By Gail Bederman
Read or Download Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917 (Women in Culture and Society Series) PDF
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Additional resources for Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the United States, 1880-1917 (Women in Culture and Society Series)
Evolution-and not middle-class cultural standards-had made white, middle-class women so delicate and domestic. Evolution-and not economic self-interest-had given white middle-class men the manly self-restraint which allowed them to become self-made men. The large proportion of immigrants in the work ing class lent credence to these ideas: one could hardly expect the Slavic or Mediterranean races to share the advanced, civilized tastes of Anglo-Saxons! In the light of "civilization," these class-based differences could be coded "racial.
It fell to African Americans like Ida B. Wells and Frederick Douglass to develop a version of civilization that denied the implicit connections between advancement and skin color, and depicted non-whites as the truest exemplars of civilization. All these versions of civilization linked assertions of millennia 1 progress to issues of race and gender; thus, they were recognizably the same discourse. Yet different people, with different political agendas, defined and deployed "civilization" differently.
1 41 And it did. Entitled The Reason Why the Colored American Is Not in the Worlds Columbian Exposition, the pamphlet inverted the White City's depic tion of "Negro Savagery" as the opposite of manly civilization. Instead, it sug gested that both manhood and civilization were more characteristic of black Americans than of white. What better example of the advancement of Amer ican civilization then the phenomenal progress African Americans had made R E MAKI N G MA N H O O D 39 after only twenty-five years of freedom?