An article by Dan Vergano at Buzzfeed alerts us:

Electric shocks, brain surgery, amputations — these are just some of the medical experiments widely performed on American slaves in the mid-1800s, according to a new survey of medical journals published before the Civil War.

Previous work by historians had uncovered a handful of rogue physicians conducting medical experiments on slaves. But the new report, published in the latest issue of the journal Endeavour, suggests that a widespread network of medical colleges and doctors across the American South carried out and published slave experiments, for decades.

Savitt first reported in the 1970s that medical schools in Virginia had trafficked in slaves prior to the Civil War. But historians had seen medical experiments on slaves as a practice isolated to a few physicians — until now.

to the following paper.

Kenny, S.C. Power, opportunism, racism: Human experiments under American slavery. Endeavour,
Volume 39, Issue 1, March 2015, Pages 10–20[Publisher Link]

Kenny writes:

Medical science played a key role in manufacturing and deepening societal myths of racial difference from the earli- est years of North American colonisation. Reflecting the practice of anatomists and natural historians throughout the Atlantic world, North American physicians framed andinscribed the bodies, minds and behaviours of black subjects with scientific and medical notions of fundamental and inherent racial difference. These medical ideas racialised skin, bones, blood, diseases, with some theories specifically designed to justify and defend the institution of racial slavery, but they also manifested materially as differential treatment – seen in medical education, practice and research.

I dunno. Have we changed all that much?

No, I don’t mean the self-imagined political wag, nor those of a similarly fantastical oppressed ethnic subculture of the US. I mean the kind of (over)educated middle to upper-middle class, progressive liberal occasionally self-avowed skeptic, contrarian and/or scientific white folk.
I’ve seen the odd social justice action now and again in the US over the past decades. Whether at the local municipal level, the University level or on national TV. African-Americans are typically very well represented even when the issue at hand is not a “black issue” per se. When it comes to the incredible underrepresentative University campus population, it is particularly striking because you will find the black faces that you’d never known were on campus appearing in support of social justice causes.
There is one notable exception and that is the animal-rights campaign. The practitioners of animal rights theology would have you believe they are engaged in a social justice battle akin to many familiar ones. They never seem to look around and ask why their tiny band of followers are so unusually devoid of the black folks.
Perhaps it is because one of their favorite memes is viscerally offensive to African-Americans?

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I had a little petulant post SuperBowl rant but man, Anonymoustache absolutely rockets this one straight down the fairway.

But most of all, they hated the fact that while Tiger had all the physical gifts to excel at golf, his dominance sprung from his mental superiority. The white male privilege establishment would grudgingly concede that people of color could be good athletes, but they’d never concede that they could be mentally superior to the point of dominance. They subscribed to the old ‘blacks cannot play quarterback’ mentality and Tiger destroyed that world like no one before.

This is but a tip of the iceberg of excellent analysis.

A musical interlude

January 7, 2010

Pause. Take a breath. Listen.

BikeMonkey Post
I have been enjoying the protestations of those who don’t like my conceptualization of “redneck” as a pejorative directed against bigoted attitudes. You can read them here as well as in the thread following Isis’ graphical depiction provided for those with reading comprehension difficulties. There are a few more comments at Adventures in Ethics and Science. In this fine discussion, commenters D. C. Sessions and Isabel have been maintaining that “redneck” is really not much different than “nigger”. Furthermore they’ve been trying to establish that, historically speaking, those who maintain the real power in the US have treated those they consider to be rednecks and niggers more or less equally badly.
I have some additional readings for your consideration of these assertions.

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Sounds about right…

via YFS, via 49 percent



In the year 1899 an American cyclist won the world championship in the 1-mile track event. In those days, track cycling was what really mattered and cycling was a reasonably big deal. So this was an event in sport. An even bigger deal was the fact that Marshall “Major” Taylor (Wikipedia) was black. This fact was, likewise, important:

The League of American Wheelmen, then the governing body for the sport, banned blacks from amateur racing in 1894, just as bicycling’s popularity surged.

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Kevin Beck points to this article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Apparently some genius in Marietta is selling a shirt with the following logo out of his store and (gasp) some people find this just the teeensiest bit offensive.

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