There are a lot of jazz musicians who did this in the later days of Jim Crow. They would travel the South under an Arab/Muslim name. Since Arabs qualified as white, they'd get to use white areas and stay in white hotels.
Reminds me of how apartheid South Africa treated Chinese as "colored people", but treated Japanese as "honorary whites" in the 1960's.
This makes me think of a similar story involving an African-American mother in the South. One day, her daughter had asked to visit an amusement park, not knowing how ingrained Jim Crow laws and segregation were in the South. Rather than try to explain a tough reality to a child who wasn't likely to understand, she just "okay" but on the condition that she not say anything during the whole outing, to which the daughter agreed. Upon arrival and the expected "I'm sorry ma'am" from the ticket office, the mother started screaming in what sounded like nonsense to the child, and after an escalated exchange and word with the manager, they were allowed in. Years later, the daughter realized that her mother had been screaming in Spanish and attempting to circumvent Jim Crow race codes by passing as a Dominican or Puerto Rican.
It's stories like these that really emphasize how much anti-blackness had been ingrained in American racism. And it's pretty sickening how far people back then, and sadly today, would go to discriminate against people of African descent. Racism is terrible and incredibly sickening, and it can happen to anyone. But these stories just go to show how inconsistent racism and racists are.
Interesting. I delivered pizza for Dominos and I had a lot of trouble delivering in areas where the population was majorly black. I'm a white male with a southern accent so I'm sure that had to do with the tension, but I found that if I spoke with a Scottish accent then there was very little tension and the customers I delivered to where very welcoming and polite.
After reading Black Like Me...that's an extremely ballsy thing to do.
That's the thing about Southern Hospitality. Hospitality is for *guests*. People may even find you to be an interesting novelty. But overstay your welcome...
And I've known many small town Southern people who are absolutely friendly with black people with foreign accents (Africans, Carribean people), but will barely recognize and even say heinously racist shit about their black neighbours and countrymen.
I kinda wonder if it's some sort of "cultural uncanny valley" for them.
This has to do with the social construction of race. In 2020 the US Census will, for the first time, have "Arab" as a race. Up until then, Middle-Easterners have always been considered white. Whether this is good or bad is up for debate, since having your race defined is a good way to help identify and fix some specific issues within most of the racial category, but could also be used for persecution.
I say "social construction" because in the early 1900s with interracial couples becoming more prominent, the race "quadroon" was added because of the massive amount of 1/4th African Americans, and then after that, "octaroon" (1/8th) was added until eventually it was a "one drop" rule where if you have one drop of blood that is black, you're black. The fact that these racial categories change throughout time and location means "race" is socially constructed, and this is entirely due to racism and stereotypes.
People forget that Jews were not considered white by any means, but now they've seemed to be adopted by white culture.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is, back then there was no reason to think of middle eastern people as anything else but normal people (as it should be)
That and he was coffee colored, with a thin nose and lips.