Possibly one of the most disturbing factors in American society today is the growing tendency of white women to cohabit with negroes, in preference, apparently, to men of their own race and color. The causes underlying this sexual anomaly are somewhat difficult to trace, clearly and satisfactorily. Sensually, they might be found in the larger penis and more protracted coitus of the negro, as compared with the average white man, if it could be shown that such conditions constituted a true and constant basis of sexual enjoyment to the woman; but such is by no means always the rule, the smaller organ being frequently pleasanter, even purely physically, than the larger; while aesthetically and psychically the preference ought certainly to rest with the Caucasian.
But that such is not the case, and that the frequent violations of this natural race-law of union are not the result of neuropathic processes, at least in the majority of instances, are facts too obvious to admit of question. What, then, are the causes and motives which are sufficiently strong to prompt acts, on the part of women, which they well know to be not only degrading to themselves, but repugnant to society, and subversive of both self-respect and social decency?
The frequent lynchings, burnings, and other illegal and horrible punishments habitually inflicted upon negroes, for this species of sexual crime, as well as the recent serious discussion of castration, as a remedy for the evil, prove conclusively the importance and magnitude which the latter has assumed in the community; and since, so far as I am aware, nothing has been ventured on the subject save what, founded on a vindictive racehatred on one side, or a too easy Christian forbearance on the other, is necessarily either too prejudiced, or too pious, to be of much service in any rational attempt to analyze or deal with the problem.
An enlightened Christian community feels a natural repugnance to such acts of seemingly barbarous legislation as might tend to discredit it In the eyes of civilization; and yet the parent, whose daughter has been debauched, either willingly or unwillingly, by one of those black monsters, feels very poorly avenged by a few months' imprisonment of the aggressor—if the latter do not escape altogether; and may be very well excused, from a strictly human standpoint, for voting the infliction of a punishment which would forever prevent a repetition of the offence, whether that punishment take the form of mutilation or of death.
If there is any instance, in the whole category of crime, where civilized law might be justified in being entirely punitive, without any correctional purpose, it seems to me that negro-seduction of a white girl is that one. There is hardly any adequate compensation, either to the daughter or parents, for such an offence. The death of the criminal does not destroy the eternal obloquy of his act. The evil that he does lives after him, if not in the mulatto babe, surely in the blighted life of the mother, the agonizing shame of her parents, and the foul insult offered to society in general.
What then shall be the penalty, the prophylaxis, the ultimate plan of prevention?
Many propositions have been submitted; but most of them are discredited by one or other of the causes mentioned. The Romans, however, had a punishment for a far milder offence, which, while severe, was undoubtedly efficacious. The letters C. F.—cave furem, "'ware thief"—were branded upon the criminal's forehead, warning the public, and putting it on its guard against him. Such a method, along with many others of a similar character, which it would be outside of my theme to discuss, or even hint at, surrounded by such restraints as law and humanitarianism might devise, would no doubt subserve a useful purpose; but I am inclined to think that castration, for the first completed act, with branding for an attempt, both of course under proper medical and surgical supervision, offer the surest and most rational remedy. And for two very simple reasons. The main one is that in the first case castration (true) would put it beyond the power of the culprit to repeat the crime; and the secondary one is the deterrent effect of such a form of punishment on others of his race, for surgery of any kind is the particular b$te noire of the negro, and sexual surgery the most of all.
I have to ask the professional reader's pardon for this slight deviation from my proper sexual theme; but he, or she, only has to recall a single case which only a few years ago went the rounds of the medical journals, to recognize the importance, the pertinency, of such passing suggestions.
A young lady of Philadelphia, beautiful, respected, rich; a brewer's daughter; went to Atlantic City, a fashionable seashore resort, for a season of recreation. What happened to her there is a mystery, buried with her in the grave; but when she returned to Philadelphia it was by a special train, in the company of two attending physicians and a burly negro, with the latter of whom she was coupled, precisely as a dog with a bitch. Both were taken to a hospital; and, the girl having an intractable vaginismus, I have understood, although the greatest secrecy surrounded the whole proceeding, that the negro's penis had to be amputated to separate them. Both subsequently died,
With the horror and shame of such a calamity fresh in that father's mind, had he the voting of negro castration for all such offences, I venture the assertion that black eunuchs would be more plentiful in America than in the Sultan's seraglio.