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Mixing ItDiversity in World War Two Britain$
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Wendy Webster

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735762

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198735762.001.0001

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Sexual Patriotism

Sexual Patriotism

(p.197) 6 Sexual Patriotism
Mixing It

Wendy Webster

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on what I call ‘sexual patriotism’, to describe what much popular opinion demanded of British women—the avoidance of sexual relationships with all men who were not native-born Britons. These rules were generally female-only—British men’s relationships with non-British women attracted little attention. Women’s responses to the demands that they should be sexually patriotic were varied—many flouted the rules that popular opinion laid down for them. Within diverse popular attitudes, interracial mixing—including mixing between white British women and black men—was not only accepted but also championed by a significant strand of popular opinion. British people thought of themselves as tolerant, in contrast to the intolerance of white Americans. But on interracial sex and marriage and the birth of mixed-race children, the views of the American authorities, the British government, and much of British public opinion converged—they were beyond the pale.

Keywords:   dance hall, interracial sex, fraternization ban, interracial marriage, mixed race child, double standard, black GIs

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