Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn is Associate Professor of History at Syracuse University and a former Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

The underlying language of social contact in the United States depends, where race is concerned, on long established patterns of behavior. Many of these traditions are rooted in the era of slavery and most of them manifest notions of superiority and inferiority.
Since the civil rights era, some subtle, if important, changes in this racial etiquette have occurred; but more are needed. Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn explains why.