Definitions for "Paternalism"
The theory or practice of paternal government. See Paternal government, under Paternal.
From the Latin pater, meaning to act like a father. In the context of the American South, paternalism generally refers to the attitude of many white southerners toward African Americans in the nineteenth century and continuing into the twentieth. According to the paternalist defense of slavery, African Americans were childlike and unable to take proper care of themselves; therefore, they needed white "masters" to take care of them and guide them through life. After the Civil War, the paternalist argument continued to be used as a pretext for the exploitative working conditions of sharecropping, as well as for the strict code of laws and etiquette known as Jim Crow.
Making decisions for others against or apart from their wishes with the intent of doing them good.