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Uncle Tom Syndrome

Uncle Tom syndrome is the term used to describe a ritualized, accommodating, sycophantic style of behavior in African Americans toward Caucasians. The African American acts in a docile, nonassertive manner to appear nonthreatening to European Americans. The term traces its origins to the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852. The book, originally a newspaper serial, was written as an attempt to convince readers of the evils of slavery. The book enjoyed considerable commercial success. In the first year it sold 300,000 copies and by 1856, 2 million copies. The book succeeded in its goal of raising the nation's consciousness about the evils of slavery.

There continues to be controversy over the book. In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Stowe attempted to humanize the ...

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