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Old 04-06-2007, 05:25 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Did Jim Crow laws also apply to Asians, Hispanics, etc?

During the days when there were "whites only" signs on stuff like bathrooms, water fountains, restaurants, etc, to exclude blacks, would a Chinese or Mexican person also get in trouble? What about Native Americans?

If these laws also applied to other non-white groups besides blacks, does anyone learn about it in schools? I probably went over the civil rights movement, including Jim Crow laws, in class around 4 or 5 times by the time I was done with high school, and yet here I am asking this question. I'd think it would be important to mention in class that all non-white groups were discriminated against, if that was indeed the case.
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:24 PM
Operation Ripper Operation Ripper is offline
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Interesting question, my WAG is Chinese, no. Mexican, maybe. Native American, if in the Deep South, no, elsewhere maybe. Reasons being, Chinese person in Selma back then would have been pretty rare occurence, I imagine, so with no existing "protocol" might have been kosher to allow them to hit the White fountain, Mexicans I supposed would have been judged on their skintone, lighter the less objectionable. Native Americans, if in the Deep South, no, because they were pretty well accepted by whites back then in my personal experience (my Uncle, full blooded Cherokee, married my Aunt, white as a sheet, back in the 50s in rural Georgia, nobody batted an eye at them or my cousins.) The further you go SW or wherever, though, I dunno.

I'm thinking a majority of the Native Americans in the Deep South fought for the Confederates in the War of Northern Aggresion, so that might have something to do with assimilation, dunno. Also wondering about the prevalence of these signs, as they weren't around in areas my parents grew up in. There was segregation though, in schools, churches, etc. for sure.
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:23 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
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I don't see this as a problem with our education either, unless the problem is not understanding how small the number of minorities other than blacks were to be found in the deep south in the 100 years after the Civil War.

The animus was specifically against Blacks, with other minority groups merely an afterthought. The Chinese had been effectively prohibited from immigration after about 1880, so their numbers outside California and a few Chinatowns were effectively nil. Jim Crow laws most certainly existed in California against the Chinese. Mexicans were discriminated against - here's a cite for 597 lynchings between 1848 and 1928 - but their numbers again would be quite low east of Texas.

Discrimination as a societal issue is quite different from the Jim Crow laws. Discrimination against the "other" was widespread against Irish, Italian, Eastern European Jewish, and Polish immigrants as well as Asian, Hispanic, and African immigrants and the Native Americans. I'm sure that this is covered in much detail in schools today.

But the southern Jim Crow laws were aimed at Blacks. That the schoolbooks try to cover 100 years of history and don't mention a tiny number of exceptions doesn't appear to me to be an issue.
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:40 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Actually, there was a case in, IIRC, Mecklenburg County? in regards to school segregation against a Chinese girl on grounds that she was "colored".
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:40 PM
Operation Ripper Operation Ripper is offline
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As an aside, IMHO, White "acceptance" of other racial groups in the Deep South has superceded or at least kept abrest of other regions in the country, FWIW. Haven't seen a KKK rally in my area for decades, despite reading about them and Aryan Nation-type appearences all over. The last time I did witness one, circa 1983, we reported an assault a Klan member committed against a black fellow in Cedartown, Ga. to the police. My mother insisted we drive down to the police station and do so, which I did, heh. She was fightin', spittin' mad. Literally.
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:56 PM
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Monty Monty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
Actually, there was a case in, IIRC, Mecklenburg County? in regards to school segregation against a Chinese girl on grounds that she was "colored".
That sounds like a case we had to study in the Legal History of the Asian-American class back at UC-Davis.
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Old 04-06-2007, 09:12 PM
Operation Ripper Operation Ripper is offline
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Give us a cite, or at least more info.
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:17 AM
Zoe Zoe is offline
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The first time I saw a certain American Indian who later became a college friend was when he walked into a restaurant in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He could have passed for Black which would have been discouraged, but he wore a Choctaw emblem around his neck and sat down and was served.

Many years later that teenager became the Moderator of his Presbyterian denomination. If you had told me his future that day in 1960, I would not have believed you even if you had hovered above us with wings and a halo.
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:20 AM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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Jim Crow laws didn't really apply to Asians originally because there were no Asians to apply them to. There were a lot of policies drawn up after Asian immigration became big enough to become a "problem," like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, although most of them were directed at keeping Asians out rather than discriminating against them (although of course there were laws preventing them from gaining citizenship or owning land). There has been a lot of systematic discrimination against Asians (Japanese internment being the representative example) but it's not talked about as much in American history books. If you're interested I could find you some articles or books on the subject. (I only know about Asian Americans, though... that's my area of study.)
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Old 04-07-2007, 03:57 AM
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I believe there was an attempt to impose them on Alexander Liholiho, later King Kamehameha IV of Hawai'i, when he visited the Southern United States at the age of 14. It was one of the reasons that he, and subsequent Hawaiian monarchs, disliked and distrusted the U.S.
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Old 04-07-2007, 04:54 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee
Jim Crow laws didn't really apply to Asians originally because there were no Asians to apply them to. There were a lot of policies drawn up after Asian immigration became big enough to become a "problem," like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, although most of them were directed at keeping Asians out rather than discriminating against them (although of course there were laws preventing them from gaining citizenship or owning land). There has been a lot of systematic discrimination against Asians (Japanese internment being the representative example) but it's not talked about as much in American history books. If you're interested I could find you some articles or books on the subject. (I only know about Asian Americans, though... that's my area of study.)
I looked into this before, but I believe there was no such thing called "the Chinese exclusion act" per say. It was in fact the "Geary Act." There were a number of acts that later were collectively known as "the Chiense exclusion acts." It's a nitpick but more accurate. Here's a pdf that goes into detail. An editorial from Harper's at the time.
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:21 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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A little Googling hasn't produced that court case for me. The reason I know it at all is that back in high school in one class or another we got split up into groups and assigned an important Supreme Court case to do some huge project on with regards to jurisprudence, and ours was Brown v. Board. One of my group members' dad is a well respected judge (also, FYI, one of the first black guys to play basketball here at USC) and he set her on that one as a different interesting example. The reason I'm not sure if it was Mecklenburg county is the big case there over bussing - I may be conflating the two. I do think it was North Carolina, though.
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:25 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Okay, I don't know if this was the case I'm thinking of, but Gong Lum v. Rice was 1927 in Mississippi. The court ruled that the Chinese girl was not white and left it to school officials to decide where she should go.
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Old 04-07-2007, 09:10 AM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
The animus was specifically against Blacks, with other minority groups merely an afterthought.
I think that this is true, to a considerable extent, although i'd probably modify the wording a bit and argue that the animus was against people who were not white. The thing is that "whiteness" was defined differently in different parts of the country.

For example, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Hispanics would find themselves referred to as "white" in most parts of the US outside the southwest, and especially in the South. The historian Neil Foley discusses this issue in his excellent book, The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture (Berekely: University of California Press, 1997).

Foley tells the tale of Santiago Tafolla, who left Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1848 and ended up in Charleston, South Carolina working as an overseer on a slave plantation. Tafolla had never been considered white while he was in New Mexico; unsurprising considering the US army was occupying the area after its recent war victory in the region. Yet in South Carolina, where the line between white and "not white" was drawn much differently, he found himself classified as a white.

From Foley's book (p. 23):
Quote:
Tafola recalled how Mrs. Matthews's daughter asked her: "Mama, is Mexican Jim sure enough white?" The young girl most likely had never seen a Mexican before. Her mother replied: "Daughter, James' [Santiago's] blood is as free from negro blood as yours or mine"...In the South, at least, the absence of "negro blood" conferred whiteness on Mexican Jim...
Foley's book draws distinctions between Southern and South-Western states regarding racial hierarchies, noting that "white" and "not white" meant different things depending on the region.

Of course, this was during the era of slavery; i'm not sure exactly how these racial classifications were enforced (or not) during the Jim Crow era, or whether Southern and South-Western states differed in their enforcement of the laws.
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Old 04-07-2007, 09:42 AM
liberty3701 liberty3701 is offline
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Originally Posted by Operation Ripper
Native Americans, if in the Deep South, no, because they were pretty well accepted by whites back then in my personal experience (my Uncle, full blooded Cherokee, married my Aunt, white as a sheet, back in the 50s in rural Georgia, nobody batted an eye at them or my cousins.) The further you go SW or wherever, though, I dunno.

I'm thinking a majority of the Native Americans in the Deep South fought for the Confederates in the War of Northern Aggresion, so that might have something to do with assimilation, dunno.
I know that in North Carolina, Jim Crow had a Native American equivalent, Jim Croatan, ie, Native Americans were considered "coloreds."* Also, many Native Americans were forced to fight or work for the Confederates. In the case of the Lumbee in NC, they were at first considered free people of color, then, in order to use their forced labor, were reclassified as non-free during the Civil War.

*Source: Keeping the Circle, American Indian Identity in Eastern North Carolina 1885-2004 by Christopher Arris Oakley
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:17 AM
HazelNutCoffee HazelNutCoffee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by China Guy
I looked into this before, but I believe there was no such thing called "the Chinese exclusion act" per say. It was in fact the "Geary Act." There were a number of acts that later were collectively known as "the Chiense exclusion acts." It's a nitpick but more accurate. Here's a pdf that goes into detail. An editorial from Harper's at the time.
There were a series of laws passed, and the Geary Act wasn't the first. The Geary Act was passed in 1892 and renewed the previous act passed in 1882 (and it wasn't called The Chinese Exclusion Act per se, as you say, until later); the Magnuson Act made it possible for 105 Chinese to come into the US every year (although the catch was that if you were ethnically Chinese you were automatically counted as Chinese, regardless of your actual legal citizenship). The Immigration Act of 1965 made it possible for Chinese (and other nationalities) to immigrate to the US much more freely than was previously possible. Link to Wiki article.
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Old 04-07-2007, 10:57 AM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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Hmmm. I'm remembering a case where a black man wasn't permitted to marry a woman of Asian extraction in a certain Southern state due to her being classified as "white" by the local authority's interpretation of law.
I would say that the answer to the OP's question is that at least in the American Southland, is "Sometimes, but not consistently."
By the time there was about to be enough case law for there to be a consistent set of precedents recordable on a state by state basis, Jim Crow died his long-overdue death.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:57 AM
F. U. Shakespeare F. U. Shakespeare is online now
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As others have noted, what constituted 'white' depended somewhat on era and locale. My father was a Greek immigrant, my mother was mostly Scots-Irish. Their 1948 marriage license listed her race as 'white', but my father's race was left unspecified. They lived in West Virginia, but got married just across the state line in Oakland, Maryland.
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:47 PM
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It seems Mississippi, at least, had the foresight to discriminate againstAsians and Native Americans even if there weren't any in the state at the time.

An interesting thing about Jim Crow laws is what they don't say. If a law, for example, said the state had to establish separate schools for white and Negro student, it could be read that, say, a Mexican student might be white, might be "colored" -- or that the state might not need to provide an eduation at all.
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Old 04-07-2007, 11:53 PM
John Carter of Mars John Carter of Mars is offline
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In South Florida the laws applied to "negroes". I went to school with several native american kids and a large number of hispanics, but nary a "negro". (1950's)
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Old 04-08-2007, 12:15 AM
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I remember an old 'American Experience' documentary about Asian-American performers who were from CA mostly, and making a tour of the South in the Jim Crow era. Ah, here it is, 'Forbidden City' from 1989. Anyway, one of them remembered a tour of the Jim Crow-era South where she was totally flumoxed by segregation and had no idea whether she was 'white' or 'colored'. She'd used the black facilities, thinking it'd be safer, but if used the white places nobody blinked an eye (aside from those who stared since they'd never seen a real-live Asian before).
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Old 04-08-2007, 12:27 AM
Operation Ripper Operation Ripper is offline
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Interesting tidbit, FWIW, asked me mom aboot said "signs," and she said she'd never seen one growing up in west GA, Rome, Cedartown, Rockmart, Aragon region. Mebbe more of an urban thing? Always assumed was all over, but mebbe not?
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