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Race and Ethnic Etiquette

Charles Jarmon

Subject Sociology » Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Forms of etiquette exist in nearly every society where different racial and ethnic groups are separated by extreme differences in economic wealth, political power, or social status. They are most developed in caste or caste-like societies, in which the lower-status racial or ethnic groups are enslaved or belong to economically exploited or subjugated groups. In these situations the patterns of etiquette regulate interpersonal relations between the higher and lower-status groups, functioning as codes of behavior designed to maintain the status quo (or a state of harmony within it) within which the more privileged groups benefit. Sociologists and other social scientists have studied the emergence, practice, and impact of these codes on population groups in countries around the world, including the US, India, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, Germany, Australia, and the countries of the circum-Caribbean (Dubois 1899; Reuter 1927 ; Park 1928 ; Doyle 1937 ; Myrdal 1944 ; Cox 1948 ; Frazier 1957 ; Sowell 1983 ; Bell 1992 ; Marable 2005 ). In any given society, the unique complexity and changes in the codes must be understood in terms of its own history and the currents of broad social and cultural change affecting it both from within and without. Blacks have lived in the US for nearly 400 years, and for most of this period were enslaved. When freed after the Civil War the approximately ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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