The lynchings of innocent black men and boys in the Old South were the result of "white men’s need for sexual (well, and everything else) control of white women."
If you are doing a double-take over this strange epiphany, go read it for yourself. It's written by white "lesbian housewife" Shannon LC Cate who acknowledges that false rape claims happened in the Old South, but that it was white men, not white women, who were responsible for the horrors inflicted on black men and boys.
I dare you to try to follow Cate's muddled logic: Most of the lynchings in the Old South were not about rape but other purported offenses. Only 30 percent of all lynchings of black men and boys were actually about rape, and very few of those were actually rape -- many of those encounters were consensual sex. Somehow, from all that, Cate concludes the following: "The fact is, throughout U.S. history—especially after the Civil War—white women have been the rhetorical foil white men have used to justify violence and terrorism against Black men."
So even when blacks were lynched for alleged offenses other than rape, women were the "rhetorical foil"? And when blacks were falsely accused of rape, white women had no responsibility? Really?
Oh, silly me. Why on earth would I think that Cate is concerned about insignificant things like evidence, logic, and clarity? It's presumably enough for her audience that she vilifies white men and panders to black men and boys without actually bothering to try and make sense. (Cate makes sure to capitalize the "b" in "Black men" and to use the lower case "w" in "white men." Well, at least she's not subtle about her bias.)
So, of course, she ties all of that gobbledygook into -- you guessed it! -- George Zimmerman. ". . . when George Zimmerman assumed, based on appearance that Trayvon was a criminal, a big part of why he assumed it was this history of Black boys and men being considered threats to white women."
The fact that there is no evidence whatsoever for Cate's loony conclusion is neither here nor there. Why let the facts get in the way of a good victim fetish? You see, Cate gets to write a de rigueur piece that's ostensibly about the victimization of black males, but it's really about white women being controlled by evil white men.
Get it? Neither do I.
But wait, wait. I spoke too soon. It seems that Cate does offer proof for her conclusion: "Just go watch D.W. Griffith’s Birth of Nation, and you will see the story unfold there just a few years past the height of the lynching era. In that film, anxiety about white men’s loss of political and economic control to Black men is finally too much to bear when control of white women’s sexuality is added to the pile of straws."
Yes, you read that right. A film that memorialized anti-black racism in the early 20th Century is being cited by a progressive for its "truth." There are no words to describe this inanity.
Cate continues: "I say 150 years (at least) of being used as an excuse to terrorize Black boys and men is enough." What's Cate going to do about it? She advocates that "we U.S American white women [get] together to form a ring of love and protection around our Black boys."
You mean like you formed a ring of love and protection around Brian Banks? And the falsely accused minority young men in the Hofstra false rape case? (Go read what some feminist writers said about that case, but don't do it on an empty stomach.)
Cate isn't finished: "It is time (way past time) for white women to ally with Black boys and men with all our hearts and minds, with every shred of power we’ve got." White men, presumably, are too far gone, too lost in their obsession to control white women, to ally with men and boys who don't share their skin color.
Cate's suggestions for allying with black males are so insipid, so flat-out stupid, that they need to be read for a laugh:
"1. Stop using the phrase 'I was the only white person there.'”
"2. Make a friend." Not just any friend, a black friend. What follows gives new meaning to the word "pandering": "Smile, and say hello to the Black man in front of you in the grocery store line, look those Black teen boys in the eye when they pass you on the street (whatever you do, don’t cross the street!), sit by a Black man, instead of another white woman, on the bus."
"3. Stop identifying with whiteness." If you are as confused as I am by this, read on: "Back when I was teaching race in U.S. history and culture to college students, . . . I told them there was no reason to identify with Thomas Jefferson and no reason not to identify with Frederick Douglass. Your heroes should be the people who share your values, not your melanin levels." And "I’m not saying Jefferson didn’t set it up sweet for you if you are white nowadays. . . ." (Get it? Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence = Bad; Frederick Douglass = Good.)
We need not labor over Cate's stupidity, and it needs no critique. We need only quote her to give witness to the puerility of her thinking.