The correlation of lynching with economic hardship / by kevin murray

Most everyone is aware, of the rather sordid and violent tale of white mobs lynching blacks in the late 19th century and into the 20th century, of which, it was believed that those being lynched, suffered to that fate, because of their being accused, rightly or wrongly, of various nefarious crimes, often involving white women or other social mores purposely violated by the black man.  While this is true, it is not the whole truth, for the fact of the matter is, that as reported by, that "…a standard deviation drop in the world cotton price led to a 0.09 to 0.16 standard deviation increase in lynchings in a cotton-growing county."  That is to say, when the price of cotton dropped, more lynchings occurred.


This makes eminent sense, for the business of cotton and of agricultural in general, is to make a profit, and when profits are lacking, somebody is going to have to pay the price, and those that are the planter class, are surely not going to blame themselves, and further they are not going to strike the blow against those that set the prices of cotton in world markets, because they know that doing such is futile; so then, their anger and frustration is almost always going to be taken out against the only real party, that did not have any viable defense to stop them, which pretty much meant, the blacks that worked for them.


Additionally, with the price of cotton down, the need for the continual employment of workers, is also going to be subsequently reduced, and certainly one way to get rid of excess labor is to lynch a few of them, which thereupon scares away the others, while also providing the object lesson to those that remain employed, that they need to do a whole lot better in their productivity or their fate may indeed be something quite similar.


The bottom line is that though lynching is a mob activity, it is always easier to fire up poor whites to do their southern duty, when times are tough, because those that have very little and are themselves on the verge of losing the little that they have, are usually quite eager to perform wanton acts of terror to thereby prove that though they might be seen by others as just being poor white trash, they are still, though, able to stand tall and get some lynching done, thereby proving to their  contemporaries and doubters, that they are most definitely, innately superior to the lowly blacks that they have lynched.


It can be said, that none of us lives inside a vacuum, so that when economic hardship comes, and those that are the master planter class, are suffering, they sure the heck aren't going to take it lying down, but rather they are going to rise up, quite often, in a visceral way; not so much because by doing so, it will successfully resolve their financial troubles and predicaments, but mainly because they do not desire and cannot afford to look impotent to those that typically respect them, and the one thing, that America, above virtually every other nation, proves again and again, is that violence successfully carried out, begets at a minimum, a perverse respect.