Intercultural Communication

6 June 2016

“Jim Crow was more than a series of rigid anti-black laws. It was a way of life” (What Was Jim Crow, 2012). After reading this article I learned that Jim Crow was basically the name of a racial social system that was used primarily in the southern states. This system consisted of many rules that black citizens were confined to follow.

Intercultural Communication Essay Example

They also had guidelines that Blacks were supposed to abide by when merely conversing or in the presence of a white person. The article also went on to say, “Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens.” After doing some research, I believe that this system seemed to start after the end of the Reconstruction period, which started after the Civil War.

During the Reconstruction period, there seemed to be not as much segregation between the two races. However, this soon came to an end, this was due to the fact that Whites believed they were losing their control, so something had to be done; and so began the Jim Crow laws.

“Many Christian ministers and theologians taught that whites were the Chosen people, blacks were cursed to be servants, and God supported racial segregation” (What Was Jim Crow, 2012). This was another idea that seemed to pose as a possible origin of the Jim Crow Laws, the fact of religion. Religion is something that may always have influence over the occurrence of an event.

However, I don’t believe that this idea comes with as much support as the idea of Whites fearing the demise of their power. I believe that the reason these laws gained so much momentum was due to the fact that for years after the Civil War, racial mixing was allowed and seemed to be a common event.

“The U.S. officially ended slavery with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. There were various proposals to grant freed black slaves compensation, or at least assistance in establishing themselves as free citizens” (Reconstruction, 2008).

I think that Whites were angry about the way that things were happening and that they felt that their power was being undermined. So when the Jim Crow laws started up, the Whites had their vengeance and they wanted to take the power back. “Virtues are civic to the extent that they contribute to, and strengthen, the communal good” (Segregation and Civic Virtue, 2012). Segregation is usually thought to be an obstruction of the peace for a group of people.

However, it can also be seen and expressed as a fact of strength. When doing some research I found a couple of examples of the virtues of segregation in a community, “Obvious examples might include the building and maintenance of parks, schools, community centers, and libraries” (Segregation and Civic Virtue, 2012).

These examples go to show that segregation may actually have some positive externalities on a community. Segregation can cause a community to be more verbal and communicate more on issues that would ultimately boost the morale of a community.

There was one other sort of virtue that I found came about due to this era, and that was the Harlem Renaissance. This period was when group of gifted black authors published literature of their experiences during this rough time.

These works of art would end up sticking with us, and continue to influence modern literature today. I don’t personally believe that there was much mutual respect between the races during this era. There may have been some respect present, but it was not the same by any means.

I believe there were few, but some, Whites that respected the black race due to the treatment they had been put through. I also believe that some of the Blacks respected few of the Whites, mainly because of the rank of their status or the positions they held. However, these are two different views on respect and it seems to me that they are not based on mutual terms.

The lack of mutual respect is something that I believe could be blamed for the hindrance of intercultural communication at this time. This also has to do with the fact that white people determined that Blacks were like children. They did not treat them with the same respect that you would treat another adult.

This sort of treatment greatly affected the communication between Blacks and whites; Blacks were not considered to have valuable input and therefore their opinions were not taken into consideration. Blacks were treated as children and this is one of the sole reasons I think there was a large barrier to communication.

After doing some research, I learned that Blacks would become spies in the Civil Rights Movement. According to State of Siege, “They paid money to black Mississippians to infiltrate the meetings of civil rights activists” (Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, 2013).

I believe that this quote is reason enough to explain why some Blacks held these kinds of positions. At this point many African American’s were going through tough times and were not given many job opportunities, there was a limited source of income and they knew they had to take advantage of each opportunity.

This time in our history can be looked upon to greatly define our nation. It shows how we have overcome a lot of struggles through our lifetime yet we still have our imperfections. The Jim Crow laws created a staggeringly large barrier when it came to communication between Blacks and Whites.

Another factor that seemed to add to this miscommunication was the Citizen’s Council, which was basically just a large group of organized Whites that opposed civil rights.

These are two of the reasons I believe that intercultural communication was lacking at this time; the Jim Crow Laws and the Citizen’s Council both showed a group of people who opposed the integration of Blacks and Whites.

The people in this council and those who supported the Jim Crow Laws didn’t want to try and make opportunities for all men equal. They didn’t want to communicate with a group of people that was different than they were or of a different culture;

I think that this led the way for others not wanting to change the way things were sooner. It took some period of time but I think the barrier was finally pushed aside and integration was in sight.

References Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia (2012). What was jim crow? Retrieved from http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/what.htm Traces of the Trade (2008). Reconstruction, jim crow, and the civil rights era.

Retrieved  from http://www.tracesofthetrade.org/guides-and-materials/historical/reconstruction-jim-crow-and-the-civil-rights-era/ Merry, M. (2012). Educational theory. Segregation and civic virtue, 61, 465-484.

Retrieved from ttp://www.academia.edu/1842134/Segregation_and_Civic_Virtue Ellis, K. & Smith, S. (2013). State of siege: Mississippi whites and the civil rights movement. The mississippi state sovereignty commission. American RadioWorks.

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