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A.Word.A.Day--Jim Crow

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Jim Crow or jim crow (jim kroh) noun

The systematic practice of discriminating against and suppressing Black people.


1. Upholding or practicing discrimination against and suppression of Black people.

2. Reserved or set aside for a racial or ethnic group that is to be discriminated against.

[From obsolete Jim Crow, derogatory name for a Black person, ultimately from the title of a 19th-century minstrel song from Crow.]

"Having once been a disciple of Jim Crow, (Sen. Strom) Thurmond is now a follower of his baby-boom offspring. Jim Crow was an in-your-face bigot, but Jim Crow Jr. practices a more subtle form of racism. Where the elder Crow openly challenged the right of blacks to equal opportunity, his progeny now endorses it. But what Jim Crow Jr. says and what he does are worlds apart. Every year for more than a decade, Thurmond has issued a proclamation supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week. But at least twice during this period he's voted to cut billions of dollars from higher-education funding measures -- cuts that threatened the very lifeblood of black higher-education institutions." DeWayne Wickham, Black colleges stoop to Thurmond, USA Today, Jun 3, 1996.

This week's theme: eponyms.


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