Black History Month Special: Valentine’s Day,Conjugal Visits in Prison, Sex and Bonobo Monkeys 2/2


In part one I made a case that like bonobo monkeys, sex plays many roles in our daily lives. I thought that by looking at how we view certain sexual situations we can deconstruct and get to what ‘people’ really think about things.

I present you one relationship: The Black Brute

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From Slavery there is a fear of black men having sex with white women. The black brute caricature is a stereotype originating around the time of Reconstruction Era depicting African American men as inherently violent.  Which is ironic being that before the Civil War black slaves had been depicted as childlike and inferior beings, happy in their captivity.

White supremacists insisted that freedom would drive blacks towards crimes of theft, murder, and the rape of white women. To support these claims, newspapers would publish articles bolstering the image of black brutality to frighten and reinforce racist assumptions in white Southerners.

Can I give you an example

Example 1

taken from the article on the Atlantic and reposted here:

Anyone with a nickel, black or white, could now drink the cocaine-infused beverage. Middle-class whites worried that soft drinks were contributing to what they saw as exploding cocaine use among African-Americans. Southern newspapers reported that “negro cocaine fiends” were raping white women, the police powerless to stop them. By 1903, [then-manager of Coca-Cola Asa Griggs] Candler had bowed to white fears (and a wave of anti-narcotics legislation), removing the cocaine and adding more sugar and caffeine.

Example 2

bruteThe brute caricature portrays black men as innately savage, animalistic, destructive, and criminal — deserving punishment, maybe death. This brute is a fiend, a sociopath, an anti-social menace. Black brutes are depicted as hideous, terrifying predators who target helpless victims, especially white women.

Charles H. Smith (1893), writing in the 1890s, claimed, “A bad negro is the most horrible creature upon the earth, the most brutal and merciless”(p. 181). Clifton R. Breckinridge (1900), a contemporary of Smith’s, said of the black race, “when it produces a brute, he is the worst and most insatiate brute that exists in human form” (p. 174). George T. Winston (1901), another “Negrophobic” writer, claimed:

When a knock is heard at the door [a White woman] shudders with nameless horror. The black brute is lurking in the dark, a monstrous beast, crazed with lust. His ferocity is almost demoniacal. A mad bull or tiger could scarcely be more brutal. A whole community is frenzied with horror, with the blind and furious rage for vengeance.(pp. 108-109)

Bringing it back

The “terrible crime” most often mentioned in connection with the black brute was rape, specifically the rape of a white woman. At the beginning of the twentieth century, much of the virulent, anti-black propaganda that found its way into scientific journals, local newspapers, and best-selling novels focused on the stereotype of the black rapist. The claim that black brutes were, in epidemic numbers, raping white women became the public rationalization for the lynching of blacks.

When I was a child I had many older black women and men warn me  about going next to, hanging out in the area of white women. When I asked why, they simple said, if there is ever an accusation  lodged at you, it will be your word versus there and you will go to jail or die. It’s harsh yes but that’s what I heard from the old folk.  Unfortunately this kind of thing was true historically as we see in the Scottboro case (See Sidenote Below)

Concluding

I’m sorry if this seems a bit disjointed I wrote this  over the course of two days and have been very busy teaching and being a superhero.   February is an interesting month for me, there is Valentine’s Day and of course it is black history month. I looked for a way to show the relatedness of both these things.  I found that valentines day in it origin shed a lot of light on the aspects of our behaviour we do not like to address, it also really brought my attention to our relatedness to other primates other than the normal opposable thumbs bipedal,  stuff most biology book tell you.

I then thought we can look at social depictions of sex as a means to look at certain social biases. I found that the black beast caricature was a great link to valentines day and black history month.  This caricature to me was an outward attempt to drown out the moral sticking points that were surely called into question with the lynching of many black people in the south not to mention all the other belligerent acts recorded and not.

What I seek to do in all of these kind of post is to share the black experience with you, well not necessarily with just anyone but with anyone who care to know, who care to look past some of the more insidious assertions. One’s race doesn’t predetermine someone to be violent, if that were true  especially looking at the casualties of colonialism, history would have to be re-written especially European History from the the dawn of the Hanseatic League in the 13th century which in many ways I feel set a precedence for economic alignment in policy as well as self governance that went beyond the stipulation of the unique laws and statues of the cities involved. I think the Hanseatic league its formation and the power it was able to amass lead in many ways to the Dutch east India Company , the first corporation really (I think by modern standards but that is my opinion I am not a historian. look Into it tell me what you think – if anyone is a historian please lemme know I got some questions for you)

But I digress.

I think the issues surrounding the minority experience are very complex.  There are not cut and dry black and white especially given the centuries of history involved. I think so far the news and the powers that be have deliberately removed nuance and historical ramification from the issues.

Anyways i need my sleep I have a crazy chest work out tomorrow and soem bullshit to finish. I will leave it at this before i ramble on and …

SIDENOTES

SideNote: The Hanseatic league

The Hanseatic League  was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe. It stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages and early modern period (c. 13th–17th centuries). The League was created to protect economic interests and diplomatic privileges in the cities and countries and along the trade routes the merchants visited. The Hanseatic cities had their own legal system and furnished their own armies for mutual protection and aid. Despite this, the organization was not a city-state, nor can it be called a confederation of city-states; only a very small number of the cities within the league enjoyed autonomy and liberties comparable to those of a free imperial city.

SideNote: The ScottsBoro Case

dorr_whiteOn a cool, spring day in March 1931, two white women hitched a ride on a freight train in Alabama in the hopes of finding work in a neighboring state. When authorities stopped the train some time later, both women, fearing arrest for violating the Mann Act, which prohibited transporting even willing women across state lines for illicit purposes, told police that they had been raped by nine black men who were also scattered along the train. Their accusation caused a furor, and a mob that gathered to lynch the men dispersed only with promises of a speedy trial. Despite little evidence of rape, the men were convicted based on the women’s testimony and sentenced to death. As the case meandered through four separate trials and two supreme court decisions, local whites continued to support the women’s charges, even though one recanted her claim of rape after the second trial. Allegations eventually surfaced that the women were no paragons of virtue. Both had occasionally resorted to prostitution to support themselves and apparently had engaged in sexual relations with unmarried white men in the days before they made their accusations. Nevertheless, in an early articulation of what would come to be rape shield laws, which, in the 1970s, attempted to protect against attacks on the character of a rape victim, white southerners argued that the two women’s sordid sexual past should have no bearing on the case. As one spectator told a reporter, the victim “might be a fallen woman, but by God she is a white woman.” Though the nine accused men eventually won their freedom, the Scottsboro case, as it came to be known, has become the paradigm for all black-on-white rape cases in the twentieth century, in which the accuser’s whiteness overrode any consideration of her gender, sexual history, or class status.

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