Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Evo-psycho bros and the inconvenient truth about slave-rape part 2

The historical record is full of stories of slave rape. 

In the first part I pointed out that having "black" ethnicity was considered so polluting by the Southern slave system that men who fathered children via slave-rape would allow their own children to remain in slavery.

Apparently that's not the whole story:

...Ira Berlin writes in his classic text, Slaves Without Masters, “fully 40 percent of the Southern free Negro population were classified as mulattoes, while only one slave in ten had some white ancestry.” The obvious reason: Masters were more likely to free slaves who looked like—and, in many cases, descended from—them. And sometimes—not often enough—these slaves were able to earn enough money working on their own to purchase their freedom and that of their wife and children.
Now Berlin was still dealing with the imprecise social construct of race in his "Slaves Without Masters" but following directly from the above excerpt, Gates makes the connection to contemporary genetic data:
The average African American today, according to Joanna Mountain at the genetics company 23andMe, “is 73.4 percent African, 24.1 percent European, and only 0.7 percent Native American” in their genetic makeup.
Any sexual intercourse between slave and master must be categorized as rape since a slave is hardly free to reject a master's sexual advances without fear of consequences to herself or her loved ones. And it's unlikely many slave masters cared whether a slave was attracted or no.

The case of The State of Missouri v. Celia, a Slave makes clear how little right to bodily integrity slaves possessed.
...between 1850 and 1855, Newsom regularly forced Celia to have sexual intercourse with him, and Celia bore two children over the course of those five years, at least one of which was fathered by Newsom.[9] At some point before 1855, Celia began a romantic relationship with George, one of Newsom’s other slaves. In 1855, Celia was pregnant for a third time with a child that was likely fathered by either George or Newsom.[10] At some point, George gave Celia an ultimatum, telling her “he would have nothing more to do with her if she did not quit the old man."[8] After this, Celia attempted to plead with Newsom’s family members and with Newsom himself. Sometime on or around June 23, 1855, Celia begged Newsom to leave her alone because she was sick and pregnant. Newsom refused, and told her “he was coming down to her cabin that night.”[8] Celia threatened Newsom, telling him that she would hurt him if he tried to rape her again. After her conversation with Newsom, Celia went and found a large stick, which she placed in the corner of her cabin.[8] 
On the night of June 23, 1855, after the rest of his family had gone to bed, Robert Newsom came to Celia’s cabin, as he had told her he would.[8] Celia made an attempt to reject his sexual advances, and when he refused to back down, she clubbed him over the head with the stick that she had brought into her cabin earlier that day. 
Celia was found guilty of murder and hanged for attempting to defend herself against rape.

In 1998, the scientific journal Nature published the results of DNA tests designed to shed new light on questions first asked some two hundred years earlier: Did Thomas Jefferson have a relationship with a woman who was his slave? Did that relationship produce children? 
Now, the new scientific evidence has been correlated with the existing documentary record, and a consensus of historians and other experts who have examined the issue agree that the question has largely been answered: Thomas Jefferson fathered at least one of Sally Hemings's children, and quite probably all six. The language of "proof" does not translate perfectly from science and the law to the historian's craft, however. And the DNA findings in this case are only one piece of a complicated puzzle that many in previous generations worked hard to make sure we might never solve.
And  white men continued to rape black women without legal consequences right into the mid-20th century as we can see in the case of Recy Taylor:
"The Rape of Recy Taylor," Nancy Buirski's somber and disturbing new documentary, revisits this grave injustice through an evocative weave of testimony, music and film footage of the Jim Crow South. Although the 97-year-old Taylor is seen at strategic moments, her story is largely recounted by her younger siblings, Robert Corbitt and Alma Daniels, who speak with palpable anguish about the horror their sister endured. The longer view is provided by historians and scholars who position the crime within a never-ending cycle of black suffering and resistance that continues to this day. 
The suffering, in this case, is no more detailed than it needs to be. It's revealed that Taylor, who was married and had a 9-month-old daughter at the time of the assault, was violated to a degree that she could no longer bear children afterward. "What they did to her? They didn't need to live," Daniels says matter-of-factly. But live they did. Although Hugo Wilson, the driver of the Chevy, confessed to the rape and named the six other men involved, none of them were arrested — an infuriating if unsurprising reminder of the rarity of justice in the segregated South.
So slave-rape was common and even through the mid-20th century white men could get away with raping black women.

And as we have seen from the testimony of 23andMe, "...the average African American today... “is 73.4 percent African, 24.1 percent European, and only 0.7 percent Native American”

The average African American today is actually more than one-quarter something besides African. Why don't evo-psycho bros consider this at all worth examining when they classify Americans by race? Why do they continue to rely, exclusively, on the social construction of race when making claims about the intelligence and criminality of groups of people?

Well, why should the evo-psycho bros have to engage in so much extra work when nobody cares how sloppy they are? Especially when there are free, convenient half-century old data from white supremacist organizations around for the taking?

And so they accept that simple binary - black & white - and pretend it is not a social construct. 

The binary that, in the United States, was given to us by slavery: any hint of West African ethnic features made you "black." Even if your slaver father was white. Even if your slaver grandfather and your slaver father were white. In other words, even if you were three-quarters white and only one-quarter black. There was even a term for blacks who were only 1/8 black - "Octoroon" and a play The Octoroon was popular in the mid-1800s, although the ending was changed depending on where it was performed:
When the play was performed in England it was given a happy ending, in which the mixed-race couple are united. The tragic ending was used for American audiences, to avoid portraying a mixed marriage.
Considering the social hierarchy, those with West African ethnicity in the United States attempted to "pass" for white whenever there was any hope for success.

Even after slavery ended, blacks continued to be deemed inferior, by both social customs and the law. And people with virtually any West African features were considered "black."

When "blacks" began to conduct organized campaigns against notions of and laws and customs based on the assumption of their inferiority, they began to take pride in their "race"-  but many still accepted the black/white binary, even while there was a color-based hierarchy within the "race."

And even some on the Left enshrine the simple binary as much as White Supremacists do, a subject I've blogged about before and will discuss further in this series.

Thanks to DNA testing we know that people considered "black" in the United States usually have complex heritages. And it turns out, to a lesser but still significant extent, so do people considered "white" - especially in the Southern US.

Especially in the Southern US, where attempts are still made to misrepresent the causes of the Civil War. And where you can still see people denying that the Confederacy was treason for an evil cause, every bit as awful as Germany's Third Reich. There are still many in the South who consider their Confederate history a source of pride, rather than shame. Unlike the German descendants of supporters of the Third Reich.

But that simple black/white binary is so easy and uncomplicated and so inexpensive. The evo-psycho bros would have to work so much harder to include actual genetic data in their explanations of "race" groupings, and also it might not turn out after all that there's a connection between African ancestry and greater criminality and lower intelligence. 

How much nicer for them to take three convenient shortcuts:
  • Use social constructions developed in the antebellum South (but pretend they are not social constructions);
  • Use existing data from white supremacists and;
  • Throw out all inconvenient factors.
If you follow this system your sloppiness will not lead to condemnation - on the contrary, established science figures like Steven Pinker will recommend your work on the one hand, and on the other you will be praised for your "science" by a member of the alt-right, Stefan Molyneux.

 I've already discussed the first two convenient shortcuts taken by the evo-psycho bros. Let's next look at the tactic of throwing out inconvenient factors, as we see Razib Khan doing, blatantly in a blog post from a few years ago.