Does The Jim Crow Mentality Lingers Today? Having a “Black President” means no more “Racism”?

Your words hurt and not because part of what you say is true. It is because I feel them as an attack. Same old ‘White people are stupid, insensitive, unaware…’rant. Hope it made you feel better, empowered, whatever. It turned me off and out of this conversation.

I’ll go back to reading for understanding and thwarting all anti humanism where ever it shows up in my usual oblique aka cowardly fashion.

– comment by a Goodreads user

There is a problem with being “color blind.” It means there is no racism to see.

– comment by a Goodreads user

that is going to be passed down, unfortunately, from generation to generation. I was referring to the not so “in-your-face” prejudices and fears of other races – not wanting to associate with others, that type of thing.

– comment by a Goodreads user

Those were some of things I read in a discussion I participated in.

I was recently apart of a great discussion on Goodreads relating to the book “The Help”. Many people may have seen the movie as opposed to reading the book. They’re one in the same. I think the book gives more detail about the story and that’s usually true for book to screen projects. It’s almost impossible to get everything in the book within 2 hours of film. Well if you’ve read the book, you know that the referenced to time in the US that didn’t look so well for certain races. Unequal treatment for african american was the norm. So the book posed a question about the Jim Crow Laws. If you’re not exactly sure what the Jim Crow laws are, here is a brief description,

a practice or policy of segregating or discriminating against blacks, as in public places, public vehicles, or employment. Disparaging and Offensive. a black person.

I want to keep the discussion going on this topic because many people don’t like to talk about it or be honest about how they feel. I posted some of the comments to the goodreads discussion. These are just a few responses to the questions that I felt we’re the most controversial.

Donnica Nov 27, 2012 11:47am
That mentality still lingers no matter how much progress and knowledge is available…

Alicia Nov 27, 2012 11:49am 0 votes
Yes, especially in the southern states.

Hayley Nov 28, 2012 07:50am 0 votes
I don’t have a lot of experience with the Southern States (I’m from Canada), but I think as long as blacks and whites lives separately (for cultural/economic/social reasons…whatever) feelings of mistrust and fear will linger, even among younger generations who never grew up with societal racism. (Obviously you could argue that but it depends where you’re from.) People who lived through the Jim Crow years, I can’t imagine, can dismiss those ideas altogether. But I’m still optimistic and think the world has come a vast distance in a relatively short time period. America is slower, but it has a nastier history too.

gdg Nov 28, 2012 09:39am 0 votes
It’s all in this book what is happening right now……

or just look at this graphic and try explain it in any other way than the legacy of slavery…

Phyllis Nov 28, 2012 02:49pm 0 votes
It does, unfortunately. And like someone else said, especially in the south. The war has never ended there.

Donnica Nov 28, 2012 02:24pm 0 votes
I agree… I visited canada and my grandparents use to live in canada… The culture and mentality is totally different…although it’s not a utopia it’s a wonderful place where people have learned to live together…

Tramaine Nov 28, 2012 02:56pm 0 votes
Of course the Jim Crow mentality exists today. I live in Georgia and I see it on a daily basis. It’s a sad reality but you see the remnants of Jim Crow more among those of lower economic standing (black and white).

Hayley Nov 28, 2012 04:27pm 0 votes
I’d like to say that Canada certainly isn’t a haven from racism. In the big cities (Toronto and Montreal) there are certainly enclaves of lower economic class neighbourhoods made up predominantly of blacks and black immigrants and there is certainly a gang culture. However, you will also see black men and women living happily and comfortably in middle and upper class neighbourhoods as well, completely integrated, and that number I think is growing. And I’m speaking from a white person’s view. I’m sure black Canadians would have a different perspective to some extent.

Donnica Nov 29, 2012 08:28am 0 votes
Of source I realize that that’s not a utopia but better than most….

Donnica Nov 29, 2012 09:25am 0 votes
The war or the mindset has never really changed. It ‘s better but the residue lingers. After reading the The Mis-Education of the Negroit’s a true eye opener to how how system works and how the AMerican mindset has been shaped…

This topic carried over into the month of December… And it gets even better…

Maria Dec 20, 2012 02:10pm 0 votes
The mentality still exists, especially here in Virginia, but I think it’s mostly the Baby Boomers and that age group. The younger people seem to have a greater level of tolerance for all races and national groups. Kind of a “we are the world” thing.

gdg Dec 22, 2012 08:22am 0 votes
um, no. not even close.

Maria Dec 22, 2012 12:00pm 0 votes
I agree, Eva, for the blatant racists – that is going to be passed down, unfortunately, from generation to generation. I was referring to the not so “in-your-face” prejudices and fears of other races – not wanting to associate with others, that type of thing.

Most schools are so diversified now with lots of different races and cultures that I think the younger generations are more “color blind” than those that have gone before.

Again, (gdg) I am not trying to state facts for you to dispute – just my opinions and personal observations.

Tessa Dec 22, 2012 02:31pm 0 votes
I think the disputes about homosexuality of the modern world are similar to the conflicts about racial identity in the 60’s, people never really quit shrugging different idea’s off, they just move on to different ones.

gdg Dec 26, 2012 06:53pm 0 votes
There is a problem with being “color blind.” It means there is no racism to see.
Again, read ‘The New Jim Crow’ and learn something real instead of protecting your need to feel good about the mythology of “how far we’ve come.”


how could this be true without racism?

Maria Dec 27, 2012 07:01am 0 votes
Wow, even when someone claims to be “color blind” it is deemed by some extremists to be a racist remark.

OK, I’m done. There are people who, if you say “the sky is blue” will say you have discriminated against the sky being red, therefore are racist.

Freaking ridiculous. Bye.

gdg Dec 27, 2012 11:24am 0 votes
Because us white people carry the responsibility of unearned privilege we need to be vigilant in our awareness of our actions.

Does talking about racism suck? Of course because we live in a society where we feel entitled to feel good all the time regardless of the reality.

If we chose to believe that we can just ‘be nice people’ and think that is enough then we are kidding ourselves and are in that way reinforcing the very thing we claim to be against.

If more white people were willing to investigate and work to understand racism [which does feel bad] and do something about it [which can feel good] then we will be moving in the right direction.

MaryAnn Dec 31, 2012 06:01am 0 votes
Recently I watched the movie, A Soldier’s Story. It was set during WWII before black and white troops were integrated. An investigation of the murder of a black sergeant was the plot. As the story unfolds the sergeant’s internalized racism against the men of his own race and his own self hate of himself as a black man is revealed. At the end of the movie we talked about what have we done to these people and it occurred to me that what have we done to ourselves also. White people have reinforced or had reinforced for them that they are superior. Equality is theirs to give and allow. The oppressor never sees the world the way the oppressed does. Institutional racism is a knife that has cut deeply both ways. Healing the pathological racism of individuals will not be healed or eliminated easily or quickly. Sometimes it seems that it has just gone underground and festers on. But each of us needs to keep working on it, until equality is reflex.

One revelation for me in The Help was that the white women were just as trapped in their roles as their black maids. And in turn they were inferior to their male counterparts. I believe in the white/black conflict as in all conflicts individuals each have a part to play in the advance of a peaceful resolution.

Now skipping through some of comments, the discussion gets even better…

Well White women may have been trapped by their roles but they still experience a level of freedom that the black females did not have… the two can not be compared…such as not being able to get on a bus and sit anywhere…being staked around in a store… being hit in the head with a club by a cop and have an exorbant amount of time on their heads…or being raped by a man and not being able to get justice and if he so happened to be white… justice wouldn’t have been served… no one cannot compare the different between the oppression of black females and white women during that time or day.

Mary Jan 05, 2013 04:27pm 0 votes
Jim Crow and the Republican Party are almost indistinguishable.

Donnica wrote: “MaryAnn wrote: “Recently I watched the movie, A Soldier’s Story. It was set during WWII before black and white troops were integrated. An investigation of the murder of a black sergeant was the p…”

Someone commented and now I can

Your comment is exactly what shuts down a conversation. ‘We’ve been treated worse, we are not the same as you. You cannot compare the sorrows we’ve seen to yours because we are the exclusively wronged.’

Yes, Black women have been treated horribly but do you honestly think that Black people have the market on suffering and injustice cornered? Read some of these comments above for Pete’s sake. Read about how the Irish were treated here and in Ireland. Look at what we are doing here and now to the Hispanic population, legal and illegal.

Frankly, I am just as tired of the guilt trip offense as I am of the superficial guilt mea culpa routine. Every body is predjudiced or operates out stereotypes to some degree. It is a primitive defense mechanism. It is understanding when those stereotypes are present, incorrect and consciously moving beyond them that is the challenge. And yeah you have to be conscious to make the change eventually unconscious. That’s the real challenge – to cross over our differences to what we have in common or our equality.

Your words hurt and not because part of what you say is true. It is because I feel them as an attack. Same old ‘White people are stupid, insensitive, unaware…’rant. Hope it made you feel better, empowered, whatever. It turned me off and out of this conversation.

I’ll go back to reading for understanding and thwarting all anti humanism where ever it shows up in my usual oblique aka cowardly fashion.

Maria Jan 07, 2013 06:49pm 0 votes
I never said to forget about it. But move on? Yes, please. How many Jewish people do you see whining about their lot in life? NONE. They refuse to use their terrible persecution as an excuse to be a lazy, entitled race who blames everyone else for their lack of ambition.

Maria Jan 07, 2013 12:12pm 0 votes
Once again, I was misquoted. I did not say that ALL black people (or ALL people of any particular race) had no initiative.

I said THOSE THAT DO lack initiative, again OF ANY RACE should not blame that on anyone except themselves or maybe their parents for raising them that way.

I made a few comments but I will not post all of them.

Nitra Jan 07, 2013 11:28pm 0 votes
The people that has done wrong will never admit to their wrong doing no matter what generation committed the horrible acts. Instead they will choose to blame the victim. I’ve seen this all the time in criminal justice and criminal law. But if the tables were turned… Also I’m not sure who made the comment but I wallow in self pity! I’m very successful in my life and work hard for everything I have, and as I always have. Its working great for me because I work for everything I have and will always. However, I will not listen to disrespect from anyone especially when referring to innocent people. It’s insensitive, disrespectful and sickening. You can’t get over something that lasted for centuries. My ancestors fault hard and endured a lot of pain for me and others to be able to speak freely as I am now! I wouldn’t stand to let anyone tell me that what they experienced was nothing and I should get over it and “move on”! If your loved one was murdered, abused or wronged in anyway you would want justice and go to any cost to make sure they receive the justice they are owed, no matter how long it takes or how long it last. But because the subject is “slavery”, we should get over it and “move on”. That’s a joke! I’m guessing because it happened so long ago, right? You will never understand my argument, my struggle, my parents or grandparents struggle. You will never hear the stories of direct injustice directed toward your family or family members, you will never be shown the scars from wounds from your family members with no explanation or reason besides their skin color. I’m not old and I’ve never seen the abuse members of my family have witnessed but the stories I’ve heard and the scars I’ve seen is never something you can just “move on” from. Not every African American is stupid to their culture and truth behind our history that a book could never tell you. I could imagine the uproar that will linger on if Caucasians were in-slaved and beaten nearly to death or to death. Oh believe me it will go on for centuries if not forever. No remorse is there, and remorse tells a lot. If they could still get away with it, they would even today in America. With that said, Jim Crow lingers very much so and those who feel we as African Americans should get over it and “move on” most likely wouldn’t fight to change the mentality but rather tell the victims to get over it and “move on” and that’s the truth.

Jane (last edited Jan 07, 2013 07:36pm ) Jan 07, 2013 07:34pm 0 votes
Looking through these comments there is a consistent theme of having an excuse to have a “woe is me” attitude. Here is a dose of reality. This is gonna sting a little.. The caucasion/white race mostly as a whole, we are over it, we don’t feel guilty about anything…. um, because our generation didn’t do anything to you. ALLLL those slave owners back then. Guess what! They’re dead!! The U.S. is a free country, there is ample opportunity for EVERYONE to succeed and be equal in employment, religon, schools, etc.. Hell we have a black president! He’s awesome!! Did you notice what I said?? We have a BLACK PRESIDENT! No more excuses!!

Ruth Jan 08, 2013 08:29am 0 votes
To Jane I would say go to the Pine Ridge reservation and tell me that those children have the same opportunities as some white kid living in an affluent suburb of any city in this country. It doesn’t matter that there is a black president. Racism and discrimination are still alive and well in this country and to think otherwise is wishful thinking.

Donnica wrote: “Again coming from someone who has had a diiferent beginning…humm again has any century kept you out of neighborhoods…employment positions…voting rights…or even adequate public schools..libr…”

Any “century”? Seriously? How far are people going to go back in order to blame someone else for their problems?

No none of those things have happened to me. And quite frankly judging by the age you appear to be on your profile pic, not to you either. So I CAN relate just as much as you can. Just because it happened to people of your race and not mine doesn’t mean we both can’t read the history books and relate to the unfairness of it. But, and correct me if I’m wrong – neither one of us experienced any of the Jim Crow things first hand.

And if it has happened to you, since you seem to be a successful person who is happy with yourself, you have overcome those horrible things and done well for yourself despite them. So, I’m not going to personally apologize for things my ancestors may have done to your ancestors in the PAST. We need to move forward – never forget, and learn from the mistakes – but NOT keep using the past as an excuse for not being able to have a good life NOW, in the PRESENT time.

The people who that DIRECTLY happened to (probably now in their 60s or 70s)could possibly blame their lot in life on those things. And as you said before, most have not done that. They have “contributed dearly to this country” – as well they should.

What if a white person blamed their lack of education, lack of a good job, living in an unsafe neighborhood on the fact that they felt so much guilt for what their ancestors did to black people. More than likely you would tell them that since they weren’t directly responsible and they don’t feel the same way as their ancestors, they should try to get over those guilt feelings and move on with their lives. Just reverse that scenario and maybe you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Maybe.

In my opinion, the younger generation – who did not have any of those things happen DIRECTLY to them -have a tendency to blame other races and past oppression of their ANCESTORS for their lot in life. Which is simply a cop-out – and an excuse not to make their own lives better.

Angelique Jan 08, 2013 07:27pm 0 votes
I am a woman of mixed ethnicity. I believe that JC mentality does still exist. But let me explain why. I am from Michigan and during the holidays my aunt and I went to visit my cousin in Ohio. While in transit, we got lost and ended up at a convenience store somewhere between MI and OH. When I went to the washroom, there were KKK and swastikas as well as ethnic slurs literally scratched into the walls. These mentalities don’t come from thin air. Also in Howell there is an ACTIVE KKK chapter.

Yes, I can see why the majority would like minorities to forget what was done to our ancestors. The Native Americans were forced from their homes and given disgusting diseases, Mexicans and Africans were made into slaves, and the Chinese were made to come here to build railroads. The fact remains that this is OUR culture, OUR history, OUR truth. This is honestly not something that can be, or should be, forgotten. The day that this information is forgotten, or not passed down, is the day that we are basically saying what happened was “okay”. And it wasn’t.

ShesGorgeouslyGeeky Jan 08, 2013 05:00pm 0 votes
I have read through most of these threads…I just want to say one thing. The Holocaust and Slavery should not be compared!!! They are two entirely different things! I hate to say this, but I’m going to say it, its all about how society perceives you as a person. And sorry to say it but Jews and even Egyptians are perceived as white because of their skin color. Blacks can be perceived as nothing else. The Holocaust in my eyes were one of the worst tragedies I have EVER read about, however it happened and people were ‘allowed’ to move on. Blacks are not ‘allowed’ to move on because we are reminded everyday that we are black and supposedly inferior. How? By our mortgage rates, our deposit amounts or deposits in general to rent or gain service, by people moving away from us in elevators or grabbing their purse as we walk by, by being turned down for jobs when your resume and interview basically screamed ‘I am the perfect candidate!’ and much more. I am honestly beginning to believe that this ‘idea’ or ‘stereotype’ of black people is so ingrained that people who treat us this way cannot readily identify it. Because how else would you NOT know that what you’re saying is insensitive, bigoted or racist?!

Mary Jan 07, 2013 02:44pm 0 votes
Maria wrote: “True, Mary. But you seldom hear women whining about their oppression and using it as an excuse not to excel in their personal and professional lives.

If someone insults me or treats me unfairly…”

Women DO complain about unfair treatment and we have good reason to. Our wages are still only 77% of male salaries for the same jobs. When women are in unions, their salaries are equal to male salaries, so discrimination is still very much alive in the non-union marketplace. Studies done with resumes shows that those submitted with an ethnic or female name have less chance of getting an interview. Pointing out that prejudice still exists does not keep one from attempting to excel. They are not mutually exclusive.

These comments are not in the order of which they were posted, and some were made in response to other comments. Click here to read the entire discussion on Goodreads.

So now what do you think? Does the Jim Crow mentality lingers today?


About nenesw

I'm 27 from Houston Texas and I don't ride horses. My first book published October 2012. I write to inspire and uplift others. I love to write my thoughts and read the thoughts of others! Send me reads. My book can be purchased online at, read it and tell me what you think!
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5 Responses to Does The Jim Crow Mentality Lingers Today? Having a “Black President” means no more “Racism”?

  1. I think we are right in the middle of change, and it seems from history that those right in the middle always feel the furthest from the end: they see how much has been done but feel how far from complete those changes are; they feel in their bones the injustices being done and know them to be injustices instead of the “that’s just the way things are” mindset.

    Yes, there is still prejudice in this country, to claim otherwise is laughable. There is still racism and prejudice in every country if we’re going to be honest.

    Yes, there is still a Jim Crow mindset in some people, especially those for whom it exists in living memory. However, there is such a push, such a move, toward identifying and stamping it out that it can’t be but maybe one or two more generations before the balance has finally started to shift. There are so many kids today who are raised not just believing but actively practicing equality, there are so many kids today who actively denounce the prejudices of their parents.

    I can understand the frustration when phrases like “all white people” get thrown around, which is just as prejudiced and insulting as any other, and only serves to reinforce prejudices on all sides and cement inequalities. How can we be equal if it’s still acceptable to judge a person based solely on the color of their skin, whatever color that may be? It isn’t right to do, not from anyone and not to anyone.

    But as I said, I think we’re right in the middle of it. If we can prevent the backlash from becoming the new acceptable form of prejudice and racism, then we can probably come out the other side as a new, strong, and united people.

    Racism will always exist, you just can’t convince some people otherwise. But racism as an epidemic can end, and I think we’re getting closer every day.

    • nenesw says:

      Do you think as the the times change racism will not be the sensitive subject to talk about? So many people are really scared to discuss it because the wounds haven’t really healed. But many people feel that since the president is black, then everyone can move on to the next subject. Which some feel may things like gay rights, women’s rights, ect. will be the next huge fight.

      • Well I agree we aren’t ready to move past it yet, there’s still a lot to be dealt with. I imagine the sensitivity to the topic *must* change as the times do, but I couldn’t pretend to know when or by how much, or even in which direction those sensitivities will shift.

        I know the internet is a scary place to discuss it, however. If I was college age, I’d be *terrified* to talk about it based on so much of what I’ve read. It stirs up such deep emotions and visceral reactions (not without reason!) in so many people that it really is rather frightening to broach the subject with strangers, in a medium where one can be as unpleasant and rude as they like with that thin veil of anonymity ‘protecting’ them.

        At my age, however, I look at it as a good thing in many ways. It does get it in the discussion. It does get it on people’s minds. It does allow for meaningful discussion to happen – as hopefully is happening right now πŸ™‚ – and that is always a positive move.

        The nice thing about the internet is, as much as you run into people who love to hear themselves say the most horrible things, you also run into those who have been given the freedom to say what they need to say without being silenced.

        It doesn’t take the sting or the hurt out of slurs or prejudiced remarks, but it can take away the immediateness of the threat – so someone four states away can say mean things to me, but he can’t *hurt* me. That can take a lot of the fear out of being able to speak your mind. And when that fear is gone, it allows for discussion to happen.

        But I don’t know when all this will actually be something in the past, I really don’t. Optimistically I like to say only a few generations, but I don’t know…

      • nenesw says:

        I agree that the Internet and social networking makes it easier to actually engage without the fear of holding back or being honest, it’s almost anonymous. It can also give us a better idea of where we are as a nation and the individual mind sets that some of us may have.

  2. Lawerence says:

    What’s up, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this blog post. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

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