A mob according to online dictionary (2011) refers to an out of control crowd who are bent on causing havoc and reigning terror should they be triggered. Mob justice refers to the activities of a charged group that vents their long held hatred on an individual or groups of people whom they perceive as their enemy. Carrigan & Webb as cited in Parker et al. (2003) state that no other nationals of any country have stood by to watch as the mob plunder and carry out a series of crimes against other citizens as the US did. The mobs according to Ramirez as cited in Parker et al. (2003) pretended to punish one crime while on the other hand committed even greater crimes. The mob law or justice in the United States has been carried out by the
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Between the late 19th century and mid 20th century extending up to 1940’s, the mob actions of the whites had extended to target Native Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, African American women and other ethnic-racial minorities. Mob justice later to the southerners’ was like a patriarchal duty in which the perceived racial superior group; the whites tried to restore their masculinity which was being eroded by the increasing social autonomy of the blacks. The black males were targets of rape almost being accused by the white women at will. Most of the mob violence that was carried out was done in the guise of protecting the women.
Mob violence was also instigated due to properties that they held be it land or other production resources. Parker et al (2003) note that the Mexicans were hunted down because of their hold on factors of economic production thus they were mostly killed for issues related to theft as they were perceived as a threat to the dominance of the whites in production. Frederick Douglas a writer about violence against blacks at one time noted the peculiarity in which the whites treated a Spanish woman who stabbed a white; she was put to death. Were she a white woman they would have lauded her action.
Mob violence in the United States was done sometimes under the watchful eyes of the state security apparatus and sometimes by the state apparatus themselves. A case in point was the Porvenir massacre