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Romantic racism is a form of racism in which members of a dominant group project their racial fears and fantasies onto members of oppressed groups. Scholars have accused Norman Mailer[1][2][3], Jack Kerouac, and other Beatnik authors of the 1950s of romantic racism. The culture of the 1950s stressed conformity and the held up middle-class suburban families as the cultural ideal.[4] Many felt limited by or alienated from the culture and sought out influences from other cultures. Norman Mailer created his concept of what it meant to be “hip,” or a member of the urban counterculture, largely on his perception of the culture of urban African-Americans, and articulated his vision in his essay "The White Negro." Mailer has been accused of romantic racism because he implies that most African-American men lived lives of sex, drugs, and violence, and assumes that life in urban ghettoes is somehow enriched, rather than hurt, by poverty and crime. The essay has also been criticized for spreading the stereotype of African-American men as hypermasculine and hypersexual.[5]

Romantic racism is by no means a phenomenon limited to the writings of Beatnik authors. Other incidences of romantic racism can be found in found in many popular culture depictions of Native Americans and in other unfounded stereotypes and oversimplifications that create caricatures of various racial and ethnic groups.

References

  1. Breines, Wini (1992). Young, White, and Miserable: Growing up Female in the Fifties. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  2. Hoberek, Andrew (2005) “Liberal Antiliberalism: Mailer, O’Connor, and the Gender Politics of Middle-Class Ressentiment." Women's Studies Quarterly 33: 3&4
  3. Wallace, Michele ([1979]1990) Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman. London: Verso
  4. Breines, Wini (1992). Young, White, and Miserable: Growing up Female in the Fifties. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  5. Wallace, Michele ([1979]1990) Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman. London: Verso
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