White Domination & the South (and now?)

From Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950, by Yale historian Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore:

“The nation we knew as Dixie survived into the 1950s because it zealously policed its borders. Within those borders, racial oppression reigned supreme, controlling not only public space but public conversation and private conscience and narrowing the political imagination of even its most defiant subjects. Those who openly protested white domination had to leave, one way or another. Once they left, they could no longer be Southerners. Those who did not grow up within the South would always be outsiders, for they could never be Southerners either. I rose and stood for “Dixie” until I was twenty years old, when I finally made the connection between my mythical country and racial oppression.”

2 thoughts on “White Domination & the South (and now?)

  1. As a child in the South in the 60s and early 70s, I’d say that it had just begun to change. We learned in school (desegregated in the late 50s) that slavery was evil, but we also studied the War of Northern Aggression.

    In my hometown nowadays, hostility and fear seem focused on Hispanics and Ay-rabs rather than on the African-Americans that back then were going to “take over.”

    It’s a huuuuge step when racism is taken off the books. But that still leaves the huuuuge task of de-racializing our decisions, individual and collective. The South is behind the rest of the country in both respects, but I don’t know of many locales that get to crow about crossing that off their to-do list. David Byrne recently complained about the racism of Atlanta, but I have to say, Abner Louima, Patrick Dorismond, Amadou Doallo, and Sean Bell didn’t meet their grisly ends on any street named Peachtree.

    [For those who aren’t familiar with it, the city of Atlanta — in contrast to the suburbs — is a vibrant multi-ethnic, multi-sexuality metropolis. When you go downtown to deal with The Man, the Man might be a black post-op woman, a Hispanic abuela with 30 grandkids, a Cambodian drag queen, or a Caucasian Tea-Partier.]

  2. Arizona has taken the lead in a return to the Jim Crow South. Despite public claims to the contrary, SB1070 is a clear attempt to rid the state of Latino influence. Those who want further proof only need look at SB228

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