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Paternalism

Charles Jarmon


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Paternalism is evidenced by a pattern of gift-giving (or sponsorship) from a more powerful or higher-status group or individual to a lower-status group or individual that is consistent with a system designed to maintain privileged positions. It usually occurs in situations where there are sharp differences in power and status between groups or individuals. The “benevolence” associated with the actions of those in the more favorable position is usually reciprocated by acts of dependency or accommodation by those in the less favorable position. It is manifested in the different configurations and levels of race and ethnic identities, such as between national groups and groups and individuals within nations. Fanon (1963) provides an incisive analysis of paternalism in the relations between some of the former European colonial powers and the formerly colonized nations of Africa, Asia, and South America. Much more discussion has focused on paternalism within the nation-state, in countries where slave or apartheid systems developed as in the US and South Africa (DuBois 1903; Frazier 1939, 1957 ; Myrdal 1944 ; Thompson 1944 ; Cox 1948 ; Stampp 1956 ; Ruef & Flecther 2003). This discussion illustrates how paternalism has functioned in the US. In the relationship between African Americans and whites, paternalism was most fully developed under the system of slavery, where the status ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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