May 1, 2013

The Meaning of "Uncle Tomism"

Brando Simeo Starkey has published Uncle Tom & Social Norms: Improving Legal Interests and Affecting Public Policy: Introduction. Here is the abstract.

My thesis is that the management of “constructive” social norms to police racial loyalty, by helping forge solidarity, can aid blacks in promoting their legal interests and ability to affect public policy. This is observable by following the life of Uncle Tom. A person, in other words, is called an Uncle Tom when he or she violates a racial loyalty norm that actually exists or that the speaker wants to exist. This signals to the rest of the black community to conform or else. That is, the real power of Uncle Tom as a sanctioning device is the deterrent effect it has on the broader group. Shadowing Uncle Tom through black history helps us to understand where and how these norms were constructed, disseminated, applied, and enforced. From there, we can assess the propriety of these norms.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link. 

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