Freedom of association and law and economics
blandsberg at UOP.EDU
Mon Oct 30 11:10:35 PST 2000
My experience in Alabama in the 1960's exposed me to some whites who were very uncomfortable with the racial caste system. However, except for a few brave persons who earned pariah status, most of them did not feel free to openly express or act on that discomfort. A combination of state law, official action, and local custom powerfully constrained individual freedom of those who wished to associate across racial lines.
Brian K. Landsberg
Professor of Law
McGeorge School of Law
3200 Fifth Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
>>> Richard Dougherty <doughr at ACAD.UDALLAS.EDU> 10/30 10:44 AM >>>
Paul Finkelman wrote:
Finally, the economists fail to understand the economic value of pleasure; obviously
in the South (and much of the rest of the nation in some ways) whites got great
pleasure from being able to slam the door in the face of a black; the bus driver
clearly enjoyed his work more if he could send blacks to the back of the bus, or on
an interstate bus on a lonely highway, in the middle of the night, stop at the bus
stop and tell the black to wait for the next bus; this sort of power made the bus
driver a happier worker and perhaps a better worker; it cut across all of white
Isn't this a bit reductionist? Do we have grounds for presuming that all whites,
especially in the South, took glee in lording their "superiority" over all blacks? I
don't think it would undermine your point to say that this was probably a factor
promoting continued segregation, but can we make such universal claims about the
most menial of workers? From my own anecdotal evidence I would presume that those
who were in a potentially oppressive position, such as the bus driver you speak of,
often sympathize with the plight of those in socially-compelled inferior positions.
The closer they are to them , in fact (and, often, the more religious they are), the
more they seem willing to ameliorate the condition of those less well off. Maybe
they hide their glee well?
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