The historical scholarship on black-on-white rape has focused mainly on the oppression of black men and firmly cast white women only as false accusers. While radically politicized groups like communists in the 1930s and civil rights activists in the 1950s deployed the trope of the lying white woman to defend black men accused of rape, by the mid-twentieth century the mainstream culture began to embrace this rhetoric. I am interested in how a new consensus was formed around this rhetoric and what that meant for movements that organized for justice around sexual violence. In this article, I use the Giles-Johnson case, an instance of alleged black-on-white sexual violence, to examine how white mainstream America embraced the trope of the lying white woman at this time. This article challenges the assumptions of the false claim and begins to examine the complex interplay of racialized and sexualized constructions in cases of black-on-white rape.


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pp. 188-211
Launched on MUSE
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