ADS-L Digest - 13 Feb 2006 to 14 Feb 2006 (#2006-46)

Landau, James James.Landau at NGC.COM
Thu Feb 16 13:39:16 UTC 2006

This "social anomaly" can be documented from slavery days.

Pre-Civil War Southerners treated slaves with an erratic mixture of fear
and paternalism.
Fear---53 slave revolts in the 19th Century
Paternalism---"We Southerners understand what our n***rs want and you
Northerners do not."  (Of course the Year of Jubilo demonstrated that
the Southerners were wrong and the Abolitionists were right.)

Southerners of the Segregation era felt a somewhat similar mix of fear
and paternalism.  What you are describing is a side-effect of this
paternalistic, or perhaps "patronizing", attitude: "we Southerners
understand what the n***rs really want etc." 

About the White Citizens Council: it was not, in general, an expression
of hatred of blacks, but rather part of a widespread attempt to "keep
blacks in their place."  A typical WCC chapter president thought of
himself not as anti-black but as someone who was HELPING blacks by
showing them what their proper place was.  (pause for snickers)  That
white man you describe was not embarrassed; he thought he was doing you
a favor by running the WCC chapter.  So much for the good old days.

     - Jim Landau

>>BTW, this social anomaly may interest you, dInIs. In those days, late 
>>'50's to early '60's, it was working-class soldiers from the North who

>>demonstrated the most racial animosity against their black 
>>counterparts, not the Southern soldiers, whatever their class. It was 
>>like "You understand. There's nothing to laugh about in the way we 
>>talk. You know what sweetmilk and lighbread are. You eat hamhocks and 
>>black-eyed peas, mustard/turnip/collard greens. Here in Germany, we're

>>all Southerners together." When we weren't on duty, I called not only 
>>the first sergeant, but also his *wife*, by their first names. They 
>>were Alabamians and my father was a native of Alabama. So, it was like

>>"Old Home Week" when I got together with them. On the other hand, the 
>>Northern GI's referred to him as The Buzzard behind his back and 
>>ignored the existence of his wife.
>>There was another time when a white Louisianan felt such a connection 
>>with me as a fellow Southerner that he got out his prep-school 
>>yearbook to impress me with whaat a BMOC he had been, forgetting that 
>>the yearbook revealed that, among his various other accomplishments, 
>>he had been president of his school's Young White Citizens Council. I 
>>pretended not to have noticed that, so as not to embarrass him.

The American Dialect Society -

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