A Book Review of An Obama-Inspired State of Mind by Donald Jonz

December 16th, 2015

This book presents an imaginary dialogue between two Black intellectuals. In seven chapters, two men argue over issues of interest to African Americans. The topics are a series of dichotomies that the author (an attorney, judge, and law-school professor) selected in order to highlight opposing views within the A-A community. If you seek material to argue A-A issues, this is the book to buy. But if you are an individualist, the book will not interest you.

A Book Review of Finding Octave by Nick Douglas

December 7th, 2013

Finding Octave by Nick Douglas is a courageous and painstaking book that blends genealogy, historical analysis, and personal introspection into an important work. It will be useful to genealogists, fascinating to history buffs and, with any luck, informative to the great majority of Americans, Black and otherwise, who were never taught the history of “race” in the United States,

Mainstream Media uses “White” to Denote Whatever They Want

June 15th, 2013

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” — Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol

New Blog Launched on Armed Citizens and the Justice System

June 5th, 2012

Backintyme announces the launch of a new blog on the topic of Armed Citizens and the Justice System. Please visit it. Feel free to leave comments.

Recipe for Turning a Thug Into a Martyr: First Steal a Bag of Skittles

March 26th, 2012

The 911 calls began flooding in at 7:15 PM on 26 Feb 2012. A man was screaming, “Help! Help!” over and over. The screams were so bone-chilling that only two of the many callers looked outside to see the cause. The rest told the dispatchers that they were too frightened to look.

How Much of the European Contribution to the African-American Genome Comes From Females?

January 10th, 2012

Some African Americans have few European DNA markers and some have many; but overall, about 17 percent of the collective African-American gene pool comes from Europe. What fraction of that 17 percent comes from European females? Can DNA tell? The short answer is “no”.

Earliest Precursors of the One-Drop Rule (C15)

December 19th, 2011

Uncovers the earliest hints that Americans around the 1830?s Ohio River Valley were starting to adopt an ideological rather than a biological concept of “racial” classification. This session traces the first emergence of this myth. This is session C15 of a series of topics on the emergence and triumph of the one-drop rule in U.S. history, discussed in lectures on “The Study of Racialism.”

Three Generations of Autosomal Mapping — A Case Study

December 12th, 2011

An opportunity recently arose to collect autosomal admixture mapping data for three generations of one family, a family that has European, subsaharan African, and Asian admixture. The results are educational. They exemplify the heredity of ancestry-informative DNA markers. They show, on the one hand, that the transmission of ancestry-informative markers from one generation to the next is predictable. On the other hand, they also show that each transmission is random, so that predictions must rely on probabilities. Such blending of randomness with predictability is usually hard to explain. The following case history makes it clear.

Sarah Palin and Paul Revere

August 6th, 2011

The mainstream media (MSM) continue to ridicule and villify Sarah Palin for saying that Paul Revere also warned the British. Palin is factually accurate.

The Origins of the U.S. Color Line (Video)

December 15th, 2010

I just added four new animated cartoon lectures to my Youtube channel. They comprise a four-part series on the origin of the U.S. endogamous color line in the late 17-century Chesapeake.

Book Review: More Than Black

August 9th, 2010

G. Reginald Daniel, More than Black?: Multiracial Identity and the New Racial Order (Philadelphia: Temple University, 2002). Endnotes. Index. Pp. xviii, 258. Cloth $69.50. Paper $22.95. — Book reviewed by Frank W. Sweet. This book review was originally published in Interracial Voice magazine in 2002.

The U.S. Black/White Net-Worth Gap (E8)

July 18th, 2010

This essay presents little-known, recently uncovered facts about the U.S. Black/White net-worth gap: It has been worsening at an accelerating rate for four decades. It is unrelated to income, lack of generational nest egg, overall inequality, depreciating homes, or single families. It is related to higher interest rates (which are caused by loan higher default rates). It may possibly be related to supporting poor relatives or to some aspect of oppositional culture.

A Brief History of Census “Race” (E4)

June 3rd, 2010

The U.S. federal census was founded to apportion congressional representation among the states. In order to achieve additional goals, it switched in 1850 from recording households in summary, to recording individuals in detail. It became self-administered in 1960 to reduce costs. It has always been a political instrument of the administration in power. Today, the census encourages identity politics and so wavers between the goal of capturing “race” as a form of ethnic self-identity, and the equally desired but conflicting goal of capturing “race” as involuntary physical trait.

Slavery and the “Race” Notion (E11)

May 20th, 2010

A question often asked by folks interested in the history of the “race” notion is why Northern Whites fought for a “race” that they considered inferior. The answer is that they did no such thing. A mirror-image question is why Southerners fought to preserve slavery when so many of them were biracial. Again, the two issues are skewed.

The Rate of Black-to-White Passing (C5)

May 10th, 2010

Shows several ways to compute the 0.10-0.14 percent per year rate at which European-looking youngsters born into the African-American community switch their self-identity from “Black,” to “White” or “Hispanic” after high school. Session C5 of a series of molecular anthropology topics discussed in lectures on “The Study of Racialism.”

African-American Ethnicity in the Antebellum North (C13)

May 1st, 2010

The imposition of an endogamous color line eventually led to the synthesis of a unique ethno-cultural community in the Jacksonian Northeast. Session C13 of a series of topics on the history of the U.S. color line discussed in lectures on “The Study of Racialism.”

Slurs and Falsifiability

April 9th, 2010

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Those words were spoken by a lawyer friend, who disputed my reluctant conclusion that claims by congressmen André Carson of Indiana, Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri and John Lewis of Georgia of being verbally assaulted with ethnic slurs in front of the Capitol on March 20, 2010 are factually inaccurate.

Personal Observations on Bliss Broyard’s One Drop

October 28th, 2009

Let me say right off that we at Backintyme Publishing enjoyed the book and recommend it without reservation. But do not be fooled by the misleading marketing blurb (more about this later); One Drop is not a book about a White woman who suddenly discovers that she is “really” Black. It is not about Bliss Broyard’s father. It is not even about her search for her father’s roots among the Louisiana Creoles. The book introspects Ms. Broyard’s feelings about what she found while searching for those roots.

Introduction to the U.S. One-Drop Rule (C14)

September 12th, 2009

Introduces a series on the history of the one-drop rule: how, when, where, and why this odd myth was invented. Session C14 of a series of contemporary issues topics in The Study of Racialism.

African-Americans Also “Shoot Up Schools”

September 7th, 2009

According to President Obama’s (now resigned) “green policy” advisor Van Jones, “Only suburban white kids shoot-up schools.”

The “Race” Notion’s Role in Ethnic Assimilation (E9)

July 11th, 2009

Most of us realize that only so-called White folks have historically enjoyed the full privileges of U.S. citizenship. And most of us know that the definition of “White” has widened over the centuries. But grasping these points does not avoid all historical pitfalls.

Melungeons, Redbones, and other U.S. Maroons (E3)

May 28th, 2009

Describes the many triracial communities that have lived scattered throughout the U.S. southeast since colonial times. Session E3 of a series of contemporary issues topics on “The Study of Racialism.”

The Heredity of “Racial” Traits (C3)

May 26th, 2009

Explains how the features that determine U.S. “racial” classification are inherited. Session C3 of a series of molecular anthropology topics.

Why Are Europeans White? (E1)

May 21st, 2009

Tells why northern Europeans are so oddly de-pigmented compared to everyone else on the globe. Session E1 of a series of topics on molecular anthropology included in my lectures on “The Study of Racialism.” The prior session, E5 discussed the migrations that carried our species around the globe in prehistoric times. This topic looks at later regional adaptations.

Why the Racist Bias in Mainstream Media?

April 28th, 2009

The mainstream media routinely concoct lies about White-on-Black racism. On the other hand, the media condone an epidemic of Black-on-Black teen murders. Profit motive does not explain the bias. Hatred does.

Video: How U.S. Courts Decided if you were a slave.

January 28th, 2009

Some people mistakenly think that only Black Americans were slaves, and that all Whites were free. In fact, tens of thousands of White folks were slaves. Two points explain this odd fact.

The One-Drop Rule

November 28th, 2008

The one-drop rule is the U.S. tradition that someone of utterly European appearance who rejects an African-American self-identity is “really Black,” like it or not, due to having “one drop” of known African ancestry, no matter how ancient. The notion labels such people as merely “passing for White.” Recent examples are New York Times critic Anatole Broyard (a real person) and Anthony Hopkins’s character in the film “The Human Stain” (a fictional character). Such people are involuntarily classified as members of the U.S. Black endogamous group by press and public despite their European appearance and their freely chosen non-Black self-identity.

Can DNA Tell What “Race” You Are? (E10)

September 6th, 2008

Molecular anthropologists are often asked if DNA markers can tell what “race” you are. The short answer is “no.” Mitochondrial DNA and Y haplogroups can tell from which continent your matrilineal and patrilineal ancestors came. And if you live in the Americas, autosomal mapping can tell what fraction of your ancestors came from Africa as slaves, what fraction came from Europe as colonists, and what fraction were Native Americans. But no DNA can tell your “race.”

The U.S. Black/White Color Line

August 15th, 2008

The United States is the only nation on earth that has preserved for over three centuries a genetically discontinuous enclave of mostly African ancestry within a larger population of European ancestry. The phenomenon demands study.

Redbone Heritage Foundation Conference – 2007

November 1st, 2007

The Redbones are a triracial ethnic community centered between the Sabine and Calcasiue rivers in western Louisiana. Like the terms “Melungeon,” “Brass Ankle,” and “Jackson White,” the name “Redbone” originated as an ethnic slur spoken by mainstream society, and the label is still considered an insult by many residents of the region. This report covers the third annual Redbones Heritage Foundation conference, held in Lake Charles, Louisiana, from October 18 through October 20, 2007. It is divided into three sections: continuity and change, interesting presentations, and memorable moments.

The Black/White Test-Score Gap (E2)

September 1st, 2007

Few “racial” issues are as politically charged as the U.S. Black/White test-score gap. Over the past two decades, scientists have amassed a wealth of data about the phenomenon. And yet despite their findings, many American political and academic leaders continue to ignore reality and espouse counterproductive solutions to non-existent problems based on discredited theories. Conservatives claim that the gap is caused by the childhood peer pressure of Black oppositional culture. The evidence contradicts this notion. Liberals claim that it is due to class differences. The evidence contradicts this also. Many on both sides insist that the gap is at least partly genetic. This notion has been the most thoroughly demolished of all. The U.S. Black/White test-score gap is a topic where facts are ignored by powerless and powerful alike, by unlearned and academics alike, and by conservatives and liberals alike. The only people who admit to being baffled by the phenomenon are scientists who have spent years studying it. Here are the known facts about the U.S. Black/White test-score gap for those more interested in reality than in ideology.

Sexual Selection and the Color Line

August 1st, 2007

Is the extraordinary paleness of the natives of the Baltic region caused by sexual selection? Are the different skin tones of men and women caused by sexual selection or are they a side-effect? Many women believe that a pale skin attracts men. Is this genetic? The answers are presented in seven topics: (1) Nature selects among competing alleles, not among species, nor individuals. (2) Selection can help an allele but hurt its host species. (3) Sexual selection happens when two alleles conspire. (4) The five hallmarks of sexual selection. (5) Is the Baltic paleness adaptation sexual selection? (6) Was skin-tone dimorphism caused by sexual selection? And (7) do current fashions prefer paler skin?

Timeline of U.S. B/W “Racial” Determination

July 1st, 2007

U.S. racialism is dichotomous. You are legally either White or Black with no in-between. But real people are culturally and biologically continuous. Millions of Americans have grandparents of both cultures, and millions more have DNA markers from both Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. How has the U.S. legal system resolved the contradiction in order to decide whether a person of dual heritage is White or Black?

Slavery is Irrelevant

June 1st, 2007

When trying to explain or to understand U.S. “race” relations, most Americans seem to focus on slavery: ordinary Americans, politicians, even many professional historians focus on slavery. And yet slavery fails as an explanatory paradigm. Slavery was ubiquitous but only the United States has a color line with all its implications. The people who forged African-American ethnicity were not slaves. U.S. racialism is dichotomous today, but it was not dichotomous where slavery was common. Slavery is irrelevant; racialism itself is the explanatory paradigm.

Myths Across the Color Line

May 1st, 2007

In this context, “myths” are counterfactual beliefs taught to the young in order to exemplify social standards that they will be expected to follow in adulthood. The U.S. endogamous color line is a rich source of such myths, believed by African Americans and non-Blacks alike. Ten color-line myths follow. Some come in two versions: Black and White.

The Trouble With “Racism”

April 8th, 2007

This essay is about the word itself. Like a once-sharp tool ruined by misuse, it has become too blunted for intellectual discourse.

Presenting the Triumph of the One-Drop Rule (C20)

April 1st, 2006

Oral presentation recaps the history of the one-drop rule and shows that it spread nationwide during the Jim Crow era because it kept compassionate White families in line, forcing them to stand idle while African Americans were subjected to 50 years of state-sponsored terrorism. Session C20 is the final lecture of a series of topics on the emergence and triumph of the one-drop rule in U.S. history discussed in lectures on “The Study of Racialism.”

Why Did One-Drop Become Nationwide Tradition?

January 1st, 2006

This essay addresses the question, “Why did one-drop triumph at this time and not before nor after?” It suggests a hypothesis in six topics. The One-Drop Rule Punished Entire Families, not Just Individuals shows that, although the court cases dealt with individuals, entire families were actually punished. The One-Drop Rule was Known to be Irrational presents evidence that one-drop trials were not searches for either factual accuracy or for moral justice. The One-Drop Rule was Wielded Against Whites, not Against Blacks shows that the victims were White. To be sure, some victims may actually have had recent African ancestry, as do one-third of White Americans. But if this made them Black, then it means that one-third of all White Americans were also Black and the question remains—why pick these out? Why Did it Happen surveys the literature for the causes of the Jim Crow wave of terror itself. The One-Drop Rule Kept White Families in Line presents this study’s hypothesis that one-drop was an instance of a well-studied phenomenon of group dynamics involving ideological self-preservation. Other Voices offers an alternative explanation.

Why Did Northerners Invent a One-Drop Rule?

December 1st, 2005

This essay suggests a hypothesis in three topics. A Watershed Event in Three Threads explains that members of the White endogamous group suffered a wave of panic, fueled by sensationalist newspapers, that Blacks were secretly plotting to massacre Whites. African-American Ethnic Solidarity Benefited suggests that the one-drop rule was reinforced and encouraged by ethnic leaders seeking to strengthen group loyalties by strengthening group boundaries. Other Voices presents four objections to the hypothesis: The hypothesis suggests that Blacks and Whites cooperated in creating the one-drop rule. It denies that the one-drop rule increased slave assets held by planters. It ignores pre-1830 literature mentioning an indelible mark. It denies that Latin America has passing literature.

Why Did Virginia’s Rulers Invent a Color Line?

November 1st, 2005

Why was the endogamous color line invented in the Chesapeake and nowhere else? Why was it invented at the turn of the eighteenth century and not before nor after? This essay presents several theories. It Was a “Divide and Conquer” Tactic suggests that it was a deliberately calculated solution to a unique problem of: too few yeomen, too many European laborers, and too little time. Other Voices presents a collection of alternative theories including: fair-skinned people have an instinctive loathing for those with dark skin tone, people of certain religions or cultures were taught to reject Africans, and it was related to the numbers of European women.

The One-Drop Rule Arrives in the Postbellum Lower South

October 1st, 2005

This essay presents three topics. Florida and Georgia shows two societies in transition. At mid-century, Florida was still in the process of adopting an endogamous color line. By Reconstruction, one was firmly in place and moving towards invisible Blackness. Similarly, the color line in Tidewater Georgia hardened between 1860 and 1880, but had not yet become a one-drop rule. Louisiana describes a post-war struggle between the old aristocracy, who strove unsuccessfully to preserve their biracial French culture and, on the other hand, an alliance of Yankee occupiers and Anglo-American Louisianans who crushed Colored Creole society out of existence by merging it with freed Blacks. South Carolina depicts a third society in transition. It describes the nation’s second attempt to write a one-drop law. The second attempt, like the first in 1853 Virginia, failed when lawmakers realized that it would penalize elite South Carolina families.

The One-Drop Rule in The Postbellum North and Upper South

September 1st, 2005

This essay presents two topics. Three Midwest Cases shows that in the immediate aftermath of the war, the midwestern states were still adjusting to the impact of the new one-drop rule. Three Upper South Cases discusses the pivotal watershed case that established the one-drop rule as the law of the land in court precedent.

The Color Line Created African-American Ethnicity in the North

August 1st, 2005

This essay traces the emergence of African-American ethnicity and the subsequent evolution of the color line in five topics: Origins of African-American Ethnicity explains how the imposition of a unique endogamous color line eventually led to the synthesis of a unique ethno-cultural community in the Jacksonian Northeast. African-American Ethnic Traits outlines the customs of the Black Yankee ethnic group to show that they gave birth to many of today’s Black traditions. The Integration versus Separatism Pendulum introduces a debate that has occupied Black political leaders since colonial times. The Color Line in the North contrasts the harsh enforcement of the intermarriage barrier in the free states with the more permeable systems of the lower South (as presented in the preceding three essays). The National Color Line’s Rise and Fall concludes this section on the endogamous color line by presenting two graphs. The first shows that which side of the endogamous color line you were on was most hotly contested in U.S. courts between 1840 and 1869. The second shows that the color line grew abruptly stronger during Reconstruction, was at its harshest during Jim Crow, and began to recover only around 1980.

Features of Today’s Endogamous Color Line

July 1st, 2005

In order to grasp just how unusual is America’s endogamous color line, consider it abstractly. Many newcomers to the United States, especially Hispanics, find it astonishing that an endogamous community of apparently African appearance has somehow perpetuated itself (or has been perpetuated) in North America for over three centuries, despite Africans having been a demographic minority. Such a thing happened nowhere else on the planet. America’s color line (and its consequent one-drop rule) is a puzzle. It is self-contradictory and counterfactual, and yet many Americans believe it with intensity. It was invented just four centuries ago and has shifted over the years, and yet many think of it as eternal and unchanging. It is based on the assumption that White Americans have no recent African ancestry, and yet, as explained in the essay Afro-European Genetic Admixture in the United States, DNA studies show without doubt that White Americans, like all other New World populations, are a mix of European, Native American, and, yes, African ancestry. The phenomenon cries out for historical explanation.

Barbadian South Carolina: A Class-Based Color Line

June 1st, 2005

This essay introduces the first of four societies, within what became the United States, whose color-line customs differed from the mainstream—Barbadian South Carolina. It presents three topics. The Rule of Socioeconomic Class explains that antebellum South Carolina lacked a rule of blood fraction but used a rule of socioeconomic class instead. A Permeable, Shifted Color Line shows that it was acceptable for wealthy White adults to have a Black parent, and that some swarthy White South Carolinians might have been seen as Black elsewhere in the United States. An Echo of Barbados suggests that South Carolina’s unique color line had been adapted from the Barbadian color line.

Jim Crow Triumph of the One-Drop Rule

May 1st, 2005

This essay examines, in four topics, the events of those decades that gave rise to the notions of endogamous group membership that are still in force today. Terminology Changed shows that the word “Colored,” no longer denoted an intermediate group in the Franco-American culture of the Gulf Coast but became a polite euphemism for any member of the Black endogamous group anywhere. White Children Consigned to Blackness shows that, by far, the strictest enforcement of the one-drop rule in these years was for school segregation, not intermarriage. White Adults Challenged to Defend Their Whiteness offers a slight viewpoint shift to reveal that the one-drop rule did not affect Blacks at all—it targeted only Whites. African-American Complicity shows that far from resisting or challenging the one-drop rule, members of the African-American ethnic community, especially its leadership, embraced it. They enforced it from their side of the color line, as they had in the late antebellum North, as they continue to do today.

The Invention of the One-Drop Rule in the 1830s North

April 1st, 2005

This essay suggests, in five topics, that America’s one-drop rule of invisible Blackness arose in the North between 1830 and 1840. A Bidirectional Strategy describes the analytic approach of bracketing the date by working forwards in time from the Revolution and backwards from Jim Crow. Journals and Diaries presents evidence from travelers’ accounts and newspaper advertisements to show that descriptive terminology changed from “white” to “white-looking” during this period. Literature and Drama shows that “passing” literature, which depends upon the one-drop rule for intelligibility, first arose in this period. Court Cases discusses four pivotal court cases from before and after the emergence of the one-drop rule—two in Ohio and two cases in Kentucky. Graphs and Charts presents graphs of court decisions to show how criteria for determining whether you were White or Black changed over the past two centuries.

Features of Today’s One-Drop Rule

March 3rd, 2005

This essay uses “one-drop rule” to mean that some people without even a hint of African features or skin tone, like New York Times critic Anatole Broyard or Anthony Hopkins’s character in the film The Human Stain, are classified as members of the Black endogamous group by press and public despite their European appearance. They are seen as unsuitable marriage partners by Whites but suitable by Blacks because of an un-measurable, invisible touch (one drop) of Black ancestry. As Naomi Zack puts it, “One-drop rule: American social and legal custom of classifying anyone with one black ancestor, regardless of how far back, as black.”

No Color Line in Spanish Florida

February 1st, 2005

This essay introduces one of four societies, within what became the United States, whose color line customs differed from the mainstream—Spanish Florida. It is presented in three topics: Echoes of Spain and Latin America traces the lack of an endogamous color line to Latin American and, ultimately, to Spanish customs. Legal Policy Regarding Afro-Hispanic Colonists shows how the state inadvertently encouraged people to switch “racial” identities by attempting unsuccessfully to impose an endogamous barrier. Society Changed When Americans Arrived narrates the transition from Spanish to Anglo-American laws and customs.

The Invention of the Color Line: 1691

January 1st, 2005

This essay explains, in three topics, when, where, and how America’s endogamous color line was invented. The Years Before the Color Line was Invented describes colonial life before the turn of the eighteenth century. It shows that colonists of African and European ancestries mingled and married within each of the three rigid social classes: forced laborers, shopkeepers/artisans, and planters. The Transition Period narrates events in and around the Chesapeake leading up to the 1691 law, the first in history to outlaw Afro-European intermarriage. The Spread of the New Color Line describes the aftermath as punishments for violating the 1691 law became increasingly harsher, and similar laws were passed in subsequent generations throughout British North America.