Last night's episode of Totally Biased with (my son) W. Kamau Bell, opened with a wry comment on Todd Akin's faux paus about the inability of women to get pregnant when they are "legitimately raped." Bell said if that were true, "Why are there so many light-skinned folk in Alabama?" And he could have added, "Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina, the U.S. of A."
Then it hit me: RAPE WAS LEGITIMATE DURING SLAVERY! That's why we have such a large number of light-skinned folk in this country. In order to increase the number of slaves, and his net worth, the progeny born of the white master's rape of an enslaved woman, was always black, another slave, never counted as white or bi-racial. THIS RAPE WAS LEGITIMATE!
There wasn't a court in the country that would have prosecuted any white man for forcing any woman to have sex. The custom (and it may as well have been the law) was that white men could do as they pleased with any woman—black, white, married, or single. With a powerful white male protector some women were immune from being considered fair game, but any black man who objected to the exploitation or abuse of a woman could be killed with impunity. RAPE WAS LEGITIMATE!
W.E.B. Du Bois, the scholar, historian, and activist who was a founder of the NAACP put it this way. “To the ordinary American or Englishman, the race question at bottom is simply a matter of ownership of women; white men want the right to use all women, colored and white.”
The ownership of women. This is what the Republican War on Women is all about: returning to the days when powerful men could do as they wished with women; to the days when RAPE WAS LEGITIMATE. Todd Akin's casual remark merely referred to what they've been doing for some time now with their attacks on Planned Parenthood, trying to criminalize abortion, forcing pregnant women to have unnecessary procedures. Todd Akin did not step out of line; he merely reiterated Republican policy. This is nothing new. It's a significant plank in their platform for the 2012 election. Todd Akin simply made it crystal clear that the Republicans want to return to the days when RAPE WAS LEGITIMATE.