27 Jun 2020

Poor, Poor Pitiful Black Girl

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Caroline Randall Williams

The New York Times publishes the worst nonsense these days. Yesterday, for instance, they served up this spectacular exercise is self-pity from Affirmative Action poet Caroline Randall Williams.

I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.

If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument. …

I am a black, Southern woman, and of my immediate white male ancestors, all of them were rapists. My very existence is a relic of slavery and Jim Crow.

According to the rule of hypodescent (the social and legal practice of assigning a genetically mixed-race person to the race with less social power) I am the daughter of two black people, the granddaughter of four black people, the great-granddaughter of eight black people. Go back one more generation and it gets less straightforward, and more sinister. As far as family history has always told, and as modern DNA testing has allowed me to confirm, I am the descendant of black women who were domestic servants and white men who raped their help.

It is an extraordinary truth of my life that I am biologically more than half white, and yet I have no white people in my genealogy in living memory. No. Voluntary. Whiteness. I am more than half white, and none of it was consensual. White Southern men — my ancestors — took what they wanted from women they did not love, over whom they had extraordinary power, and then failed to claim their children.


Obviously, the author knows no such thing. history is complicated, far more complicated than imaginary ideal grievance narratives can possibly reflect.

When Henry Louis Gates, on the popular PBS television program Finding Your Roots, looked into the genealogies of African Americans, with massive funding and plenty of professional research assistance, he found one black family that had been free immemorially right back to the 17th century (Tonya Lewis Lee‘s paternal line — Season 4, Episode 6).

He found several black celebrities (including Lionel Richie) descended from ancestors who received state pensions for Confederate military service. He also found one person was descended from a white Confederate soldier who lived, in complete defiance of the mores of the time, with a black woman as man and wife.

Reducing, in the fevered left-wing imagination, all amorous relations between representatives of different races to rape simply travesties reality.

We know from countless depictions of Antebellum Life in the Southern States that African American house servants lived essentially as members of their owners’ extended family. White children were raised by black Mammies, and white and black children grew up as playmates and friends. So, with millions of people living in such intimate and affectionate contact, do you really think that mutual sexual attraction never occurred?

Obviously, it did, because, despite powerful social taboos, some white men really did simply defy Society and live with women of color.

Beyond that, of course, not all African Americans grew up to be pillars of the community and a credit to their race. There was obviously a black underclass way back when, just as there is today. Mixed racial descent could possibly result from the unintended consequences of the practice of the Oldest Profession. Rather than some cruel rapist master, Caroline Randall Williams’ white ancestor may simply have been a lonely chap who wandered off into the sinful part of town one Saturday evening while celebrating.

Of course, it is true as well that current African American hysterical complaints about what they imagine occurred more than a century and a half ago, in addition to lacking a serious factual foundation, are patently ridiculous simply due to the great distance and remoteness of the supposed events.

What happened to your fourth or fifth times great grandparent obviously has very small connection to you. Everybody, white or black or whatever, has some potential historical sob stories. A major portion of today’s US population (including myself) has no ancestors present during, or before, the War Between the States. If Simon Legree, with lascivious intent, chased Little Nell across those ice flows, I had nothing to do with it.

Actually, if we go back before 1850, the ancestors of a lot of white Americans were, if not actual serfs, still peasants with a labor obligation to a socially superior landlord and no meaningful rights.

Caroline Randall Williams, do us all a favor and grow up and get over yourself. Black America’s constant whining and complaining, its excessive chauvinism and racial animosities have a lot to do with the violence and crimes perpetrated by its lower class representatives. It’s long past time to stop all this.

17 Feedbacks on "Poor, Poor Pitiful Black Girl"


Contrary to what she claims white on black rape is rare. Ironically black on white rape is pandemic.


I’ve found fourth cousins in Ireland and let’s just say, coming to America, my family dodged a bullet. My great-grand mother came her with $50. Which was probably a pretty good amount of money in the 1880’s. We’re not rich by any means. But we’ve certainly done better than my fourth cousin in Sligo.

A. Squaretail

Ms. William’s comments only underscore her own weakness and confusion. She shows that it is far easier to blame human evil on race than it is to accept that all people, regardless of race, are capable of evil. For example, we never hear someone of Ms. William’s ilk expressing guilt and shock that many of the slaves shipped to this hemisphere were, in fact, sold into slavery by their fellow black Africans. Similarly, Native American’s cast blame on Europeans for doing the same things to Native Americans that Native Americans were doing to each other before and after Columbus. This isn’t to justify the acts of the Europeans in connection with either slavery or geographical aggression. Its merely to point out that people as weak-minded as Ms. Williams, regardless of their race, can’t come to terms with human nature or Dr. King’s lessons of racial equality. Ms. Williams somehow needs to virtue signal by condemning a race rather than condemning the guilty individuals. Hope it makes her feel better because it won’t help the cause of racial equality.

M. Murcek

But it’s “her truth.” That expression is so odious that the penalty for uttering it should be one month with a ball gag locked in place, repeated as many times as necessary.


So now blacks are condemning the ‘mixing of the races’ even going so far as defining it as being as vile as “rape”?

Wow. I have no words.

JK Brown

First off, it is estimated that one half to two thirds of whites south of New England who came to America between 1619 and 1780 came as indentured servants.

As for racial mixing, the laws shifted over time, but white women, even English women, who married black slaves were so common as to be handled by legislation. They became slaves to their husband’s master and their children were born into slavery.

Take this story from Maryland dealing with an Irish indentured servant marrying a black slave. Her descendants challenged their slave status due to the changing law at the time of the marriage for more than a century.

“The story of the wedding was well known. Several of the deponents were able to give accounts of it as they heard the story from their elders who were either present or heard the story from Eleanor, herself. Eleanor had arisen early on the wedding day to clean the house of Major Boarman, where the ceremony was to take place. The Lord Proprietor, Charles Calvert, was also staying at Boarman’s, and he summoned Eleanor, or Irish Nell as she was commonly known, to him to inquire if she in fact intended to marry Negro Charles. She said she did and, by all accounts, he “chided” her and told her that she would thus enslave herself and her posterity. Her reply was equally well-known. “She answered him that she rather go to bed with Charles than his Lordship.”

“The wedding was officiated by a priest named Hubbert. It appears that numerous whites witnessed the ceremony. One deponent recounted how his father, a little boy at the time, remembered being kissed by the bride and then running away from embarrassment.

“Nell and Charles bore at least six children: John or Jack, Sarah, Catherine (commonly called Kate), Elizabeth (commonly called Abigail), Moll, and Nan. Jack ran away to Virginia and, when overtaken, bought his freedom. Of Sarah we know little besides her approximate date of birth, 1690. Catherine ws born about 1691. She lived to adulthood and had four children: Jenny, Jack, Ned, and Pegg. One account said Kate, too, bought her freedom. Kate’s daughter, Pegg, was the mother of Mary Butler, or Moll, as she was also known, one of the plaintiffs in the freedom suit. Charles and Nell’s daughter Elizabeth was the mother of William Butler, the other plaintiff. Of daughters Moll and Nan nothing has been recorded.

“One of the deponents, who knew Nell well, described a daughter of Nell’s who died “as a slave of Mr. Boarman.” The justices asked how he knew she was a slave. He replied that “she worked among the other slaves and lived as they did.” He described how, upon her death, Boarman called for a spade with which he dug a grave to bury her. Nell was present and, in a distraught condition, cried out that her daughter’s death “was the greatest loss she had met with since she was married.”
Source is a 1974 Master’s thesis

There were also forced marriages between indentured white women and black slaves, but that was annulled when brought to light and the “master” penalized.

One thing apparent, it the driving force was economics and a pregnant slave/indentured servant is not productive. To which, indentured women were required to repay the time of their pregnancy by extension of their indenture for like term.


I think it so interesting how upset people get when someone shares their experience. Why do people get defensive and attack someone when they speak on the horrors that happened in the past and are still happening today? I think these people need to grow up and learn compassion. The stupidity of putting down others experiences in defense of what? What harm do they do to you? I was a history major, she is speaking truth. And then these comments bring all this false info and bring up oh there was attraction etc. You do realize that if someone has a higher position of power than another, there is no consent. A slave does not have choice. I just truly wish someone could explain to me why these comments are whiners complaining about someone else’s true experience and history as if they think they are better to be a voice for her than she is. You cannot explain away someone else’s experience just because you cannot relate.


You are an idiot.


Thank-you, Sofia; i was beginning to think this site edited out anyone with the least bit of compassion.


I too thank Sofia for her common sense and rational comment. Slave holders did not “date” their slaves. When those slaves had the “Master’s” children, they were not welcomed with open arms and love.

You, JDZ, are worse than an idiot and one day you’ll have to ask someone like Ms. Williams for help. Or like my husband’s grandfather, be so senile you won’t know who you’re so happy to see.

Teresa Cartwright

Shocked when my husband and I were listened to the MSNBC program, ” The Last Word”. First my husband watched the original showing. He was in tears and was so upset. Then I watched the showing at midnight. I was upset, frustrated and angry to hear my ancestors that lived during and served in the Civil War being called ” not Americans” and treasonous. How disrespectful. I was even more upset to read the article in your newspaper that began this. My husband is 7th generation Nashvillian whose Cartwright relatives were on the flatboat with Donelson’s party with other founding families of Davidson County, Tn. I am a member of the First Families of Tennessee whose relatives were in Tennessee prior to the founding of Tennessee. This young lady is not old enough to be a monument. Nor am I at age 55. Historical monuments should not be destroyed or “taken down” as they need to stand to remind others of the mistakes that have been made in history. History can not be erased by removing monuments. In Tennessee historical monuments are protected by law for historical purposed. In Germany there is a sign at a Concentration camp that says Never Forget. I am part Cherokee and am not in favor of Andrew Jackson’s monument being destroyed of taken down because of how he treated my Cherokee relatives. Nor am I in favor of Andrew Jackson’s home ” The Hermitage” being destroyed either. Education is the answer not attempts to erase history that we might not like.


I am a light skinned black woman from Virginia, not once ever did I consider my skin “rape colored.” How very sad one would think of their skin, the only true home they have as being the product of rape, violence and brutality. Those words are some of the most hateful I have experienced in relation to my skin tone. I would rather the statues stay than for anyone to look at me and only see a history of rape and subjugation. Is it not simplistic to reduce a person down to their skin color? Do we look at Italians and think “man those Roman’s were complete a-sholes.” They tear down monuments, that will not change what happened in this country, it will never go away. White people are gonna have to learn to live with their shame. If the shame breaks their heart, maybe the race situation in this country change. Breaking a few statues/monuments may give people the inkling they are doing something significant, but it is their hearts they need to break…then we together can move on.
That is the truth I know.


I have zero compassion for anybody complaining about the personal impact of stuff that happened a century and half ago.


We merely laugh at people like you.

Norman F Weber

The responses, most in opposition to Ms. Williams’ Op-ed in the New York Times, are completely predictable from the mindset of the responders. Folks, read your own words, listen to what you are saying. You are in agreement.

Richard P. Connerty

It’s a little difficult for me to understand how a lovely, light-skinned Black woman could feel so victimized!
I am confident that most American Blacks have a good percentage of both Black and Native American blood as born out by scientific dna research, but I’m also sure that although slave masters blood courses through the veins of many Blacks, the incidence of post slavery cross racial liaisons . That is also my personal experience and I’m happy for it!

Marshal Art

Found this researching Williams for a post at my own blog. I thought it was a rational and intelligent response to Williams’ essay and most of the comments are as well. It’s sad to see that some cannot handle such responses without viewing them as racist. Blacks don’t get a pass on criticism just because they’re black. My own opinion of Williams is just how can she verify what her ancestors passed down? How can she know that whatever relationship might have happened between Pettis and her ancestor was forced? Some want to believe that being slave means consent isn’t possible. That’s quite a stretch to suggest it’s true 100% of the time. It would suggest that there existed no honor at all in slave holders, or that each was completely despotic toward their slaves. This is simply the opposite of “whitewashing”.

But more than questions of accuracy…Williams might indeed have her family history perfectly understood…is her drama-queen rendition and her offering of her body as a monument. Her belief that it must stand side-by-side with Confederate memorials would seem to require some public input before accepting. It also requires that each and every Confederate memorial was intended to celebrate only the desire to enslave and to defend and protect that practice. Such a notion would require researching the placement of each and every memorial in existence. Will she do that, or will she just assume?


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