The laws in our country today paints a similar picture of the “Jim Crow” era. It seems as though there are laws for Blacks and separate laws for Whites. Crimes and law-breaking seem to be weighed out differently depending on who’s committing the crime.” If the laws are written to be enforced, there is no way that anyone should serve 5-10 times more years in jail or prison than someone who committed the same crime. I realize that certain things need to be figured into the crime to determine the sentence, but when horrible crimes are treated equally to a misdemeanor or such, something is wrong with that picture. Oftentimes we as African Americans experience a lot of mishandled judgments, all based on who we are. We suffer from a supposedly equal but yet racist and judgmental status. Martin Luther King quoted, “I have a dream that we will one day live in a nation where my children will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character.” Today his dream lives on.
Here are just a few highlights of how the “Jim Crow” etiquette works/worked:
- African Americans were identified as 2nd Class Citizens
- A black man could not offer his hand (shake hands) with a white male, as this implied that he was deemed to be socially equal to the white man. In addition, a black man could not offer his hand or anything else to a white woman, or he would be accused of rape.
- Blacks and Whites could not eat together, and if they did, Whites were to be served first; and there would be some type of partition between them
- A Black man didn’t dare offer to light a cigarette of that of a White female for this implied intimacy or flirting
- Blacks could not show affection toward each other in public for this offended or was disrespectful to Whites
- The Jim Crow etiquette also indicated that Blacks were introduced to Whites, never were Whites introduced to Blacks. For example: “Mr. Johanson, this is Bobby, the young man I was telling you about.” Never, ever would you say, “Bobby, this is Mr. Johanson, the man I was telling you about.
- If a Black person rode in the car with a White person, their rightful place was in the back seat of the car
- At an intersection, a White motorist always had the right of way, regardless of who arrived there first
- Lastly, however, I could go on and on; this is the one that I remember so clearly as a very young girl; A Black person could never look a White person