Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From Noble Savages to Innately Criminal?

It's interesting to note that during the time of slavery in the United States the African-American was portrayed as a "noble savage" and was thought to be inherently good-natured and incapable of malice. The idea of an African slave committing a crime against a white person or against another slave was practically unheard of. This belief all changed when slaves were freed and the South was placed under the terms of Reconstruction. Suddenly the former slave was a dangerous criminal predisposed to rob, rape, and pillage. White women were not safe from the ravenous sexual appetites of the Negro and had to be protected by organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan. The belief that the Negro was innately criminal was codified into law, with all kinds of laws created to criminalize such things as loitering or even being unemployed and to punish such things as whistling at a white woman. Within the span of a few years the African went from the happy noble savage to the innately criminal beast in popular literature. This didn't happen by accident.

Google+ Followers