Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: What's Love Got to Do With It? Edition

This is something of a sequel to last week's post. In addition to excising part of her husband's letter to his mother, Elizabeth Agassiz also selectively edited the correspondence between Louis Agassiz and Samuel Gridley Howe, then a member of the Inquiry Commission. For instance, Agassiz wrote a post-script to his first letter to Howe, which read:
You may perhaps ask how it is that the half breed population is so large in the U.S., if intercourse between white and black is unnatural. A glance at the conditions under which this takes place may suffice to settle this point. As soon as the sexual desires are awakening in the young men of the South, they find it easy to gratify them by the readiness with which they are met by colored house servants. There is no such restraint upon the early passions as exists everywhere in these communities in which both sexes are legally upon a footing of equality. The first gratification under the pressure of so great a stimulus as the advantages accruing to the family negress, from the connection with young masters, already blunts his better instincts in that direction and leads him gradually to seek more "spicy partners," as I have heard the full blacks called by fast young men. Moreover it is not difficult physiologically to understand why mulattoes with their peculiar constitution should be particularly attractive physically, even though that intercourse should be abhorrent to a refined moral sensibility. Again whatever be the merit of this explanation, one thing is certain that there is no elevating element whatever conceivable in the connection of individuals of different races; there is neither love, nor desire for improvement of any kind. It is altogether a physical connection and in the lowest condition of life we look for something more and something higher in the connection of two beings of different sexes. Therefore the absence of it in individuals of different races seems in itself a condemnation of the whole.

Of course, there's no similarity at all to the modern slander that gays don't actually feel love and that they're only possessed by unnatural, irrational lust.

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