'Black Shame' - the campaign against 'racial degeneration' and female degradation in interwar Europe

2014-06-06T14:11:21Z (GMT) by Iris Wigger
The ‘Black Shame’ campaign used stereotypical images of ‘racially primitive’, sexually depraved black colonial soldiers threatening ‘white women’ in 1920s Germany to manufacture widespread concern and generate panic about the presence of tens of thousands of occupying French troops from colonial Africa on German soil. The campaign, which originated with the German government, quickly developed a momentum of its own and became an international phenomenon, spanning the political divide and incorporating figures from the Left and Right, trades unionists, Christian groups, women’s organisations and key public figures including Edmund D. Morel and Bertrand Russell. It had followers throughout Europe, the US and Australia and was promoted through the modern media. The author here explores the ways in which the racial, sexual, class and national stereotypes that fuelled the campaign interrelated and reinforced one another, creating ‘interlinked discriminations’.