UpJim CrowJennifer Ritterhouse explores how black and white southern children developed a sense of racial identity and learned to carry out their expected roles in southern society. She grounds her analysis in the familiar concept of "racial etiquette," which she defines as "the unwritten rules that governed day-to-day interactions across race lines not only as a form of social control but also as a script for the performative creation of culture and of 'race' itselP (4). Ritterhouse moves beyond the conventional focus on legal segregation in the public realm by concentrating on behavior in the private sphere, including southern households and intermediary spaces such as kitchens, yards, and street edges. She suggests that by looking at how race must be "learned" (or as other historians might say "socially constructed") in childhood, from both parents and other children, we can find ample evidence of "forgotten alternatives." Much like C. Vann Woodward, Ritterhouse makes the case for a process that was not necessarily foreordained, although in the end the Jim Crow South schooled its children in the art offorgetfulness. The first two chapters of the book assess adult patterns of "racial etiquette" and the racial lessons parents taught their children. Ritterhouse explains how white middle-class mothers in particular embraced new ideals of child-rearing, such as the idea of the "sheltered childhood," which reflected the ideology of maternalism found in white women's organizations. Mothers played a pivotal role in maintaining white supremacy by training their sons and daughters to follow such customs as avoiding intimacy with blacks and addressing them as inferiors . Citing the work of Kevin Gaines and Evelyn Brooks-Higginbotham, Ritterhouse argues that middle-class black parents' efforts to instruct their children were far more self-conscious and intentional. Black mothers and fathers labored to instill a sense of respectability in their children and encouraged them to "maintain their dignity and rise above the racism they faced" (83). The diffi- 20ogBook Reviews131 culty lay in balancing racial uplift and the aspirations of young people with the realities ofJim Crow. Ritterhouse notes that in general working-class black families followed the same model of instruction, with perhaps less emphasis on the performance ofgenteel behavior. Children not only learned customary racial behaviors from their parents but also from their playmates. Interracial play (and even fighting) was not uncommon in the early years of childhood, and through their interaction black and white children discovered the meaning of race. Ritterhouse maintains that white children's experiences were frequently marked by ambiguity and confusion, especially at the moment when their parents decided to forbid future interracial play. By the time they were adolescents, most southern whites had largely forgotten the social elasticity of these early exchanges. Black children, too, often had moments in which they suddenly became conscious of their racial identity and social position. Ritterhouse shows how adolescence was particularly difficult for black teens and she suggests that future studies of the civil rights movement pay more attention to the ways in which black children's experiences and emotions shaped their political consciousness as adults. Ritterhouse's work relies principally on...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9560
Print ISSN
0038-478X
Pages
pp. 130-131
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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