I’ve been working in Alabama for going on four months. Frankly, I’m surprised how modern it seems and how nice the people are, considering it’s pretty darn red as a state. I saw more Confederate flags in my home state of Indiana than I’ve seen here. I’ve seen “interracial” couples here (though not as many as back home, where they are a fairly significant percentage of couples), and white and black people seem to get along. (This is not to imply I assumed Alabama was horrible; it simply has exceeded my expectations.)
Jim Crow was a horrible, racist system of law and social practices that hurt millions of people (and racism, of course, still exists, but as a white person I am almost never a target of it in the US and therefore cannot directly experience how bad it still is). I’m curious, however, to what degree Jim Crow was ignored, flouted, opposed, etc., by white people in the South. (I am excluding joining in protests or other explicit political opposition, though I would be curious to know if any Southern newspapers, etc., opposed racial discrimination.)
Possible examples would be:
• Not treating black and white customers differently in a store, restaurant, etc.
• Not providing separate bathrooms for the different “races.”
• Holding events that included black and white people equally (Mardi Gras is a big deal here in Mobile, and I am curious to what degree black and white people mixed during the events, if at all).
• Tolerating mixed-“race” friendships, couples, etc.
Motivations for exceptions could have been anything from wanting to make more money from more people to not being racist or being too lazy to implement racist policies (being racist is pretty tiring, after all).
While I’m not assuming that exceptions happened in any substantial amount, life is rarely black and white (pun intended). Yet we also have a tendency when talking about history to make villains 100% villains, etc.
I am too young to have any direct experience (and did not grow up in the South). I also don’t have much third-party information. I did read the book Black Like Me, however, and one exception the author noted was that the Catholic Church (at least insofar as he experienced during his time as a white person trying to look black) was not racist to him (the Church bookstore would cash his checks, etc., IIRC).
Thanks for your observations, opinions, etc.!