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I Fight for a LivingBoxing and the Battle for Black Manhood, 1880-1915$
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Louis Moore

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041341

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041341.001.0001

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Sambos, Savages, and the Shakiness of Whiteness

Sambos, Savages, and the Shakiness of Whiteness

(p.113) 5 Sambos, Savages, and the Shakiness of Whiteness
I Fight for a Living

Louis Moore

University of Illinois Press

While fighters drew the color line, and cities and states banned interracial competition. White sportswriters did their part to by caricaturizing black boxers in a myriad of despicable ways to assuage white anxieties, and thus allowed for their continuation of their white voyeurism to see and to believe that the black body somehow represented denigration. These racial descriptions included portraying black fighters as docile Sambos, uncivilized savages, or comparing black musculature to animals. As black men kept winning in the ring, the disparaging descriptions offered protectionism to the fallacy of physical manhood as it related to racial power.

Keywords:   White anxieties, Sam Langford, Manhood, Voyeurism, Racism, Sportswriters, Black dominance

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