Things White People Love: Comparing Black People to Monkeys

No, I don't mean the self-imagined political wag, nor those of a similarly fantastical oppressed ethnic subculture of the US. I mean the kind of (over)educated middle to upper-middle class, progressive liberal occasionally self-avowed skeptic, contrarian and/or scientific white folk.
I've seen the odd social justice action now and again in the US over the past decades. Whether at the local municipal level, the University level or on national TV. African-Americans are typically very well represented even when the issue at hand is not a "black issue" per se. When it comes to the incredible underrepresentative University campus population, it is particularly striking because you will find the black faces that you'd never known were on campus appearing in support of social justice causes.
There is one notable exception and that is the animal-rights campaign. The practitioners of animal rights theology would have you believe they are engaged in a social justice battle akin to many familiar ones. They never seem to look around and ask why their tiny band of followers are so unusually devoid of the black folks.
Perhaps it is because one of their favorite memes is viscerally offensive to African-Americans?


Not to mention entirely inaccurate from a scientific and historical perspective.
I know, I know. I know what you are thinking. It is a post in woo- and sensation-friendly Huffington Post, noted enemy of science and lover of all that is wacky. Why get all bloggy about a dog-bites-man story about yet another scientifically disingenuous entry at HuffPo?
I suppose my motivation is that you will see this sentiment elsewhere; so we can't just blame it on HuffPo. Besides, the blogger in question, Eric Michael Johnson, identifies himself in his tagline as "Scholar, scientist and journalist". So he might be expected to bring some good scientific support for the meme that is offensive to black folks. If he does not, as a self-avowed "scientist" he should tolerate, even welcome, a critical assessment of his theorizing.
In his tepid chastisement of the violent ARA extreme, EMJ focuses mostly on tactical outcome:

I would urge you to think about your ultimate goal in this struggle and consider whether your tactics are helping to bring this goal to fruition or whether they are emboldening your adversaries and further entrenching the divide.

Notably missing is any sense of moral or ethical outrage over the violent excesses directed against scientists- most likely because EMJ has a lot of "sympathy" for their "frustrations". You will recognize this as the typical double-talk coming from prominent mouth pieces of the extremist groups which are nominally in the accepted public sphere. I'm sure others will be addressing that aspect of the post at great length but I wanted to return to the "Monkeys are just like black slaves" argument. As formulated by EMJ in his post at HuffPo:

There are many who would object to the comparison between enslaved human beings and enslaved nonhuman primates. However, like you, and as a primatologist, I view this to be a difference of degree rather than kind. Research on primates in the wild has shown that they have rich emotional capacities including affectionate family bonds; long-term social relationships; the conscious awareness of self as separate from others; altruism; communication through gesture, body posture, facial expression and sound; learning by observation; making and using tools; using medicinal plants to treat illness; understanding and using abstract symbols for communication; and manipulating social situations for their own purposes. They are our next of kin in an evolutionary sense and I believe that rejection of our common kinship today is similar to the rejection that whites felt towards blacks just a few centuries ago.

Yes, I object. First because of a sort of historical mischaracterization of the existing strength of the evidence that enslaved black humans were similar to non-enslaved white humans on a list of critical characteristics. Second, because this brief list of observations supposedly derived from "research" in "nonhuman primates" substantially mis-characterizes the strength of the evidence. There is evidence, yes, that could be viewed as supporting human-like qualities of (some of) these nonhuman primates. But if we have some familiarity with the strength of the evidence, the comparison with enslaved human beings becomes inescapably offensive.
Let us start with the fact that the comparison is historically laughable. Just because grand pronouncements about enslaved black people were being made by people who claimed to be learned and scientific, this does not mean their evidence at the time had any merit. In fact it did not take any effort at all to readily observe black individuals, enslaved or not, who demonstrated consciousness of self, altruism, language (not the "abstract symbols for communication" misdirection, language), etc, etc, up to and including the sort of complex skills required to oversee the banquet kitchen of the President of the United States! At the very time, all society had to do was basically to step out of the way of black folks and to stop artificially preventing them from expressing their full behavioral repertoire to falsify any claim that black people differed in any way on these traits that EMJ has listed off. As history has progressed to modern day, we have all the evidence you could wish for that a person with black skin and more proximal African heritage is possessed of any fundamentally human-like traits you might assign to white people.
Again, this evidence emerges trivially. It does not require unusual training or intervention. All it requires is giving the white and black person an approximately similar set of environmental circumstances. Any layperson of unprejudiced mind can see it. The data support it. Any highly educated person that wishes to argue the contrary has a very tough job indeed parsing rarified statistical arguments about highly non-essential traits of humanity (like IQ three standard deviations above the mean) to establish any relevant differences between those of differing skin phenotype. On a group basis or even (given normal development) on an individual basis.
In very sharp contrast, we have the evidence that nonhuman animals, of the primate Order or otherwise, express traits or capabilities that are similar to those of human animals.
There have been many highly effortful attempts to let chimpanzees, gorillas and even African Gray parrots express their capacity for language. From the Premacks to the Georgia State University Language Resource Center to Irene Pepperberg, investigators have spent unbelievable amounts of time with painstaking instrumental conditioning of behaviors that might look like language. The demonstrations can be made to appear highly impressive to the naive viewer. However, just like Clever Hans and just like Epstein's insightful pigeon, appearances can be deceiving. One can take the end result of one best individual exemplar of a species, among several other exemplars who have failed to exhibit the same degree of 'success', and make it look very impressive.
Then the uncritical mind fills in the blanks. The uncritical mind assumes that any other individual can do the same thing, which is demonstrably not true. These are the best exemplars and the investigators have other considerably less-capable exemplars that never seem to garner the same attention or be integrated into the Gestalt interpretation. The uncritical mind glosses over or ignores the incredibly wide gulf between what Alex and Washoe and company can do...and what a normally developing human toddler, or even an adult second language-learner, can do. The uncritical mind ignores the incremental shaping that was required to bring about the best exemplar*. The uncritical mind ignores the fact that you have to go so some unbelievably unusual lengths to prevent a normal human from acquiring what is undubitably genuine language.
Do I need to remind you that black folks, even the enslaved ones, acquired true language, often that of their white owners, trivially?
Altruism, numerosity, tool use...the list goes on and on. There are data. There have been often highly effortful investigations. To produce very slim evidence that maybe, perhaps, nonhuman animals have traits and behaviors that are something like human traits and behaviors. And really, to assert otherwise is simply magical thinking that good skeptics and atheists and Darwin botherers should dismiss out of hand. Of COURSE humans are animals and share behaviors with the descendants of their common ancestor. It would be ludicrous to pretend otherwise. So why are well educated animal rights activist tilting at this ridiculous straw argument?
Since EMJ offered up tactical advice about making the AR case, I should reply in kind. I dunno, maybe the black folks I fail to see in animal rights activities are demonstrating elsewhere that day. Maybe they exist in droves. If you know any, send them over here to comment. If I'm right however, EMJ and other fans of the slavery / Tuskeegee analogy might want to think on recruiting allies to their marginalized cause. They may want to think on what it says to black people when they make this insulting comparison of black people's capabilities with those of monkeys. It doesn't come across well.
__
*[For those of you who are not behavioral scientists. Think about it. Think about your own assays and experiments. How often would you take a highly effortful assay that takes years of daily labor to prepare, observe a result in one of many preps, a result which is highly debatable and may require your mother's eye to distinguish from background..and conclude that that one is the truth? Never. Ask these comparative behavior scientists some tough questions.]

42 responses so far

  • Cassidy says:

    I just added your blog to my reader, and this is why. Awesome post, thanks.

  • Chris Whitman says:

    Well, I can't say I agree with comparing black slaves to monkeys, but I'm pretty sure you're downplaying the evidence of animal intelligence.
    I mean, it's expert vs. expert, and I'm not a biologist, but I've heard Dr. Robert Sapolsky give a lecture discussing the similarities in neurobiology between humans and primates, and he cites behavioral examples of altruism, empathy and tool use (and I know for a *fact* that tool use is practiced among primates, because I've seen pictorial evidence, for one). Dr. Sapolsky is a professor of neurology at Stanford, so I hope he knows his stuff, at least.
    And again, I certainly don't agree with extremists in the animal rights movement, but in willfully taking a very conservative stance on the evidence and using terms like "animal rights theology," it certainly sounds like you're disagreeing with the data because you don't like their conclusions.

  • gathly says:

    I have no idea what you're saying here. It's hard to see through all this misdirected froth.

  • bikemonkey says:

    Did you read the post, Chris Whitman? I am not disagreeing with the data at all. What I question is not just "their" conclusions but the impression that is conveyed to people such as yourself gazing upon it from a relatively less-informed viewpoint.
    There is evidence that *can be interpreted as* altruism, empathy, etc. The question is, what does the evidence actually support? Does it support the full impression that you have with respect to the capabilities of various species? And the distance between various nonhuman species?

  • Stephanie Z says:

    Curse you, bikemonkey. How dare you write a post containing multiple points without strictly segregating them for readers and labeling all the bits so people can decide whether they agree with you before they even read anything? And addressing gradation and complexity at the same time? We might have to revoke your blogger license.

  • MonkeyPox says:

    It's interesting that animal research is often compared to black slavery and the Jewish Holocaust, but rarely to other human tragedies suffered by majoritarians. It seems that the "abuse" of primates is comparable to other "non-human primates", you know, like blacks and jews, but not "real" people.
    These people don't give a shit about humans.

  • bikemonkey says:

    You are entirly right about the Holocaust being a similarly offensive meme MP. I should have mentioned that. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Greg Laden says:

    I did not interpret EMJ's reference to prior experimentation using members of subaltern human groups (he focuses on blacks in the 19th/20th century US but this is widespread phenomenon) in relation to animal rights issues as a direct comparison between the argument that X people (fill in the X as appropriate) are people too. Yes, I know he talks about gradation, and that is a valid point, but not related to this quesition.
    Rather, I interpreted EMJ's essay as placeing the "animal rights" argument in the comparative historical framework as prior human rights arguments. That is valid and appropraite for a lot of reasons, none of which have to do with the point you are objecting to here.
    I don't think Michael was looking for explanations as to why ELF/ALF members are very white, but I'm not sure your explanation is relevant. The reason ELF/ALF members look like they do is because they are educated liberal bla-bla-blas recruited from mainly upper to upper middle class suburban families with a high percentage recruited in one of the whiter regions of the country. The ALF/ELF members are an overlapping subset of a larger group of roughly like minded individuals with somewhat but not much more diverse backgrounds (and there is palpable guilt about that lack of diversity amongst them).
    But ... that is a tentative opinion. I'm still thinking about it.
    In the mean time, I'd love to see all of my fellow science bloggers starting with DrugMonkey take a strong position against the use of animals, especially primates, kin TV commercials. That would be good, right?

  • Chris Whitman says:

    I'm a mathematician, not a biologist, so to an extent it's your word against theirs, but I'm also pretty sure you aren't a primatologist or a professor of neurological sciences. It seems to me that if I'm going to side with anyone in this debate, it would be people who are first of all, active researchers in the field where they study this, and secondly have the scientific consensus of the relevant field of study on their side.
    I don't necessarily know if the animal rights activists you're talking about have exaggerated the evidence (there are many different people in animal rights with different perspectives, and you're painting them with a very broad brush here), but while primates are obviously lacking in many aspects of human intelligence, there's certainly contributing evidence towards the idea that they have some aspects.
    Moreover, I think we need to reevaluate whether evolution and not special creation make the historical bias towards seeing animals as merely automatons a very reasonable null hypothesis. I'm not saying we need to implement an equal hiring policy for chimpanzees unless it can be proven otherwise (although certainly in some fields, I doubt it could hurt), but I'm not certain that assuming non-human animals are purely reactive is a reasonable application of Occam's razor as opposed to simply conservativism.
    Plus, I don't know, maybe before you decide there are no African Americans in animal rights you should check out sites like blackvegetarians.org, or confirm that the claims you are pointing out as drawing an unfavorable comparison between those of African descent and monkeys aren't, in fact, also being made *by* African Americans, or do the absolute minimum amount of internet research required to confirm that you are pretty much making this up.

  • Greg Laden says:

    And by "kin" I mean "in"
    (Interesting Freudian slip, that.)

  • PalMD says:

    I'm a mathematician, not a biologist, so to an extent it's your word against theirs, but I'm also pretty sure you aren't a primatologist or a professor of neurological sciences.

    Writing with no special knowledge, how are you so sure about what s/he is or isn't an expert in, because I saw nothing in the piece to indicate the writer's lack of any particular profession.

  • Greg Laden says:

    "DrugMonkey is an NIH-funded biomedical research scientist." and I think we know that he has an interest in (though I suppose it might not be an expertise) in certain areas like addiction. SMJ is a primatologist with excellent training and background.
    Assuming that these are the "experts" to whom we are referring in this little side discussion, I don't think we need to worry too much about credentials.

  • Chris Whitman says:

    I'm not trying to suggest that DrugMonkey is, in some general sense, "unqualified;" he or she is probably more qualified in this area than I am. But given the fact that I'm not capable of becoming a qualified primatologist within the next hour, I am going to give more weight to someone who is discussing their actual field, and I don't think that's unreasonable.

  • bikemonkey says:

    CW, the relevant literature is written more or less in normal English. It does not require any special expertise other than a focused mind to read and evaluate the data, such as they are. You may need a bit of time at a University library however because a lot of it is in books, not just journals.
    Anonymous Internet "authority" is vastly inferior to your own reading of source material, albeit the former can help you to read more skeptically.

  • Orac says:

    You are entirly right about the Holocaust being a similarly offensive meme MP. I should have mentioned that. Thanks for the reminder.

    Of course, given my interest in Holocaust history and Holocaust denial, the "Holocaust on a plate" meme that PETA has promulgated about meat or the descriptions of a "vivisectionist Holocaust" is more up my alley, no? 🙂

  • becca says:

    So in the animal research part of my grad school ethics class, I managed to sound like a total and complete douchebag about this (for the record, it wasn't me being my usual provocative-on-purpose; I was just painfully tone deaf, and I did my very best to apologize). So if I fuck this one up, I'm ready for anyone who is offended/annoyed/whatever to call me out. I don't mean to offend.
    Here's the thing. IF you have already come to the conclusion we need to behave as though non-human animals have rights that they are not currently afforded, THEN assessments of non-human animals which arise after we have decided (through societal incentives) how to treat them, can sound an AWFUL lot like the astounding (historically-proven) capacity for people to rationalize any immoral treatment of the "other".
    That is, in my opinion, the HORRIBLENESS of man's inhumanity to man (exemplified by slavery, the holocaust, Native American genocide, ect.) dwarfs (by many orders of magnitude) the horribleness of how scientists treat non-human research animals. YET... the arguments used to support using non-human animals in the ways we do in this society sound to me like they are derived FIRST from self-interest, and only SECONDLY from any moral consciousness. In that sense, those arguments are the same as many of the arguments advanced in support of historical cruelty to humans.
    It's kind of like... given the OBVIOUS equality of human races, doesn't the fact that people still managed to rationalize race based slavery, prove that our capacities for rationalization are more than sufficient to ignore the facts in front of us in order to justify convenient immorality?
    "These people don't give a shit about humans."
    So there are two basic ways of reconciling "non-human animals should be treated like people"... you can either go with "humans are as unimportant as we currently treat non-human animals" OR you can go with "non-human animals are as important as we currently treat humans".
    The extremists on the ARA side, like the cockweasledouchemonkeys that play games with people's KIDS social support networks, are going about things with every evidence of the "humans are as unimportant as we currently treat non-human animals" stance. In other words, they are bringing humans down to non-human animal levels. Certainly it's reasonable to say they don't give a shit about humans.
    That said, there are probably more people whose concerns go beyond animal welfare, many of whom see things like cognitive-awareness as a continuum, who would like to begin treating non-human animals more like they have some of the same rights humans do. They see themselves as bringing non-human animals up (closer) to the human levels. It's not reasonable to say they don't give a shit about humans.
    (aside: "although certainly in some fields, I doubt it could hurt" You mean, like Congressional representatives?)

  • It seems to me you've completely misread EMJ's point. He wasn't comparing black slaves to chimps, he was comparing the socially-conditioned brutality that allowed slavery to that which frivolously disregards the suffering of intelligent non-humans. His point was to expand the circle of compassion, not to denigrate black people or anyone else. You rage about historical accuracy, but there is no doubt that one of the central cognitive ploys that permitted slavery was to consider blacks non-human or sub-human. Darwin himself believed the European man to be atop a continuum on which blacks were at the bottom. Johnson's post – as I read it, anyway – clearly shows the illegitimacy of this way of thinking. He certainly isn't engaging in it.

  • bikemonkey says:

    I take your point, becca and I certainly agree. The ARA types have decided, a priori to take a particular philosophical stance. That human totes= animals in every particular. Not only are black people just like monkeys, so are white people.
    In the same sense that I don't have any problem with someone choosing to believe in a deity and practice a specific religion, I have no problem with a personal faith-type belief.
    The trouble is that they then want to turn around and reference non-personal, non-faith-based evidence, universal moral imperatives etc in an attempt to convince others to believe just as they do. It is my position in this post that they completely abuse the non-faith-based-evidence in trying to make this case.
    also, if you do not happen to share their faith-based-priors, this abuse of the evidence can be fairly offensive because the "and so are white people" part really doesn't come across when you are pointing the finger at slavery.
    the arguments used to support using non-human animals in the ways we do in this society sound to me like they are derived FIRST from self-interest, and only SECONDLY from any moral consciousness.
    I dunno. In the world within which scientist operate, whether stated or not, it seems there is only the issue of self-interest- (I mean sure there are veterinary and ecological benefits but it isn't like nonhuman animals can express their desire for those so it is still a human "interest")
    "moral consciousness" sounds more like a mandate than permission to my ear. I'm okay with the latter but the former does indeed sound like a slippery slope to violating animal *welfare* to me.

  • pinus says:

    For the record:
    Bikemonkey authored this post, not DM.
    Also, EMJ did some graduate work in primate ecology. no mention of a PhD or Masters. So perhaps he took a class or 2 (or more)? He is doing a PhD in history now. I am not sure what the threshold is for being a 'primatologist'.

  • bikemonkey says:

    personally I am willing to stipulate EMJ is a "primatologist" or any other credential he prefers. Because it matters not. What matters is the degree of credulity / skepticism and informed interpretation and inference one brings to the body of actual evidence. Now, it may be that someone has knowledge of some new experimental or field observational result that blows all my arguments away, just because they are more deeply involved in some field of work than am I. Could be and I would be happy to review any new evidence.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    In the mean time, I'd love to see all of my fellow science bloggers starting with DrugMonkey take a strong position against the use of animals, especially primates, kin TV commercials.
    Why? You've given very little evidence in the past that you care what I have to say about anything. Why don't you just make your point?

  • Greg Laden says:

    Why? You've given very little evidence in the past that you care what I have to say about anything. Why don't you just make your point?
    I care a great deal about what you have to say, DM. But I must say that if this is an argument against criticizing the use of animals, especially primates, in commercials, it isn't a very good one. More like a distraction sort of thing.
    Prius, EMJ is a respected and published PhD candidate in primatology.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    It is not an argument for or against anything.
    It is a simple question as to why you made that comment.
    May we assume you are stating your opposition to animal commercials?
    Why is it so important to you to tell other science bloggers what to write about?
    You know, given your typical incendiary reaction to anyone so much as suggesting you modify your writing by so much as a comma and all.

  • Wait. How did we get on commercials?

  • Colugo says:

    EMJ's credentials and profession are irrelevant to the soundness, or lack thereof, of his claims. After all, some supporters of animal rights terrorism are MDs and PhDs. As a PhD myself, I am as impressed by such titles as I am by bikini inspector licenses and Starfleet pins when it comes to matters of advocacy, or indeed opinions on any topic outside of the title holder's area of expertise, narrowly defined.
    And EMJ's claims about animal research are as shoddy as the animal rights movement itself, as well as the ridiculous Great Ape Project.

  • I happen to know for a fact that PhysioCat would really like to be in teevee commercials. And if her were, I would use the profits to buy him catnip and me motherfucking jameson.

  • leigh says:

    the writing contained in EMJ's essay does not reflect that of a scholar or a scientist. using false analogies to further one's argument is not scholarly or scientific. it doesn't matter what kind of -ologist he is.

  • becca says:

    ""and so are white people" part really doesn't come across when you are pointing the finger at slavery."
    *sigh* I know. Not even if you're Jewish. Let my monkeys go?
    I can certainly understand why you feel it's faith-based morality to assume animals should have rights. I agree, in a sense. But ultimately, I don't think there is such a thing as evidence *based* morality (isn't it a position of faith that anyone should have rights?). You can have evidence *informed* morality, sure (which seems to be one thing you are arguing for). But you've kind of got to take something as a first principle to reason from. Such as "suffering is bad". You can use science and evidence to attempt to compare suffering involved in options, and make a 'correct' choice (and given the incomplete state of our knowledge, I believe intelligent and ethical people can come up with starkly different conclusions). But you can't actually find any evidence to demonstrate suffering is bad; it's just a priori.
    Your first principle involves counting non-human animals and humans differently. I don't think our species would have evolved for most people to think otherwise, but I don't think there's evidence for what traits "should" qualify someone or some creature for what rights. So I don't see you as any more or less faith based than proponents of animal rights.

  • Colugo says:

    Animal rightists: The SWPL / Blue State / college town / netroots analog to pro-lifers.
    Vivisector LOLcat: "Humans iz animals. Humans iz primates. None uv you fuckers haz any rights, as far as I'm concerned."

  • Colugo says:

    The comment that my latest comment was mocking has apparently been deleted, so mine may as well be deleted as well. At least the second part.

  • EMJ is totally on the money with this. I only conduct research trials with animals that have given me informed consent. They totally can do all of that, it's just a matter of your having the patience to, and knowing how to, communicate with them.
    Plus, I have also generously decreed that they will all be freed upon my retirement and receive 40 cages and a technician of their own to boot, so I think I have all the bases covered, correct?

  • Christopher Ryan says:

    Black abolitionist Frederic Douglass often made direct comparisons between the treatment of other animals and of himself. "When purchased, my old master probably thought as little of my advent, as he would have thought of the addition of a single pig to his stock! Like a wild young working animal, I am to be broken to the yoke of a bitter and life-long bondage. Indeed, I now saw, in my situation, several points of similarity with that of the oxen. They were property, so was I; they were to be broken, so was I; Convey was to break me, I was to break them; break and be broken - such is life."
    By your reasoning, Douglass was being subtly racist in making this comparison?
    Cited here: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/60217,news-comment,news-politics,alexander-cockburn-tillikum-the-slave-killer-whale-seaworld-chose-to-fight-back-tilikum,2

  • Tom says:

    Fantastic post DM!

  • FunkyFresh says:

    It's only a feud if DrugMonkey likes shooting fish in a barrel.

  • jojo says:

    "How often would you take a highly effortful assay that takes years of daily labor to prepare, observe a result in one of many preps, a result which is highly debatable and may require your mother's eye to distinguish from background..and conclude that that one is the truth?"
    Sadly, developmental and cellular biologists seem to do this All. The. Time. It is always "the best" prep among hundreds for any staining procedure that shows up in the paper. That along with doing 6+ _technical_ replicates on quantitative PCR and using that to determine your p-value... ugh.

  • "African-Americans are typically very well represented even when the issue at hand is not a "black issue" per se. When it comes to the incredible underrepresentative University campus population, it is particularly striking because you will find the black faces that you'd never known were on campus appearing in support of social justice causes.
    There is one notable exception and that is the
    the "Pro-choice" campaign.
    There's a reason for this, of course. The reason is that Margret Sanger started planned parenthood as a way to exterminate black people. It's also how you know that the anti-life movement is anything but a social justice cause. Instead, it is a way for the racist liberal progressives to practice eugenics. These liberal progressives are so racist; racism is so fundamentally intertwined with their history. These people don't give a shit about black people, hell they don't give a shit about humans. All they give a shit about is destroying our country to create fascism where they control who, and exactly how many, get to breed.
    /paraphrased from Glenn Beck
    Note: ironic troll is ironic.

  • proud2beBLACK says:

    yall white ppl are the monkeys cause yall like fucking horse and another types of animals yall see and yall like rape everbody esle white people are sick in the head and deep down in side yall are gay small dick senstive baster who hate everyone yall the one that need 2 leave american so leave black people and all the other races would be so happy and yall no damn well yall will not step one foot in the hood or ghetto what ever you white people what 2 call it call a black person monkey in there face cause yall kno what happen 2 yall if yall did white people are scary yall sit behide computers and talk shit about black people white people get some real balls and say it to the black men face but yall want ps callin all whitw peopel the crack ship leavin so hurry up and get on people dont come back 2 the usa

  • Freemage says:

    Christopher Ryan, that was an exceptionally dishonest post, there. Douglas wasn't declaring affinity with the animal; he was declaring his master's treatment of him was akin to how animals are treated, as a means to underline that slavery is inhumane. He was declaring that to equate a human with an animal is wrong, and you procede to twist it around to claim the exact opposite--and then AR activists can't understand why they keep getting called on their dishonesty.

  • Rob Monkey says:

    Wait, so Frederick Douglass = racist self-hating black guy? Dammit, I'm stuck in Bizarro World again, aren't I? Well, I better get out of here before President Palin brings out the death panels.
    Anonymoustache, that was hilarious, although I'm pretty sure said technician will have his arms ripped off and be beaten to death with them unless he locks himself in one of those 40 cages.

  • NotAMonkey says:

    CR, I believe that Fredrick Douglass's argument was pointing to how utterly outrageous it is to be treated like an animal. Whereas the problem here is that the clueless AR person is pointing out how utterly outrageous it is to treat animals like black people...

  • [...] into this post and noticed it was from that confirmed idiot Eric Michael Johnson. We've noticed problems with him and his Huffery before on this [...]

  • Yann says:

    Then again… You're completely missing the point.

    When animal activists are comparing human slavery with animal slavery, they're not saying African American are the same as monkeys.

    You're not being compared to a monkey.

    You're being compared to a white slave owner.

    And that's why you're in such a hurry to get offended. It's so much easier than a little introspection…

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