Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Molly Ivins has passed away.

Driving with extreme prejudice

President Bush really hates journalists:
Does President Bush have it in for the press corps? Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses–at least more stylish than most safety glasses–Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. "I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety. "Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned.

If Bush had hit somebody, I wonder what reasons his slavering lackeys would come up to demonstrate why this was completely incomparable to Chappaquiddick.

Monday, January 29, 2007

More evidence that Satan's a great guy

You know Lucifer, the Morning Star? He's all about gay pride, according to the mayor of Moscow:
"Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which cannot be called anything other than satanic," Mr Luzhkov said.

"We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future," he said.

The mayor also blamed groups which he said were receiving grants from the West for spreading what he dismissively referred to as "this kind of enlightenment" in Russia.


Jellybeans in the fight against racism!

Because Google reads my e-mail, it recommended this site to me, wherein one can buy "diversity jellybeans":
Because the flavor may not match the color of these jelly beans--they are a great catalyst to spark discussions on diversity and stereotyping! There are many activities that you can do with the beans (visit our lesson plan section). Many people like our individually packaged servings that include the following card: "This candy is just like people--you cannot determine what is on the inside by simply looking at the outside. Diversity jellybeans remind us to experience people one at a time and enjoy their unique qualities." While some simply put them on their desk as a reminder that we are all unique--many claim that after experiencing diversity jellybeans, they are reminded of them every time they eat another jelly bean! Great gift idea for Diversity Day celebration or meeting icebreaker!


Sunday, January 28, 2007

No-one can disprove it.

Through some surfing, I find this post from back in September, describing the best defense of George "Macaca" Allen ever. You may recall that at some point some college buddies of Allen's came forward to testify that they had heard the Senator using other racial epithets in one of those mistakes of youth. And one blogger explained why this probably wasn't a big deal:
Pardon me for pointing it out. But thirty years later remembering a brief distant conversation outdoors by a pond, isn't it quite possible Taylor heard the word ["]neighbors["], as opposed to the other? I doubt he'd hold up on the stand in a court of law.

Of course! If only Mark Fuhrman had used the same defense, his testimony might have put O.J. Simpson behind bars!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

An interesting innovation

Google has come up with an interesting idea: linking Google Books with Google Maps. That is, when a book describes a location, they provide a link to their map software so a person can visualize the location.
Google Books has started to "animate the static information" in written works by linking location references to its interactive Google Maps software.

Clicking on words pinpointing certain places in books will connect readers to maps of the spots, according to Google engineer David Petrou.

"Why not visualize places mentioned in books on a map?" Petrou asked rhetorically in a weblog on the company website.

"Now you can. Fact, fiction, old and new, we seek to present maps when helpful across all kinds of books."

Titles already augmented with interactive maps include Around the World in Eighty Days, War and Peace, The Travels of Marco Polo, and The 9/11 Commission Report, according to Google.

"We hope this feature helps you plan your next trip, research an area for academic purposes, or visualize the haunts of your favorite fictional characters," wrote Petrou. "Above all, have fun."

Although given the format Google Books is in, that might be kinda awkward.

Pre-emptive recrimination

Today's zombie racist is Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic.

Peretz on Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Poor Tom Friedman. He is looking for a Muslim Martin Luther King. There is none, Tom. If one were living on earth, they'd break his windows. Imprison him. Or kill him. Finished.

Matthew Yglesias's response is perfect:
Imagine that! A society where a figure like King could be imprisoned or even killed! Those Muslims sure are vicious and evil.

And Peretz on Arab outrage:
I actually believe that Arabs are feigning outrage when they protest what they call American (or Israeli) "atrocities." They are not shocked at all by what in truth must seem to them not atrocious at all. It is routine in their cultures. That comparison shouldn't comfort us as Americans. We have higher standards of civilization than they do. But the mutilation of bodies and beheadings of people picked up at random in Iraq does not scandalize the people of Iraq unless victims are believers in their own sect or members of their own clan. And the truth is that we are less and less shocked by the mass death-happenings in the world of Islam. Yes, that's the bitter truth. Frankly, even I--cynic that I am--was shocked in the beginning by the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq. But I am no longer surprised. And neither are you.

In other words, Arabs aren't shocked by the deaths of people who aren't part of their particular religious sect. Not like good old Americans, who aren't shocked by the deaths of Iraqis.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Anachronism Edition

Some of you have probably heard at one point or another that South Carolina only removed its anti-miscegenation statute from its constitution in 1998, and Alabama in 2000. These aren't all isolated incidents.

The repeal of Alabama's anti-miscegenation laws inspired Professor Gabriel Chin to start the Alien Land Law Project in order to get states to repeal their alien land laws. These laws prevented Asians from owning or inheriting land or property. In 2000, Kansas, New Mexico, Florida and Wyoming still had these laws on the books; New Mexico and Florida had them in their constitutions. Wyoming repealed its in 2001, and Kansas in 2002. New Mexico had a vote to remove its alien land law from its constitution in 2002 which failed to pass--it only removed the law from its constitution in 2006. As far as I can tell, Florida's constitution still retains that section.

In 2002, Taylor County High School of Georgia had one prom--for the previous three decades they'd had two, segregated by race.1

Oregon barely ratified the fourteenth amendment in 1866, 13-9 in the Senate and 25-22 in the House. However, when Democrats gained control of the legislature in 1868, they voted to rescind ratification. Oregon didn't re-ratify the 14th amendment until 1973.2

And to top it all, Alabama's constitution still demands that "Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race." A vote in 2004 to amend the constitution to remove that section lost.

Racism, slavery, and Jim Crow left lasting impressions on our society. It's not enough to say that because we passed a Civil Rights Act that everything is fine and dandy.

1. "The End of One Tradition... Two Races, One Prom", Bill Osinski, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 20, 2002.
2. "Race, Politics and Denial: Why Oregon Forgot to Ratify the Fourteenth Amendment", Cheryl A. Brooks, 83 Oregon Law Review, 2004


Thursday, January 25, 2007

For the good old days, when people knew their place

Today's zombie racist: James Lileks.

Inspired by this 1943 advertisement, he writes:
The Steward was one of those peculiar archetypes of American apartheid – along with the Porter and the Maid. Unlike the domestic servant, though, he contained no sass. Think Uncle Ben: big toothy smile, yassir. Domestic servants, however, were allowed a great deal of sass – listen to the old Great Gildersleeve shows, and you get a perfect picture of the popular idea of this idealized relationship. Gildy is henpecked and outdone by all his domestic associates, but the only person who comes across with any degree of pride or level-headedness is Birdie, the servant, and Gildy's relationship to her is one of kindness and deference. You could say that's easy: she didn't count, so it was easy to be nice to her. But that's wrong. There was a fundamental decency and mutual affection in their relationship. Yes, yes, idealized depiction of inherent inequalities, etc. As the argument no doubt goes, the shows perpetuated inequality by pretending they really didn’t exist. But it's instructive to note what the popular culture held out as the ideal. Equality, not subjegation. Birdie was fully integrated into the family, and shared the same values. Nowadays I suspect a sitcom with a Black servant in a middle-class family would milk the clash of cultures, not the similarities. Wanda Sykes would star.

Links added by me.

For his next column, I imagine Lileks will be writing in the plantation tradition. I'll get him started:
The old plantation days are passed away, perhaps forever. My principles now lead me to abhor slavery and rejoice at its abolition. Yet sometimes, in the midst of the heat and toil of the struggle for existence, the thought involuntarily steals over me that we have seen better days. I think of the wild rides after the fox and the deer; of the lolling, the book, the delicious nap, on the balcony, in the summer house, or on the rustic seat on the lawn; of the long sittings at meals, and the after-dinner cigar; of the polished groups in easy but vivacious conversation in the parlor; of the chivalric devotion to the beautiful women; of the pleasant evening drives; of the visits to the plantation, with its long, broad expanse of waving green, dotted here and there with groups of industrious slaves; of the long rows of negro cabins with little pickaninnies playing about them; of the old well with its beam and pole for drawing, and of the women with pails of water on their heads; of the wild old field airs ringing out from the cabins at night; of the "Christmas gif', Massa," breaking your slumbers on the holiday morn; of the gay devices for fooling the dignified old darkies on the first of April; of the faithful old nurse who brought you through infancy, under whose humble roof you delighted to partake of an occasional meal; of the flattering, foot-scraping, clownish, knowing rascal to whom you tossed a silver piece when he brought up your boots; of the little darkies who scrambled for the rind after you had eaten your water-melon on the piazza in the afternoon--and, "as fond recollection presents them to view," I feel the intrusive swelling of the tear of regret.

--A South Carolinian, "South Carolina Society," Atlantic Monthly, 39 (June, 1877), p. 684. Quoted in Rayford W. Logan, The Betrayal of the Negro, p. 254.

Any takers?

Some of the opposition to gay marriage--and giving gays any rights or protections at all, really--is that this would somehow trample on the rights of religious bigots to, well, be religious bigots. Somehow they have convinced themselves that if sexual orientation is added to hate-crime laws, for example, then the First Amendment would go out the window and people would be allowed to prosecute them for spouting off homophobic vitriol, or that it would be illegal for a priest to refuse to marry a gay couple.

This is all absurd, of course, or so I thought. But today I found out that a proposed bill in New Hampshire actually would infringe on the religious freedom of ministers:
Itse's bill would change the law to allow all "religious officiants authorized by their church, religion, sect, or denomination to solemnize marriages in the way usually practiced among them" -- with a catch. Those ceremonies would only be allowed "provided that such marriages do not conflict with existing state law prohibiting marriage between persons of the same sex."

He said there should be a clear distinction between civil and religious marriage, and doesn't believe the state should regulate religious ceremonies.

"This makes it a purely religious ceremony and hopefully those who enter into such an arrangement will really think of it as before God and not before the governor," Itse said outside the committee room.

Liberal ministers say they want the same thing, which is why they're angered by the bill. Unitarian Universalist ministers told the committee the bill violates their religious freedom because they regard same-sex couples joined in ceremonies as married in the eyes of their church.

Any bets that Focus on the Family will decry this attempt to impinge the religious rights of Christians?

...and as an amusing aside, in the first link I found this amusing quote:
I cannot give any more of the details as of this time, but SBM is coordinating a private meeting with President Bush and other FORMER homosexual men and women, along with their families to VETO this bill, should it come to that point.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Well, it took a while, but I finally tracked down the original quote I excerpted in the post below. The portion that the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, and many others besides, quote originated thus:
A U.S. representative from Georgia declared that allowing gay marriages "necessarily involves (the) degradation" of conventional marriage, an institution that "deserves admiration rather than execration."

This was from a May 19, 1996 article by Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune, entitled "Marriage Issue Just as Plain as Black and White."

Of course, the original quote that Mr. Zorn picked apart was only partly related to interracial marriage, despite how everyone continues to cite it. So for the record, the original quote in context:
Sir, the whites naturally view this as an attempt at ultimate amalgamation. This necessarily involves their degradation. A mean alliance always begets a progeny far below the level of the better parent. If this is not true, why, when equal facilities for mental improvement are accorded to each race, demand they shall be placed side by side in the same school-room? The pride of the southern whites deserves admiration rather than execration.

This was part of a speech by Congressman James Blount of Georgia before Congress on January 6, 1874. It's available on the Library of Congress's website. This was part of a debate over a proposed Civil Rights Bill.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My hat off to them

From the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force, a PDF entitled Arguments for the Preservation of "Traditional" Marriage: Then and Now.

Though the quote "Allowing interracial marriages 'necessarily involves the degradation' of conventional marriage, an institution that 'deserves admiration rather than execration.'" almost certainly isn't real. Or rather, in context it was applied to race and/or purity of blood, rather than marriage.

[Edit] I finally found where they took the original quote from; here's an update on that.

Someone doesn't know their fairy tales

So I'm browsing through racist literature (I know; shocking, isn't it?) and I come across this short article, from the December, 1997 edition (warning, PDF) of the American Renaissance:
Snow White Next?

Walt Disney has released a multiethnic
Cinderella. The title character,
of course, is black, as is her fairy godmother.
The prince is a Filipino, the
queen is black, and the evil stepmother
and nasty step-sisters are, of
course, white. Typical dialogue: "I'm
your fairy godmother, honey. . . . You
got a problem with that?" (Michael
Hill, Millennium 'Cinderella,' TV
Week (Washington Post), Nov. 2-8,
1997, p. 3.)

I vaguely remember this when it came out, so these people seem to be based at least partly in reality. But they're complaining that a television musical about a myth that seems to have its oldest roots in China has a multiethnic cast. And further, they're complaining about the color of a girl whose nickname is Cinderella--Ash Girl.

Happy Blog for Choice Day!

Blog for Choice Day - January 22, 2007

Today is the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Abortions for all!


Really? You don't say.

Julie Amero is a substitute teacher in Connecticut. Apparently during one seventh-grade class, her computer popped up with dozens of pornographic images, which the kids saw and reported. She was convicted of "four felony counts of 'injury or risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children.'" Each count has a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

The defense tried arguing that a great deal of malware was responsible for the flood of pornographic pop-ups--a possibility the police didn't even check. Their expert witness, Herb Horner, determined "that the machine had been infected with multiple pieces of malicious software before she arrived at the school, and that these hidden programs were responsible for the pornographic deluge." The expert witness for the prosecution, Detective Mark Lounsbury, "a computer crimes officer at the Norwich Police Department", ran a program called ComputerCOP Pro to analyze the activity of the machine Ms. Amero was using. He countered that Ms. Amero was clearly guilty because--get this--the computer visited porn websites.
ComputerCOP scans the hard drive and reports on when each file was created or modified. Lounsbury says he is satisfied that Amero intentionally viewed porn in class because the logs show that her computer accessed various inappropriate sites while she was sitting at the computer.

"I take that at face value," Lounsbury told Alternet. "It's evidence. It speaks for itself. The pop-up defense is a Twinkie defense."

Lounsbury said that Amero must have navigated to pornographic sites in order to have infected her computer with obscene popups. "You've got to get that ball rolling," he said.

That defense transforms this from tragedy to farce. I am personally offended by that statement.

The article specifies that ComputerCOP "is not designed to definitively distinguish between user-generated clicks and the effects of malware." Saying that the computer "accessed various inappropriate sites while she was sitting at the computer" means nothing other than that porn popped up on the screen, which nobody has denied. Obviously the computer visited these sites, but that doesn't mean that Ms. Amero did so herself. On the contrary, Horner discovered that a "program called Pasco showed that malware had automatically redirected Amero's browser. Horner stressed that this particular form of hijacking is invisible to ComputerCOP Pro."

Via Tom Tomorrow

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Demographic Edition

When I posted a few weeks ago, some of you may have wondered why I was looking through censuses. Some of you may not. Some of you probably shrugged and said "It's just one of those things he does." And since there are only around three of you who read this, I think that about covers all of you.

Well, one of the counter-arguments sometimes used to "prove" the miscegenation analogy invalid is to say that anti-miscegenation laws weren't present in as many states as bans on gay marriage. This is probably true, but what does that really mean? That gay marriage is even more unpopular than interracial marriage (and therefore banning it this time around is somehow acceptable)? Or is it that in their zeal to dismiss the miscegenation analogy, they ignore one of the crucial differences between sexual orientation and race?

That is, race is visible. The population of different groups of peoples can be counted in the census, and races have generally been restricted to geographical regions. Certain states never needed to pass anti-miscegenation laws, because they knew that there was no-one in their state to whom the laws would apply.

Homosexuals, on the other hand, are like Communists: they're invisible, and they're everywhere. Thus, every patriotic legislature feels the need to pass legislation against them.

These were my initial thoughts on the matter; especially since, on page 219 of Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption, Professor Randall Kennedy writes:
Every state whose black population reached or exceeded 5 percent of the total eventually drafted and enacted antimiscegenation laws.

Emphasis in the original.

However, I'm not sure where Kennedy gets this information. The document he cites says nothing of the sort. So, not one to let such assertions go unchecked, I began looking through historical censuses myself.

I found that not only is Dr. Kennedy's fact not exactly true, but more to the point it's rather meaningless. There were only nine states that never passed anti-miscegenation laws (Kennedy himself says only eight, counting New York among those that did): Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin. While it's true that for most of them, their black population never exceeded 5 percent of the total, neither did that of most of the other 41 states. Further, Kennedy doesn't say anything about the size of other minority populations, such as Native Americans or Asians.

Such broad categories as "states that passed anti-miscegenation laws" and "those that didn't" are fairly meaningless, so I divided the states into five categories:
  1. those that never had anti-miscegenation laws
  2. those that had such a law, but repealed it before they appeared on the census
  3. those that had such a law, but repealed it before Perez v. Sharp was decided in 1948
  4. those that had such a law, but repealed it between 1948 and 1967
  5. those who still had such a law when Loving v. Virginia was decided in 1967

Perez v. Sharp was a case decided by the California Supreme Court which ruled its anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. Between 1948 and 1967, when the Supreme Court struck down Virginia's statute, 13 states repealed their laws--all but two of them after Brown v. Board had been decided. These categories then represent: states that never had such legislation; states that had such legislation but repealed it on their own; states that had such legislation, but repealed it after it was clear the statutes were unconstitutional; and those that stubbornly clung to their laws until forced to abandon them by the Supreme Court.

I mostly considered the populations up to 1940 for two reasons: because by 1950 the writing was on the wall, so to speak; and because for many states there was a sudden surge in the relative size of the black population, so such data would be statistical outliers.

States that never had anti-miscegenation laws
As I stated above, these were Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Wisconsin. Both Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union in 1959, several years after Brown v. Board, which reversed the interpretation of the 14th amendment that made anti-miscegenation laws constitutional. So they couldn't realistically have passed such laws anyways.

Of the other states, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Vermont never had a black population greater than 1% of the total; most of the time it was around 0.3%, give or take one or two tenths of a percent. Of these three, only Minnesota had something of a Native American population, at around half a percent of the total from 1900 to 1970. None of them had any Asian population. (Note that when I say a state didn't have any people of a particular race, most of the time this is just shorthand for saying that their population was small enough to round to 0% of the total).

Wisconsin's black population never exceeded two percent of the total until 1970, and it had about 0.4% Native Americans from 1900-1970. Connecticut never exceeded three percent until 1960, and for the period 1860-1940 it was below two percent.

New York had a large (comparatively speaking) black population during slavery: 7.6% in 1790, 5.3% in 1800. However, if you don't count slaves as part of the population, then these numbers both drop below five percent. Afterwards, it didn't have much of a black population--from 1850 through 1920 less than two percent of New York was black. Afterwards it grew fairly quickly, reaching 6.2% of the total in 1950, and 8.4% in 1960. So if you discount slaves and any census past 1950, then New York's black population didn't exceed five percent of the total. It had a scant Native American and Asian population, at only 0.1% consistently from 1890 on.

Even with such tweaking, though, such is not true of New Jersey. Its free population was 5.75% black in 1830, and with slaves it was from 5-8 percent throughout slavery. Afterwards it dropped below four percent until 1930, when New Jersey's black population was 5.2% of the total--thus putting the lie to Dr. Kennedy's statement.

States that had anti-miscegenation laws, but repealed them before they appeared on the census
Kansas had an anti-miscegenation law from 1855-1859, but didn't appear on the census until 1860. At that time, however, it only had a 0.6% black population. Afterwards, its black population was somewhat larger--between three and four percent from 1890 to 1950. It didn't exceed four percent until 1960, and five percent until 1980. It, too, had a barely-noticeable proportion of Native Americans, at 0.1% of the total from 1880-1950.

Pennsylvania also had an anti-miscegenation law, one of the early adopters, but was also the first to repeal, back in 1780. By 1790, it only had 2.4% black population, and 36.4% of that were slaves. Pennsylvania's black population remained below 3% of the total until 1920, and below 5% until 1950.

States that had anti-miscegenation laws, but repealed them pre-Perez
These states include: Illinois (repealed in 1874), Iowa (1851), Maine (1883), Massachusetts (1843), Michigan (1883), New Mexico (1866), Ohio (1866), Rhode Island (1881), and Washington (1868).

Of these states, Iowa, Maine, and Washington had less than 1% black population; Maine was always less than half a percent. Iowa had no Native Americans or Asians; Maine no Asians, but 0.1-0.2% Native Americans. Washington actually had a statistically noticeable population of both--meaning that it was larger than 0.1%, but after 1890 neither rose above 2% of the total.

Massachusetts and New Mexico had a black population of less than two percent throughout the lifetime of anti-miscegenation laws. Both had a few Asians, and New Mexico a substantial population of Native Americans, over five percent for every census except 1870.

Illinois had a somewhat large black population early on, but discounting slaves it barely reached 5% in 1810; after that, it was less than 1% for most of the rest of the antebellum period, and between 1 and 2% from 1870-1910. It didn't break 5% until 1950. Michigan had a similar experience: a little over 3% in 1800-1810, then less than or equal to 1% from 1830-1910. It, too, didn't break 5% until 1950. Rhode Island was similar, with the first two censuses showing a black population about 5%, though removing slaves and it only barely reaches 5%. Afterwards its black population shrank in relation to the total, so that by the time it repealed its anti-miscegenation statute it had only 2.3% blacks, a number which continued to drop.

Ohio's black population was historically very small, but consistently growing--it started out at 0.5% in 1800, and finally broke 5% in 1950, like Illinois and Michigan (though it came close at 4.9% in 1940).

States that repealed their laws post-Perez and pre-Loving
These states include: Arizona (1962), California (1948), Colorado (1957), Idaho (1959), Indiana (1965), Maryland (1967), Montana (1953), Nebraska (1963), Nevada (1959), North Dakota (1955), Oregon (1951), South Dakota (1957), Utah (1963), and Wyoming (1965).

Of these states Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Utah all had less than 1% black population for most, if not all, of the lifetime of anti-miscegenation statutes. Some of them had significant populations of other races, though: Idaho had significant numbers of Asians 1870-1880, which quickly dropped off; Montana had around 3-4% Native American population most of its life; Nevada had a large Native American population 1880-1940, and of Asians 1870-1890, though that quickly dropped; Oregon had around 3% Asians from 1870-1900; and South Dakota around 3% Native Americans from 1910-1960. Note, however, that most of these states with a semi-significant percentage of Native Americans didn't have anti-miscegenation laws that prevented marriage of whites and Native Americans; and even if the percentage of Native Americans was higher than that of Asians (or even blacks), there may have been a prohibition against marrying Asians but not Native Americans.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Wyoming all had a fairly low black population; they never exceeded five percent until 1950 or 1960. Arizona, however, had a large Native American population--larger, and in most instances much larger, than both black and Asian population. Yet Native Americans were once again excluded from the law while blacks and Asians were targeted. Also, California had a substantial Asian population, for a long while around 3 times as large as its black population, and its anti-miscegenation law definitely targeted them.

The last of these states, Maryland, was the last state to voluntarily repeal its legislation, and only barely before Loving v. Virginia was decided. Historically a Southern state, and the first state to pass anti-miscegenation legislation, it historically had a very large black population. In the antebellum period, its black population generally ranged from 30-35% of the total, though the majority were slaves. That number did begin to shrink, but it never dropped below 16%, around twice as much as that of any of the previous states' highest percentages.

States that kept their anti-miscegenation laws until Loving
These states constitute a solid geographical block: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

These states naturally had some of the largest black populations, with percentages that dwarf any of the other states (besides Maryland); but their populations also dropped a lot over time. Alabama never dropped below 25%, and most of the time was above 30% and even 40%; Arkansas only dropped below 20% in 1970, and for most of the rest of the time was above 25%; Delaware had a large population in slavery, around 20-25% (most of them free after 1790), but in the post-bellum period it generally teetered between 13-17%; Florida had a large number of slaves, but after abolition its black population dropped, though never below 15%, and most of the time over 20%.

Georgia, like Alabama, never dropped below 25%, and was above 33% most of the time; Louisiana never dropped below 30%, and for most of the time was higher; Mississippi never dropped below 40%, and was for a long while above 50% black. North Carolina was always at least 1/5 black, and for the vast majority of the time, 1/4. South Carolina eventually dropped to 30% in 1970, but historically was 40% black or higher. Texas was over 10% the entire time, and for most of it over 15%; for Tennessee, it was over 15% the entire time and for most of that over 20%. Virginia only dropped below 20% in 1970.

Then there were some states that didn't have black populations that much larger than some of the other states. Kentucky's was, historically, fairly high--it was always above 13% from 1790-1910, and its lowest is 6.9%, larger than most of the other states that repealed, or never had, anti-miscegenation laws. Oklahoma was pretty consistently at 7% black population, but also with around 3% Native American (though it, too, did not prohibit whites from marrying Native Americans). Missouri had a large number of slaves in the antebellum period, but afterwards was around 5-7% for 1870-1950, give or take. West Virginia had the smallest black population of the southern states, which hovered around 4-7% for most of the time, and reached a height of 12% during slavery... though 90% of them were slaves.

I'm gonna stop talking soon, I swear
So, what can we conclude? Honestly, not much. Clearly, the states that kept their laws the longest generally had the largest black populations, and were part of a solid geographical bloc. But there's no demographic reason I can see why Maryland decided at the last minute to give up its laws and not a state with a smaller population, like Kentucky. Also, a number of states that passed anti-miscegenation statutes had insignificant percentages of blacks, while some that never passed such legislation had relatively high numbers of blacks (compared to the other states). It seems evident that demographic information, alone, can't tell us that much. And my initial hypothesis doesn't seem to be supported by the evidence.

Census information taken from here, tables 15-65.
Dates of the repeal of anti-miscegenation laws was taken from here.

Swift humor is so unappreciated

Via filkertom, an article about the White House Correspondents' Association and this year's dinner's star, Rich Little.

At the very bottom, they reveal why they went with Little after having Colbert last year:
Scully has said that the choice of Little, who practices a milder former of humor than Colbert, had nothing to do with any controversy surrounding Colbert's performance last year. "Colbert had a couple of zingers toward President Bush, and a couple toward the press corps," Scully recalled. "Stephen Colbert is very sophisticated and if you've not seen his show you may not get it." With Little, he added, "you don't have to explain his humor."

Yes, he's so very subtle with his act. Satire just flies over these people's heads, doesn't it?

Habeas what-us? redux

Alberto Gonzales on the Constitution:
[T]he Constitution doesn't say that every individual in the United States or every citizen has or is assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn't say that. It simply says that the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended.

Mr. Gonzales, why do you hate America?

[Edit]: ThinkProgress has the video.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"Right. The Constitution. Where do you want to start cutting?"

Just checked my e-mail to find this:
WASHINGTON (AP) The Pentagon has completed a manual for upcoming detainee trials that would allow suspected terrorists to be imprisoned or executed using hearsay evidence and coerced testimony.

That'll show the Constitution who's boss.

[Edit] And more on that:
According to the 238-page manual, a detainee's lawyer could not reveal classified evidence in the person's defense until the government had a chance to review it. Suspects would be allowed to view summaries of classified evidence, not the material itself.

The new regulations lack some protections used in civilian and military courtrooms, such as against coerced or hearsay evidence. They are intended to track a law passed last fall by Congress restoring Bush's plans to have special military commissions try terror-war prisoners. Those commissions had been struck down earlier in the year by the Supreme Court.

At a Pentagon briefing, Dan Dell'Orto, deputy to the Defense Department's top counsel, said the new rules will "afford all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized people."

Except, of course, for the ones that it doesn't:
"No civilized nation permits convictions to rest on coerced evidence, and reliance on such evidence has never been acceptable in military or civilian courts in this country," said Elisa Massimino, Washington director of Human Rights First.

Also, this popped out to me:
Officials think that with the evidence they have now, they could eventually charge 60 to 80 detainees, said Hemingway said. The Defense Department is currently planning trials for at least 10.

There are almost 400 people suspected of ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban being held at the military's prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. About 380 others have been released since the facility was opened five years ago.

So, we've had this facility for five years. We've thrown nearly 800 people in there. We've stripped them of so many rights that any trials they receive would be shams. We allow hearsay as valid testimony. And still we only have a valid case against 60 to 80 of them. How flimsy do our reasons for holding the other three hundred plus have to be?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Won't somebody please think of the saplings?

This was published in my school's paper today:
Fellow representatives,

Around the area, some local trees have started to bud months early. The actions of these wayward saplings are detrimental not just to themselves, but also the community. These malcontents must not be allowed to contaminate our society.

The few trees making the conscious decision to bud in the winter are not normal trees. There is something very wrong with this decision. God intended for these trees to bud in the spring, and that's what they should be doing. Going against God's will is a decision that will render dire consequences for these trees after their time on Earth has passed.

These trees want us to believe that they didn't choose to bud in the winter. These trees want us, a God fearing community, to believe that something inside them, something innate, actually forced them to bud. Scientists say budding this winter is normal for trees; the mild weather patterns have dictated as much. But we know in our hearts this is false. Budding in the winter goes against everything we stand for as a Christian society.

This problem cannot be swept under the rug; it must be faced head on. There is an imminent threat that these trees will infect other, more impressionable trees, with their disgusting lifestyle. We cannot stand for this. This is an attack on our very way of life. If the influence of this small group of trees goes unchecked for any longer, nobody will be safe. Even the offspring of our society’s most devout trees could decide to be one of these "winter sprouters."

A new trend, equally troubling, is that within the past few weeks, a significant movement within our own ranks has been growing. This movement would like to accept winter sprouters as part of our community. Starting with groups of liberals from the East, forests have started passing legislation to give the winter sprouters the same rights as us. We can only counteract this with our own legislation.

Today, I will be introducing a motion to Congress to amend our Forest Constitution of Indiana to prohibit winter sprouters from obtaining the same rights as normal citizens. If this bill is passed, the final decision to amend the constitution will be made by the entire population of our great forest in a vote.

The initial step must be made. Please, for the sake of our families and children, do not allow these winter sprouters a place in our society. They will utterly destroy everything that God has worked so hard to create for us. Disregard the mounting cries of scientists and liberals from other forests. These trees defied God by choosing, yes choosing, to bud early, and they must pay. We must make a statement. We will let the world know that our honorable Forest of Indiana will not tolerate this disease of winter sprouting. Pass this motion to strip winter sprouters of their rights, and may God have mercy on their souls.


Today's zombie racist... Michael Savage. What a shock.

What did this racist, homophobic, misogynist have to say this time, you may ask?
But basically, if you're talking about a day like today, Martin Luther King Junior Day, and you're gonna understand what civil rights has become, the con it's become in this country. It's a whole industry; it's a racket. It's a racket that is used to exploit primarily heterosexual, Christian, white males' birthright and steal from them what is their birthright and give it to people who didn't qualify for it.

Take a guess out of whose hide all of these rights are coming. They're not coming out of women's hides. Are they? No, there's only one group that's targeted, and that group are white, heterosexual males. They are the new witches being hunted by the illiberal left using the guise of civil rights and fairness to women and whatnot.

Yes, that's right. In order for minorities to gain their rights, they have to hunt down those poor, oppressed white, straight, Christian males and skin them.

"He was attacked by a pack of wild dogs... he thought he saw."

Schell insisted [in 1990] that we could force Iraq to leave Kuwait with sanctions alone, rather than by using military force. But the years that followed that war made it clear just how impotent that tool was. Saddam Hussein endured more than a decade of sanctions rather than give up a weapons of mass destruction program that turned out to be nonexistent. If sanctions weren’t enough to make him surrender his imaginary weapons, I think we can safely say they wouldn’t have been enough to make him surrender a prized, oil-rich conquest.

Um. So although he did give up the weapons that did exist, he didn't give up the ones that didn't exist, and therefore sanctions are ineffective?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Apparently Santorum isn't the only one with nerd analogies

You'll be glad to know that there are no Vulcans in the White House, according to Representative David Wu:

Mr. Speaker, four years ago this administration took America to war in Iraq without adequate evidence. Since that time, the administration hasn't listened to the American people, it hasn't listened to our professional military, and it certainly hasn't listened to this Congress. Y'know, it was said of a prominent businessman in downtown Portland that he never listened to anybody, and that if he was ever drawn in a cartoon, he'd be drawn without ears. Now, this president has listened to some people: the so-called 'Vulcans' in the White House. The ideologues. But y'know, unlike the Vulcans of Star Trek, who made their decisions based on logic and fact, these guys make it on ideology. These aren't Vulcans! There are Klingons in the White House. But unlike the real Klingons of Star Trek, these Klingons have never fought a battle of their own. Don't let faux-Klingons send real Americans to war! It's wrong!


Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Soporific Edition

In order to rationalize the exclusion of Negroes from machine jobs, the argument was soon popularized that Negroes were clumsy and would be lulled to sleep by the whirring of the wheels. The distinguished Southern historian, Walter L. Fleming, for example, contended, in 1949, that "the negroes because of lack of quickness and sensitiveness of youth proved to be unfit for factory work. Besides, the noise of the machinery made them sleep and it was beyond their power to report for work at a regular hour each morning."

--Rayford W. Logan, The Betrayal of the Negro: from Rutherford B. Hayes to Woodrow Wilson, p. 158.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Dead Racist Blogging: Apocryphal Edition?

I'd been planning on posting this tomorrow for my Friday Dead Racist Blogging, but I'm not entirely sure that it's true. And you may have heard this one before anyways, in one of the many variants it's adopted over the years. But this was the first account, in the June 2, 1884, edition of the El Paso Daily Times, about Justice of the Peace Roy Bean:
Somebody killed a Chinaman and was brought up standing before the irrepressible Roy, who looked through two or three dilapidated law books from stem to stern, and finally turned the culprit loose remarking that he'd be damned if he could find any law against killing a Chinaman.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

That'll show 'em.

It seems Bush may have chosen to escalate the number of troops in Iraq partly to spite the Iraq Study Group.

Brilliant strategery.

Why can't C-SPAN be like this all the time? redux

The twelfth State Legislature, which met in 1913, was one of the most divisive and unstatesmanlike sessions in Wyoming history. This was especially true in the House of Representatives where political hostilities erupted into a physical free-for-all on January 21.

The fight began when the speaker pro tem, W. J. Wood, who was presiding, refused to yield the chair back to the speaker, Martin L. Pratt. Pratt grabbed Wood "by the shoulders and threw him off the platform on his face." A scuffle ensued between the two men, and a third representative who attempted to separate them "was soundly kicked in the stomach by Pratt."

From Roger D. Hardaway, "Prohibiting Interracial Marriage: Miscegenation Laws in Wyoming", 52 Annals of Wyoming 1, p. 57.

Monday, January 8, 2007

"As a Jew, it's against my religion to kill superheroes past sundown on Fridays."

I had an amusing thought yesterday.

One of the more common powers for superheroes is the ability to create or manipulate fire. You've got Fire, Pyro, The Human Torch, Fever, Firebird, Fahrenheit, Roy Mustang, and many others.

So I imagined a character with pyrokinesis, but who was Jewish. So he couldn't light a fire on Shabbat.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Friday Dead Racist Blogging: Leprous Edition

On July 14, 1792, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, addressed the American Philosophical Society. His speech was later reprinted in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society with the descriptive title "Observations Intended to Favour a Supposition That the Black Color (As It Is Called) of the Negroes Is Derived From the Leprosy."

Dr. Rush did not consider it odd that the entire race should have contracted leprosy:
[T]he influence of unwholsome diet ... combined with greater heat, more savage manners, and bilious fevers, probably produced this disease in the skin among the natives of Africa.

He also dismissed any objections as to its hereditary properties:
[T]he leprosy is the most durable in its descent to posterity, and the most indestructable in its nature of any disease we are acquainted with. In Iceland Dr. Van Troil tells us, it often disappears in the second and third, and appears in the fourth generation.

He went on to list a number of reasons why he believed that their color was a result of leprosy:
1. The leprosy is accompanied in some instances with a black color of the skin.

And citing someone else, he explained that this disease is responsible for the supposed odor of blacks:
"They [lepers] exhale perpetually a peculiar and disagreeable smell, which I can compare to nothing but the smell of a mortified limb." This smell mentioned by Dr. Theiry continues with a small modification in the native African to this day.

4. The leprosy induces a morbid insensibility in the nerves. ... This insensibility belongs in a peculiar manner to the negroes.

5. Lepers are remarkable for having strong venereal desires. This is universal among the negroes... .

6. The big lip, and flat nose so universal among the negroes, are symptoms of the leprosy. I have more than once seen them in the Pennsylvania hospital.

7. The woolly heads of the negroes cannot be accounted for from climate, diet, state of society, or bilious diseases, for all those circumstances, when combined have not produced it in the natives of Asia and America who inhabit similar latitudes. ... [I]t would seem that the leprosy had found its way to the covering of the head, and from the variety of its effects upon the skin, I see no difficulty in admitting that it may ... have produced wool upon the head of the negro... .

But if being black is a disease, why don't people catch it?
I would reply to such objection by remarking in the first place, that the leprosy has in a great degree ceased to be infectious, more especially from contact, and secondly that there are instances in which something like an infectious quality has appeared in the skin of a negro. A white woman in North Carolina not only acquired a dark color, but several of the features of a negro, by marrying and living with a black husband. A similar instance of a change in the color and features of a woman in Buck's county in Pennsylvania has been observed and from a similar cause.

And of course, there's no reason to expect a race of lepers to be unhealthy or short-lived.
It is no objection to the theory I have attempted to establish, that the negroes are as healthy, and long lived as the white people.

So, what did all this mean? Rush, an abolitionist, warned his audience that if blacks were all victims of disease, this warranted further charity on the part of the white man. Further, he called for the discovery of a cure, and toward that goal retold anecdotes of black men becoming white through "bleeding" (a favorite technique of Rush's), "the influence of fear", "oxygenated muriatic acid", and "unripe peaches."

Of course, if anyone suggested that blacks might simply want to remain the way they are, Rush had words for them, too: "[H]owever well they appear to be satisfied with their color, there are many proofs of their preferring that of the white people"--none of which he provided.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Dunno what to make of that.

I've been looking through historical censuses, and apparently in 1950 Idaho had 477 black females, and 0 black males.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

Enjoy it, because it will be your last:
These are among the findings of an Associated Press-AOL News poll that asked people in the U.S. to contemplate what 2007 holds for the country.

Six in 10 people think the U.S. will be the victim of a terrorist attack. An identical percentage thinks it likely that a biological or nuclear weapon will be unleashed somewhere else in the world.

Seventy percent of people in the U.S. predict a major natural disaster in the country and an equal percentage expects worsening global warming. Also, 29 percent think it likely that the U.S. will withdraw its troops from Iraq.

What I find worst of all is that "25 percent anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ."