Thursday, October 19, 2006

If you didnt know, now you do

Jim Crow laws and etiquette.
To violate this racial etiquette placed one's very life, and the lives of one's family, at risk.

1. Blacks were expected to refer to white males in positions of authority as "Boss" or "Cap'n" -- a title of respect that replaced "Master" or "Marster" used in slave times.

2. All black men, on the other hand, were called by their first names or were referred to as "Boy," "Uncle," and "Old Man" -- regardless of their age. If the white person did not personally know a black person, the term "nigger" or "nigger-fellow," might be used.

3. This practice of addressing blacks by words that denoted disrespect or inferiority reduced the black person to a non-person, especially in newspaper accounts. In reporting incidents involving blacks, the press usually adopted the gender-neutral term "Negro," thus designating blacks as lifeless and unknown persons.

4. Usually it was expected that blacks would step off the sidewalk when meeting whites or else walk on the outer street side of the walk thereby "giving whites the wall." Under no circumstances could a black person assume an air of equality with whites. Black men were expected to remove their caps and hats when talking with a white person.

5. Blacks and whites were not expected to eat together in public.

6. The white owners of clothing stores did not allow blacks to try on clothing as a general rule, fearing that white customers would not buy clothes worn by African Americans.

7. Many public places, parks, and entertainment centers excluded blacks altogether after 1890, frequently by law if not by custom.

8. The color line and the codes of racial etiquette were also strictly observed in public hospitals, with separate wards for whites and blacks. Black nurses were allowed to minister to whites but not the other way round. If a black person needed an ambulance, for example, a private, black-owned-and-operated wagon or auto would have to be obtained.

These are just a few of the rule that were law enforced in the Jim Crow Era