CyberBullying and Schools

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Let’s start here.

What is Cyberbullying?

What is your school’s acceptable use policy?

Some schools have developed policies on uses of technology that may affect the child’s online behavior in and out of the classroom. Ask the school if they have developed a policy. You and some other parents and community leaders can work together to find resources and interested individuals if there is none.

Report Cyberbullying

When cyberbullying happens, it is important to document and report the behavior so it can be addressed.

Rules of the Road

http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/how-to-report/index.html

Be proactive in making sure that students have ways to cope and education about cyberbullying.

Establish a committee  to inform, educate and let students be proactive.

Defining the School Cyberbullying Problem
All schools, parents and students are struggling to address and contain the growing cyberbullying problem.

While bullying itself is difficult to prevent, cyberbullying is much harder. It starts online and moves offline, or starts offline and moves online or starts and stays online. It happens during the school day on student-owned devices as well as school computers. It happens off-premises, after-hours and bleeds into the school day.

As Parry Aftab has said repeatedly, and the volunteers at WiredSafety who handle cyberbullying cases and help victims and their families know, there is no silver bullet. There is no one answer. But there are many ways to attack the problem, piece by piece.

Schools have approached this in different ways. Many schools have adopted policies and rules that the parents and students have to sign before the students are permitted to use the Internet at school. Some are using filtering products. Others are sending notices to parents and setting policies for safe and acceptable use. Some are trying to regulate student activities after hours and off-premises. And, when they overstep their authority, schools are finding themselves named in lawsuits for infringing on a student’s free speech or due process rights. Far too often, schools lose these lawsuits.

There is no “one size fits all” here. Solutions need to be customized to take into consideration the school’s technology uses and staffing, curriculum, students’ needs and behavior, parents’ concerns, and community values. It is more a matter of awareness about the problem areas than the specific laws, which change often and vary jurisdiction by jurisdiction. All good lawyers know how to spot a potential legal problem. Good school administrators and educators, unfortunately, in these difficult times do, too.

The new issues, such as cyberbullying and how far a school’s authority can extend, and social networking websites, such as Instagram and Facebook.com (among others), create challenges to grapple with and emotional parental responses. Where do we start? We all need to remember that we are still learning, often the hard way. Children are very innovative in abusing the Internet and each other. Sometimes they do this intentionally. But almost as often, they hurt each other with miscommunications, poor digital literacy and hygiene skills.

Just when we think we understand the risks and have worked out solutions, they surprise us with their innovations. But, if parents, school administrators and school boards, teachers, school safety officers, students, guidance counselors and librarians and library-media specialists work together and keep the lines of communication open, we’ll keep making progress. All we have to do is hold out until this new generation of Internet-savvy students become parents, teachers, and school administrators themselves.

Source: Wired Safety

Steps to take Immediately

Stop, block and tell

If you are targeted by a cyberbully:

STOP!
Don’t do anything. Take 5! to calm down.
Block!
Block the cyberbully or limit all communications to those on your buddy list.
and Tell!
Tell a trusted adult, you don’t have to face this alone.
Report cyberbullying to wiredsafety.org

Here is a flash presentation for educating Stop, Block and Tell.

http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/flash/stopblockandtell.html

Don’t respond to and don’t forward cyberbullying messages.
Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages. Use this evidence to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.
Block the person who is cyberbullying.

Report Cyberbullying to Online Service Providers

Cyberbullying often violates the terms of service established by social media sites and internet service providers.

Review their terms and conditions or rights and responsibilities sections. These describe content that is or is not appropriate.
Visit social media safety centers to learn how to block users and change settings to control who can contact you.
Report cyberbullying to the social media site so they can take action against users abusing the terms of service.

Report Cyberbullying to Law Enforcement

When cyber-bullying involves these activities it is considered a crime and should be reported to law enforcement:

Threats of violence
Child pornography or sending sexually explicit messages or photos
Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy
Stalking and hate crimes
Some states consider other forms of cyberbullying criminal.

Report Cyberbullying to Schools

Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies.
In many states, schools are required to address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policy. Some state laws also cover off-campus behavior that creates a hostile school environment.

 

 

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Consult your state’s laws and law enforcement for additional guidance.

 

Federal Laws

Although no federal law directly addresses bullying, in some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment when it is based on race, national origin, color, sex, age, disability, or religion. When bullying and harassment overlap, federally-funded schools (including colleges and universities) have an obligation to resolve the harassment. When the situation is not adequately resolved, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division may be able to help.

Are there federal laws that apply to bullying?

At present, no federal law directly addresses bullying. In some cases, bullying overlaps with discriminatory harassment which is covered under federal civil rights laws enforced by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). No matter what label is used (e.g., bullying, hazing, teasing), schools are obligated by these laws to address conduct that is:

Severe, pervasive or persistent
Creates a hostile environment at school. That is, it is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school
Based on a student’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion*
Although the US Department of Education, under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not directly cover religion, often religious based harassment is based on shared ancestry of ethnic characteristics which is covered. The US Department of Justice has jurisdiction over religion under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
What are the federal civil rights laws ED and DOJ enforce?

A school that fails to respond appropriately to harassment of students based on a protected class may be violating one or more civil rights laws enforced by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice, including:
Title IV and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Do federal civil rights laws cover harassment of LGBT youth?

Title IX and Title IV do not prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, but they protect all students, including students who are LGBT or perceived to be LGBT, from sex-based harassment.
Harassment based on sex and sexual orientation are not mutually exclusive. When students are harassed based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation, they may also be subjected to forms of sex discrimination recognized under Title IX.

Are there resources for schools to assist with resolving harassment complaints?

The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service is the Department’s “peacemaker” for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color and national origin and to prevent and respond to violent hate crimes committed on the basis of: gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, race, color, and national origin. It is a free, impartial, confidential and voluntary Federal Agency that offers mediation, conciliation, technical assistance, and training.

What if the harassment continues?

If harassment persists, consider filing a formal grievance with the district and contacting the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

Source: http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/federal/index.html#civil

 

 

Stop Bullying..Here’s How

This is a report from a conference

The most important skills that teachers have to communicate empathy and to share knowledge of this issue sadly might be intuitive for good teachers. But wait , there is help.

The Department of Education and other government agencies came together to serve schools, communities and children in a conference entitled StopBullying.gov.

The conference was research rich. It shared positive examples that work. Out children are deep in the uses of all kind of technology. Sadly , few people who teach reach out to gather the resources to help students establish a good digital footprint and understanding of the path to take in using technology in learning and home environments.iho

How many teachers or administrators know how to guide students, community and individual parents to best uses? We were given a ton of resources to explore, examine and to be aware of. You can find them here. Today I want to focus on Bullying. The resources here will be something to share in your educational community.

 

Bullying is no rite of passage.

An image of four schoolchildren wearing backpacks.

HRSA launched the first federal anti-bullying campaign in 2004.
Today, all 50 states have adopted anti-bullying policies or regulations.

The consequences of bullying extend into adulthood and can be more severe than physical violence and other forms of child mistreatment, Acting HRSA Administrator Jim Macrae said in a recent C-SPAN broadcast(at the conference)

Not only are bullied young people more likely to suffer low self-esteem, depression and loneliness, but entire classrooms, schools and communities can be affected — and children who bully others also are likely to experience emotional and mental health problems themselves, Macrae said.

“In particular, we know that some youth are disproportionately impacted by bullying: children with special health care needs, who may have cognitive challenges such as autism, as well as people in the LGBT community,” Macrae said at an August 12 Bullying Prevention Summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Education. “About one third of kids who are LGBT are still being bullied in school.”

A pre-conference initiative on August 11th at the White House was a focus on the problems in bullying that South Asia and students who are identified as Sikh, Muslim and Arab suffer.

Do you have definitions of these students and how do people identify them? Students shared their stories with us.

What kind of a community initiative do you have in your school and neighborhood?

Here is what we were offered to share with you.

Prevention at School

A teacher talks to a class of teens.Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. There are a number of things school staff can do to make schools safer and prevent bullying.

Getting Started

Assess school prevention and intervention efforts around student behavior, including substance use and violence. You may be able to build upon them or integrate bullying prevention strategies. Many programs help address the same protective and risk factors that bullying programs do.

Assess Bullying in Your School

Conduct assessments in your school to determine how often bullying occurs, where it happens, how students and adults intervene, and whether your prevention efforts are working.

Engage Parents and Youth

It is important for everyone in the community to work together to send a unified message against bullying. Launch an awareness campaign to make the objectives known to the school, parents, and community members. Establish a school safety committee or task force to plan, implement, and evaluate your school’s bullying prevention program.

Create Policies and Rules

Create a mission statement, code of conduct, school-wide rules, and a bullying reporting system. These establish a climate in which bullying is not acceptable. Disseminate and communicate widely.

Build a Safe Environment

Establish a school culture of acceptance, tolerance and respect. Use staff meetings, assemblies, class and parent meetings, newsletters to families, the school website, and the student handbook to establish a positive climate at school. Reinforce positive social interactions and inclusiveness.

Educate Students and School Staff

Build bullying prevention material into the curriculum and school activities. Train teachers and staff on the school’s rules and policies. Give them the skills to intervene consistently and appropriately.

 

In the next post I will share about Cyberbullying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Internet of Things

Concept of smart home and control device. Technology device, system mobile automation, monitoring energy power, electricity efficiency, equipment temperature, remote thermostat illustration

The Internet as you know it is changing. There are two huge changes one which is for those of us on earth and a new space iteration and scaffolding that allow for use or the Internet in Space. But before we go Star Trek or StarWars in space, the Internet of Things is going to be something we want to talk about in a global sense.

                                 The Thing in the Internet of Things

There are four main system components for the Internet of Things(IoT)

1>The Thing

2>The local network.

3>The Internet

4>The cloud

IoT is not complicated in conception, but it is complex in its execution.What is important to understand is that even if new hardware and software are still under development, we already have all the tools we need now to start making IoT a reality. In this blog post we’ll only cover the “Thing” the rest will be covered in future blogs so keep an eye on this page.

So this brings us to our first question

What is the “Thing”?

things

Img Source: datasciencebe.com

Thing is an embedded computing device (or embedded system) that transmits and receives information over a network (need not be able to interface with internet directly) for the purpose of controlling another device or interacting with a user. A Thing is also a microcontroller—or microprocessor-based device.

Hence a simple chair, tv , fan , microwave , fridge, sprinkler, bulb etc, (the list goes on) on their own cannot be called “Things”. Why you ask ?

1) Most of day to day things do not have any embedded systems E.g.: bed , chair, fan, bulb.

2) Even if they do have embedded systems built in, they do not have the capabilities too transmit and receive information over a network. E.g. washing machine, microwave, electric stoves.

Okay… So now you may ask what is this “Thing” supposed to do?

The “Thing” may provide

1>Identification and info storage(RFID tags, MAC address)

2>Information collection (Sensor networks, store sensor values)

3>Information processing(Understanding commands, filtering data)

4>Communications (Transmit and receive messages)

5>Actuation (Switch control, motor control)

 

The Internet as it is , is evasive for many groups of people. Those who are distant, rural, tribal and urban have a problem most of the time. That problem is adequate access to be able to use the resources of the Internet.

With the Internet comes many wonderful resources, but there are things to consider.

Digital footprint use, Skills that are transformational, and ..with the technology comes

a difference in privacy.( Electronic Foundation)

New technologies are radically advancing our freedoms but they are also enabling unparalleled invasions of privacy.

Your cell phone helps you keep in touch with friends and family, but it also makes it easier for security agencies to track your location .That can be good. That can be a problem.

internet-of-things

Your Web searches about sensitive medical information might seem a secret between you and your search engine, but companies like Google are creating a treasure trove of personal information by logging your online activities, and making it potentially available to any party wielding enough cash or a subpoena.

If you search for a medical subject, you might then get ads or information about that subject.

Searching for recipes online? Maybe your “smart” refrigerator has information to share about the food you use? Or could use.

The next time you try to board a plane, watch out—you might be turned away after being mistakenly placed on a government watch list, or be forced to open your email in the security line.

 

National and international laws have yet to catch up with the evolving need for privacy that comes with new technology. Several governments have also chosen to use malware to engage in extra-legal spying or system sabotage for dissidents or non-citizens, all in the name of “national security.”

Respect for individuals’ autonomy, anonymous speech, and the right to free association must be balanced against legitimate concerns like law enforcement.

National governments must put legal checks in place to prevent abuse of state powers, and international bodies need to consider how a changing technological environment shapes security agencies’ best practices.

The internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.[1] In 2013 the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as “the infrastructure of the information society.” [2] The IoT allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure,[3] creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.[4][5][6][7][8][9] When IoT is augmented with sensors and actuators, the technology becomes an instance of the more general class of cyber-physical systems, which also encompasses technologies such as smart grids, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities. Each thing is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. Experts estimate that the IoT will consist of almost 50 billion objects by 2020.[10]

For information about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States check out the EFF’s Surveillance Self-Defense project.

                            Is there Room for Both Privacy and Security?

Security concept: Privacy on digital background

Security concept: pixelated words Privacy on digital background, 3d render

Some people think the path for more security is that you  PAY for it.

 Read this article in Forbes.

Internet companies collect abundant information about people’s online activity. They use this information to determine people’s interests and shopping profiles, and then make money by selling personalized “behavioral” ads.

The FCC is not too happy about this barter in people’s information. It cannot regulate the likes of Google and Facebook (they are not communications companies), but it is proposing new rules that would apply to companies that come under its purview – Internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.

One of the proposed regulations is entirely unobjectionable but also entirely useless. It would require better disclosure to consumers: the FCC wants every Internet company to clearly explain to people what information it collects and sells.

 

The writer says:

Disclosure is a great idea, but it has a fatal flaw. It doesn’t work. Do you know any one who ever reads the fine print? Disclosures have been tried in every consumer market, and failed miserably. I co-wrote a book titled “More Than You Wanted to Know” that shows how spectacularly disappointing disclosures are, and why we should not expect them to be more successful in future regulation. Despite great hopes that “simplified” or “smart” disclosures could funnel people into better decisions, the evidence shows that even truly simple warnings are ineffective. This sobering fact is equally true for Internet privacy: disclosure and warnings about data collection are not read and do not change people’s behavior.

MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW cover

 Here is what one Samsung has to say. Most products will be web-connected by  2017.
I always think about a movie I saw when I have to use Fedex. People were making money a cent at a time.. don’t you think that the disclosure length generates money, no matter how many times you have read it. I think so.
It would be nice if, the administrators in a school, the school board and the community featured an event to explain to the their public in their learning landscape how they are preparing for the Internet of Things. Of course some schools still are lacking the Internet.
 You may have noticed that I did NOT talk about schools and sensors and smart machines.
That’s a whole new conversation to be had.
One wag commented welcome to the smart era, where your things spy on you!?!?!

Dinosaurs and Many Ways of Learning!!

field trip

What is a field trip? It could be VR, AI or real. It could be short, a day field trip or long as in Earthwatch , or the Fulbright Experience. It could be online and after school in learning places in the neighborhood. I love it when they are journeys of the mind.  I love taking kids to a place prepared to stretch their minds with a head full of knowledge. We prepared for our field trips and profited from pre-learning.

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This was a field trip with students to the Science and Engineering Festival. It would be hard to prepare for this one, but we had been studying Dinosaurs, reading books, looking at images online, seeing videos, using ramification ( Dynotycoon) and making them out of clay. We can’t take a real dinosaur field trip, but we know where to go to learn more.

We could learn with a game. That is not a field trip, but a trip using ramification to explore a mythical Dinopark. Here

You can just imagine the shrieks of joy as students programming a robotic  dinosaur. This learning venture required some base knowledge, some reading, some knowledge of geography and study of a special kind of dinosaur. As far as I know the closest dinosaur field trip a real one is to Saltville , Va.

HISTORY

After nearly 100 years of study, the town’s ancient fossil beds continue to yield surprises.

ETSU paleontologists are the most recent in a long line of researchers to collect specimens in the Saltville Valley. This year is the 50th anniversary of a Virginia Tech agreement with the Smithsonian Institution to excavate and study specimens found here in the 1960s, including a 7-foot-long section of mastodon tusk.

Scientific digs began much earlier, in 1917, when a collapsed industrial salt well revealed a rich layer of prehistory that drew the attention of the Carnegie Institution. The town’s Museum of the Middle Appalachians, which now oversees the digs, is planning to celebrate next year with a centennial symposium, executive director Janice Orr said.

But accidental finds go back at least to the 18th century, and possibly much further.

In a letter dated 1782, Arthur Campbell wrote to Thomas Jefferson, former Virginia governor and future U.S. president, about the discovery at Saltville of the bones of a “large jaw tooth of an unknown animal lately found at the Salina in Washington County.”

MUSEUMS AND MAPS?

The Smithsonian used to have a dinosaur outside of the museum. I was missing a child from a field trip. He had been mesmerized by the dinosaur and climbed it. He could not get down. I spotted him from the bus and a parent went to help him climb down. That dinosaur is no longer available to climb.

WHO  WHAT  WHERE  WHEN AND WHY?

Those are the questions we asked.

Where in the world did the dinosaurs live? Here and a global map

Where in the US did the dinosaurs live? Here

You can learn a lot studying paleobiology at this Smithsonian web site. Here

Who can teach me more about dinosaurs?

What are ten things Kids need to know about dinosaurs?Here

Why do we care about dinosaurs? What are the known dinosaurs?

What did they eat? 

The first blockbuster movie that influenced my teaching was about dinosaurs, I was about Jurassic Park. I had never been interested in them but I had to rise to the challenge and fit the interest of those who loved the big beasts. First, I had to see the movie and then think of ways to add, augment, share , expand their knowledge in meaningful ways. The movie is online at Amazon Prime ( the whole movie).

Jurassic Park ( the movie)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5C7dqrAItM

I also needed to share the movie experience with the students who had not seen it and make available the book and the many books and magazines about dinosaurs.

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You may not know what the learning places and museums have to offer you and your children or students. Take a planning trip there. See how they do outreach. Talk to them.

I explained to a group of interested people that 2 field trips a year were often the most that children could take and suggested use of some of the budget for a bus. Or to do outreach to the school. My school scheduled a Museum bus on Saturdays for parents and students.

I also wrote grants and requests for field trips , movies, and realia for the classroom. Virtual field trips are good, real ones are good , a combination with Skype is good.

Museums have gone digital and they have much to share online.

https://learninglab.si.edu/news/creative-introduction-into-geography

Smithsonian

There are many experiences that are virtual

Walking with Dinosaurs

Virtual Reality Dinosaur Game

Dinosaur Art ( K-3)

High School   Geniversity ( Build a Dragon)

http://geniverse.concord.org/geniversity/

 

 

 

 

 

What is Jim Crow? Make America White Again!

fear mongering

Here is what many bigots would like to re-impose on the communities of color in America. If you are not of African American descent, but an immigrant, many of these rules apply to immigrants too. I went to school with immigrants who were the same color as I am and who had to work by these rules as well. Some vestiges of this still exist in America.   In Virginia,

The Ku Klux Klan (KKK), also known as the Klan or the Invisible Empirehas emerged in three time periods, mostly in the South, at three distinct periods of U.S. history: from 1865 to the 1870s, from 1915 to 1944, and from the 1950s to the present. Klan movements have targeted—through political rhetoric and violent actions—African Americans, immigrants, Catholics, Jews, and organized labor, as part of their white supremacy movement. The Klan never achieved a political foothold in Virginia that it had in other states. It was most prominent in in Virginia during the 1920s and resurged during the 1950s and 1960s to target civil rights activists. (More from Encyclopedia Virginia)

Marshal Robert Kornegay (1928–1975), a North Carolina native, was the United Klans of America Grand Dragon of Virginia from 1965 to 1968. During his tenure the small and mostly inactive Klan of Virginia revitalized and greatly increased membership mostly in the Southside, in a large part as a backlash to the desegregation of schools and other civil rights struggles.

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When Was Jim Crow the Law of the Land?

Jim Crow ruled the South from about 1890 to well into the 1960s. Four generations of African Americas endured this system of segregation. Present day race relations in the United States continue to be affected by this history. The Jim Crow system emerged towards the end of the historical period called Reconstruction, during which Congress had enacted laws designed to order relations between Southern whites and newly freed blacks, and to bring the secessionist states back into the Union. Southern whites felt profoundly threatened by increasing claims by African Americans for social equality and economic opportunity. In reaction, white-controlled state legislatures passed laws designed to rob blacks of their civil rights and prevent blacks from mingling with their “betters” in public places.

Make America Jim Crow Again!!!?????

First, I have to say that the South lost the war, but won the peace with the installation of “Jim Crow”

This is from the museum of Jim Crow. I don’t have permission to share the pictures.. and actually they are so sad I will let you peruse them on your own. I share the content because I want you to know what it means and how it might affect the political situation. Here is the link to the Jim Crow Museum. It is a very rich site.

Jim Crow Museum

http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/

Jim Crow is a way of making America the way it was during segregation ..

jimcrow2

JIM CROW MUSEUM

Here is a video that tells some of the story .

To look at the video, imagine being a child or woman, or a man who was subjected to this trauma. Think about how they might have felt intimidated or hurt and what inside emotional harm might have happened because of Jim Crow.

Jim Crow was the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Jim Crow was more than a series of rigid anti-black laws. It was a way of life.

Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-black racism. Many Christian ministers and theologians taught that whites were the Chosen people, blacks were cursed to be servants, and God supported racial segregation.

Craniologists, eugenicists, phrenologists, and Social Darwinists, at every educational level, buttressed the belief that blacks were innately intellectually and culturally inferior to whites. Pro-segregation politicians gave eloquent speeches on the great danger of integration: the mongrelization of the white race.

Newspaper and magazine writers routinely referred to blacks as niggers, coons, and darkies; and worse, their articles reinforced anti-black stereotypes. Even children’s games portrayed blacks as inferior beings (see “From Hostility to Reverence: 100 Years of African-American Imagery in Games”). All major societal institutions reflected and supported the oppression of blacks.

jimcrow waiting room

WHAT WAS THE JIM CROW SYSTEM?
The Jim Crow system was undergirded by the following beliefs or rationalizations: whites were superior to blacks in all important ways, including but not limited to intelligence, morality, and civilized behavior; sexual relations between blacks and whites would produce a mongrel race which would destroy America; treating blacks as equals would encourage interracial sexual unions; any activity which suggested social equality encouraged interracial sexual relations; if necessary, violence must be used to keep blacks at the bottom of the racial hierarchy.

Black women were at the absolute bottom of the system.

The following Jim Crow etiquette norms show how inclusive and pervasive these norms were:

A black male could not offer his hand (to shake hands) with a white male because it implied being socially equal. Obviously, a black male could not offer his hand or any other part of his body to a white woman, because he risked being accused of rape.

Blacks and whites were not supposed to eat together. If they did eat together, whites were to be served first, and some sort of partition was to be placed between them.

Under no circumstance was a black male to offer to light the cigarette of a white female — that gesture implied intimacy.

Blacks were not allowed to show public affection toward one another in public, especially kissing, because it offended whites.

Jim Crow etiquette prescribed that blacks were introduced to whites, never whites to blacks. For example: “Mr. Peters (the white person), this is Charlie (the black person), that I spoke to you about.”

Whites did not use courtesy titles of respect when referring to blacks, for example, Mr., Mrs., Miss., Sir, or Ma’am. Instead, blacks were called by their first names. Blacks had to use courtesy titles when referring to whites, and were not allowed to call them by their first names.

If a black person rode in a car driven by a white person, the black person sat in the back seat, or the back of a truck.

White motorists had the right-of-way at all intersections.
Stetson Kennedy, the author of Jim Crow Guide (1990), offered these simple rules that blacks were supposed to observe in conversing with whites:

Never assert or even intimate that a white person is lying.
Never impute dishonorable intentions to a white person.
Never suggest that a white person is from an inferior class.
Never lay claim to, or overly demonstrate, superior knowledge or intelligence.
Never curse a white person.
Never laugh derisively at a white person.
Never comment upon the appearance of a white female.

How Did This Happen?

What changed the consciousness of the US?

Black Codes
Jim Crow etiquette operated in conjunction with Jim Crow laws (black codes). When most people think of Jim Crow they think of laws (not the Jim Crow etiquette) which excluded blacks from public transport and facilities, juries, jobs, and neighborhoods. The passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution had granted blacks the same legal protections as whites.

 

However, after 1877, and the election of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, southern and border states began restricting the liberties of blacks. Unfortunately for blacks, the Supreme Court helped undermine the Constitutional protections of blacks with the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) case, which legitimized Jim Crow laws and the Jim Crow way of life.

The “Jim Crow ” way of Life becomes the norm.

In 1890, Louisiana passed the “Separate Car Law,” which purported to aid passenger comfort by creating “equal but separate” cars for blacks and whites. This was a ruse. No public accommodations, including railway travel, provided blacks with equal facilities. The Louisiana law made it illegal for blacks to sit in coach seats reserved for whites, and whites could not sit in seats reserved for blacks. In 1891, a group of blacks decided to test the Jim Crow law. They had Homer A. Plessy, who was seven-eighths white and one-eighth black (therefore, black), sit in the white-only railroad coach. He was arrested. Plessy’s lawyer argued that Louisiana did not have the right to label one citizen as white and another black for the purposes of restricting their rights and privileges. In Plessy, the Supreme Court stated that so long as state governments provided legal process and legal freedoms for blacks, equal to those of whites, they could maintain separate institutions to facilitate these rights.

The Court, by a 7-2 vote, upheld the Louisiana law, declaring that racial separation did not necessarily mean an abrogation of equality. In practice, Plessy represented the legitimization of two societies: one white, and advantaged; the other, black, disadvantaged and despised.

Blacks were denied the right to vote by grandfather clauses (laws that restricted the right to vote to people whose ancestors had voted before the Civil War), poll taxes (fees charged to poor blacks), white primaries (only Democrats could vote, only whites could be Democrats), and literacy tests (“Name all the Vice Presidents and Supreme Court Justices throughout America’s history”). Plessy sent this message to southern and border states: Discrimination against blacks is acceptable.

Jim Crow states passed statutes severely regulating social interactions between the races. Jim Crow signs were placed above water fountains, door entrances and exits, and in front of public facilities. There were separate hospitals for blacks and whites, separate prisons, separate public and private schools, separate churches, separate cemeteries, separate public restrooms, and separate public accommodations.

In most instances, the black facilities were grossly inferior — generally, older, less-well-kept. In other cases, there were no black facilities — no Colored public restroom, no public beach, no place to sit or eat. Plessy gave Jim Crow states a legal way to ignore their constitutional obligations to their black citizens.

Jim Crow laws touched every aspect of everyday life. For example, in 1935, Oklahoma prohibited blacks and whites from boating together. Boating implied social equality. In 1905, Georgia established separate parks for blacks and whites. In 1930, Birmingham, Alabama, made it illegal for blacks and whites to play checkers or dominoes together.

Here are some of the typical Jim Crow laws, as compiled by the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site Interpretive Staff:

Barbers. No colored barber shall serve as a barber (to) white girls or women (Georgia).

Blind Wards. The board of trustees shall…maintain a separate building…on separate ground for the admission, care, instruction, and support of all blind persons of the colored or black race (Louisiana).

Burial. The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried, any colored persons upon ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons (Georgia).

Buses.All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races (Alabama).

Child Custody. It shall be unlawful for any parent, relative, or other white person in this State, having the control or custody of any white child, by right of guardianship, natural or acquired, or otherwise, to dispose of, give or surrender such white child permanently into the custody, control, maintenance, or support, of a negro (South Carolina).

Education.The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately (Florida).

Libraries. The state librarian is directed to fit up and maintain a separate place for the use of the colored people who may come to the library for the purpose of reading books or periodicals (North Carolina).

Mental Hospitals. The Board of Control shall see that proper and distinct apartments are arranged for said patients, so that in no case shall Negroes and white persons be together (Georgia).

Militia. The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be permitted where white troops are available and where whites are permitted to be organized, colored troops shall be under the command of white officers (North Carolina).

Nurses. No person or corporation shall require any White female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which negro men are placed (Alabama).

Prisons. The warden shall see that the white convicts shall have separate apartments for both eating and sleeping from the negro convicts (Mississippi).

Reform Schools. The children of white and colored races committed to the houses of reform shall be kept entirely separate from each other (Kentucky).

Teaching. Any instructor who shall teach in any school, college or institution where members of the white and colored race are received and enrolled as pupils for instruction shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined… (Oklahoma).

Wine and Beer. All persons licensed to conduct the business of selling beer or wine…shall serve either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same room at any time (Georgia).1
The Jim Crow laws and system of etiquette were undergirded by violence, real and threatened. Blacks who violated Jim Crow norms, for example, drinking from the white water fountain or trying to vote, risked their homes, their jobs, even their lives. Whites could physically beat blacks with impunity. Blacks had little legal recourse against these assaults because the Jim Crow criminal justice system was all-white: police, prosecutors, judges, juries, and prison officials. Violence was instrumental for Jim Crow. It was a method of social control. The most extreme forms of Jim Crow violence were lynchings.

Lynchings were public, often sadistic, murders carried out by mobs. Between 1882, when the first reliable data were collected, and 1968, when lynchings had become rare, there were 4,730 known lynchings, including 3,440 black men and women. Most of the victims of Lynch Law were hanged or shot, but some were burned at the stake, castrated, beaten with clubs, or dismembered. In the mid-1800s, whites constituted the majority of victims (and perpetrators); however, by the period of Radical Reconstruction, blacks became the most frequent lynching victims. This is an early indication that lynching was used as an intimidation tool to keep blacks, in this case the newly freed people, “in their places.” The great majority of lynchings occurred in southern and border states, where the resentment against blacks ran deepest. According to the social economist Gunnar Myrdal (1994): “The southern states account for nine-tenths of the lynchings. More than two thirds of the remaining one-tenth occurred in the six states which immediately border the South” (pp. 560-561).

Many whites claimed that although lynchings were distasteful, they were necessary supplements to the criminal justice system because blacks were prone to violent crimes, especially the rapes of white women. Arthur Raper investigated nearly a century of lynchings and concluded that approximately one-third of all the victims were falsely accused (Myrdal, 1994, p. 561).

Under Jim Crow any and all sexual interactions between black men and white women was illegal, illicit, socially repugnant, and within the Jim Crow definition of rape. Although only 19.2 percent of the lynching victims between 1882 to 1951 were even accused of rape, lynch law was often supported on the popular belief that lynchings were necessary to protect white women from black rapists. Myrdal (1994) refutes this belief in this way: “There is much reason to believe that this figure (19.2) has been inflated by the fact that a mob which makes the accusation of rape is secure from any further investigation; by the broad Southern definition of rape to include all sexual relations between Negro men and white women; and by the psychopathic fears of white women in their contacts with Negro men” (pp. 561-562). Most blacks were lynched for demanding civil rights, violating Jim Crow etiquette or laws, or in the aftermath of race riots.

Lynchings were most common in small and middle-sized towns where blacks often were economic competitors to the local whites. These whites resented any economic and political gains made by blacks. Lynchers were seldomly arrested, and if arrested, rarely convicted. Raper (1933) estimated that “at least one-half of the lynchings are carried out with police officers participating, and that in nine-tenths of the others the officers either condone or wink at the mob action” (pp. 13-14).

lynching

Lynching served many purposes: it was cheap entertainment; it served as a rallying, uniting point for whites; it functioned as an ego-massage for low-income, low-status whites; it was a method of defending white domination and helped stop or retard the fledgling social equality movement.

Lynch mobs directed their hatred against one (sometimes several) victims. The victim was an example of what happened to a black man who tried to vote, or who looked at a white woman, or who tried to get a white man’s job. Unfortunately for blacks, sometimes the mob was not satisfied to murder a single or several victims. Instead, in the spirit of pogroms, the mobs went into black communities and destroyed additional lives and property. Their immediate goal was to drive out — through death or expulsion — all blacks; the larger goal was to maintain, at all costs, white supremacy. These pogrom-like actions are often referred to as riots; however, Gunnar Myrdal (1944) was right when he described these “riots” as “a terrorization or massacre…a mass lynching” (p. 566). Interestingly, these mass lynchings were primarily urban phenomena, whereas the lynching of single victims was primarily a rural phenomena.

James Weldon Johnson, the famous black writer, labeled 1919 as “The Red Summer.” It was red from racial tension; it was red from bloodletting. During the summer of 1919, there were race riots in Chicago, Illinois; Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; Omaha, Nebraska; and two dozen other cities. W.E.B. DuBois (1986), the black social scientist and civil rights activist, wrote: “During that year seventy-seven Negroes were lynched, of whom one was a woman and eleven were soldiers; of these, fourteen were publicly burned, eleven of them being burned alive. That year there were race riots large and small in twenty-six American cities including thirty-eight killed in a Chicago riot of August; from twenty-five to fifty in Phillips County, Arkansas; and six killed in Washington” (p. 747).

The riots of 1919 were not the first or last “mass lynchings” of blacks, as evidenced by the race riots in Wilmington, North Carolina (1898); Atlanta, Georgia (1906); Springfield, Illinois (1908); East St. Louis, Illinois (1917); Tulsa, Oklahoma (1921); and Detroit, Michigan (1943). Joseph Boskin, author of Urban Racial Violence (1976), claimed that the riots of the 1900s had the following traits:

In each of the race riots, with few exceptions, it was white people that sparked the incident by attacking black people.

In the majority of the riots, some extraordinary social condition prevailed at the time of the riot: prewar social changes, wartime mobility, post-war adjustment, or economic depression.

The majority of the riots occurred during the hot summer months.

Rumor played an extremely important role in causing many riots. Rumors of some criminal activity by blacks against whites perpetuated the actions of the white mobs.

The police force, more than any other institution, was invariably involved as a precipitating cause or perpetuating factor in the riots. In almost every one of the riots, the police sided with the attackers, either by actually participating in, or by failing to quell the attack.

In almost every instance, the fighting occurred within the black community. (pp. 14-15)
Boskin omitted the following: the mass media, especially newspapers often published inflammatory articles about “black criminals” immediately before the riots; blacks were not only killed, but their homes and businesses were looted, and many who did not flee were left homeless; and, the goal of the white rioters, as was true of white lynchers of single victims, was to instill fear and terror into blacks, thereby buttressing white domination. The Jim Crow hierarchy could not work without violence being used against those on the bottom rung. George Fredrickson (1971), a historian, stated it this way: “Lynching represented…a way of using fear and terror to check ‘dangerous’ tendencies in a black community considered to be ineffectively regimented or supervised. As such it constituted a confession that the regular institutions of a segregated society provided an inadequate measure of day-to-day control” (p. 272).

Many blacks resisted the indignities of Jim Crow, and, far too often, they paid for their bravery with their lives.

© Dr. David Pilgrim, Professor of Sociology
Ferris State University
Sept., 2000
Edited 2012

1This list was derived from a larger list composed by the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site Interpretive Staff. Last Updated January 5, 1998. The web address is: http//www.nps.gov/malu/documents/jim crowlaws.htm.

References

Boskin, J. (1976). Urban racial violence in the twentieth century (2nd ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Glencoe Press.

Dubois, W. E. B. (1986). Writings. N. Huggins, (Ed.). New York NY: Literary Classics of the United States.

Kennedy, S. (1959/1990). Jim Crow guide: The way it was. Boca Raton, FL: Florida Atlantic University Press.

Myrdal, G. (1944). An American dilemma: the Negro problem and modern democracy. New York, NY: Harper.

Raper, A. F. (1933). The tragedy of lynching. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.

 

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