Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South
Charles F. Robinson II is the author of Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South. His main objective in writing this novel was to examine how white southerners enforced anti-miscegenation laws. Robinson shows that the real crime was to suggest that black and white individuals might be equals.
When writing the book, Robinson used various sources. He examined legal cases from across the South, U.S. Supreme court decision, debates in state legislatures, comments in the U.S. Congressional Record, newspaper editorials, anti-miscegenation laws, private correspondence, and some personal writings by African Americans.
From the conclusion: “For the white South, punishing black/white intimacy had more to do with maintaining caste divisions between the races than preventing interracial sex…Love or the appearance of sincere affection mattered more than sex because it suggested that the two individuals involved in the interracial relationship saw each other as social equals. Whites scarcely tolerated such open breeches, for to do so undermined the legitimacy of an economic, political, and social structure that ensured the supremacy of whites” (Robinson).
Public, domestic unions between blacks and whites threatened the political, social, and cultural structure of white supremacy and suggested the possibility of racial equality. Prior to, and even after the Civil War, interracial relationships and sex has been a known thing. In 1662, the Virginia colonial assembly passed a law dealing with special illicitness of interracial couples. If convicted, fines would be doubled and penalties would be twice as severe. In 1691, interracial marriages becam...
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...aged in interracial sex to show that whites and blacks are equal and on the same playing field. Many people did not agree with interracial relationships, which holds true even today in the South. By having a relationship, especially an intimate one, couples were showing that color should not matter.
Personally, I think the book was an interesting read. It is crazy to even imagine a time when blacks and whites were segregated. Reading stories of how people viewed and acted about interracial couples is saddening because of the harsh punishment that they would endure, but also gives an explanation of why many southern white men, especially older ones, have such a strong opinion on interracial couples to this day.
Robinson, Charles F. Dangerous Liaisons: Sex and Love in the Segregated South. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas, 2003. Print.
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