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Jim Crow's Legacy: The Lasting Impact of Segregation

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... Specifically, for many of our participants, coastal blue space continued to be racialized as a result of disproportionate exposure to both physical and social risks in such environments. These are reflected in the transmission of "strong lessons" (Thompson-Miller et al., 2015) across generational groups about swimming (or sinking), sea life, and survival, and in the social interrelations and boundary-making processes that have served to embed and reinforce experiences of difference, exclusion, and racial inequality at the coast. ...
... Our analysis highlighted how information and advice-or lessons-about coastal blue space flowed through familial and social networks within Liberty City. According to Thompson-Miller et al. (2015), the manner and method of socializing children via this form of "intergenerational transmission" is a direct result of the lived experiences of Black Americans who suffered for generations under brutally oppressive segregation. Specific values, skills, wisdom, and mental strength were passed down intergenerationally, using "strong lessons" about the importance of conforming to policies and customs necessary to "cope and survive, as well as thrive and resist" (p. ...
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There is a growing body of research signaling the health and wellbeing benefits of being in blue space. Here, we advance this intellectual agenda by critically examining perceptions and experiences of coastal blue space among residents of a disadvantaged, predominantly African American community who report limited engagement with their local coastal blue space, despite beachgoing being considered mainstream by a previous generation. Drawing on focus group data and sensitized to a range of theoretical perspectives aligned with race, space, and social class, we advance theoretical and empirical knowledge pertaining to blue space engagement. In doing so, we demonstrate the need for more critically informed, theoretically appropriate research in this area, which connects individual stories of the sea to the wider historical, social, and political settings in which relationships with blue space are framed and (re)produced.
... While the term lynching often refers to an "extrajudicial" practice (Kendi 2016;DeLongoria 2006), history has shown that the culture and pattern of lynching Black bodies was a practice that was both sustained and supported by the state through the implementation of slave codes, Black codes, Jim Crow, and other sociocultural norms that made violence against Black people, in general, a socially acceptable and even expected occurrence. Laws that sanctioned the racial and gendered violence against Black bodies and protected offenders from social, political, and legal consequences served to institutionalize white power and legalize any means of dominating, controlling, or "correcting" unruly, bad, mouthy, and resistant Black women (people) with impunity, even if the means was death (Wells 1969;Thompson-Miller and Feagin 2014;Wormser 2003;Woodward 1974). It is this historic reality that has established the unyielding foundation for policing Black bodies and "managing" racial resistance today. ...
... In analyzing the literature (Wells 1969;Wells 2002;Collins 2002;Kendi 2016;Rushdy 2012;Wellman 1993) and content (Davis 2008) of lynching narratives, several themes are consistent. Lynching Black women was commonly predicated on false accusations and false charges; terrorized innocent, uninvolved, and unarmed people; coupled the sadistic physical brutality with savage sexual or sexualized violence; was publicly justified by stereotypical narratives of racial and gendered savagery, anger, mental illness, and deviance; and was carried out by lynch mobs that most commonly consisted of men who were socially classified as "men of stature and prominence" and, most important to this work, those who played significant roles in the justice system, specifically law enforcement officers (Wells 2002;Collins 2002;DeGruy 2005;Roberts 1997;Thompson-Miller and Feagin 2014). Consequently, from enslavement to Jim Crow, and well into the civil rights era, there were countless examples of white officers who used their position as a "bully with a badge" to satisfy their often sadistic inclinations (Thompson-Miller and Feagin 2014, 124). ...
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This work develops and conceptualizes a new theory, Post Traumatic Slave Master Syndrome, that is utilized to critically correlate historic patterns of lynching Black women to contemporary violent state (actor) responses to Black women’s resistance, specifically relating to the neo-lynching of Korryn Gaines and Sandra Bland. This work deviates from the tradition of analyzing the history and contemporary effects of racism and white supremacy, patriarchy, lynching, policing, and state-sponsored violence from the perspective of the effects upon the victim and instead critiques how white supremacy affects the perpetrator. This chapter contributes to ensuring that Black women resisters continue to #SayHerName.
... Ruby confided in her Negro attorney, Releford McGriff, she had lost Sam back in 1948 when she bore Dr. Adams a daughter [41][42][43][44][45]. She lost him (though they continued to live together) (Jet Magazine p. 53) As shown in the trial transcripts, Ruby didn't mention this at all while testifying. Furthermore, the children and grandchildren of survivors are at heightened risk of developing symptoms due to the intergenerational transmission of segregation stress syndrome. ...
... Here we see Ruby reminiscing about her life before the traumatic events began at the hands of Doc Adams. The reporter for Jet Magazine wrote that Sam Jr. had no reservations to accepting the dwindling family wealth [53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61]. According to Jet Magazine Sam Jr. states: to the grave. ...
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In this chapter, I use trial transcripts, books, documentaries, and newspaper articles to examine the case of Ruby McCollum (a wealthy African American woman who spent two years in prison and 20 years in a mental institution for killing her rapist-Doctor Adams). Ruby McCollum is one of an incalculable number of African American women who were systematically raped during the totalitarian era of Jim Crow. Ruby McCollum’s story reveals vivid details about her experience with rape, physical and mental abuse, being drugged, and conceiving two children from her rapist. The Jim Crow south-similar to slavery was based on systemic racism that includes a broad range of attitudes, emotions, habits, actions, and racist ideologies supported by white-dominated social institutions and which Feagin calls the white racial frame. The white racial frame includes the attitudes and actions, stereotypes, prejudices, images, emotions, and narratives that contribute to a persisting system of systemic racism. This includes white men acting upon racist ideologies and stereotypes about the bodies and behaviors of Black women (i.e. promiscuous, hypersexual, jezebels, and morally deficit) as their justification for rape. Then, protected by the laws, practices, and policies of the state, these white men didn’t fear prosecution for the collective rapes. These men, working from the white racial frame, felt justified in their action knowing that their ‘morality’ wouldn’t be questioned. The white men were rarely prosecuted; African American women, their husbands, and their families had no recourse but to accept the benign neglect of the state to not prosecute. In this article, I will discuss systemic racism, the white racial frame, collective rape, and segregation stress syndrome, which is a collective form of PTSD.
... 2 Such disparities are likely a function of structural racism, historical laws, zoning, and other restrictive measures aimed to maintain racial discrimination and segregation in the early twentieth century are examples of structural racism, determining adverse health outcomes. [15][16][17] Structural racism leads to neighborhoodlevel socioeconomic disadvantage (NSD), which influences crime rates, public services and resources, parks, recreational facilities, grocery stores, and fast food establishments. 18,19 Our goal is to examine the extent to which race disparities in NSD and household-level socioeconomic disadvantage (HSD) predict PWR. ...
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Purpose This study aims to investigate the pathways by which race, neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage (NSD), and household socioeconomic disadvantage (HSD) predict subsequent maternal postpartum weight retention (PWR). Method One hundred seventy-six (n = 176) racially diverse women were studied from the 3rd trimester to 6 months postpartum. NSD was defined by information from the American Community Survey based on women's census tract and self-reports of neighborhood healthy food availability, safety, violence, and walking environment. HSD included food insecurity, income-to-needs ratio, and maternal education. Pregnancy health risk was operationalized using a summative index that included pre-pregnancy overweight/obesity, excessive gestational weight gain, and diagnosed hypertensive disorders during pregnancy. PWR was operationalized as a 6-month postpartum weight minus pre-pregnancy weight. Data were analyzed using structural equation modeling with bootstrapped confidence intervals to estimate indirect effects. Results One-third of participants retained over 22 lbs. of pregnancy weight gain 6 months postpartum. Increased HSD (β = .64, p = .039) and pregnancy health risk (β = .34, p = .002) were directly associated with higher PWR. Maternal race/ethnicity had an indirect effect on PWR via NSD and HSD. Non-Hispanic Black women had greater NSD relative to non-Hispanic White women (White vs. Black β = -.62, p < .001) and all other women (Other vs. Black β = -.22, p = .013). Additionally, Black women had greater HSD relative to White women (White vs. Black β = -.35, p = .004), both of which in turn predicted higher PWR. Conclusion To prevent PWR, education on behavior change to lose weight is essential, and it must be offered in the context of basic resources, at both the neighborhood and household levels.
... The effectiveness of scapegoating as a political strategy and as a force shaping the beliefs, norms and actions of populations depends upon the extent to which its targeting of groups seems credible to people in their everyday lives. Such credibility depends both on pre-existing belief systems in the culture (such as pre-existing beliefs in women as inferior or in drug users as depraved or the normalization of beliefs that the group to which one belongs (such as men or whites) as being superior or morally better, as occurs during white racial framing) (Elias & Feagin, 2016;Thompson-Miller et al., 2015;Wingfield & Feagin, 2012) which shape how daily experience and the media messages are interpreted, and the actualities of daily experience. If the scapegoated group is experientially distant from a group of observers, it is probably easier to gain acceptance for demonizing messages about them. ...
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Stigma is a fundamental driver of adverse health outcomes. Although stigma is often studied at the individual level to focus on how stigma influences the mental and physical health of the stigmatized, considerable research has shown that stigma is multilevel and structural. This paper proposes a theoretical approach that synthesizes the literature on stigma with the literature on scapegoating and divide‐and‐rule as strategies that the wealthy and powerful use to maintain their power and wealth; the literatures on racial, gender, and other subordination; the literature on ideology and organization in sociopolitical systems; and the literature on resistance and rebellion against stigma, oppression and other forms of subordination. we develop a model of the “stigma system” as a dialectic of interacting and conflicting structures and processes. Understanding this system can help public health reorient stigma interventions to address the sources of stigma as well as the individual problems that stigma creates. On a broader level, this model can help those opposing stigma and its effects to develop alliances and strategies with which to oppose stigma and the processes that create it.
... The racial oppression and violent persecution suffered by black women and girls at the hands of white men surely manifested into deep emotional and psychological trauma for some black females (King, 2005(King, , 2011Thompson-Miller, Feagin & Picca, 2015;Thompson-Miller, 2011). Undoubtedly, the tyranny of gendered racism typifying the harsh existence of black women and girls drove them to commit horrific crimes against their white oppressors. ...
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A number of key risk factors are associated with racist, sexist, and homophobic practices on North American college campuses. However, one additional determinant that has thus far been overlooked is male aggrieved entitlement. Using exploratory qualitative data gleaned by the Campus Quality of Life Survey administered at a large college in the South Atlantic region of the United States, the main objective of this article is to help fill a major research gap by showing that aggrieved entitlement is a correlate that warrants more attention in future empirical and theoretical work on campus climates.
... As was the case in historical lynchings, every assault on black people showcases the expendable nature by which American society openly views black bodies (Thompson-Miller et al. 2015). Just as lynching was a form of SWAT that could be brought about by literally "nothing," this also applies now when black people have called down the wrath of police for driving, walking, or even for simply existing. ...
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This work seeks to challenge the benign language employed in the discourse surrounding historic and contemporary white violence, particularly against African Americans. In so doing, this work develops language that more adequately captures the genocidal social control mechanisms designed to create terror through the physical and psychological brutality of white violence. Specifically, this work introduces the theoretical construct of Savage White American Terror (SWAT) which we correlate to historic patterns of violent atrocities such as lynching to contemporary police violence against African Americans.
... Recent sociological studies of the cultural and psychosocial effects of de jure segregation show how this institution has had durable, impacts on the lives and minds of the generation blacks and whites that came up in the Jim Crow South. For example, in Jim Crow's Legacy, Thompson-Miller et al (2014) examine the lived experience of African Americans who lived through the racial terror associated with Jim Crow, such as acts of lynching, theft, rape and day-to-day humiliation that was carried out with impunity. Their study argues that African American Jim Crow 'survivors' suffer from what they term segregation stress syndrome, a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. ...
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The 1954 Supreme Court ruling against the applicability of the 'separate but equal' doctrine in the public school system in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka augured the dawning of the Civil Rights Movement in twentieth century America. This decision sparked a major transformation in the nation's educational system - school desegregation - a process that in some cases took decades to come to fruition. Much has been written about the social and economic outcomes that have resulted from this landmark decision, but research on the psychosocial consequences of school desegregation on the generation of African Americans who experienced this process is sparse. Employing a cultural trauma theoretical framework, this study takes up the latter issue by analyzing the ways in which the dislocation of the 'colored school' system affected the social structures of the African American community and the collective identity of the children of integration. I analyzes this phenomenon in a local context by using oral history interview data collected on a cohort of African Americans who matriculated through the 'colored school' system in Harlan County, Kentucky. The school systems in these communities desegregated between 1960 and 1963, and share similar cultural, regional and political contexts. The primary questions guiding this research are (i) How did this generation of African Americans understand their racialized subjectivity prior to school desegregation? (ii) What was the localized experience with school desegregation for this cohort of African Americans? and (iii) What impact did school desegregation have on the collective identity of the children who experienced integration?
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This paper reviews differences in the experience of the menopause transition and midlife health outcomes between Black and White women who participated in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), a 25-year, longitudinal, multi-racial/ethnic cohort study. We identify health disparities, i.e., instances in which Black women’s outcomes are less favorable than those of White women, and consider whether structural racism may underlie these disparities. Although SWAN did not explicitly assess structural racism, Black women in SWAN grew up during the Jim Crow era in the United States, during which time racism was legally sanctioned. We consider how we might gain insight into structural racism by examining proxy exposures such as socioeconomic characteristics, reports of everyday discrimination, and a range of life stressors, which likely reflect the longstanding, pervasive and persistent inequities that have roots in systemic racism in the US. Thus, this paper reviews the presence, magnitude, and longitudinal patterns of racial disparities observed in SWAN in six areas of women’s health – menopause symptoms, sleep, mental health, health related quality of life, cardio-metabolic health, and physical function –and elucidates the contextual factors that are likely influencing these disparities. We review the strengths and weaknesses of SWAN’s design and approach to analysis of racial disparities and use this as a springboard to offer recommendations for future cohort studies.
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The chapter engages a focused study of the white racial frame as a theoretical concept and analytical tool. As Joe R. Feagin’s students during the time he developed the concept, the authors draw on their knowledge of the frame at various stages of development and areas of expertise. Using a roundtable format, they explore three questions: (i) what is the white racial frame and what does it theorize; (ii) what does it explain; and (iii) what does it contribute to our understanding of race/racism that other extant theories do not or cannot? Building from these, they conclude the chapter with a real-time dialogue. The discussion deepens public understanding of the white racial frame and enhances utility for future scholarship.
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Entering the world of victims and survivors to reorganize corporeal habits and frames of thinking is no easy task. This Chapter sets up the predicament by considering the theological case presented by Miroslav Volf and Oliver O’Donovan as they object to memory of wrongs. Both Volf and O’Donovan fear that the oppressed become oppressors when they embrace an active memory of wrongs. Such objections slide into vilification of victims and survivors of wrongs. This prevents dominant persons from entering the world of victims and survivors. By laying out adversarial arguments against memory of wrongs and exposing their weak points and insufficiencies, this chapter points to how grief over actively remembered wrongs can be positively agential.
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In this article, the concept of emotional labor is used to capture dilemmas of critical ethnographic research. We frame our experiences not simply as " confessional tales, " or personalized accounts of how researchers experience their fieldwork, but as part of critical methodology itself. We identify three strategies for transforming our emotional labor into an analytic tool: contextualizing emotions, using emotions to unmask power in the research process, and linking emotions to personal biographies. Following ethnographers who question the separation between data and analysis, we explore how emotions and power intersected in two key ethnographic " moments " : collecting data and writing the research narrative.
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