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Raising RacistsThe Socialization of White Children in the Jim Crow South$
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Kristina DuRocher

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813130019

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813130019.001.0001

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“My Mother had Warned me about this”:

“My Mother had Warned me about this”:

Parental Socialization in the Jim Crow South

(p.12) (p.13) 1 “My Mother had Warned me about this”:
Raising Racists

Kristina DuRocher

University Press of Kentucky

The lessons that white southern parents taught their children regarding their identity during the Jim Crow era revolved mainly on race and gender. To ensure the preservation of white supremacy and ensure their social and economic security, white parents closely monitored their children's early encounters with blacks. The government also helped in child rearing by introducing literature that offered suggestions about raising youth in a modern culture. In the south, parenting handbooks emphasized the need to teach children from an early age their appropriate racial and gender roles and demonstrated the consequences of unsuccessful parenting with fear-inducing anecdotes. The evidence of day-to-day efforts of southern white parents to socialize their children can be found in the autobiographies and other writings by southerners who experienced this indoctrination in their race and gender roles during their childhoods. Some have recognized that their socialization in racial issues is irreconcilable with their own experiences and understanding, leading them to reject their childhood understandings.

Keywords:   white southern children, Jim Crow South, socialization, white supremacy, African Americans, racial identity, gender roles, childhood

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