Anti-Semitism and the Deep South: A Psychiatrist’s Perspective
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The popular image of the Deep South depicts white Southerners as racist and anti-Semitic with a predilection for violence. But this has not been the experience of Jews that live in the Deep South. Looking at Mississippi as representative of the Deep South, Jews have been an integral part of Mississippi communities since the first Jewish peddlers settled in Mississippi in the late 1700s. Mississippi Jews have chosen assimilation over orthodoxy, striving to fit in. At the same time they have maintained Jewish traditions and ties with Jews across the state and beyond. Overt anti-Semitism is rare. Nonetheless, a constant undercurrent of anti-Semitism continues, that is easily triggered, often by merely expressing an opinion that differs from those of the white Protestant majority. Although once having widespread presence in rural parts of the state, the Jewish population in Mississippi is dwindling.
KeywordsAnti-Semitism Deep South Judaism, Jews Assimilation Caste and class Civil rights
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