thisisnotjapan:

I was going through some old photographs and belongings of my grandmother’s in storage and I came across this. She saved the newspaper clipping from her internment.

Reading it made me feel so sad and disgusted I wanted to cry. 

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Sorry the blog was totally abandoned, I had/have serious medical stuff come up that made it impossible to finish/work with others. I still am doing the giveaway, however…so…

In order, the winners are:

  1. wordstomeawhisper
  2. kyssthis16
  3. neverapologized
  4. pussy-bell
  5. wearesynchronizednowandforever

I sent them all asks and assuming they reply within 48 hours they’re the winners!

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  • Day 6 of White History Month: Anti-Semitism in the College Admissions Process
[Images: Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton]
“The creation of a new system of admissions occurred in the midst of one of the most reactionary moments in American history – a few years in the first half of the 1920s defined by rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism, widespread political repression, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan as a genuine mass movement, the growing prominence of eugenics and scientific racism, and the imposition by Congress of a racially and ethnically biased regime of immigration restriction. Many of the features of college admissions with which we are all familiar – the emphasis on “character”, the preference for alumni suns and athletes, the widespread use of interviews and photos, the reliance on personal letters of recommendation, and the denigration of applicants whose sole strength is academic brilliance – have their roots in this period” – Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
“[S]tudies have found that racists hold two types of stereotyped beliefs: They believe the out-group is dirty, lazy, oversexed, and without control of their instincts (a typical accusation against blacks), or they believe the out-group is pushy, ambitious, conniving, and in control of business, money, and industry (a typical accusation against Jews)” – Charles R. Lawrence III, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism”
The origins of the college interview, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities have a common origin: anti-Semitism. The modern college admissions process came from efforts to keep Jewish students out of elite universities. An emphasis on holistic qualities that is despised by many white elites today was developed and supported in order to reject Jewish applicants.
In the 1800’s, elite universities such as Harvard drew from feeder schools – elite private schools that only the wealthy could attend, like Choate and St. Paul’s. Requirements for admission included Latin and Greek, which could hardly be met by the average student. By the turn of the century, several presidents from Ivy League universities were concerned that their universities were disproportionately educating the elite, and sought to attract public school students. Students were ineligible to apply if Black and/or female, but as long as they could perform well on an admissions exam, white middle and working-class boys were welcome.
This had unintended results for elite universities: by the early 1900s, Jewish students were disproportionately represented in many American universities.
Harvard’s Jewish population went from seven percent in 1900 to 22% in 1922. Universities in New York - with a large Jewish population - had the largest increases in Jewish applicants. By 1919, about 80% of students at CCNY and Hunter College were Jewish. Columbia’s Jewish population had reached 40% of its student body, leading to many among the white Protestant elite deciding to go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (and resulting in a college song in the image above). Columbia instituted a quota of 22% and began to require photographs of students be submitted.
Anti-Semitism in Elite University Admissions
At many elite universities, fellow students even complained that Jewish students were not sociable enough, were too competitive, and did not have good character. It was extremely difficult to justify anti-Semitic reasons to keep Jewish students out, so these universities needed to find a way to create discriminatory policies that specifically targeted Jewish applicants.
Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - seeking to avoid Columbia’s fate - devised ways to institutionalize anti-Semitism in their admissions. Generally, they created ways to examine an applicant’s “character”.
Harvard decided to examine “character” through a letter of recommendation. It also created an application that asked questions about the applicant’s “race and color”, father’s birthplace and mother’s maiden name.
During this period, Yale had stopped giving scholarships to Jewish students in order to discourage them from attending. In order to avoid appearing discriminatory, Yale sought to find factors that could make their decision look as if it were based in merit. This backfired, however, and Jewish enrollment rose to record high levels. 
Yale then went beyond what Columbia had done and required photographs not only of the applicant, but of his father. Like Harvard, “personality and character” would be taken into consideration. Yale also decided to give strong preferences to sons of alumni, which further decreased the Jewish enrollment. Legacy admissions preferences essentially serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1920’s. 
Princeton hoped that the anti-Semitism among the student population would dissuade Jewish students from attending. Jewish students were largely rejected from eating clubs and thus unable to enjoy full participation in undergraduate life. This was not enough - Princeton decided to look for “character”. Princeton did not just want bookish nerds - Princeton men were to be rugged, masculine leaders. The characteristics that were preferred were often constructed to exclude Jewish students based on stereotypes.
These efforts were effective: Jewish enrollment dropped significantly for decades.
The college application process had previously been much less rigorous, but anti-Semitism was enough to create admissions offices and lengthy applications. Demographic information, a personal essay, the college interview, recommendation letters from alumni or trusted officials, and extracurricular activities became part and parcel of the admissions process for elite universities.
  • Day 6 of White History Month: Anti-Semitism in the College Admissions Process
[Images: Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton]
“The creation of a new system of admissions occurred in the midst of one of the most reactionary moments in American history – a few years in the first half of the 1920s defined by rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism, widespread political repression, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan as a genuine mass movement, the growing prominence of eugenics and scientific racism, and the imposition by Congress of a racially and ethnically biased regime of immigration restriction. Many of the features of college admissions with which we are all familiar – the emphasis on “character”, the preference for alumni suns and athletes, the widespread use of interviews and photos, the reliance on personal letters of recommendation, and the denigration of applicants whose sole strength is academic brilliance – have their roots in this period” – Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
“[S]tudies have found that racists hold two types of stereotyped beliefs: They believe the out-group is dirty, lazy, oversexed, and without control of their instincts (a typical accusation against blacks), or they believe the out-group is pushy, ambitious, conniving, and in control of business, money, and industry (a typical accusation against Jews)” – Charles R. Lawrence III, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism”
The origins of the college interview, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities have a common origin: anti-Semitism. The modern college admissions process came from efforts to keep Jewish students out of elite universities. An emphasis on holistic qualities that is despised by many white elites today was developed and supported in order to reject Jewish applicants.
In the 1800’s, elite universities such as Harvard drew from feeder schools – elite private schools that only the wealthy could attend, like Choate and St. Paul’s. Requirements for admission included Latin and Greek, which could hardly be met by the average student. By the turn of the century, several presidents from Ivy League universities were concerned that their universities were disproportionately educating the elite, and sought to attract public school students. Students were ineligible to apply if Black and/or female, but as long as they could perform well on an admissions exam, white middle and working-class boys were welcome.
This had unintended results for elite universities: by the early 1900s, Jewish students were disproportionately represented in many American universities.
Harvard’s Jewish population went from seven percent in 1900 to 22% in 1922. Universities in New York - with a large Jewish population - had the largest increases in Jewish applicants. By 1919, about 80% of students at CCNY and Hunter College were Jewish. Columbia’s Jewish population had reached 40% of its student body, leading to many among the white Protestant elite deciding to go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (and resulting in a college song in the image above). Columbia instituted a quota of 22% and began to require photographs of students be submitted.
Anti-Semitism in Elite University Admissions
At many elite universities, fellow students even complained that Jewish students were not sociable enough, were too competitive, and did not have good character. It was extremely difficult to justify anti-Semitic reasons to keep Jewish students out, so these universities needed to find a way to create discriminatory policies that specifically targeted Jewish applicants.
Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - seeking to avoid Columbia’s fate - devised ways to institutionalize anti-Semitism in their admissions. Generally, they created ways to examine an applicant’s “character”.
Harvard decided to examine “character” through a letter of recommendation. It also created an application that asked questions about the applicant’s “race and color”, father’s birthplace and mother’s maiden name.
During this period, Yale had stopped giving scholarships to Jewish students in order to discourage them from attending. In order to avoid appearing discriminatory, Yale sought to find factors that could make their decision look as if it were based in merit. This backfired, however, and Jewish enrollment rose to record high levels. 
Yale then went beyond what Columbia had done and required photographs not only of the applicant, but of his father. Like Harvard, “personality and character” would be taken into consideration. Yale also decided to give strong preferences to sons of alumni, which further decreased the Jewish enrollment. Legacy admissions preferences essentially serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1920’s. 
Princeton hoped that the anti-Semitism among the student population would dissuade Jewish students from attending. Jewish students were largely rejected from eating clubs and thus unable to enjoy full participation in undergraduate life. This was not enough - Princeton decided to look for “character”. Princeton did not just want bookish nerds - Princeton men were to be rugged, masculine leaders. The characteristics that were preferred were often constructed to exclude Jewish students based on stereotypes.
These efforts were effective: Jewish enrollment dropped significantly for decades.
The college application process had previously been much less rigorous, but anti-Semitism was enough to create admissions offices and lengthy applications. Demographic information, a personal essay, the college interview, recommendation letters from alumni or trusted officials, and extracurricular activities became part and parcel of the admissions process for elite universities.
  • Day 6 of White History Month: Anti-Semitism in the College Admissions Process
[Images: Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton]
“The creation of a new system of admissions occurred in the midst of one of the most reactionary moments in American history – a few years in the first half of the 1920s defined by rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism, widespread political repression, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan as a genuine mass movement, the growing prominence of eugenics and scientific racism, and the imposition by Congress of a racially and ethnically biased regime of immigration restriction. Many of the features of college admissions with which we are all familiar – the emphasis on “character”, the preference for alumni suns and athletes, the widespread use of interviews and photos, the reliance on personal letters of recommendation, and the denigration of applicants whose sole strength is academic brilliance – have their roots in this period” – Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton
“[S]tudies have found that racists hold two types of stereotyped beliefs: They believe the out-group is dirty, lazy, oversexed, and without control of their instincts (a typical accusation against blacks), or they believe the out-group is pushy, ambitious, conniving, and in control of business, money, and industry (a typical accusation against Jews)” – Charles R. Lawrence III, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism”
The origins of the college interview, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities have a common origin: anti-Semitism. The modern college admissions process came from efforts to keep Jewish students out of elite universities. An emphasis on holistic qualities that is despised by many white elites today was developed and supported in order to reject Jewish applicants.
In the 1800’s, elite universities such as Harvard drew from feeder schools – elite private schools that only the wealthy could attend, like Choate and St. Paul’s. Requirements for admission included Latin and Greek, which could hardly be met by the average student. By the turn of the century, several presidents from Ivy League universities were concerned that their universities were disproportionately educating the elite, and sought to attract public school students. Students were ineligible to apply if Black and/or female, but as long as they could perform well on an admissions exam, white middle and working-class boys were welcome.
This had unintended results for elite universities: by the early 1900s, Jewish students were disproportionately represented in many American universities.
Harvard’s Jewish population went from seven percent in 1900 to 22% in 1922. Universities in New York - with a large Jewish population - had the largest increases in Jewish applicants. By 1919, about 80% of students at CCNY and Hunter College were Jewish. Columbia’s Jewish population had reached 40% of its student body, leading to many among the white Protestant elite deciding to go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (and resulting in a college song in the image above). Columbia instituted a quota of 22% and began to require photographs of students be submitted.
Anti-Semitism in Elite University Admissions
At many elite universities, fellow students even complained that Jewish students were not sociable enough, were too competitive, and did not have good character. It was extremely difficult to justify anti-Semitic reasons to keep Jewish students out, so these universities needed to find a way to create discriminatory policies that specifically targeted Jewish applicants.
Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - seeking to avoid Columbia’s fate - devised ways to institutionalize anti-Semitism in their admissions. Generally, they created ways to examine an applicant’s “character”.
Harvard decided to examine “character” through a letter of recommendation. It also created an application that asked questions about the applicant’s “race and color”, father’s birthplace and mother’s maiden name.
During this period, Yale had stopped giving scholarships to Jewish students in order to discourage them from attending. In order to avoid appearing discriminatory, Yale sought to find factors that could make their decision look as if it were based in merit. This backfired, however, and Jewish enrollment rose to record high levels. 
Yale then went beyond what Columbia had done and required photographs not only of the applicant, but of his father. Like Harvard, “personality and character” would be taken into consideration. Yale also decided to give strong preferences to sons of alumni, which further decreased the Jewish enrollment. Legacy admissions preferences essentially serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1920’s. 
Princeton hoped that the anti-Semitism among the student population would dissuade Jewish students from attending. Jewish students were largely rejected from eating clubs and thus unable to enjoy full participation in undergraduate life. This was not enough - Princeton decided to look for “character”. Princeton did not just want bookish nerds - Princeton men were to be rugged, masculine leaders. The characteristics that were preferred were often constructed to exclude Jewish students based on stereotypes.
These efforts were effective: Jewish enrollment dropped significantly for decades.
The college application process had previously been much less rigorous, but anti-Semitism was enough to create admissions offices and lengthy applications. Demographic information, a personal essay, the college interview, recommendation letters from alumni or trusted officials, and extracurricular activities became part and parcel of the admissions process for elite universities.

Day 6 of White History Month: Anti-Semitism in the College Admissions Process

[Images: Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton]

“The creation of a new system of admissions occurred in the midst of one of the most reactionary moments in American history – a few years in the first half of the 1920s defined by rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism, widespread political repression, the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan as a genuine mass movement, the growing prominence of eugenics and scientific racism, and the imposition by Congress of a racially and ethnically biased regime of immigration restriction. Many of the features of college admissions with which we are all familiar – the emphasis on “character”, the preference for alumni suns and athletes, the widespread use of interviews and photos, the reliance on personal letters of recommendation, and the denigration of applicants whose sole strength is academic brilliance – have their roots in this period” – Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton

“[S]tudies have found that racists hold two types of stereotyped beliefs: They believe the out-group is dirty, lazy, oversexed, and without control of their instincts (a typical accusation against blacks), or they believe the out-group is pushy, ambitious, conniving, and in control of business, money, and industry (a typical accusation against Jews)” – Charles R. Lawrence III, “The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism”

The origins of the college interview, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities have a common origin: anti-Semitism. The modern college admissions process came from efforts to keep Jewish students out of elite universities. An emphasis on holistic qualities that is despised by many white elites today was developed and supported in order to reject Jewish applicants.

In the 1800’s, elite universities such as Harvard drew from feeder schools – elite private schools that only the wealthy could attend, like Choate and St. Paul’s. Requirements for admission included Latin and Greek, which could hardly be met by the average student. By the turn of the century, several presidents from Ivy League universities were concerned that their universities were disproportionately educating the elite, and sought to attract public school students. Students were ineligible to apply if Black and/or female, but as long as they could perform well on an admissions exam, white middle and working-class boys were welcome.

This had unintended results for elite universities: by the early 1900s, Jewish students were disproportionately represented in many American universities.

Harvard’s Jewish population went from seven percent in 1900 to 22% in 1922. Universities in New York - with a large Jewish population - had the largest increases in Jewish applicants. By 1919, about 80% of students at CCNY and Hunter College were Jewish. Columbia’s Jewish population had reached 40% of its student body, leading to many among the white Protestant elite deciding to go to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton (and resulting in a college song in the image above). Columbia instituted a quota of 22% and began to require photographs of students be submitted.

Anti-Semitism in Elite University Admissions

At many elite universities, fellow students even complained that Jewish students were not sociable enough, were too competitive, and did not have good character. It was extremely difficult to justify anti-Semitic reasons to keep Jewish students out, so these universities needed to find a way to create discriminatory policies that specifically targeted Jewish applicants.

Harvard, Yale, and Princeton - seeking to avoid Columbia’s fate - devised ways to institutionalize anti-Semitism in their admissions. Generally, they created ways to examine an applicant’s “character”.

Harvard decided to examine “character” through a letter of recommendation. It also created an application that asked questions about the applicant’s “race and color”, father’s birthplace and mother’s maiden name.

During this period, Yale had stopped giving scholarships to Jewish students in order to discourage them from attending. In order to avoid appearing discriminatory, Yale sought to find factors that could make their decision look as if it were based in merit. This backfired, however, and Jewish enrollment rose to record high levels. 

Yale then went beyond what Columbia had done and required photographs not only of the applicant, but of his father. Like Harvard, “personality and character” would be taken into consideration. Yale also decided to give strong preferences to sons of alumni, which further decreased the Jewish enrollment. Legacy admissions preferences essentially serve the same purpose today as they did in the 1920’s. 

Princeton hoped that the anti-Semitism among the student population would dissuade Jewish students from attending. Jewish students were largely rejected from eating clubs and thus unable to enjoy full participation in undergraduate life. This was not enough - Princeton decided to look for “character”. Princeton did not just want bookish nerds - Princeton men were to be rugged, masculine leaders. The characteristics that were preferred were often constructed to exclude Jewish students based on stereotypes.

These efforts were effective: Jewish enrollment dropped significantly for decades.

The college application process had previously been much less rigorous, but anti-Semitism was enough to create admissions offices and lengthy applications. Demographic information, a personal essay, the college interview, recommendation letters from alumni or trusted officials, and extracurricular activities became part and parcel of the admissions process for elite universities.

View post...
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).
  • Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy
[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger
"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger
"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West
The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 
In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.
Opium and Chinese-Americans
Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 
The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.
Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 
Cocaine and Black Americans
The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).
Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.
Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 
One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.
The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.
[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]
Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans
Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.
The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.
After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.
Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 
Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).

Day 5 of White History Month: The War on Drugs - Racist Origins of Drug Policy

[Images: New York Times: February 8, 1914, ”The Mascot” New Orleans, August 3, 1889, The Ogden Standard: September 25, 1915, Washington Post: March 8, 1896], ACLU, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White" (pdf)]

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” – Harry J. Anslinger

"Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."- Harry J. Anslinger

"Anglo-American women having intimate relations with unknown Chinese laborers and vice operators bordered on the unthinkable. Songs about just such events existed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example, in “Chung Hi Lo and Mary,” a young white woman, Mary, entered Chung Hi Lo’s opium den out of curiosity. There “he slipped her a ring, a golden thing” and quickly addicted her to opium." - Diana Ahmad, The Opium Debate and Chinese-Exclusion Laws in the American West

The history of criminalization of drugs in the United States has racist origins. While drugs are undeniably harmful, recreational drugs were tolerated for much of U.S. history. Linking Chinese Americans, Black Americans, and Latin@ (particularly Mexican) Americans to drug use served dual purposes: further justification for racist demonization and the creation of moral panics to outlaw drug use. Drug use was commonly linked to the white fear that men of color would “seduce” and have children with white women. 

In the 1900s, the temperance movement and Progressive drug reformers did not seek to spread the nature of the typical drug addict of the time – a middle-aged, middle-class white woman in a rural area who obtained drugs from a physician. Instead, drug users were depicted as Chinese, Black, or Mexican. Today, race is still inseparable from drug policy and the War on Drugs.

Opium and Chinese-Americans

Opium had been imported and used by white Americans for many years. In 1803 morphine was discovered, and in 1853 the hypodermic syringe was invented, increasing its popularity. Morphine and laudanum (a tincture of opium) were often abused by white Americans. In 1874, Felix Hoffman discovered heroin and in 1898 Bayer began to sell it. Heroin was marketed it as a pain medicine, cough suppressant, and morphine substitute. 

The first anti-opium laws – and first drug laws in the United States - targeted Chinese immigrants in the 1870s. Opium-smoking was largely practiced by Chinese-Americans, while white Americans instead used morphine and laudanum – which were not outlawed by these laws.

Chinese-American men were said to “lure” white women to opium dens in Chinatown. Chinese immigrants have largely been portrayed as a threat to Western values and mores. Smoking-opium was stretched as a rationable to demonize Chinese immigrants. Opium was linked to stereotypes of Yellow Peril (opium was said to corrupt white Americans and disrupt the American way) and Perpetual Foreigner (opium was seen as incompatible with Christian life, rendering Chinese Americans unassimilable). Eliminating opium was even used as justification to restrict (and eventually stop) Chinese immigration. 

Cocaine and Black Americans

The first anti-cocaine laws targeted Black men in the Southern US in the 1900s. Cocaine became associated with Black Americans, who were said to commit horrible crimes under the influence of cocaine (as well as marijuana).

Later, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created the large disparity – of 100 to one - between powder cocaine and crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. This meant that it would 1000 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence for 10 grams of crack cocaine. It was not until the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 that the 100:1 weight ratio was reduced to 18:1 - meaning that it takes 180 grams of cocaine to obtain the same sentence as for 10 grams of crack cocaine.

Of course, crack cocaine was also more widely used by Black Americans. Black Americans were also far more likely to distribute crack cocaine than powder cocaine. 

One reason given by Congress for the disparity included pregnant women consuming crack cocaine during pregnancy (resulting in so-called “crack babies”). The epidemic of “Crack Babies” was associated with Black. Pregnant women who used drugs were convicted of delivering drugs to a minor. In reality, the development of these children had less to do with crack cocaine and much to do with other circumstances. The Maternal Lifestyle Study found that - after controlling for other factors - crack cocaine and cocaine had no significant effect on behavioral problems. Observed differences were dependent on other mediating variables such as prenatal care and the environment in which children were raised, but the Reagan administration was more focused instead on rolling back assistance for poor mothers.

The Reagan administration’s obsessive focus on cocaine took place while the CIA was involved in drug trafficking and complicit in the dealing of cocaine to poor Black communities in the United States.

[No, despite demonization of Black Americans and Gary Webb, this is not a conspiracy theory - read Dark Alliance and This is Your Country on Drugs for more.]

Marijuana: Mexican and Black Americans

Cannabis was grown since European settlers arrived in the United States. Founders such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew and used cannabis. In the early 1800s, hemp was the second most produced crop after cotton. It was an extremely labor-intensive crop – the slave labor of Black Americans was necessary for its production. The ending of formal slavery (and free labor) made it less profitable as a crop. Until moral panic hit in the early 1900s, cannabis was still prescribed for many medical conditions.

The timing of this moral panic is relevant: it coincided with both the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the popularity of jazz.

After the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrants brought marijuana with them to the United States. Marijuana was said to make Mexican immigrants commit violent acts of crime. During the Great Depression, reports emerged that connected marijuana use with violent crime and social deviance. Soon after the Mexican revolution, marijuana spread to New Orleans and became popular in the jazz scene. Jazz musicians often were paid with marijuana and alcohol for their performances. Additionally, many jazz musicians used marijuana recreationally.

Harry J. Anslinger - the first commisioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics - was largely responsible for racist themes linking marijuana use to Black and Mexican Americans - particularly emphasizing the fear of racial mixing with white women. 

Today, long after the days of Anslinger, there are large racial disparities in the penalties for marijuana possession (among other racial disparities in the criminal justice system).

View post...
  • Day 4 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 3 - Blackness as Criminality, Whiteness as Virtue and Innocence
[TW: rape]
[Images: “Criminal Penalties by Race in Virginia” from The Color of Crime, Amnesty USA [x], “Report on Stand Your Ground Laws Highlight Racial Disparities”]
“Whiteness” was created in opposition to “blackness,” in comparison to which it was not only different but quite superior. Indeed, from the seventeenth century forward black women, men, and children were “constructed as lazy, ignorant, lascivious, and criminal; Whites as industrious, knowledgeable, virtuous, and law-abiding.” - Joe Feagin, Racist America
While Black Americans have been cast as criminals and sentenced unfairly throughout history, this is not only a result of the strict criminal justice system in the United States. Black Americans have rarely been considered legitimate victims, even in a legal sense; white Americans have benefitted from this. Many white Americans who are viewed in a positive light today, including the Founders and many Presidents of the United States, are celebrated for the unspeakable acts they committed.
Criminal Justice
In nearly all cases of white racial mob violence and lynching of Black Americans, no one was punished. The victim simply died “at the hands of persons unknown." despite the fact that the perpetrators were often known (and police officers were often involved in this mob violence themselves). Lynching was extremely common, yet efforts to pass anti-lynching laws were ignored by white congressmen and when introduced, failed. When the victims were Black, and particularly when the perpetrators were white, legal interventions were virtually unheard of.
Sexual Violence
During slavery, Black women were considered unrapeable: white men could rape Black women without punishment. Black men could rape Black women with no punishment except in cases where a Black woman was injured severely enough to prevent work. The unpunished rape of Black women was not limited to Southerners, as Northern soldiers during the Civil War also sexually assaulted Black women. This continued after slavery, all while a Black man could be lynched for (fabricated) rationalizations of protecting white womanhood.
An accurate account of historical sexual violence during slavery would be that of the white male rapist and Black female victim (and occasionally white women implicating innocent Black men). Instead, the stereotypes that emerged (and continued on today) are those of the Jezebel, the Black male rapist, and the virtuous, chaste white woman. 
For many years, Black women could not be considered victims of rape. White men continued to assault Black women. Unlike white women, Black women largely worked outside the home and were vulnerable to assault by both white male employers and white supremacist groups such as the KKK.
Media
In The Birth of a Nation, racial oppression was glorified. White supremacists, particularly the KKK, were turned into heroes. Black people were reduced to harmful anti-Black stereotypes in order to justify white supremacy.
Contemporary Examples
Criminal Justice
Black women are sexually assaulted at a higher rate than white women. When Black women are sexually assaulted and the case is reported and goes to trial, white juries and judges do not take it seriously. As a result, rapists of Black women received lighter sentences than when the victims are white. Additionally, the testimony of Black female rape victims is taken less seriously than that of white rape victims.
The majority of death row defendants have been convicted for murdering white victims even while Black Americans make up approximately half of homicide victims.
Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground laws have resulted in cases with white murderers and Black victims being ruled as justifiable homicides. Much of the focus in these cases was not on the adult white men who had murdered, but on the character of the victims.  The recent case of Trayvon Martin is an example of this - even when the white offender has a criminal history, he is privileged over a Black victim. The focus shifted to make Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin appear as justifiable or even as beneficial. Similarly, Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis after he refused to turn down his music. There is no situation in which this would be acceptable, yet the jury could not even decide on a murder charge.
In many publicized cases where white men killed innocent Black victims, the police were hesitant to even pursue the criminal, and the prosecution was not eager to proceed. Many white Americans instead suggested to focus on “Black-on-Black” crime. White supremacist groups and even conservative commentators took this a step further by suggesting that white victims of Black crime are overlooked.
Compare these cases to that of Marissa Alexander - a Black woman who fired warning shots in self-defense and injured no one - and the racial differences are clear.
Media

"Looking first at race of alleged perpetrators, we find approximately an equal number of Blacks and Whites (173 versus 179). At one level this equivalence seems reasonable, since Blacks do commit crime far in excess of their population proportions. At another, however, representing Blacks far more often in criminal roles than Whites effectively makes them into symbols of threat. A related signal arises from the portrayal of victims. By a 1.5:1 (241 to 160) ratio, White victims outnumbered Blacks in news reports—even though Blacks in Chicago and most core cities are more likely to be victimized. Another way of comparing news of victimization is length of time devoted to the story: the average story featuring Black victims was 106 seconds long; those featuring White victims, 185 seconds long. Using total story time as a measure, the ratio of time spent on White victims to that on Blacks exceeded 3:1. - Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind




Thus, the more socially valuable the “players” in a crime story are, the more newsworthy the story is. The factors associated with finding a “good” crime story result in the devaluation and invisibility of many victims. Media researchers Carolyn Byerly and Karen Ross point out, “As with other kinds of crime reporting, issues of gender are further complicated by issues of race.” Not only are marginalized and disenfranchised female victims deemed less interesting than white middle-class women (meaning that their victimizations receive less news coverage), but the media also depict them in stereotypically unflattering ways (i.e., black women as “Jezebels”) and project blame and culpability onto them. Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics
  • Day 4 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 3 - Blackness as Criminality, Whiteness as Virtue and Innocence
[TW: rape]
[Images: “Criminal Penalties by Race in Virginia” from The Color of Crime, Amnesty USA [x], “Report on Stand Your Ground Laws Highlight Racial Disparities”]
“Whiteness” was created in opposition to “blackness,” in comparison to which it was not only different but quite superior. Indeed, from the seventeenth century forward black women, men, and children were “constructed as lazy, ignorant, lascivious, and criminal; Whites as industrious, knowledgeable, virtuous, and law-abiding.” - Joe Feagin, Racist America
While Black Americans have been cast as criminals and sentenced unfairly throughout history, this is not only a result of the strict criminal justice system in the United States. Black Americans have rarely been considered legitimate victims, even in a legal sense; white Americans have benefitted from this. Many white Americans who are viewed in a positive light today, including the Founders and many Presidents of the United States, are celebrated for the unspeakable acts they committed.
Criminal Justice
In nearly all cases of white racial mob violence and lynching of Black Americans, no one was punished. The victim simply died “at the hands of persons unknown." despite the fact that the perpetrators were often known (and police officers were often involved in this mob violence themselves). Lynching was extremely common, yet efforts to pass anti-lynching laws were ignored by white congressmen and when introduced, failed. When the victims were Black, and particularly when the perpetrators were white, legal interventions were virtually unheard of.
Sexual Violence
During slavery, Black women were considered unrapeable: white men could rape Black women without punishment. Black men could rape Black women with no punishment except in cases where a Black woman was injured severely enough to prevent work. The unpunished rape of Black women was not limited to Southerners, as Northern soldiers during the Civil War also sexually assaulted Black women. This continued after slavery, all while a Black man could be lynched for (fabricated) rationalizations of protecting white womanhood.
An accurate account of historical sexual violence during slavery would be that of the white male rapist and Black female victim (and occasionally white women implicating innocent Black men). Instead, the stereotypes that emerged (and continued on today) are those of the Jezebel, the Black male rapist, and the virtuous, chaste white woman. 
For many years, Black women could not be considered victims of rape. White men continued to assault Black women. Unlike white women, Black women largely worked outside the home and were vulnerable to assault by both white male employers and white supremacist groups such as the KKK.
Media
In The Birth of a Nation, racial oppression was glorified. White supremacists, particularly the KKK, were turned into heroes. Black people were reduced to harmful anti-Black stereotypes in order to justify white supremacy.
Contemporary Examples
Criminal Justice
Black women are sexually assaulted at a higher rate than white women. When Black women are sexually assaulted and the case is reported and goes to trial, white juries and judges do not take it seriously. As a result, rapists of Black women received lighter sentences than when the victims are white. Additionally, the testimony of Black female rape victims is taken less seriously than that of white rape victims.
The majority of death row defendants have been convicted for murdering white victims even while Black Americans make up approximately half of homicide victims.
Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground laws have resulted in cases with white murderers and Black victims being ruled as justifiable homicides. Much of the focus in these cases was not on the adult white men who had murdered, but on the character of the victims.  The recent case of Trayvon Martin is an example of this - even when the white offender has a criminal history, he is privileged over a Black victim. The focus shifted to make Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin appear as justifiable or even as beneficial. Similarly, Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis after he refused to turn down his music. There is no situation in which this would be acceptable, yet the jury could not even decide on a murder charge.
In many publicized cases where white men killed innocent Black victims, the police were hesitant to even pursue the criminal, and the prosecution was not eager to proceed. Many white Americans instead suggested to focus on “Black-on-Black” crime. White supremacist groups and even conservative commentators took this a step further by suggesting that white victims of Black crime are overlooked.
Compare these cases to that of Marissa Alexander - a Black woman who fired warning shots in self-defense and injured no one - and the racial differences are clear.
Media

"Looking first at race of alleged perpetrators, we find approximately an equal number of Blacks and Whites (173 versus 179). At one level this equivalence seems reasonable, since Blacks do commit crime far in excess of their population proportions. At another, however, representing Blacks far more often in criminal roles than Whites effectively makes them into symbols of threat. A related signal arises from the portrayal of victims. By a 1.5:1 (241 to 160) ratio, White victims outnumbered Blacks in news reports—even though Blacks in Chicago and most core cities are more likely to be victimized. Another way of comparing news of victimization is length of time devoted to the story: the average story featuring Black victims was 106 seconds long; those featuring White victims, 185 seconds long. Using total story time as a measure, the ratio of time spent on White victims to that on Blacks exceeded 3:1. - Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind




Thus, the more socially valuable the “players” in a crime story are, the more newsworthy the story is. The factors associated with finding a “good” crime story result in the devaluation and invisibility of many victims. Media researchers Carolyn Byerly and Karen Ross point out, “As with other kinds of crime reporting, issues of gender are further complicated by issues of race.” Not only are marginalized and disenfranchised female victims deemed less interesting than white middle-class women (meaning that their victimizations receive less news coverage), but the media also depict them in stereotypically unflattering ways (i.e., black women as “Jezebels”) and project blame and culpability onto them. Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics
  • Day 4 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 3 - Blackness as Criminality, Whiteness as Virtue and Innocence
[TW: rape]
[Images: “Criminal Penalties by Race in Virginia” from The Color of Crime, Amnesty USA [x], “Report on Stand Your Ground Laws Highlight Racial Disparities”]
“Whiteness” was created in opposition to “blackness,” in comparison to which it was not only different but quite superior. Indeed, from the seventeenth century forward black women, men, and children were “constructed as lazy, ignorant, lascivious, and criminal; Whites as industrious, knowledgeable, virtuous, and law-abiding.” - Joe Feagin, Racist America
While Black Americans have been cast as criminals and sentenced unfairly throughout history, this is not only a result of the strict criminal justice system in the United States. Black Americans have rarely been considered legitimate victims, even in a legal sense; white Americans have benefitted from this. Many white Americans who are viewed in a positive light today, including the Founders and many Presidents of the United States, are celebrated for the unspeakable acts they committed.
Criminal Justice
In nearly all cases of white racial mob violence and lynching of Black Americans, no one was punished. The victim simply died “at the hands of persons unknown." despite the fact that the perpetrators were often known (and police officers were often involved in this mob violence themselves). Lynching was extremely common, yet efforts to pass anti-lynching laws were ignored by white congressmen and when introduced, failed. When the victims were Black, and particularly when the perpetrators were white, legal interventions were virtually unheard of.
Sexual Violence
During slavery, Black women were considered unrapeable: white men could rape Black women without punishment. Black men could rape Black women with no punishment except in cases where a Black woman was injured severely enough to prevent work. The unpunished rape of Black women was not limited to Southerners, as Northern soldiers during the Civil War also sexually assaulted Black women. This continued after slavery, all while a Black man could be lynched for (fabricated) rationalizations of protecting white womanhood.
An accurate account of historical sexual violence during slavery would be that of the white male rapist and Black female victim (and occasionally white women implicating innocent Black men). Instead, the stereotypes that emerged (and continued on today) are those of the Jezebel, the Black male rapist, and the virtuous, chaste white woman. 
For many years, Black women could not be considered victims of rape. White men continued to assault Black women. Unlike white women, Black women largely worked outside the home and were vulnerable to assault by both white male employers and white supremacist groups such as the KKK.
Media
In The Birth of a Nation, racial oppression was glorified. White supremacists, particularly the KKK, were turned into heroes. Black people were reduced to harmful anti-Black stereotypes in order to justify white supremacy.
Contemporary Examples
Criminal Justice
Black women are sexually assaulted at a higher rate than white women. When Black women are sexually assaulted and the case is reported and goes to trial, white juries and judges do not take it seriously. As a result, rapists of Black women received lighter sentences than when the victims are white. Additionally, the testimony of Black female rape victims is taken less seriously than that of white rape victims.
The majority of death row defendants have been convicted for murdering white victims even while Black Americans make up approximately half of homicide victims.
Stand Your Ground
Stand Your Ground laws have resulted in cases with white murderers and Black victims being ruled as justifiable homicides. Much of the focus in these cases was not on the adult white men who had murdered, but on the character of the victims.  The recent case of Trayvon Martin is an example of this - even when the white offender has a criminal history, he is privileged over a Black victim. The focus shifted to make Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin appear as justifiable or even as beneficial. Similarly, Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis after he refused to turn down his music. There is no situation in which this would be acceptable, yet the jury could not even decide on a murder charge.
In many publicized cases where white men killed innocent Black victims, the police were hesitant to even pursue the criminal, and the prosecution was not eager to proceed. Many white Americans instead suggested to focus on “Black-on-Black” crime. White supremacist groups and even conservative commentators took this a step further by suggesting that white victims of Black crime are overlooked.
Compare these cases to that of Marissa Alexander - a Black woman who fired warning shots in self-defense and injured no one - and the racial differences are clear.
Media

"Looking first at race of alleged perpetrators, we find approximately an equal number of Blacks and Whites (173 versus 179). At one level this equivalence seems reasonable, since Blacks do commit crime far in excess of their population proportions. At another, however, representing Blacks far more often in criminal roles than Whites effectively makes them into symbols of threat. A related signal arises from the portrayal of victims. By a 1.5:1 (241 to 160) ratio, White victims outnumbered Blacks in news reports—even though Blacks in Chicago and most core cities are more likely to be victimized. Another way of comparing news of victimization is length of time devoted to the story: the average story featuring Black victims was 106 seconds long; those featuring White victims, 185 seconds long. Using total story time as a measure, the ratio of time spent on White victims to that on Blacks exceeded 3:1. - Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind




Thus, the more socially valuable the “players” in a crime story are, the more newsworthy the story is. The factors associated with finding a “good” crime story result in the devaluation and invisibility of many victims. Media researchers Carolyn Byerly and Karen Ross point out, “As with other kinds of crime reporting, issues of gender are further complicated by issues of race.” Not only are marginalized and disenfranchised female victims deemed less interesting than white middle-class women (meaning that their victimizations receive less news coverage), but the media also depict them in stereotypically unflattering ways (i.e., black women as “Jezebels”) and project blame and culpability onto them. Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics

Day 4 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 3 - Blackness as Criminality, Whiteness as Virtue and Innocence

[TW: rape]

[Images: “Criminal Penalties by Race in Virginia” from The Color of Crime, Amnesty USA [x], “Report on Stand Your Ground Laws Highlight Racial Disparities”]

“Whiteness” was created in opposition to “blackness,” in comparison to which it was not only different but quite superior. Indeed, from the seventeenth century forward black women, men, and children were “constructed as lazy, ignorant, lascivious, and criminal; Whites as industrious, knowledgeable, virtuous, and law-abiding.” - Joe Feagin, Racist America

While Black Americans have been cast as criminals and sentenced unfairly throughout history, this is not only a result of the strict criminal justice system in the United States. Black Americans have rarely been considered legitimate victims, even in a legal sense; white Americans have benefitted from this. Many white Americans who are viewed in a positive light today, including the Founders and many Presidents of the United States, are celebrated for the unspeakable acts they committed.

Criminal Justice

In nearly all cases of white racial mob violence and lynching of Black Americans, no one was punished. The victim simply died “at the hands of persons unknown." despite the fact that the perpetrators were often known (and police officers were often involved in this mob violence themselves). Lynching was extremely common, yet efforts to pass anti-lynching laws were ignored by white congressmen and when introduced, failed. When the victims were Black, and particularly when the perpetrators were white, legal interventions were virtually unheard of.

Sexual Violence

During slavery, Black women were considered unrapeable: white men could rape Black women without punishment. Black men could rape Black women with no punishment except in cases where a Black woman was injured severely enough to prevent work. The unpunished rape of Black women was not limited to Southerners, as Northern soldiers during the Civil War also sexually assaulted Black women. This continued after slavery, all while a Black man could be lynched for (fabricated) rationalizations of protecting white womanhood.

An accurate account of historical sexual violence during slavery would be that of the white male rapist and Black female victim (and occasionally white women implicating innocent Black men). Instead, the stereotypes that emerged (and continued on today) are those of the Jezebel, the Black male rapist, and the virtuous, chaste white woman. 

For many years, Black women could not be considered victims of rape. White men continued to assault Black women. Unlike white women, Black women largely worked outside the home and were vulnerable to assault by both white male employers and white supremacist groups such as the KKK.

Media

In The Birth of a Nation, racial oppression was glorified. White supremacists, particularly the KKK, were turned into heroes. Black people were reduced to harmful anti-Black stereotypes in order to justify white supremacy.

Contemporary Examples

Criminal Justice

Black women are sexually assaulted at a higher rate than white women. When Black women are sexually assaulted and the case is reported and goes to trial, white juries and judges do not take it seriously. As a result, rapists of Black women received lighter sentences than when the victims are white. Additionally, the testimony of Black female rape victims is taken less seriously than that of white rape victims.

The majority of death row defendants have been convicted for murdering white victims even while Black Americans make up approximately half of homicide victims.

Stand Your Ground

Stand Your Ground laws have resulted in cases with white murderers and Black victims being ruled as justifiable homicides. Much of the focus in these cases was not on the adult white men who had murdered, but on the character of the victims.  The recent case of Trayvon Martin is an example of this - even when the white offender has a criminal history, he is privileged over a Black victim. The focus shifted to make Zimmerman’s murder of Trayvon Martin appear as justifiable or even as beneficial. Similarly, Michael Dunn murdered Jordan Davis after he refused to turn down his music. There is no situation in which this would be acceptable, yet the jury could not even decide on a murder charge.

In many publicized cases where white men killed innocent Black victims, the police were hesitant to even pursue the criminal, and the prosecution was not eager to proceed. Many white Americans instead suggested to focus on “Black-on-Black” crime. White supremacist groups and even conservative commentators took this a step further by suggesting that white victims of Black crime are overlooked.

Compare these cases to that of Marissa Alexander - a Black woman who fired warning shots in self-defense and injured no one - and the racial differences are clear.

Media

"Looking first at race of alleged perpetrators, we find approximately an equal number of Blacks and Whites (173 versus 179). At one level this equivalence seems reasonable, since Blacks do commit crime far in excess of their population proportions. At another, however, representing Blacks far more often in criminal roles than Whites effectively makes them into symbols of threat. A related signal arises from the portrayal of victims. By a 1.5:1 (241 to 160) ratio, White victims outnumbered Blacks in news reports—even though Blacks in Chicago and most core cities are more likely to be victimized. Another way of comparing news of victimization is length of time devoted to the story: the average story featuring Black victims was 106 seconds long; those featuring White victims, 185 seconds long. Using total story time as a measure, the ratio of time spent on White victims to that on Blacks exceeded 3:1. - Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, The Black Image in the White Mind
Thus, the more socially valuable the “players” in a crime story are, the more newsworthy the story is. The factors associated with finding a “good” crime story result in the devaluation and invisibility of many victims. Media researchers Carolyn Byerly and Karen Ross point out, “As with other kinds of crime reporting, issues of gender are further complicated by issues of race.” Not only are marginalized and disenfranchised female victims deemed less interesting than white middle-class women (meaning that their victimizations receive less news coverage), but the media also depict them in stereotypically unflattering ways (i.e., black women as “Jezebels”) and project blame and culpability onto them. Michelle L. Meloy and Susan L. Miller, The Victimization of Women: Law, Policies, and Politics
View post...
  • Day 3 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 2 - Jim Crow Etiquette
Images: Jim Crow Museum [x], Smithsonian Institute [x], New York Daily News [x]
The legal aspects of Jim Crow are important to recognize, but Jim Crow was not just a set of laws, but as described by Leophus Taharka King, a “set of ideas, social norms, life ways, mythoforms, role-play symbols, sanctions, and devastations created after the Civil War by white politicians intent on maintaining a system of oppressive control over African American life and economics”.
Often the legal aspects of Jim Crow are the most recognized, leading to other institutions being ignored. The racial etiquette of Jim Crow worked alongside the laws. Jim Crow etiquette was a system of pervasive anti-Black norms that regulated daily life, particularly in the South. These laws were intended to subjugate Black Americans or “keep them in their place”.
Examples of Jim Crow etiquette:
White Americans referring to Black Americans by their first names or with infantilizing terms such as “boy” or “girl”  - all while Black Americans had to address white Americans with the utmost respect, using honorifics 
Black Americans were not to display their intelligence or knowledge in a way that could threaten white Americans
Black Americans could not suggest that white Americans were lying or even that their intentions were bad
During World War II, until Eleanor Roosevelt intervened, Black nurses were only allowed to tend to German prisoners of war – not white American soldiers. This occurred even with a severe shortage of nurses. 
Black and White Americans were separated in hospitals and only private ambulances would pick up Black patients.
Black women received no assistance with luggage or bags on trains or buses.
When not excluded by law, Black Americans were often were often still restricted from attending movies, the theatre, and other forms of entertainment. If allowed, they generally had to use back entrances and sit upstairs in sections referred to as “nigger heaven” or “buzzard roost.”
Black Americans were not allowed to try on clothes, as businesses feared that white Americans would never buy them if they did. 
The consequences for violating these norms were dire. Black Americans had virtually no legal protection in a system entirely controlled by white Americans. Lynching was used as a tool of intimidation and a way to control and limit the lives of Black Americans. It often took place precisely because Black Americans refused to accept the racist status quo. A number of Black women, often those who resisted white male sexual violence, were raped, tortured, and killed. Thriving Black communities (such as Rosewood) faced violence and destruction. Successful Black women and men were tortured and lynched.
The period of Jim Crow is popularly held to have ended 1950s and 1960s, but many of the norms and ideas about how Black people should behave did not end.
Jim Crow Etiquette Today
Like the racial disparities of Black codes and Jim Crow laws, remnants of the Jim Crow etiquette are still in place.
Black Americans are still often kept out of white spaces. Even middle class Black Americans are frequently followed in stores and excluded from white spaces (see: Sikes and Feagin’s Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience). Recent cases can be seen even at high-end chains; an example of this is Barneys racially profiling customers. De facto residential segregation and housing discrimination still continue today.
George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin because of his own racially-based, anti-Black fears. Nothing about Trayvon Martin was threatening, but the fact that a Black boy would be walking around a largely white, gated community after dark was justification enough for Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and murder him.
Driving While Black
In many cases, Black drivers are stopped for no reason other than their race. When stopped, Black drivers (and often, Latin@ drivers) are more likely to be searched than white Americans. Black and Latino men are more likely to have force used against them.
This is particularly true in cities that are more segregated and that have smaller Black populations.
[See: “Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey” [x]
"Vehicle Cues and Racial Profiling: Police Officers’ Perceptions of Vehicles and Drivers" [x] ]
Police Brutality

Analyzing 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the nation, Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality.Yet the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved in these incidents were white. Police brutality mainly involves white-on-black or white-on-Latino violence. Moreover, it appears that white elites in many cities sometimes use or allow police harassment in order to keep black residents “in their place.” Some police harassment and brutality targeting Americans of color seem to be linked to maintaining de facto housing segregation. Since the days of slavery, being “out of place” has been potentially dangerous for black Americans, especially black men. If black men are found in historically white residential areas, they still run the risk of harassment by the public or private police forces there. - Joe Feagin, Racist America
  • Day 3 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 2 - Jim Crow Etiquette
Images: Jim Crow Museum [x], Smithsonian Institute [x], New York Daily News [x]
The legal aspects of Jim Crow are important to recognize, but Jim Crow was not just a set of laws, but as described by Leophus Taharka King, a “set of ideas, social norms, life ways, mythoforms, role-play symbols, sanctions, and devastations created after the Civil War by white politicians intent on maintaining a system of oppressive control over African American life and economics”.
Often the legal aspects of Jim Crow are the most recognized, leading to other institutions being ignored. The racial etiquette of Jim Crow worked alongside the laws. Jim Crow etiquette was a system of pervasive anti-Black norms that regulated daily life, particularly in the South. These laws were intended to subjugate Black Americans or “keep them in their place”.
Examples of Jim Crow etiquette:
White Americans referring to Black Americans by their first names or with infantilizing terms such as “boy” or “girl”  - all while Black Americans had to address white Americans with the utmost respect, using honorifics 
Black Americans were not to display their intelligence or knowledge in a way that could threaten white Americans
Black Americans could not suggest that white Americans were lying or even that their intentions were bad
During World War II, until Eleanor Roosevelt intervened, Black nurses were only allowed to tend to German prisoners of war – not white American soldiers. This occurred even with a severe shortage of nurses. 
Black and White Americans were separated in hospitals and only private ambulances would pick up Black patients.
Black women received no assistance with luggage or bags on trains or buses.
When not excluded by law, Black Americans were often were often still restricted from attending movies, the theatre, and other forms of entertainment. If allowed, they generally had to use back entrances and sit upstairs in sections referred to as “nigger heaven” or “buzzard roost.”
Black Americans were not allowed to try on clothes, as businesses feared that white Americans would never buy them if they did. 
The consequences for violating these norms were dire. Black Americans had virtually no legal protection in a system entirely controlled by white Americans. Lynching was used as a tool of intimidation and a way to control and limit the lives of Black Americans. It often took place precisely because Black Americans refused to accept the racist status quo. A number of Black women, often those who resisted white male sexual violence, were raped, tortured, and killed. Thriving Black communities (such as Rosewood) faced violence and destruction. Successful Black women and men were tortured and lynched.
The period of Jim Crow is popularly held to have ended 1950s and 1960s, but many of the norms and ideas about how Black people should behave did not end.
Jim Crow Etiquette Today
Like the racial disparities of Black codes and Jim Crow laws, remnants of the Jim Crow etiquette are still in place.
Black Americans are still often kept out of white spaces. Even middle class Black Americans are frequently followed in stores and excluded from white spaces (see: Sikes and Feagin’s Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience). Recent cases can be seen even at high-end chains; an example of this is Barneys racially profiling customers. De facto residential segregation and housing discrimination still continue today.
George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin because of his own racially-based, anti-Black fears. Nothing about Trayvon Martin was threatening, but the fact that a Black boy would be walking around a largely white, gated community after dark was justification enough for Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and murder him.
Driving While Black
In many cases, Black drivers are stopped for no reason other than their race. When stopped, Black drivers (and often, Latin@ drivers) are more likely to be searched than white Americans. Black and Latino men are more likely to have force used against them.
This is particularly true in cities that are more segregated and that have smaller Black populations.
[See: “Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey” [x]
"Vehicle Cues and Racial Profiling: Police Officers’ Perceptions of Vehicles and Drivers" [x] ]
Police Brutality

Analyzing 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the nation, Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality.Yet the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved in these incidents were white. Police brutality mainly involves white-on-black or white-on-Latino violence. Moreover, it appears that white elites in many cities sometimes use or allow police harassment in order to keep black residents “in their place.” Some police harassment and brutality targeting Americans of color seem to be linked to maintaining de facto housing segregation. Since the days of slavery, being “out of place” has been potentially dangerous for black Americans, especially black men. If black men are found in historically white residential areas, they still run the risk of harassment by the public or private police forces there. - Joe Feagin, Racist America
  • Day 3 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 2 - Jim Crow Etiquette
Images: Jim Crow Museum [x], Smithsonian Institute [x], New York Daily News [x]
The legal aspects of Jim Crow are important to recognize, but Jim Crow was not just a set of laws, but as described by Leophus Taharka King, a “set of ideas, social norms, life ways, mythoforms, role-play symbols, sanctions, and devastations created after the Civil War by white politicians intent on maintaining a system of oppressive control over African American life and economics”.
Often the legal aspects of Jim Crow are the most recognized, leading to other institutions being ignored. The racial etiquette of Jim Crow worked alongside the laws. Jim Crow etiquette was a system of pervasive anti-Black norms that regulated daily life, particularly in the South. These laws were intended to subjugate Black Americans or “keep them in their place”.
Examples of Jim Crow etiquette:
White Americans referring to Black Americans by their first names or with infantilizing terms such as “boy” or “girl”  - all while Black Americans had to address white Americans with the utmost respect, using honorifics 
Black Americans were not to display their intelligence or knowledge in a way that could threaten white Americans
Black Americans could not suggest that white Americans were lying or even that their intentions were bad
During World War II, until Eleanor Roosevelt intervened, Black nurses were only allowed to tend to German prisoners of war – not white American soldiers. This occurred even with a severe shortage of nurses. 
Black and White Americans were separated in hospitals and only private ambulances would pick up Black patients.
Black women received no assistance with luggage or bags on trains or buses.
When not excluded by law, Black Americans were often were often still restricted from attending movies, the theatre, and other forms of entertainment. If allowed, they generally had to use back entrances and sit upstairs in sections referred to as “nigger heaven” or “buzzard roost.”
Black Americans were not allowed to try on clothes, as businesses feared that white Americans would never buy them if they did. 
The consequences for violating these norms were dire. Black Americans had virtually no legal protection in a system entirely controlled by white Americans. Lynching was used as a tool of intimidation and a way to control and limit the lives of Black Americans. It often took place precisely because Black Americans refused to accept the racist status quo. A number of Black women, often those who resisted white male sexual violence, were raped, tortured, and killed. Thriving Black communities (such as Rosewood) faced violence and destruction. Successful Black women and men were tortured and lynched.
The period of Jim Crow is popularly held to have ended 1950s and 1960s, but many of the norms and ideas about how Black people should behave did not end.
Jim Crow Etiquette Today
Like the racial disparities of Black codes and Jim Crow laws, remnants of the Jim Crow etiquette are still in place.
Black Americans are still often kept out of white spaces. Even middle class Black Americans are frequently followed in stores and excluded from white spaces (see: Sikes and Feagin’s Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience). Recent cases can be seen even at high-end chains; an example of this is Barneys racially profiling customers. De facto residential segregation and housing discrimination still continue today.
George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin because of his own racially-based, anti-Black fears. Nothing about Trayvon Martin was threatening, but the fact that a Black boy would be walking around a largely white, gated community after dark was justification enough for Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and murder him.
Driving While Black
In many cases, Black drivers are stopped for no reason other than their race. When stopped, Black drivers (and often, Latin@ drivers) are more likely to be searched than white Americans. Black and Latino men are more likely to have force used against them.
This is particularly true in cities that are more segregated and that have smaller Black populations.
[See: “Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey” [x]
"Vehicle Cues and Racial Profiling: Police Officers’ Perceptions of Vehicles and Drivers" [x] ]
Police Brutality

Analyzing 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the nation, Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality.Yet the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved in these incidents were white. Police brutality mainly involves white-on-black or white-on-Latino violence. Moreover, it appears that white elites in many cities sometimes use or allow police harassment in order to keep black residents “in their place.” Some police harassment and brutality targeting Americans of color seem to be linked to maintaining de facto housing segregation. Since the days of slavery, being “out of place” has been potentially dangerous for black Americans, especially black men. If black men are found in historically white residential areas, they still run the risk of harassment by the public or private police forces there. - Joe Feagin, Racist America

Day 3 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 2 - Jim Crow Etiquette

Images: Jim Crow Museum [x], Smithsonian Institute [x], New York Daily News [x]

The legal aspects of Jim Crow are important to recognize, but Jim Crow was not just a set of laws, but as described by Leophus Taharka King, a “set of ideas, social norms, life ways, mythoforms, role-play symbols, sanctions, and devastations created after the Civil War by white politicians intent on maintaining a system of oppressive control over African American life and economics”.

Often the legal aspects of Jim Crow are the most recognized, leading to other institutions being ignored. The racial etiquette of Jim Crow worked alongside the laws. Jim Crow etiquette was a system of pervasive anti-Black norms that regulated daily life, particularly in the South. These laws were intended to subjugate Black Americans or “keep them in their place”.

Examples of Jim Crow etiquette:

  • White Americans referring to Black Americans by their first names or with infantilizing terms such as “boy” or “girl”  - all while Black Americans had to address white Americans with the utmost respect, using honorifics 
  • Black Americans were not to display their intelligence or knowledge in a way that could threaten white Americans
  • Black Americans could not suggest that white Americans were lying or even that their intentions were bad
  • During World War II, until Eleanor Roosevelt intervened, Black nurses were only allowed to tend to German prisoners of war – not white American soldiers. This occurred even with a severe shortage of nurses. 
  • Black and White Americans were separated in hospitals and only private ambulances would pick up Black patients.
  • Black women received no assistance with luggage or bags on trains or buses.
  • When not excluded by law, Black Americans were often were often still restricted from attending movies, the theatre, and other forms of entertainment. If allowed, they generally had to use back entrances and sit upstairs in sections referred to as “nigger heaven” or “buzzard roost.”
  • Black Americans were not allowed to try on clothes, as businesses feared that white Americans would never buy them if they did. 

The consequences for violating these norms were dire. Black Americans had virtually no legal protection in a system entirely controlled by white Americans. Lynching was used as a tool of intimidation and a way to control and limit the lives of Black Americans. It often took place precisely because Black Americans refused to accept the racist status quo. A number of Black women, often those who resisted white male sexual violence, were raped, tortured, and killed. Thriving Black communities (such as Rosewood) faced violence and destruction. Successful Black women and men were tortured and lynched.

The period of Jim Crow is popularly held to have ended 1950s and 1960s, but many of the norms and ideas about how Black people should behave did not end.

Jim Crow Etiquette Today

Like the racial disparities of Black codes and Jim Crow laws, remnants of the Jim Crow etiquette are still in place.

Black Americans are still often kept out of white spaces. Even middle class Black Americans are frequently followed in stores and excluded from white spaces (see: Sikes and Feagin’s Living with Racism: The Black Middle-Class Experience). Recent cases can be seen even at high-end chains; an example of this is Barneys racially profiling customers. De facto residential segregation and housing discrimination still continue today.

George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin because of his own racially-based, anti-Black fears. Nothing about Trayvon Martin was threatening, but the fact that a Black boy would be walking around a largely white, gated community after dark was justification enough for Zimmerman to stalk, confront, and murder him.

Driving While Black

In many cases, Black drivers are stopped for no reason other than their race. When stopped, Black drivers (and often, Latin@ drivers) are more likely to be searched than white Americans. Black and Latino men are more likely to have force used against them.

This is particularly true in cities that are more segregated and that have smaller Black populations.

[See: “Contacts between Police and the Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey” [x]

"Vehicle Cues and Racial Profiling: Police Officers’ Perceptions of Vehicles and Drivers" [x] ]

Police Brutality

Analyzing 130 police-brutality accounts in several cities across the nation, Kim Lersch discovered that the targets of this type of police malpractice are almost always black or Latino. The latter made up 97 percent of the victims of police brutality.Yet the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of officers involved in these incidents were white. Police brutality mainly involves white-on-black or white-on-Latino violence. Moreover, it appears that white elites in many cities sometimes use or allow police harassment in order to keep black residents “in their place.” Some police harassment and brutality targeting Americans of color seem to be linked to maintaining de facto housing segregation. Since the days of slavery, being “out of place” has been potentially dangerous for black Americans, especially black men. If black men are found in historically white residential areas, they still run the risk of harassment by the public or private police forces there. - Joe Feagin, Racist America
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  • Day 2 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 1- Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws
“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” - Andrew Johnson [x]
[Images: Black Codes in Georgia [x], [x], Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices In New York City: A Primer [x], The Death Penalty in Black and White [x], Pager (2003)]
While the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery and involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime), legal restrictions were quickly placed upon newly freed Black Americans. By no coincidence, these laws made it easier to penalize Black Americans and turn them into criminals. Blackness itself was grounds for legal restrictions.
Black Codes - the precursor to Jim Crow - restricted the rights of Black Americans to move freely in public space, buy and own land and property, and conduct business. Black Americans were strongly disadvantaged in the legal system. Most Southern states enacted various laws that restricted the lives of Black Americans in 1865 and 1866.
There were common features among many of the Black Codes. Many states simply changed the wording of Slave Codes such that restrictions continued that prohibited Black Americans from learning to read or write. Vagrancy laws made it so that all Freedmen were required to be employed; penalties for being unemployed resulted in vagrancy charges, which could be punished through forced unpaid labor.
Children of those arrested for vagrancy could be forced into “apprenticeships” where they would be forced to work, often for their former slaveowner. Black Americans were executed for crimes that white Americans merely received jail sentences for. The lives of Black Americans were worth little as many white Americans could avoid penalties for murdering Black Americans.  
Examples of Black Codes (by no means an exhaustive list):
Separate jailkeepers for Black and white Americans (North Carolina)
Black men convicted of raping white women would be given the death penalty (North Carolina, Tennessee)
Inability to testify against white Americans in court (North Carolina, Kentucky)
Taxes - that if left unpaid, would result in vagrancy charges (Mississippi, South Carolina
Forced apprenticeship (North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi)
Work contracts required which often could not be broken without penalty (Texas, Mississippi) 
Fines for “disobedience and negligence” and for missed work (Texas) or insubordination (Florida)
Restrictions on owning and carrying firearms (North Carolina, Florida) 
Restrictions on voting, holding office, or serving on juries (Texas, Tennessee)
Restrictions on moving into and out of the state (North Carolina
Restrictions prohibiting Black Americans from “impudence,” “swearing,” and other signs of “disobedience.” (Louisiana)
Most of these laws were repealed because of action taken by Northern states, but similar laws came into place with Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws continued to criminalize Blackness and valorize whiteness. These laws resulted in disparities in the criminal justice system and restrictions on civil rights up to a century after slavery ended.
Jim Crow is generally used to refer to institutional discrimination in the South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but these laws and norms existed even earlier in the North. While Louisiana passed a law creating “separate but equal” train cars in 1890, segregated railroad cars were used in Massachusetts long before that.. Northern states provided a model for Southerners to treat newly freed Black Americans. 
Examples of Jim Crow Laws (from the Jim Crow Museum):
Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).
Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).
Housing: Any person…who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. (Louisiana)
Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).
Promotion of Equality: Any person…who shall be guilty of printing, publishing or circulating printed, typewritten or written matter urging or presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine or not exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both. (Mississippi)
Penalties for Blackness Today
When slavery (and slave codes) ended, the Black Codes took their place. When Black Codes were eliminated, it was only a few years before Jim Crow developed. Jim Crow laws ended with the Civil Rights Movement, but these disparities did not just disappear. The legacy of these laws can be seen in the criminal justice system today.
Stop and Frisk
In New York, Toronto, Southern California, Black people are much more likely than white people to be stopped. In New York, when stopped, they are more likely to be frisked and have physical force used against them. This is despite the fact that whites who are frisked are more likely to have weapons and contraband on them.
[“Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices in New York City: A Primer”]
Sentencing
When compared to white Americans, Black Americans are more likely to face longer sentences, more severe charges, and full prosecution.
Black defendants are over three times as likely as white defendants to receive the death penalty when the victim is white. In one study, Blackness itself is found to be an aggravating factor comparable to “causing great harm, fear, or pain” 
Jury Duty
Some states used Black Codes to exclude Black Americans from jury duty, but Black Americans are still excluded from juries today. Prosecutors have used supposedly race-neutral reasons such as “low intelligence” to remove Black Americans from jury duty. In Houston County, Alabama, 80% of Black Americans have been struck by prosecutors in death penalty cases.
[See: Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy by the Equal Justice Initiative] 
Job Opportunities With a Criminal Record
Black applicants with a criminal record are at a disadvantage in the labor market when compared to their white counterparts. In fact, Devah Pager found that job opportunities for Black Americans without a criminal record were worse than those of white Americans with a drug conviction. 
  • Day 2 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 1- Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws
“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” - Andrew Johnson [x]
[Images: Black Codes in Georgia [x], [x], Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices In New York City: A Primer [x], The Death Penalty in Black and White [x], Pager (2003)]
While the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery and involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime), legal restrictions were quickly placed upon newly freed Black Americans. By no coincidence, these laws made it easier to penalize Black Americans and turn them into criminals. Blackness itself was grounds for legal restrictions.
Black Codes - the precursor to Jim Crow - restricted the rights of Black Americans to move freely in public space, buy and own land and property, and conduct business. Black Americans were strongly disadvantaged in the legal system. Most Southern states enacted various laws that restricted the lives of Black Americans in 1865 and 1866.
There were common features among many of the Black Codes. Many states simply changed the wording of Slave Codes such that restrictions continued that prohibited Black Americans from learning to read or write. Vagrancy laws made it so that all Freedmen were required to be employed; penalties for being unemployed resulted in vagrancy charges, which could be punished through forced unpaid labor.
Children of those arrested for vagrancy could be forced into “apprenticeships” where they would be forced to work, often for their former slaveowner. Black Americans were executed for crimes that white Americans merely received jail sentences for. The lives of Black Americans were worth little as many white Americans could avoid penalties for murdering Black Americans.  
Examples of Black Codes (by no means an exhaustive list):
Separate jailkeepers for Black and white Americans (North Carolina)
Black men convicted of raping white women would be given the death penalty (North Carolina, Tennessee)
Inability to testify against white Americans in court (North Carolina, Kentucky)
Taxes - that if left unpaid, would result in vagrancy charges (Mississippi, South Carolina
Forced apprenticeship (North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi)
Work contracts required which often could not be broken without penalty (Texas, Mississippi) 
Fines for “disobedience and negligence” and for missed work (Texas) or insubordination (Florida)
Restrictions on owning and carrying firearms (North Carolina, Florida) 
Restrictions on voting, holding office, or serving on juries (Texas, Tennessee)
Restrictions on moving into and out of the state (North Carolina
Restrictions prohibiting Black Americans from “impudence,” “swearing,” and other signs of “disobedience.” (Louisiana)
Most of these laws were repealed because of action taken by Northern states, but similar laws came into place with Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws continued to criminalize Blackness and valorize whiteness. These laws resulted in disparities in the criminal justice system and restrictions on civil rights up to a century after slavery ended.
Jim Crow is generally used to refer to institutional discrimination in the South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but these laws and norms existed even earlier in the North. While Louisiana passed a law creating “separate but equal” train cars in 1890, segregated railroad cars were used in Massachusetts long before that.. Northern states provided a model for Southerners to treat newly freed Black Americans. 
Examples of Jim Crow Laws (from the Jim Crow Museum):
Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).
Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).
Housing: Any person…who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. (Louisiana)
Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).
Promotion of Equality: Any person…who shall be guilty of printing, publishing or circulating printed, typewritten or written matter urging or presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine or not exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both. (Mississippi)
Penalties for Blackness Today
When slavery (and slave codes) ended, the Black Codes took their place. When Black Codes were eliminated, it was only a few years before Jim Crow developed. Jim Crow laws ended with the Civil Rights Movement, but these disparities did not just disappear. The legacy of these laws can be seen in the criminal justice system today.
Stop and Frisk
In New York, Toronto, Southern California, Black people are much more likely than white people to be stopped. In New York, when stopped, they are more likely to be frisked and have physical force used against them. This is despite the fact that whites who are frisked are more likely to have weapons and contraband on them.
[“Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices in New York City: A Primer”]
Sentencing
When compared to white Americans, Black Americans are more likely to face longer sentences, more severe charges, and full prosecution.
Black defendants are over three times as likely as white defendants to receive the death penalty when the victim is white. In one study, Blackness itself is found to be an aggravating factor comparable to “causing great harm, fear, or pain” 
Jury Duty
Some states used Black Codes to exclude Black Americans from jury duty, but Black Americans are still excluded from juries today. Prosecutors have used supposedly race-neutral reasons such as “low intelligence” to remove Black Americans from jury duty. In Houston County, Alabama, 80% of Black Americans have been struck by prosecutors in death penalty cases.
[See: Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy by the Equal Justice Initiative] 
Job Opportunities With a Criminal Record
Black applicants with a criminal record are at a disadvantage in the labor market when compared to their white counterparts. In fact, Devah Pager found that job opportunities for Black Americans without a criminal record were worse than those of white Americans with a drug conviction. 
  • Day 2 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 1- Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws
“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” - Andrew Johnson [x]
[Images: Black Codes in Georgia [x], [x], Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices In New York City: A Primer [x], The Death Penalty in Black and White [x], Pager (2003)]
While the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery and involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime), legal restrictions were quickly placed upon newly freed Black Americans. By no coincidence, these laws made it easier to penalize Black Americans and turn them into criminals. Blackness itself was grounds for legal restrictions.
Black Codes - the precursor to Jim Crow - restricted the rights of Black Americans to move freely in public space, buy and own land and property, and conduct business. Black Americans were strongly disadvantaged in the legal system. Most Southern states enacted various laws that restricted the lives of Black Americans in 1865 and 1866.
There were common features among many of the Black Codes. Many states simply changed the wording of Slave Codes such that restrictions continued that prohibited Black Americans from learning to read or write. Vagrancy laws made it so that all Freedmen were required to be employed; penalties for being unemployed resulted in vagrancy charges, which could be punished through forced unpaid labor.
Children of those arrested for vagrancy could be forced into “apprenticeships” where they would be forced to work, often for their former slaveowner. Black Americans were executed for crimes that white Americans merely received jail sentences for. The lives of Black Americans were worth little as many white Americans could avoid penalties for murdering Black Americans.  
Examples of Black Codes (by no means an exhaustive list):
Separate jailkeepers for Black and white Americans (North Carolina)
Black men convicted of raping white women would be given the death penalty (North Carolina, Tennessee)
Inability to testify against white Americans in court (North Carolina, Kentucky)
Taxes - that if left unpaid, would result in vagrancy charges (Mississippi, South Carolina
Forced apprenticeship (North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi)
Work contracts required which often could not be broken without penalty (Texas, Mississippi) 
Fines for “disobedience and negligence” and for missed work (Texas) or insubordination (Florida)
Restrictions on owning and carrying firearms (North Carolina, Florida) 
Restrictions on voting, holding office, or serving on juries (Texas, Tennessee)
Restrictions on moving into and out of the state (North Carolina
Restrictions prohibiting Black Americans from “impudence,” “swearing,” and other signs of “disobedience.” (Louisiana)
Most of these laws were repealed because of action taken by Northern states, but similar laws came into place with Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws continued to criminalize Blackness and valorize whiteness. These laws resulted in disparities in the criminal justice system and restrictions on civil rights up to a century after slavery ended.
Jim Crow is generally used to refer to institutional discrimination in the South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but these laws and norms existed even earlier in the North. While Louisiana passed a law creating “separate but equal” train cars in 1890, segregated railroad cars were used in Massachusetts long before that.. Northern states provided a model for Southerners to treat newly freed Black Americans. 
Examples of Jim Crow Laws (from the Jim Crow Museum):
Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).
Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).
Housing: Any person…who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. (Louisiana)
Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).
Promotion of Equality: Any person…who shall be guilty of printing, publishing or circulating printed, typewritten or written matter urging or presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine or not exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both. (Mississippi)
Penalties for Blackness Today
When slavery (and slave codes) ended, the Black Codes took their place. When Black Codes were eliminated, it was only a few years before Jim Crow developed. Jim Crow laws ended with the Civil Rights Movement, but these disparities did not just disappear. The legacy of these laws can be seen in the criminal justice system today.
Stop and Frisk
In New York, Toronto, Southern California, Black people are much more likely than white people to be stopped. In New York, when stopped, they are more likely to be frisked and have physical force used against them. This is despite the fact that whites who are frisked are more likely to have weapons and contraband on them.
[“Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices in New York City: A Primer”]
Sentencing
When compared to white Americans, Black Americans are more likely to face longer sentences, more severe charges, and full prosecution.
Black defendants are over three times as likely as white defendants to receive the death penalty when the victim is white. In one study, Blackness itself is found to be an aggravating factor comparable to “causing great harm, fear, or pain” 
Jury Duty
Some states used Black Codes to exclude Black Americans from jury duty, but Black Americans are still excluded from juries today. Prosecutors have used supposedly race-neutral reasons such as “low intelligence” to remove Black Americans from jury duty. In Houston County, Alabama, 80% of Black Americans have been struck by prosecutors in death penalty cases.
[See: Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy by the Equal Justice Initiative] 
Job Opportunities With a Criminal Record
Black applicants with a criminal record are at a disadvantage in the labor market when compared to their white counterparts. In fact, Devah Pager found that job opportunities for Black Americans without a criminal record were worse than those of white Americans with a drug conviction. 
  • Day 2 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 1- Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws
“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” - Andrew Johnson [x]
[Images: Black Codes in Georgia [x], [x], Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices In New York City: A Primer [x], The Death Penalty in Black and White [x], Pager (2003)]
While the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery and involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime), legal restrictions were quickly placed upon newly freed Black Americans. By no coincidence, these laws made it easier to penalize Black Americans and turn them into criminals. Blackness itself was grounds for legal restrictions.
Black Codes - the precursor to Jim Crow - restricted the rights of Black Americans to move freely in public space, buy and own land and property, and conduct business. Black Americans were strongly disadvantaged in the legal system. Most Southern states enacted various laws that restricted the lives of Black Americans in 1865 and 1866.
There were common features among many of the Black Codes. Many states simply changed the wording of Slave Codes such that restrictions continued that prohibited Black Americans from learning to read or write. Vagrancy laws made it so that all Freedmen were required to be employed; penalties for being unemployed resulted in vagrancy charges, which could be punished through forced unpaid labor.
Children of those arrested for vagrancy could be forced into “apprenticeships” where they would be forced to work, often for their former slaveowner. Black Americans were executed for crimes that white Americans merely received jail sentences for. The lives of Black Americans were worth little as many white Americans could avoid penalties for murdering Black Americans.  
Examples of Black Codes (by no means an exhaustive list):
Separate jailkeepers for Black and white Americans (North Carolina)
Black men convicted of raping white women would be given the death penalty (North Carolina, Tennessee)
Inability to testify against white Americans in court (North Carolina, Kentucky)
Taxes - that if left unpaid, would result in vagrancy charges (Mississippi, South Carolina
Forced apprenticeship (North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi)
Work contracts required which often could not be broken without penalty (Texas, Mississippi) 
Fines for “disobedience and negligence” and for missed work (Texas) or insubordination (Florida)
Restrictions on owning and carrying firearms (North Carolina, Florida) 
Restrictions on voting, holding office, or serving on juries (Texas, Tennessee)
Restrictions on moving into and out of the state (North Carolina
Restrictions prohibiting Black Americans from “impudence,” “swearing,” and other signs of “disobedience.” (Louisiana)
Most of these laws were repealed because of action taken by Northern states, but similar laws came into place with Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws continued to criminalize Blackness and valorize whiteness. These laws resulted in disparities in the criminal justice system and restrictions on civil rights up to a century after slavery ended.
Jim Crow is generally used to refer to institutional discrimination in the South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but these laws and norms existed even earlier in the North. While Louisiana passed a law creating “separate but equal” train cars in 1890, segregated railroad cars were used in Massachusetts long before that.. Northern states provided a model for Southerners to treat newly freed Black Americans. 
Examples of Jim Crow Laws (from the Jim Crow Museum):
Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).
Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).
Housing: Any person…who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. (Louisiana)
Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).
Promotion of Equality: Any person…who shall be guilty of printing, publishing or circulating printed, typewritten or written matter urging or presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine or not exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both. (Mississippi)
Penalties for Blackness Today
When slavery (and slave codes) ended, the Black Codes took their place. When Black Codes were eliminated, it was only a few years before Jim Crow developed. Jim Crow laws ended with the Civil Rights Movement, but these disparities did not just disappear. The legacy of these laws can be seen in the criminal justice system today.
Stop and Frisk
In New York, Toronto, Southern California, Black people are much more likely than white people to be stopped. In New York, when stopped, they are more likely to be frisked and have physical force used against them. This is despite the fact that whites who are frisked are more likely to have weapons and contraband on them.
[“Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices in New York City: A Primer”]
Sentencing
When compared to white Americans, Black Americans are more likely to face longer sentences, more severe charges, and full prosecution.
Black defendants are over three times as likely as white defendants to receive the death penalty when the victim is white. In one study, Blackness itself is found to be an aggravating factor comparable to “causing great harm, fear, or pain” 
Jury Duty
Some states used Black Codes to exclude Black Americans from jury duty, but Black Americans are still excluded from juries today. Prosecutors have used supposedly race-neutral reasons such as “low intelligence” to remove Black Americans from jury duty. In Houston County, Alabama, 80% of Black Americans have been struck by prosecutors in death penalty cases.
[See: Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy by the Equal Justice Initiative] 
Job Opportunities With a Criminal Record
Black applicants with a criminal record are at a disadvantage in the labor market when compared to their white counterparts. In fact, Devah Pager found that job opportunities for Black Americans without a criminal record were worse than those of white Americans with a drug conviction. 
  • Day 2 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 1- Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws
“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” - Andrew Johnson [x]
[Images: Black Codes in Georgia [x], [x], Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices In New York City: A Primer [x], The Death Penalty in Black and White [x], Pager (2003)]
While the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery and involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime), legal restrictions were quickly placed upon newly freed Black Americans. By no coincidence, these laws made it easier to penalize Black Americans and turn them into criminals. Blackness itself was grounds for legal restrictions.
Black Codes - the precursor to Jim Crow - restricted the rights of Black Americans to move freely in public space, buy and own land and property, and conduct business. Black Americans were strongly disadvantaged in the legal system. Most Southern states enacted various laws that restricted the lives of Black Americans in 1865 and 1866.
There were common features among many of the Black Codes. Many states simply changed the wording of Slave Codes such that restrictions continued that prohibited Black Americans from learning to read or write. Vagrancy laws made it so that all Freedmen were required to be employed; penalties for being unemployed resulted in vagrancy charges, which could be punished through forced unpaid labor.
Children of those arrested for vagrancy could be forced into “apprenticeships” where they would be forced to work, often for their former slaveowner. Black Americans were executed for crimes that white Americans merely received jail sentences for. The lives of Black Americans were worth little as many white Americans could avoid penalties for murdering Black Americans.  
Examples of Black Codes (by no means an exhaustive list):
Separate jailkeepers for Black and white Americans (North Carolina)
Black men convicted of raping white women would be given the death penalty (North Carolina, Tennessee)
Inability to testify against white Americans in court (North Carolina, Kentucky)
Taxes - that if left unpaid, would result in vagrancy charges (Mississippi, South Carolina
Forced apprenticeship (North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi)
Work contracts required which often could not be broken without penalty (Texas, Mississippi) 
Fines for “disobedience and negligence” and for missed work (Texas) or insubordination (Florida)
Restrictions on owning and carrying firearms (North Carolina, Florida) 
Restrictions on voting, holding office, or serving on juries (Texas, Tennessee)
Restrictions on moving into and out of the state (North Carolina
Restrictions prohibiting Black Americans from “impudence,” “swearing,” and other signs of “disobedience.” (Louisiana)
Most of these laws were repealed because of action taken by Northern states, but similar laws came into place with Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws continued to criminalize Blackness and valorize whiteness. These laws resulted in disparities in the criminal justice system and restrictions on civil rights up to a century after slavery ended.
Jim Crow is generally used to refer to institutional discrimination in the South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but these laws and norms existed even earlier in the North. While Louisiana passed a law creating “separate but equal” train cars in 1890, segregated railroad cars were used in Massachusetts long before that.. Northern states provided a model for Southerners to treat newly freed Black Americans. 
Examples of Jim Crow Laws (from the Jim Crow Museum):
Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).
Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).
Housing: Any person…who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. (Louisiana)
Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).
Promotion of Equality: Any person…who shall be guilty of printing, publishing or circulating printed, typewritten or written matter urging or presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine or not exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both. (Mississippi)
Penalties for Blackness Today
When slavery (and slave codes) ended, the Black Codes took their place. When Black Codes were eliminated, it was only a few years before Jim Crow developed. Jim Crow laws ended with the Civil Rights Movement, but these disparities did not just disappear. The legacy of these laws can be seen in the criminal justice system today.
Stop and Frisk
In New York, Toronto, Southern California, Black people are much more likely than white people to be stopped. In New York, when stopped, they are more likely to be frisked and have physical force used against them. This is despite the fact that whites who are frisked are more likely to have weapons and contraband on them.
[“Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices in New York City: A Primer”]
Sentencing
When compared to white Americans, Black Americans are more likely to face longer sentences, more severe charges, and full prosecution.
Black defendants are over three times as likely as white defendants to receive the death penalty when the victim is white. In one study, Blackness itself is found to be an aggravating factor comparable to “causing great harm, fear, or pain” 
Jury Duty
Some states used Black Codes to exclude Black Americans from jury duty, but Black Americans are still excluded from juries today. Prosecutors have used supposedly race-neutral reasons such as “low intelligence” to remove Black Americans from jury duty. In Houston County, Alabama, 80% of Black Americans have been struck by prosecutors in death penalty cases.
[See: Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy by the Equal Justice Initiative] 
Job Opportunities With a Criminal Record
Black applicants with a criminal record are at a disadvantage in the labor market when compared to their white counterparts. In fact, Devah Pager found that job opportunities for Black Americans without a criminal record were worse than those of white Americans with a drug conviction. 
  • Day 2 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 1- Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws
“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” - Andrew Johnson [x]
[Images: Black Codes in Georgia [x], [x], Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices In New York City: A Primer [x], The Death Penalty in Black and White [x], Pager (2003)]
While the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery and involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime), legal restrictions were quickly placed upon newly freed Black Americans. By no coincidence, these laws made it easier to penalize Black Americans and turn them into criminals. Blackness itself was grounds for legal restrictions.
Black Codes - the precursor to Jim Crow - restricted the rights of Black Americans to move freely in public space, buy and own land and property, and conduct business. Black Americans were strongly disadvantaged in the legal system. Most Southern states enacted various laws that restricted the lives of Black Americans in 1865 and 1866.
There were common features among many of the Black Codes. Many states simply changed the wording of Slave Codes such that restrictions continued that prohibited Black Americans from learning to read or write. Vagrancy laws made it so that all Freedmen were required to be employed; penalties for being unemployed resulted in vagrancy charges, which could be punished through forced unpaid labor.
Children of those arrested for vagrancy could be forced into “apprenticeships” where they would be forced to work, often for their former slaveowner. Black Americans were executed for crimes that white Americans merely received jail sentences for. The lives of Black Americans were worth little as many white Americans could avoid penalties for murdering Black Americans.  
Examples of Black Codes (by no means an exhaustive list):
Separate jailkeepers for Black and white Americans (North Carolina)
Black men convicted of raping white women would be given the death penalty (North Carolina, Tennessee)
Inability to testify against white Americans in court (North Carolina, Kentucky)
Taxes - that if left unpaid, would result in vagrancy charges (Mississippi, South Carolina
Forced apprenticeship (North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi)
Work contracts required which often could not be broken without penalty (Texas, Mississippi) 
Fines for “disobedience and negligence” and for missed work (Texas) or insubordination (Florida)
Restrictions on owning and carrying firearms (North Carolina, Florida) 
Restrictions on voting, holding office, or serving on juries (Texas, Tennessee)
Restrictions on moving into and out of the state (North Carolina
Restrictions prohibiting Black Americans from “impudence,” “swearing,” and other signs of “disobedience.” (Louisiana)
Most of these laws were repealed because of action taken by Northern states, but similar laws came into place with Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws continued to criminalize Blackness and valorize whiteness. These laws resulted in disparities in the criminal justice system and restrictions on civil rights up to a century after slavery ended.
Jim Crow is generally used to refer to institutional discrimination in the South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but these laws and norms existed even earlier in the North. While Louisiana passed a law creating “separate but equal” train cars in 1890, segregated railroad cars were used in Massachusetts long before that.. Northern states provided a model for Southerners to treat newly freed Black Americans. 
Examples of Jim Crow Laws (from the Jim Crow Museum):
Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).
Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).
Housing: Any person…who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. (Louisiana)
Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).
Promotion of Equality: Any person…who shall be guilty of printing, publishing or circulating printed, typewritten or written matter urging or presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine or not exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both. (Mississippi)
Penalties for Blackness Today
When slavery (and slave codes) ended, the Black Codes took their place. When Black Codes were eliminated, it was only a few years before Jim Crow developed. Jim Crow laws ended with the Civil Rights Movement, but these disparities did not just disappear. The legacy of these laws can be seen in the criminal justice system today.
Stop and Frisk
In New York, Toronto, Southern California, Black people are much more likely than white people to be stopped. In New York, when stopped, they are more likely to be frisked and have physical force used against them. This is despite the fact that whites who are frisked are more likely to have weapons and contraband on them.
[“Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices in New York City: A Primer”]
Sentencing
When compared to white Americans, Black Americans are more likely to face longer sentences, more severe charges, and full prosecution.
Black defendants are over three times as likely as white defendants to receive the death penalty when the victim is white. In one study, Blackness itself is found to be an aggravating factor comparable to “causing great harm, fear, or pain” 
Jury Duty
Some states used Black Codes to exclude Black Americans from jury duty, but Black Americans are still excluded from juries today. Prosecutors have used supposedly race-neutral reasons such as “low intelligence” to remove Black Americans from jury duty. In Houston County, Alabama, 80% of Black Americans have been struck by prosecutors in death penalty cases.
[See: Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy by the Equal Justice Initiative] 
Job Opportunities With a Criminal Record
Black applicants with a criminal record are at a disadvantage in the labor market when compared to their white counterparts. In fact, Devah Pager found that job opportunities for Black Americans without a criminal record were worse than those of white Americans with a drug conviction. 

Day 2 of White History Month: Criminalizing Blackness, Part 1- Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws

“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” - Andrew Johnson [x]

[Images: Black Codes in Georgia [x], [x], Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices In New York City: A Primer [x], The Death Penalty in Black and White [x], Pager (2003)]

While the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery and involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime), legal restrictions were quickly placed upon newly freed Black Americans. By no coincidence, these laws made it easier to penalize Black Americans and turn them into criminals. Blackness itself was grounds for legal restrictions.

Black Codes - the precursor to Jim Crow - restricted the rights of Black Americans to move freely in public space, buy and own land and property, and conduct business. Black Americans were strongly disadvantaged in the legal system. Most Southern states enacted various laws that restricted the lives of Black Americans in 1865 and 1866.

There were common features among many of the Black Codes. Many states simply changed the wording of Slave Codes such that restrictions continued that prohibited Black Americans from learning to read or write. Vagrancy laws made it so that all Freedmen were required to be employed; penalties for being unemployed resulted in vagrancy charges, which could be punished through forced unpaid labor.

Children of those arrested for vagrancy could be forced into “apprenticeships” where they would be forced to work, often for their former slaveowner. Black Americans were executed for crimes that white Americans merely received jail sentences for. The lives of Black Americans were worth little as many white Americans could avoid penalties for murdering Black Americans.  

Examples of Black Codes (by no means an exhaustive list):

  • Separate jailkeepers for Black and white Americans (North Carolina)
  • Black men convicted of raping white women would be given the death penalty (North Carolina, Tennessee)
  • Inability to testify against white Americans in court (North Carolina, Kentucky)
  • Taxes - that if left unpaid, would result in vagrancy charges (Mississippi, South Carolina
  • Forced apprenticeship (North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi)
  • Work contracts required which often could not be broken without penalty (Texas, Mississippi) 
  • Fines for “disobedience and negligence” and for missed work (Texas) or insubordination (Florida)
  • Restrictions on owning and carrying firearms (North Carolina, Florida) 
  • Restrictions on voting, holding office, or serving on juries (Texas, Tennessee)
  • Restrictions on moving into and out of the state (North Carolina
  • Restrictions prohibiting Black Americans from “impudence,” “swearing,” and other signs of “disobedience.” (Louisiana)

Most of these laws were repealed because of action taken by Northern states, but similar laws came into place with Jim Crow. Jim Crow laws continued to criminalize Blackness and valorize whiteness. These laws resulted in disparities in the criminal justice system and restrictions on civil rights up to a century after slavery ended.

Jim Crow is generally used to refer to institutional discrimination in the South between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but these laws and norms existed even earlier in the North. While Louisiana passed a law creating “separate but equal” train cars in 1890, segregated railroad cars were used in Massachusetts long before that.. Northern states provided a model for Southerners to treat newly freed Black Americans. 

Examples of Jim Crow Laws (from the Jim Crow Museum):

  • Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).
  • Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).
  • Housing: Any person…who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred ($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court. (Louisiana)
  • Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).
  • Promotion of Equality: Any person…who shall be guilty of printing, publishing or circulating printed, typewritten or written matter urging or presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine or not exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or both. (Mississippi)

Penalties for Blackness Today

When slavery (and slave codes) ended, the Black Codes took their place. When Black Codes were eliminated, it was only a few years before Jim Crow developed. Jim Crow laws ended with the Civil Rights Movement, but these disparities did not just disappear. The legacy of these laws can be seen in the criminal justice system today.

Stop and Frisk

In New York, Toronto, Southern California, Black people are much more likely than white people to be stopped. In New York, when stopped, they are more likely to be frisked and have physical force used against them. This is despite the fact that whites who are frisked are more likely to have weapons and contraband on them.

[“Stop, Question & Frisk Policing Practices in New York City: A Primer”]

Sentencing

When compared to white Americans, Black Americans are more likely to face longer sentences, more severe charges, and full prosecution.

Black defendants are over three times as likely as white defendants to receive the death penalty when the victim is white. In one study, Blackness itself is found to be an aggravating factor comparable to “causing great harm, fear, or pain” 

Jury Duty

Some states used Black Codes to exclude Black Americans from jury duty, but Black Americans are still excluded from juries today. Prosecutors have used supposedly race-neutral reasons such as “low intelligence” to remove Black Americans from jury duty. In Houston County, Alabama, 80% of Black Americans have been struck by prosecutors in death penalty cases.

[See: Illegal Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection: A Continuing Legacy by the Equal Justice Initiative

Job Opportunities With a Criminal Record

Black applicants with a criminal record are at a disadvantage in the labor market when compared to their white counterparts. In fact, Devah Pager found that job opportunities for Black Americans without a criminal record were worse than those of white Americans with a drug conviction. 

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[sorry there haven’t been any posts over the last two days - I decided to combine a series of posts all on one day since they rely on one another for context but I don’t want any really long posts]

View post...
  • Day 1 of White History Month: Imaginary Black-on-White Crime
[Images: Newspaper Article on Rosewood Massacre, Newspaper Article on Scottsboro Boys [x], Boston Herald Cover feating Charles Stuart [x], Conrad Zdzierak and Surveillance Photo of Conrad Zdzierak wearing a mask to appear Black during a robbery [x], Ashley Smith [x],  Police Officer Robert Ralston [x],  Ashley Todd hoax [x], Bethany Storro [x]]
White-on-Black hoaxes follow a standard pattern. First, law enforcement officials are called into action. They are asked to protect an innocent White person from further harm and to apprehend a widely perceived threat, a menacing Black man. Second, the incident arouses sympathy and results in calls for swift and stiff punishment. Third, even after the hoax is uncovered, the image of the criminalblackman lingers and becomes more embedded in our collective racial consciousness. - Katheryn Russell-Brown, The Color of Crime
White Americans have ascribed criminality to Blackness for centuries. There is a long pattern of blaming (and punishing) Black Americans for crimes they never committed, furthering this notion. While the aspect of race was noted when Conor Zdzierak disguised himself as a Black man, blaming Black Americans for crimes is part of a long-running historical theme in the United States. The trend relies upon ideas of inherent Black criminality and white virtue - particularly the Black Male Rapist and Pure White Woman. False accusations and racial hoaxes have led to terrible consequences: death (particularly lynchings), riots, imprisonment, and economic losses.
Historical Cases
Disclaimer: Rape accusations are almost always true [pdf]. One notable exception is a historical pattern of false accusations against Black men for raping white women, often resulting in violent consequences.
1923 Rosewood Massacre
The Rosewood massacre was not unlike many other historical cases that lead to anti-Black violence. In 1923, a white woman named Francis Taylor, claimed that she had been beaten and raped by a Black man. This story quickly turned into rumors of rape and assault. In reality, she had been beaten by her lover, John Bradley, but the Sheriff took the story at face value; he neglected to question Sarah Carrier, who had been working for Francis Taylor.
The Sheriff instead suggested that it was a supposedly escaped prisoner, Jesse Hunter. A large mob of white men gathered; it amassed hundreds, largely from the neighboring town of Sumner, but with men coming from as far as 200 miles away to join in. They first tortured and lynched an innocent Black man named Sam Carter. The mob then proceeded to Rosewood, claiming that Jesse Hunter was hiding with his cousin, Sylvester Carrier - a Black man from an influential Rosewood family. It was certainly no coincidence that Rosewood was an exceptional Black community that was self-sufficient and relatively prosperous. 
The white mob proceeded to kill both Sylvester and his mother, Sarah Carrier - the same woman who worked for Francis Taylor and had claimed that she had been beaten by her lover, not a Black man. They continued onwards over the next few days, killing more Rosewood residents and eventually burning Rosewood to the ground. A grand jury found “insufficient evidence” to prosecute members of the mob. The surviving residents of Rosewood were left with nothing. Families were scattered and forced to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
Victoria Price and Ruby Bates and the Scottsboro Boys [Timeline]
In 1931, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, engaged in sexual activity on a train. In order to avoid charges, they accused nine Black teenage boys of raping them. Within days the boys were indicted by a grand jury, and in the following two weeks, all nine of the boys (ranging in age from 13 to 19) were convicted of rape and sentenced to death. 
There was no physical evidence of rape, and a letter was uncovered in 1932 where Ruby Bates admitted to her boyfriend that she was not raped. In 1933 she testified that she was not raped. 
Despite this, the sentences of the boys were converted only to lengthy sentences (from 20 years to life). None of the convictions were dropped until 1937, when Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, and Willie Roberson were exonerated. The remaining men still had to serve sentences until they were paroled (and one briefly escaped). The last three of the Scottsboro boys who had not received a dropped conviction or pardon were only posthumously pardoned in 2013.
Contemporary Cases – Racial Hoaxes
Racial hoaxes - crimes that are fabricated or blamed on someone because of their race - are not only committed by white people, but if you search for any of the names below, you are likely to find portrayals of them as pained, complex figures. You will find their heinous actions attributed to mental illness, personal troubles, and childhood trauma.
Legal scholar Katheryn K. Russell-Brown wrote extensively about racial hoaxes in her book Color of Crime, documenting cases between 1987 and 1996; she found that 70 percent of the time, racial hoaxes involved white accusers. Not only have ordinary citizens falsified reports of Black criminals, but police officers and judicial representatives have invented imaginary Black criminals as well.
Charles Stuart
Charles Stuart murdered his pregnant wife, and with the help of his brother Matthew Stuart, proceeded to make the situation look like a robbery gone wrong. He blamed the incident on an imaginary Black man, igniting racial tensions in Boston and leading to police largely occupying the neighborhood of Mission Hill. He eventually picked Willie Bennett out of a lineup, leading to calls for Bennett to receive the death penalty. Charles Stuart’s brother eventually turned his brother in; soon after, Charles Stuart committed suicide.
Susan Smith
In 1994, Susan Smith claimed that she had been carjacked and her two children abducted by a Black man, starting a frantic manhunt. While her hoax quickly unraveled, she exploited racial stereotypes and fears to cover up that she murdered her two young sons.
Ashley Todd
In October 2008, Ashley Todd (a McCain campaign volunteer) claimed to have been robbed at knifepoint by a Black man, who upon seeing her McCain bumper sticker, carved a backwards ‘B’ into her face. Todd only admitted the story was false and the wound self-inflicted when surveillance photos contradicted her account. The incident sparked racial tensions nationwide.
Robert Ralston 
Philadelphia police officer Robert Ralston claimed that while questioning two Black men, one of them shot him in the shoulder. The story never quite added up and the evidence was non-existent, but he still managed to launch a manhunt and inflame racial tensions. Weeks later, it was revealed that his wound was self-inflicted. Ralston was to cover the cost of the manhunt, but did not face criminal charges. 
Bethany Storro
In 2010, Bethany Storro claimed that a random Black woman approached her saying “Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?” and proceeded to throw acid on her face. Of course, no such Black woman existed, but police still spent hundreds of hours questioning and detaining Black women, all while sympathetic strangers donated money to Storro. Her account undoubtedly relied upon the dynamic between Black women and white women to gain sympathy. 
  • Day 1 of White History Month: Imaginary Black-on-White Crime
[Images: Newspaper Article on Rosewood Massacre, Newspaper Article on Scottsboro Boys [x], Boston Herald Cover feating Charles Stuart [x], Conrad Zdzierak and Surveillance Photo of Conrad Zdzierak wearing a mask to appear Black during a robbery [x], Ashley Smith [x],  Police Officer Robert Ralston [x],  Ashley Todd hoax [x], Bethany Storro [x]]
White-on-Black hoaxes follow a standard pattern. First, law enforcement officials are called into action. They are asked to protect an innocent White person from further harm and to apprehend a widely perceived threat, a menacing Black man. Second, the incident arouses sympathy and results in calls for swift and stiff punishment. Third, even after the hoax is uncovered, the image of the criminalblackman lingers and becomes more embedded in our collective racial consciousness. - Katheryn Russell-Brown, The Color of Crime
White Americans have ascribed criminality to Blackness for centuries. There is a long pattern of blaming (and punishing) Black Americans for crimes they never committed, furthering this notion. While the aspect of race was noted when Conor Zdzierak disguised himself as a Black man, blaming Black Americans for crimes is part of a long-running historical theme in the United States. The trend relies upon ideas of inherent Black criminality and white virtue - particularly the Black Male Rapist and Pure White Woman. False accusations and racial hoaxes have led to terrible consequences: death (particularly lynchings), riots, imprisonment, and economic losses.
Historical Cases
Disclaimer: Rape accusations are almost always true [pdf]. One notable exception is a historical pattern of false accusations against Black men for raping white women, often resulting in violent consequences.
1923 Rosewood Massacre
The Rosewood massacre was not unlike many other historical cases that lead to anti-Black violence. In 1923, a white woman named Francis Taylor, claimed that she had been beaten and raped by a Black man. This story quickly turned into rumors of rape and assault. In reality, she had been beaten by her lover, John Bradley, but the Sheriff took the story at face value; he neglected to question Sarah Carrier, who had been working for Francis Taylor.
The Sheriff instead suggested that it was a supposedly escaped prisoner, Jesse Hunter. A large mob of white men gathered; it amassed hundreds, largely from the neighboring town of Sumner, but with men coming from as far as 200 miles away to join in. They first tortured and lynched an innocent Black man named Sam Carter. The mob then proceeded to Rosewood, claiming that Jesse Hunter was hiding with his cousin, Sylvester Carrier - a Black man from an influential Rosewood family. It was certainly no coincidence that Rosewood was an exceptional Black community that was self-sufficient and relatively prosperous. 
The white mob proceeded to kill both Sylvester and his mother, Sarah Carrier - the same woman who worked for Francis Taylor and had claimed that she had been beaten by her lover, not a Black man. They continued onwards over the next few days, killing more Rosewood residents and eventually burning Rosewood to the ground. A grand jury found “insufficient evidence” to prosecute members of the mob. The surviving residents of Rosewood were left with nothing. Families were scattered and forced to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
Victoria Price and Ruby Bates and the Scottsboro Boys [Timeline]
In 1931, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, engaged in sexual activity on a train. In order to avoid charges, they accused nine Black teenage boys of raping them. Within days the boys were indicted by a grand jury, and in the following two weeks, all nine of the boys (ranging in age from 13 to 19) were convicted of rape and sentenced to death. 
There was no physical evidence of rape, and a letter was uncovered in 1932 where Ruby Bates admitted to her boyfriend that she was not raped. In 1933 she testified that she was not raped. 
Despite this, the sentences of the boys were converted only to lengthy sentences (from 20 years to life). None of the convictions were dropped until 1937, when Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, and Willie Roberson were exonerated. The remaining men still had to serve sentences until they were paroled (and one briefly escaped). The last three of the Scottsboro boys who had not received a dropped conviction or pardon were only posthumously pardoned in 2013.
Contemporary Cases – Racial Hoaxes
Racial hoaxes - crimes that are fabricated or blamed on someone because of their race - are not only committed by white people, but if you search for any of the names below, you are likely to find portrayals of them as pained, complex figures. You will find their heinous actions attributed to mental illness, personal troubles, and childhood trauma.
Legal scholar Katheryn K. Russell-Brown wrote extensively about racial hoaxes in her book Color of Crime, documenting cases between 1987 and 1996; she found that 70 percent of the time, racial hoaxes involved white accusers. Not only have ordinary citizens falsified reports of Black criminals, but police officers and judicial representatives have invented imaginary Black criminals as well.
Charles Stuart
Charles Stuart murdered his pregnant wife, and with the help of his brother Matthew Stuart, proceeded to make the situation look like a robbery gone wrong. He blamed the incident on an imaginary Black man, igniting racial tensions in Boston and leading to police largely occupying the neighborhood of Mission Hill. He eventually picked Willie Bennett out of a lineup, leading to calls for Bennett to receive the death penalty. Charles Stuart’s brother eventually turned his brother in; soon after, Charles Stuart committed suicide.
Susan Smith
In 1994, Susan Smith claimed that she had been carjacked and her two children abducted by a Black man, starting a frantic manhunt. While her hoax quickly unraveled, she exploited racial stereotypes and fears to cover up that she murdered her two young sons.
Ashley Todd
In October 2008, Ashley Todd (a McCain campaign volunteer) claimed to have been robbed at knifepoint by a Black man, who upon seeing her McCain bumper sticker, carved a backwards ‘B’ into her face. Todd only admitted the story was false and the wound self-inflicted when surveillance photos contradicted her account. The incident sparked racial tensions nationwide.
Robert Ralston 
Philadelphia police officer Robert Ralston claimed that while questioning two Black men, one of them shot him in the shoulder. The story never quite added up and the evidence was non-existent, but he still managed to launch a manhunt and inflame racial tensions. Weeks later, it was revealed that his wound was self-inflicted. Ralston was to cover the cost of the manhunt, but did not face criminal charges. 
Bethany Storro
In 2010, Bethany Storro claimed that a random Black woman approached her saying “Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?” and proceeded to throw acid on her face. Of course, no such Black woman existed, but police still spent hundreds of hours questioning and detaining Black women, all while sympathetic strangers donated money to Storro. Her account undoubtedly relied upon the dynamic between Black women and white women to gain sympathy. 
  • Day 1 of White History Month: Imaginary Black-on-White Crime
[Images: Newspaper Article on Rosewood Massacre, Newspaper Article on Scottsboro Boys [x], Boston Herald Cover feating Charles Stuart [x], Conrad Zdzierak and Surveillance Photo of Conrad Zdzierak wearing a mask to appear Black during a robbery [x], Ashley Smith [x],  Police Officer Robert Ralston [x],  Ashley Todd hoax [x], Bethany Storro [x]]
White-on-Black hoaxes follow a standard pattern. First, law enforcement officials are called into action. They are asked to protect an innocent White person from further harm and to apprehend a widely perceived threat, a menacing Black man. Second, the incident arouses sympathy and results in calls for swift and stiff punishment. Third, even after the hoax is uncovered, the image of the criminalblackman lingers and becomes more embedded in our collective racial consciousness. - Katheryn Russell-Brown, The Color of Crime
White Americans have ascribed criminality to Blackness for centuries. There is a long pattern of blaming (and punishing) Black Americans for crimes they never committed, furthering this notion. While the aspect of race was noted when Conor Zdzierak disguised himself as a Black man, blaming Black Americans for crimes is part of a long-running historical theme in the United States. The trend relies upon ideas of inherent Black criminality and white virtue - particularly the Black Male Rapist and Pure White Woman. False accusations and racial hoaxes have led to terrible consequences: death (particularly lynchings), riots, imprisonment, and economic losses.
Historical Cases
Disclaimer: Rape accusations are almost always true [pdf]. One notable exception is a historical pattern of false accusations against Black men for raping white women, often resulting in violent consequences.
1923 Rosewood Massacre
The Rosewood massacre was not unlike many other historical cases that lead to anti-Black violence. In 1923, a white woman named Francis Taylor, claimed that she had been beaten and raped by a Black man. This story quickly turned into rumors of rape and assault. In reality, she had been beaten by her lover, John Bradley, but the Sheriff took the story at face value; he neglected to question Sarah Carrier, who had been working for Francis Taylor.
The Sheriff instead suggested that it was a supposedly escaped prisoner, Jesse Hunter. A large mob of white men gathered; it amassed hundreds, largely from the neighboring town of Sumner, but with men coming from as far as 200 miles away to join in. They first tortured and lynched an innocent Black man named Sam Carter. The mob then proceeded to Rosewood, claiming that Jesse Hunter was hiding with his cousin, Sylvester Carrier - a Black man from an influential Rosewood family. It was certainly no coincidence that Rosewood was an exceptional Black community that was self-sufficient and relatively prosperous. 
The white mob proceeded to kill both Sylvester and his mother, Sarah Carrier - the same woman who worked for Francis Taylor and had claimed that she had been beaten by her lover, not a Black man. They continued onwards over the next few days, killing more Rosewood residents and eventually burning Rosewood to the ground. A grand jury found “insufficient evidence” to prosecute members of the mob. The surviving residents of Rosewood were left with nothing. Families were scattered and forced to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
Victoria Price and Ruby Bates and the Scottsboro Boys [Timeline]
In 1931, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, engaged in sexual activity on a train. In order to avoid charges, they accused nine Black teenage boys of raping them. Within days the boys were indicted by a grand jury, and in the following two weeks, all nine of the boys (ranging in age from 13 to 19) were convicted of rape and sentenced to death. 
There was no physical evidence of rape, and a letter was uncovered in 1932 where Ruby Bates admitted to her boyfriend that she was not raped. In 1933 she testified that she was not raped. 
Despite this, the sentences of the boys were converted only to lengthy sentences (from 20 years to life). None of the convictions were dropped until 1937, when Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, and Willie Roberson were exonerated. The remaining men still had to serve sentences until they were paroled (and one briefly escaped). The last three of the Scottsboro boys who had not received a dropped conviction or pardon were only posthumously pardoned in 2013.
Contemporary Cases – Racial Hoaxes
Racial hoaxes - crimes that are fabricated or blamed on someone because of their race - are not only committed by white people, but if you search for any of the names below, you are likely to find portrayals of them as pained, complex figures. You will find their heinous actions attributed to mental illness, personal troubles, and childhood trauma.
Legal scholar Katheryn K. Russell-Brown wrote extensively about racial hoaxes in her book Color of Crime, documenting cases between 1987 and 1996; she found that 70 percent of the time, racial hoaxes involved white accusers. Not only have ordinary citizens falsified reports of Black criminals, but police officers and judicial representatives have invented imaginary Black criminals as well.
Charles Stuart
Charles Stuart murdered his pregnant wife, and with the help of his brother Matthew Stuart, proceeded to make the situation look like a robbery gone wrong. He blamed the incident on an imaginary Black man, igniting racial tensions in Boston and leading to police largely occupying the neighborhood of Mission Hill. He eventually picked Willie Bennett out of a lineup, leading to calls for Bennett to receive the death penalty. Charles Stuart’s brother eventually turned his brother in; soon after, Charles Stuart committed suicide.
Susan Smith
In 1994, Susan Smith claimed that she had been carjacked and her two children abducted by a Black man, starting a frantic manhunt. While her hoax quickly unraveled, she exploited racial stereotypes and fears to cover up that she murdered her two young sons.
Ashley Todd
In October 2008, Ashley Todd (a McCain campaign volunteer) claimed to have been robbed at knifepoint by a Black man, who upon seeing her McCain bumper sticker, carved a backwards ‘B’ into her face. Todd only admitted the story was false and the wound self-inflicted when surveillance photos contradicted her account. The incident sparked racial tensions nationwide.
Robert Ralston 
Philadelphia police officer Robert Ralston claimed that while questioning two Black men, one of them shot him in the shoulder. The story never quite added up and the evidence was non-existent, but he still managed to launch a manhunt and inflame racial tensions. Weeks later, it was revealed that his wound was self-inflicted. Ralston was to cover the cost of the manhunt, but did not face criminal charges. 
Bethany Storro
In 2010, Bethany Storro claimed that a random Black woman approached her saying “Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?” and proceeded to throw acid on her face. Of course, no such Black woman existed, but police still spent hundreds of hours questioning and detaining Black women, all while sympathetic strangers donated money to Storro. Her account undoubtedly relied upon the dynamic between Black women and white women to gain sympathy. 
  • Day 1 of White History Month: Imaginary Black-on-White Crime
[Images: Newspaper Article on Rosewood Massacre, Newspaper Article on Scottsboro Boys [x], Boston Herald Cover feating Charles Stuart [x], Conrad Zdzierak and Surveillance Photo of Conrad Zdzierak wearing a mask to appear Black during a robbery [x], Ashley Smith [x],  Police Officer Robert Ralston [x],  Ashley Todd hoax [x], Bethany Storro [x]]
White-on-Black hoaxes follow a standard pattern. First, law enforcement officials are called into action. They are asked to protect an innocent White person from further harm and to apprehend a widely perceived threat, a menacing Black man. Second, the incident arouses sympathy and results in calls for swift and stiff punishment. Third, even after the hoax is uncovered, the image of the criminalblackman lingers and becomes more embedded in our collective racial consciousness. - Katheryn Russell-Brown, The Color of Crime
White Americans have ascribed criminality to Blackness for centuries. There is a long pattern of blaming (and punishing) Black Americans for crimes they never committed, furthering this notion. While the aspect of race was noted when Conor Zdzierak disguised himself as a Black man, blaming Black Americans for crimes is part of a long-running historical theme in the United States. The trend relies upon ideas of inherent Black criminality and white virtue - particularly the Black Male Rapist and Pure White Woman. False accusations and racial hoaxes have led to terrible consequences: death (particularly lynchings), riots, imprisonment, and economic losses.
Historical Cases
Disclaimer: Rape accusations are almost always true [pdf]. One notable exception is a historical pattern of false accusations against Black men for raping white women, often resulting in violent consequences.
1923 Rosewood Massacre
The Rosewood massacre was not unlike many other historical cases that lead to anti-Black violence. In 1923, a white woman named Francis Taylor, claimed that she had been beaten and raped by a Black man. This story quickly turned into rumors of rape and assault. In reality, she had been beaten by her lover, John Bradley, but the Sheriff took the story at face value; he neglected to question Sarah Carrier, who had been working for Francis Taylor.
The Sheriff instead suggested that it was a supposedly escaped prisoner, Jesse Hunter. A large mob of white men gathered; it amassed hundreds, largely from the neighboring town of Sumner, but with men coming from as far as 200 miles away to join in. They first tortured and lynched an innocent Black man named Sam Carter. The mob then proceeded to Rosewood, claiming that Jesse Hunter was hiding with his cousin, Sylvester Carrier - a Black man from an influential Rosewood family. It was certainly no coincidence that Rosewood was an exceptional Black community that was self-sufficient and relatively prosperous. 
The white mob proceeded to kill both Sylvester and his mother, Sarah Carrier - the same woman who worked for Francis Taylor and had claimed that she had been beaten by her lover, not a Black man. They continued onwards over the next few days, killing more Rosewood residents and eventually burning Rosewood to the ground. A grand jury found “insufficient evidence” to prosecute members of the mob. The surviving residents of Rosewood were left with nothing. Families were scattered and forced to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
Victoria Price and Ruby Bates and the Scottsboro Boys [Timeline]
In 1931, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, engaged in sexual activity on a train. In order to avoid charges, they accused nine Black teenage boys of raping them. Within days the boys were indicted by a grand jury, and in the following two weeks, all nine of the boys (ranging in age from 13 to 19) were convicted of rape and sentenced to death. 
There was no physical evidence of rape, and a letter was uncovered in 1932 where Ruby Bates admitted to her boyfriend that she was not raped. In 1933 she testified that she was not raped. 
Despite this, the sentences of the boys were converted only to lengthy sentences (from 20 years to life). None of the convictions were dropped until 1937, when Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, and Willie Roberson were exonerated. The remaining men still had to serve sentences until they were paroled (and one briefly escaped). The last three of the Scottsboro boys who had not received a dropped conviction or pardon were only posthumously pardoned in 2013.
Contemporary Cases – Racial Hoaxes
Racial hoaxes - crimes that are fabricated or blamed on someone because of their race - are not only committed by white people, but if you search for any of the names below, you are likely to find portrayals of them as pained, complex figures. You will find their heinous actions attributed to mental illness, personal troubles, and childhood trauma.
Legal scholar Katheryn K. Russell-Brown wrote extensively about racial hoaxes in her book Color of Crime, documenting cases between 1987 and 1996; she found that 70 percent of the time, racial hoaxes involved white accusers. Not only have ordinary citizens falsified reports of Black criminals, but police officers and judicial representatives have invented imaginary Black criminals as well.
Charles Stuart
Charles Stuart murdered his pregnant wife, and with the help of his brother Matthew Stuart, proceeded to make the situation look like a robbery gone wrong. He blamed the incident on an imaginary Black man, igniting racial tensions in Boston and leading to police largely occupying the neighborhood of Mission Hill. He eventually picked Willie Bennett out of a lineup, leading to calls for Bennett to receive the death penalty. Charles Stuart’s brother eventually turned his brother in; soon after, Charles Stuart committed suicide.
Susan Smith
In 1994, Susan Smith claimed that she had been carjacked and her two children abducted by a Black man, starting a frantic manhunt. While her hoax quickly unraveled, she exploited racial stereotypes and fears to cover up that she murdered her two young sons.
Ashley Todd
In October 2008, Ashley Todd (a McCain campaign volunteer) claimed to have been robbed at knifepoint by a Black man, who upon seeing her McCain bumper sticker, carved a backwards ‘B’ into her face. Todd only admitted the story was false and the wound self-inflicted when surveillance photos contradicted her account. The incident sparked racial tensions nationwide.
Robert Ralston 
Philadelphia police officer Robert Ralston claimed that while questioning two Black men, one of them shot him in the shoulder. The story never quite added up and the evidence was non-existent, but he still managed to launch a manhunt and inflame racial tensions. Weeks later, it was revealed that his wound was self-inflicted. Ralston was to cover the cost of the manhunt, but did not face criminal charges. 
Bethany Storro
In 2010, Bethany Storro claimed that a random Black woman approached her saying “Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?” and proceeded to throw acid on her face. Of course, no such Black woman existed, but police still spent hundreds of hours questioning and detaining Black women, all while sympathetic strangers donated money to Storro. Her account undoubtedly relied upon the dynamic between Black women and white women to gain sympathy. 
  • Day 1 of White History Month: Imaginary Black-on-White Crime
[Images: Newspaper Article on Rosewood Massacre, Newspaper Article on Scottsboro Boys [x], Boston Herald Cover feating Charles Stuart [x], Conrad Zdzierak and Surveillance Photo of Conrad Zdzierak wearing a mask to appear Black during a robbery [x], Ashley Smith [x],  Police Officer Robert Ralston [x],  Ashley Todd hoax [x], Bethany Storro [x]]
White-on-Black hoaxes follow a standard pattern. First, law enforcement officials are called into action. They are asked to protect an innocent White person from further harm and to apprehend a widely perceived threat, a menacing Black man. Second, the incident arouses sympathy and results in calls for swift and stiff punishment. Third, even after the hoax is uncovered, the image of the criminalblackman lingers and becomes more embedded in our collective racial consciousness. - Katheryn Russell-Brown, The Color of Crime
White Americans have ascribed criminality to Blackness for centuries. There is a long pattern of blaming (and punishing) Black Americans for crimes they never committed, furthering this notion. While the aspect of race was noted when Conor Zdzierak disguised himself as a Black man, blaming Black Americans for crimes is part of a long-running historical theme in the United States. The trend relies upon ideas of inherent Black criminality and white virtue - particularly the Black Male Rapist and Pure White Woman. False accusations and racial hoaxes have led to terrible consequences: death (particularly lynchings), riots, imprisonment, and economic losses.
Historical Cases
Disclaimer: Rape accusations are almost always true [pdf]. One notable exception is a historical pattern of false accusations against Black men for raping white women, often resulting in violent consequences.
1923 Rosewood Massacre
The Rosewood massacre was not unlike many other historical cases that lead to anti-Black violence. In 1923, a white woman named Francis Taylor, claimed that she had been beaten and raped by a Black man. This story quickly turned into rumors of rape and assault. In reality, she had been beaten by her lover, John Bradley, but the Sheriff took the story at face value; he neglected to question Sarah Carrier, who had been working for Francis Taylor.
The Sheriff instead suggested that it was a supposedly escaped prisoner, Jesse Hunter. A large mob of white men gathered; it amassed hundreds, largely from the neighboring town of Sumner, but with men coming from as far as 200 miles away to join in. They first tortured and lynched an innocent Black man named Sam Carter. The mob then proceeded to Rosewood, claiming that Jesse Hunter was hiding with his cousin, Sylvester Carrier - a Black man from an influential Rosewood family. It was certainly no coincidence that Rosewood was an exceptional Black community that was self-sufficient and relatively prosperous. 
The white mob proceeded to kill both Sylvester and his mother, Sarah Carrier - the same woman who worked for Francis Taylor and had claimed that she had been beaten by her lover, not a Black man. They continued onwards over the next few days, killing more Rosewood residents and eventually burning Rosewood to the ground. A grand jury found “insufficient evidence” to prosecute members of the mob. The surviving residents of Rosewood were left with nothing. Families were scattered and forced to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
Victoria Price and Ruby Bates and the Scottsboro Boys [Timeline]
In 1931, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, engaged in sexual activity on a train. In order to avoid charges, they accused nine Black teenage boys of raping them. Within days the boys were indicted by a grand jury, and in the following two weeks, all nine of the boys (ranging in age from 13 to 19) were convicted of rape and sentenced to death. 
There was no physical evidence of rape, and a letter was uncovered in 1932 where Ruby Bates admitted to her boyfriend that she was not raped. In 1933 she testified that she was not raped. 
Despite this, the sentences of the boys were converted only to lengthy sentences (from 20 years to life). None of the convictions were dropped until 1937, when Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, and Willie Roberson were exonerated. The remaining men still had to serve sentences until they were paroled (and one briefly escaped). The last three of the Scottsboro boys who had not received a dropped conviction or pardon were only posthumously pardoned in 2013.
Contemporary Cases – Racial Hoaxes
Racial hoaxes - crimes that are fabricated or blamed on someone because of their race - are not only committed by white people, but if you search for any of the names below, you are likely to find portrayals of them as pained, complex figures. You will find their heinous actions attributed to mental illness, personal troubles, and childhood trauma.
Legal scholar Katheryn K. Russell-Brown wrote extensively about racial hoaxes in her book Color of Crime, documenting cases between 1987 and 1996; she found that 70 percent of the time, racial hoaxes involved white accusers. Not only have ordinary citizens falsified reports of Black criminals, but police officers and judicial representatives have invented imaginary Black criminals as well.
Charles Stuart
Charles Stuart murdered his pregnant wife, and with the help of his brother Matthew Stuart, proceeded to make the situation look like a robbery gone wrong. He blamed the incident on an imaginary Black man, igniting racial tensions in Boston and leading to police largely occupying the neighborhood of Mission Hill. He eventually picked Willie Bennett out of a lineup, leading to calls for Bennett to receive the death penalty. Charles Stuart’s brother eventually turned his brother in; soon after, Charles Stuart committed suicide.
Susan Smith
In 1994, Susan Smith claimed that she had been carjacked and her two children abducted by a Black man, starting a frantic manhunt. While her hoax quickly unraveled, she exploited racial stereotypes and fears to cover up that she murdered her two young sons.
Ashley Todd
In October 2008, Ashley Todd (a McCain campaign volunteer) claimed to have been robbed at knifepoint by a Black man, who upon seeing her McCain bumper sticker, carved a backwards ‘B’ into her face. Todd only admitted the story was false and the wound self-inflicted when surveillance photos contradicted her account. The incident sparked racial tensions nationwide.
Robert Ralston 
Philadelphia police officer Robert Ralston claimed that while questioning two Black men, one of them shot him in the shoulder. The story never quite added up and the evidence was non-existent, but he still managed to launch a manhunt and inflame racial tensions. Weeks later, it was revealed that his wound was self-inflicted. Ralston was to cover the cost of the manhunt, but did not face criminal charges. 
Bethany Storro
In 2010, Bethany Storro claimed that a random Black woman approached her saying “Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?” and proceeded to throw acid on her face. Of course, no such Black woman existed, but police still spent hundreds of hours questioning and detaining Black women, all while sympathetic strangers donated money to Storro. Her account undoubtedly relied upon the dynamic between Black women and white women to gain sympathy. 

Day 1 of White History Month: Imaginary Black-on-White Crime

[Images: Newspaper Article on Rosewood Massacre, Newspaper Article on Scottsboro Boys [x], Boston Herald Cover feating Charles Stuart [x], Conrad Zdzierak and Surveillance Photo of Conrad Zdzierak wearing a mask to appear Black during a robbery [x], Ashley Smith [x],  Police Officer Robert Ralston [x],  Ashley Todd hoax [x], Bethany Storro [x]]

White-on-Black hoaxes follow a standard pattern. First, law enforcement officials are called into action. They are asked to protect an innocent White person from further harm and to apprehend a widely perceived threat, a menacing Black man. Second, the incident arouses sympathy and results in calls for swift and stiff punishment. Third, even after the hoax is uncovered, the image of the criminalblackman lingers and becomes more embedded in our collective racial consciousness. - Katheryn Russell-Brown, The Color of Crime

White Americans have ascribed criminality to Blackness for centuries. There is a long pattern of blaming (and punishing) Black Americans for crimes they never committed, furthering this notion. While the aspect of race was noted when Conor Zdzierak disguised himself as a Black man, blaming Black Americans for crimes is part of a long-running historical theme in the United States. The trend relies upon ideas of inherent Black criminality and white virtue - particularly the Black Male Rapist and Pure White Woman. False accusations and racial hoaxes have led to terrible consequences: death (particularly lynchings), riots, imprisonment, and economic losses.

Historical Cases

Disclaimer: Rape accusations are almost always true [pdf]. One notable exception is a historical pattern of false accusations against Black men for raping white women, often resulting in violent consequences.

1923 Rosewood Massacre

The Rosewood massacre was not unlike many other historical cases that lead to anti-Black violence. In 1923, a white woman named Francis Taylor, claimed that she had been beaten and raped by a Black man. This story quickly turned into rumors of rape and assault. In reality, she had been beaten by her lover, John Bradley, but the Sheriff took the story at face value; he neglected to question Sarah Carrier, who had been working for Francis Taylor.

The Sheriff instead suggested that it was a supposedly escaped prisoner, Jesse Hunter. A large mob of white men gathered; it amassed hundreds, largely from the neighboring town of Sumner, but with men coming from as far as 200 miles away to join in. They first tortured and lynched an innocent Black man named Sam Carter. The mob then proceeded to Rosewood, claiming that Jesse Hunter was hiding with his cousin, Sylvester Carrier - a Black man from an influential Rosewood family. It was certainly no coincidence that Rosewood was an exceptional Black community that was self-sufficient and relatively prosperous.

The white mob proceeded to kill both Sylvester and his mother, Sarah Carrier - the same woman who worked for Francis Taylor and had claimed that she had been beaten by her lover, not a Black man. They continued onwards over the next few days, killing more Rosewood residents and eventually burning Rosewood to the ground. A grand jury found “insufficient evidence” to prosecute members of the mob. The surviving residents of Rosewood were left with nothing. Families were scattered and forced to rebuild their lives elsewhere.

Victoria Price and Ruby Bates and the Scottsboro Boys [Timeline]

In 1931, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, engaged in sexual activity on a train. In order to avoid charges, they accused nine Black teenage boys of raping them. Within days the boys were indicted by a grand jury, and in the following two weeks, all nine of the boys (ranging in age from 13 to 19) were convicted of rape and sentenced to death. 

There was no physical evidence of rape, and a letter was uncovered in 1932 where Ruby Bates admitted to her boyfriend that she was not raped. In 1933 she testified that she was not raped. 

Despite this, the sentences of the boys were converted only to lengthy sentences (from 20 years to life). None of the convictions were dropped until 1937, when Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, and Willie Roberson were exonerated. The remaining men still had to serve sentences until they were paroled (and one briefly escaped). The last three of the Scottsboro boys who had not received a dropped conviction or pardon were only posthumously pardoned in 2013.

Contemporary Cases – Racial Hoaxes

Racial hoaxes - crimes that are fabricated or blamed on someone because of their race - are not only committed by white people, but if you search for any of the names below, you are likely to find portrayals of them as pained, complex figures. You will find their heinous actions attributed to mental illness, personal troubles, and childhood trauma.

Legal scholar Katheryn K. Russell-Brown wrote extensively about racial hoaxes in her book Color of Crime, documenting cases between 1987 and 1996; she found that 70 percent of the time, racial hoaxes involved white accusers. Not only have ordinary citizens falsified reports of Black criminals, but police officers and judicial representatives have invented imaginary Black criminals as well.

Charles Stuart

Charles Stuart murdered his pregnant wife, and with the help of his brother Matthew Stuart, proceeded to make the situation look like a robbery gone wrong. He blamed the incident on an imaginary Black man, igniting racial tensions in Boston and leading to police largely occupying the neighborhood of Mission Hill. He eventually picked Willie Bennett out of a lineup, leading to calls for Bennett to receive the death penalty. Charles Stuart’s brother eventually turned his brother in; soon after, Charles Stuart committed suicide.

Susan Smith

In 1994, Susan Smith claimed that she had been carjacked and her two children abducted by a Black man, starting a frantic manhunt. While her hoax quickly unraveled, she exploited racial stereotypes and fears to cover up that she murdered her two young sons.

Ashley Todd

In October 2008, Ashley Todd (a McCain campaign volunteer) claimed to have been robbed at knifepoint by a Black man, who upon seeing her McCain bumper sticker, carved a backwards ‘B’ into her face. Todd only admitted the story was false and the wound self-inflicted when surveillance photos contradicted her account. The incident sparked racial tensions nationwide.

Robert Ralston 

Philadelphia police officer Robert Ralston claimed that while questioning two Black men, one of them shot him in the shoulder. The story never quite added up and the evidence was non-existent, but he still managed to launch a manhunt and inflame racial tensions. Weeks later, it was revealed that his wound was self-inflicted. Ralston was to cover the cost of the manhunt, but did not face criminal charges. 

Bethany Storro

In 2010, Bethany Storro claimed that a random Black woman approached her saying “Hey, pretty little girl, want to take a drink of this?” and proceeded to throw acid on her face. Of course, no such Black woman existed, but police still spent hundreds of hours questioning and detaining Black women, all while sympathetic strangers donated money to Storro. Her account undoubtedly relied upon the dynamic between Black women and white women to gain sympathy. 

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  • White History Month Giveaway!
To celebrate White History Month…a giveaway of some excellent white history-related books, a Kindle, and Amazon gift card.
1st
$75 Amazon gift card
2nd 
Amazon Kindle
3rd
Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States
Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society
4th
Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement
5th
Lies My Teacher Told Me
Sundown Towns
When Affirmative Action Was White
You must be:
following
18+ and in the U.S. (trying to adhere to tumblr giveaway rules as much as possible)
comfortable sharing your address
You can like the post for an extra entry, and winners will be picked using a random picker at the end of March.
  • White History Month Giveaway!
To celebrate White History Month…a giveaway of some excellent white history-related books, a Kindle, and Amazon gift card.
1st
$75 Amazon gift card
2nd 
Amazon Kindle
3rd
Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States
Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society
4th
Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement
5th
Lies My Teacher Told Me
Sundown Towns
When Affirmative Action Was White
You must be:
following
18+ and in the U.S. (trying to adhere to tumblr giveaway rules as much as possible)
comfortable sharing your address
You can like the post for an extra entry, and winners will be picked using a random picker at the end of March.
  • White History Month Giveaway!
To celebrate White History Month…a giveaway of some excellent white history-related books, a Kindle, and Amazon gift card.
1st
$75 Amazon gift card
2nd 
Amazon Kindle
3rd
Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States
Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society
4th
Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement
5th
Lies My Teacher Told Me
Sundown Towns
When Affirmative Action Was White
You must be:
following
18+ and in the U.S. (trying to adhere to tumblr giveaway rules as much as possible)
comfortable sharing your address
You can like the post for an extra entry, and winners will be picked using a random picker at the end of March.
  • White History Month Giveaway!
To celebrate White History Month…a giveaway of some excellent white history-related books, a Kindle, and Amazon gift card.
1st
$75 Amazon gift card
2nd 
Amazon Kindle
3rd
Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States
Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society
4th
Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement
5th
Lies My Teacher Told Me
Sundown Towns
When Affirmative Action Was White
You must be:
following
18+ and in the U.S. (trying to adhere to tumblr giveaway rules as much as possible)
comfortable sharing your address
You can like the post for an extra entry, and winners will be picked using a random picker at the end of March.
  • White History Month Giveaway!
To celebrate White History Month…a giveaway of some excellent white history-related books, a Kindle, and Amazon gift card.
1st
$75 Amazon gift card
2nd 
Amazon Kindle
3rd
Redress for Historical Injustices in the United States
Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society
4th
Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement
5th
Lies My Teacher Told Me
Sundown Towns
When Affirmative Action Was White
You must be:
following
18+ and in the U.S. (trying to adhere to tumblr giveaway rules as much as possible)
comfortable sharing your address
You can like the post for an extra entry, and winners will be picked using a random picker at the end of March.

White History Month Giveaway!

To celebrate White History Month…a giveaway of some excellent white history-related books, a Kindle, and Amazon gift card.

1st

  • $75 Amazon gift card

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

You must be:

  • following
  • 18+ and in the U.S. (trying to adhere to tumblr giveaway rules as much as possible)
  • comfortable sharing your address

You can like the post for an extra entry, and winners will be picked using a random picker at the end of March.

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