Journalists Don’t Know Much About History: An Ongoing Series

Many popular media outlets reported recently on a fascinating new scientific study published in Nature Communications. Here’s how Britain’s Daily Mail interpreted the story.

The first ever full-genome analysis of Ancient Egyptians shows they were more Turkish and European than African.

Scientists analysed ancient DNA from Egyptian mummies dating from 1400 BC to 400 AD and discovered they shared genes with people from the Mediterranean.

They found that ancient Egyptians were closely related to ancient populations in the Levant – now modern day Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon.

They were also genetically similar to Neolithic populations from the Anatolian Peninsula and Europe.

The groundbreaking study used recent advances in DNA sequencing techniques to undertake a closer examination of mummy genetics than ever before.

The study is interesting and seems to deliver a devastating blow to the Black Egyptian Hypothesis which has been advocated by many serious people, including W. E. B. DuBois. Contrary to the hypothesis, the ancient Egyptians don’t seem to have been appreciably more black than were, say, the ancient Greeks, although the study did not include evidence from southern (Upper) Egypt, where sub-Saharan admixture may have been relatively greater.

What are we to make, however, of the Daily Mail‘s claim that ancient Egyptians were “Turkish”? The study itself did not make that claim. What the study showed was that ancient Egyptians shared genetics with ancient inhabitants of Anatolia. But the ancient inhabitants of Anatolia did not include any Turks. The Turks were an Asian tribe that did not enter Anatolia until the medieval period. The door opened to large scale Turkish migration to Anatolia after the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.

Of course, modern Turkey must today include many people descended from those ancient Anatolians who were related to the ancient Egyptians. But over the centuries there has occurred so much movement of peoples, including the Turks, that modern populations are very different genetically from the ancient populations who occupied the same territory. So direct comparisons to modern populations are exceedingly hazardous. If anything, it’s probably more accurate to say the ancient Egyptians were “Greek” than to say they were “Turkish,” although the Nature Communications study makes neither assertion.

What the study suggests is merely that the ancient Egyptians were a Mediterranean people, and not sub-Saharan. But under no reasonable interpretation could the ancient Egyptians be called “Turkish,” and I doubt anybody with even a passing familiarity with the history of the Turks or the Byzantine Empire would differ with this conclusion.

And so we have just one more data point, as if any more were needed, that journalists don’t know much. But that, of course, doesn’t stop them from trying to lecture to the rest of us.

Academic Feminists Get Punked

I have to laugh whenever climate alarmists argue that we have to respect alarmist climate research because it is published in “peer reviewed” journals. Anybody who believes that peer review is some kind of unassailable imprimatur of legitimacy can’t possibly have much personal experience with the actual peer review process. As I was discussing with a colleague recently, the dreary incompetence of peer reviews is perhaps the most singularly disappointing aspect of the entire academic experience.

The deficiencies of peer review were hilariously exposed back in 1996 by Alan Sokal in his famous hoaxing of the postmodern journal Social Text. Sokal got the journal’s peer reviewers to approve a spoof article that argued, among other absurdities, that physics is a social construct.

Now comes recent news of another successful Sokal-like hoax. The journal humiliated on this occasion was a ‘gender studies’ outlet called Cogent Social Sciences. And this time the thing argued to be socially constructed was not physics but, ahem, the penis.

Penises are problematic, and we don’t just mean medical issues like erectile dysfunction and crimes like sexual assault. As a result of our research into the essential concept of the penis and its exchanges with the social and material world, we conclude that penises are not best understood as the male sexual organ, or as a male reproductive organ, but instead as an enacted social construct that is both damaging and problematic for society and future generations. The conceptual penis presents signi cant problems for gender identity and reproductive identity within social and family dynamics, is exclusionary to disenfranchised communities based upon gender or reproductive identity, is an enduring source of abuse for women and other gender-marginalized groups and individuals, is the universal performative source of rape, and is the conceptual driver behind much of climate change.

Linking the ‘conceptual penis’ to climate change was clearly calculated to increase the paper’s chances of publication. As was the paper’s unambiguously anti-penis and anti-masculine perspective.

We didn’t try to make the paper coherent; instead, we stuffed it full of jargon (like “discursive” and “isomorphism”), nonsense (like arguing that hypermasculine men are both inside and outside of certain discourses at the same time), red-flag phrases (like “pre-post-patriarchal society”), lewd references to slang terms for the penis, insulting phrasing regarding men (including referring to some men who choose not to have children as being “unable to coerce a mate”), and allusions to rape (we stated that “manspreading,” a complaint levied against men for sitting with their legs spread wide, is “akin to raping the empty space around him”). After completing the paper, we read it carefully to ensure it didn’t say anything meaningful, and as neither one of us could determine what it is actually about, we deemed it a success.

The hoaxing authors clearly knew their audience and played to its man-hating prejudices. The paper may be filled with contradictions and inconsistencies, but the one constant is its anti-male narrative. As the authors themselves admitted,

We assumed that if we were merely clear in our moral implications that maleness is intrinsically bad and that the penis is somehow at the root of it, we could get the paper published in a respectable journal. . .

But could a nonsense paper taking the opposite position–that maleness is intrinsically good–ever publish in a respectable journal? That seems like a much tougher sell. The hoaxing authors essentially chose the anti-male position deliberately, because they knew that was the way to get published.

By agreeing to publish this anti-male nonsense, academic feminists not only revealed themselves as bereft of intellectual standards, but they contradicted their own feminist theory. Feminists argue that we live in a ‘patriarchy’ in which men control all of society’s levers of power, and use that power to actively oppress women. And yet, the patriarchy somehow allows ‘respectable journals’ to publish even hoax papers so long as they are anti-male.

That’s the ultimate contradiction that the feminist reviewers failed to acknowledge.

A Tale of Two Scandals: VW vs. USGS

I recall an interview with journalist John Stossel in which he said that early in his career he was assigned to report on cases of fraud by private businesses. After awhile on the job, however, he found that fraud in the business world was rare. Most businesses operated honestly because they had to retain customer loyalty. In contrast, Stossel found that fraud was much easier to find in government.

And yet, we don’t see a lot of media reports about the rampant fraud in government. The media seem to report the few cases of private sector fraud with gusto, but are far more reticent to report on government.

Consider, for example, the Volkswagen ’emissionsgate’ scandal that broke back in 2015. This scandal got wall-to-wall coverage on every major media outlet. At this point, even the most superficially informed person must be aware that Volkswagen rigged emissions tests on diesel vehicles during a period of about seven years.

In contrast, how many people know about the data manipulation scandal at the U.S. geological survey? Most people would probably imagine USGS to be a sleepy outpost of government, staffed by geeky but diligent scientists. But apparently, at least two USGS scientists committed data fraud spanning a period more than twice as long as the VW scandal. 

Data was manipulated by USGS employees at the USGS lab in Lakewood, Colo., for nearly it’s entire existence, starting in 1996 — just a year after the facility opened — until 2014. The lab stopped taking new work then and was permanently closed in March 2016. The USGS is part of the Department of the Interior.

The lab analyzed a variety of energy-related topics such as uranium deposits and coal reserves. The data was relied upon by decision-makers and analysts in the energy and financial industries, among others. Officials said projects affected by the data involved $108 million in funding.

Even more infuriating is the fact that, nearly a year after the scandal broke, Congressional investigators don’t seem to have many answers due to foot-dragging by the agency. There’s also no evidence that anyone has been fired, punished, or even named.

Officials with the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have yet to tell Congress they’ve punished a pair of scientists behind nearly two decades of data manipulation at a federal lab or what’s been done to prevent more of it, according to a key congressman investigating the scandal.

“We haven’t received assurance that the agency has taken the necessary steps to prevent future, intentional misconduct or that any employees were truly held accountable for these indefensible actions,” Rep. Louie Gohmert told The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

The Texas Republican is chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which is investigating the data manipulation.

The USGS has repeatedly refused to say if any person has been punished or fired for the manipulation. Gohmert’s panel has investigated the issue since June 2016, but hasn’t uncovered many answers. The USGS gave the subcommittee a batch of documents, but many were completely redacted, making them useless. “The more we dig in, the more questions arise,” Gohmert told TheDCNF. “We’re not talking about just a few fudged numbers, we’re talking nearly two decades of continuous data manipulation. We are still trying to understand the entire scope of the problem. Is this isolated to just one lab? Is similar misconduct happening elsewhere?”

Yeah, I too would like to know the answers to those questions. But I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the bottom of it. In contrast, there doesn’t seem to be much we don’t know about the VW scandal. But then the media were much more interested in reporting on that one. As far as I know, the only media organization actively following the USGS scandal is the Daily Caller, an ‘alternative’ news source.

Maybe this just reflects my personal bias, but I’m far more outraged by the USGS fraud than by VW’s. Since I am a taxpayer, USGS employees are supposed to be working for me. As a consequence of their malfeasance, they abrogated their fiduciary responsibility to me. But in contrast, I had no relationship with VW, and don’t feel the company had any fiduciary responsibility to me personally. Moreover, in the wake of the scandal, VW seems to have been far more forthcoming with answers, whereas USGS has responded with evasion and cover up.

If the public knew just how much fraud and corruption exists in government, and just how poorly taxpayer money is managed, they would demand something be done about it. Maybe that explains why the media does not want to report on it.

Beware the government-media complex.

Remembering Antietam

This Memorial Day weekend we honor and remember those who gave their lives to preserve American liberty and independence. In accordance with the spirit of the holiday, Yet, Freedom! offers this on-the-scene report from Antietam battlefield in Maryland.

The Battle of Antietam was fought on a single day, September 17, 1862, perhaps the bloodiest day of combat in the history of the Western Hemisphere. The fighting commenced at 5:30 in the morning; by 9 a.m., some 12,000 men lay dead or wounded, an average of one casualty per second over three-and-a-half hours. But some of the bloodiest fighting still lay ahead, during the afternoon.

Much of the fighting in the morning swirled around the Dunkard Church, a tiny whitewashed structure belonging to a German sect of baptists. Near the church, Union Brigadier Mansfield’s division succeeded in outflanking the confederates, and might have been able to carry the day, but they did not receive the needed reinforcements.

Antietam was the first battle in which the dead were photographed on the battlefield before burial. Photographer Alexander Gardner captured this famous photo of dead confederate troops near the Dunkard Church.

The original Dunkard Church collapsed in a wind storm in 1921. The church visible on the battlefield today is a replica built in 1962 for the 100th anniversary of the battle.

One of the significant landmarks on the battlefield is the sunken road, a place of savage fighting that became known to history as ‘bloody lane.’ Along the road, the confederates constructed defensive positions by stacking wooden fence rails.

Under fire from sharpshooters and artillery, the first of French’s brigades crested a little rise; less than 100 yards below them in a sunken farm road were three Confederate brigades of Maj. Gen. Daniel Harvey Hill’s division. A sheet of flame erupted from the sunken road and the crest of the ridge was covered with a blue blanket of dead or wounded Union soldiers. The brigade fell back; another took its place, with the same result. Brigadier General Nathan Kimball was then ordered forward with his brigade of four regiments. These men, many of them veterans of the Shenandoah Valley and the Virginia Peninsula campaigns, did not fall back. Lying on the downside of the slope and rolling onto their sides to reload, they poured fire into the ranks of the Confederates below, who responded in kind. Blood turned the dirt in the road to mud, giving the sunken road the sobriquet Bloody Lane. Sumner declared that Kimball’s brigade had held “like the Rock of Gibraltar” after two other Union brigades had fled. The unit thereafter was known as the Gibraltar Brigade.

In the afternoon, focus shifted to a narrow stone bridge spanning Antietam Creek. The bridge later became known to history as Burnside’s Bridge. Six hundred confederate infantry held a position on a steep bluff behind the bridge. Union troops tried and failed twice to take the bridge. At one point during the stalemate at the bridge, however, the union enlisted men sensed that confederate resistance was finally weakening. The enlisted men, on their own initiative and without orders from their officers, made a dash and succeeded in crossing the bridge. Now the confederates were in trouble, and soon found themselves in headlong retreat. Lee’s army was on the verge of being routed, and the war perhaps brought to an end in 1862.

But in a dramatic turn of events, almost like something out of a Hollywood movie, the confederates at the last moment were saved.

At the crucial moment, Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill, wearing his red battle shirt, arrived from Harpers Ferry with the Light Division. Hill had driven his men—many of them wearing Union uniforms taken at Harpers Ferry—northward mercilessly, sometimes beating them with the flat of his sword to keep them moving at the double-quick.

The Light Division fell upon Burnside’s flank, disordering his men and convincing the cautious Union officer that he’d done enough for one day. The Battle of Antietam was, for all intents and purposes, over.

Here is Alexander Gardner’s photo of Burnside’s Bridge, and our own photo of the bridge as it appears today.

And here is Antietam Creek as seen from the bridge.

By the end of the battle, nearly 23,000 men had been killed or wounded. While visiting the battlefield, I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for all those young men who were thrown into that hellish situation. So many of them lost limbs, or had their lives tragically cut short. Visiting the battlefield is a kind of spiritual experience that would benefit a lot of people. In particular, modern feminists who somehow believe that, back in the day, women were oppressed at home while the men were out having all the fun should visit Antietam.

The Demise of Higher Ed: Yale Gives Awards to Infamous Crybullies

As just the latest milestone in the ongoing devolution of higher education, the formerly-great Yale University has bestowed a graduation award on the infamous snowflake student mocked by The Simpsons. The episode satirizes the notorious 2015 confrontation at Yale between campus crybullies and college master Nicolas Christakis. At the time, video of that confrontation went viral online.

The videos that Tablet exclusively posted last year, which showed a further 25 minutes of what was ultimately an hours-long confrontation, depicted a procession of students berating Christakis. In one clip, a male student strides up to Christakis and, standing mere inches from his face, orders the professor to “look at me.” Assuming this position of physical intimidation, the student then proceeds to declare that Christakis is incapable of understanding what he and his classmates are feeling because Christakis is white, and, ipso facto, cannot be a victim of racism. In another clip, a female student accuses Christakis of “strip[ping] people of their humanity” and “creat[ing] a space for violence to happen”…

That line is quoted at the 0:55 mark of the Simpsons excerpt below.

The Simpsons – SJWs at Yale

Of Yale’s graduating class, it was these two students whom the Nakanishi Prize selection committee deemed most deserving of a prize for “enhancing race and/or ethnic relations” on campus. Hectoring bullies quick to throw baseless accusations of racism or worse; cosseted brats unscrupulous in their determination to smear the reputations of good people, these individuals in actuality represent the antithesis of everything this award is intended to honor. Yet, in the citation that was read to all the graduating seniors and their families on Class Day, Yale praised the latter student as “a fierce truthteller.”

This, for a hysterical liar who accused one of the university’s most distinguished academic minds of inciting “violence” upon his own students.

What Yale ought to have done, as I wrote back when the original conflagration surfaced in November 2015, was instruct its students to “grow up.” Because the university failed to do this, thereby offering its implicit endorsement of the scurrilous charges hurled against two well-regarded members of its faculty, Nicholas Christakis eventually resigned as Master of Silliman College and his wife quit teaching at Yale altogether. And now, to add insult to injury, Yale has decided to award their tormentors as paragons of communal healing. It is a fittingly disgraceful coda to one of the most disgusting chapters in Yale’s recent history.

At this point, most of so-called higher education is at best a huge waste of resources, and at worst, a hub of political power for the radical left that is poisoning and degrading America’s culture and polity. The political right, if it were smart, would leave academia free to indulge its worst instincts until in eventually implodes.

Maggot Cheese: Pass

Many of our readers know that here at Yet, Freedom! we are big fans of the Mediterranean environment, culture, and food. After all, as Samuel Johnson said, “The grand object of all travel is to see the shores of the Mediterranean.” But in the case of Sardinia’s maggot cheese, we’re taking a pass.

EU bureaucrats have banned sale of the cheese, although it is still being produced. The bureaucrats really should back off and leave people to their own traditions, even if disgusting.

Gordon Ramsey – Maggot Cheese

How to Destroy Higher Education

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that the University of Arizona was using taxpayer money to pay students to police the speech of their fellow students. Now comes news that also UCLA is adopting similar measures against campus freedom.

The University of California-Los Angeles is offering to pay students to serve as “Social Justice Advocates” who will “educate” their peers about “systems [of] oppression.”

The Social Justice Advocates program seeks students who want to help their classmates “navigate a world that operates on whiteness, patriarchy, and heteronormativity as the primary ideologies,” and comes with a quarterly stipend, the amount of which has yet to be determined.

In a critique at pjmedia.com, Tom Knighton summarizes the program’s objective as follows.

UCLA’s focus will be on really hammering home the “white men suck and should probably be dead” message. In case the students hadn’t heard it yet that day.

Sounds about right.

And what is the source of funding for UCLA’s version of the Red Guards?

The program is funded through the Bruin Excellence & Student Transformation Grant Program (BEST), which receives funding from the university’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and from Gold Shield, Alumnae of UCLA.

Thanks, ladies!

Meanwhile, in a remarkably authoritarian piece at Time magazine, Lisa Wade, PhD, advocates banning campus fraternities.

I make no claims that it will be easy. Fraternities have dominated campuses, defied authorities and rebuffed efforts at suppression for nearly 200 years. But in that time we have ended slavery, given women the vote and put men on the moon. Of course we can get rid of fraternities. College presidents, administrators and trustees just have to muster the will to do it. As for the rest of us, we need to keep pressure on them to do so, and keep counting the bodies until they act.

Well, if feminists like Lisa Wade succeed in making college campuses inhospitable to men, then men are going to stop attending. The college experience is a good, produced and marketed by an industry, and sold to a consumer. If feminists keep ramping up the hostility to men, at some point, men are going to drop out of the market for the college experience. And if men stop attending, then straight women are not going to want to attend either. That won’t leave sufficient demand to sustain the system of higher education as we know it, and so eventually, the system will collapse.

Right now, the universities are one of the primary power bases of the political left. If the political right were smart (lolz), they would be actively seeking some way to destroy the universities. A direct political assault would meet with stiff resistance. But here’s a strategy that would work:

Step 1. Let radical feminists take over the universities.

Step 2. Wait.

Step 3. Winning.

Europe’s Fukushima Freakout

Back in 2011, I was in Rimini, Italy, and watched an anti-nuclear protest march down the street, beating drums. This was just a few months after the Fukushima nuclear accident, and the media had people in hysterics over the alleged dangers of nuclear power. Days later, Italian voters by a staggering 94% majority approved a referendum banning construction of new nuclear plants. In Germany, hysteria over Fukushima caused the government to announce that all nuclear plants would be shut down by 2022, and by now about half have already been shuttered. The move away from nuclear power has been bad for both the environment and the economy.

Now comes news that France is also turning away from nuclear. The just-elected French president, Emanuel Macron, announced that his energy minister will be Nicolas Hulot, a radical environmentalist. Following the announcement, shares in EDF, the big French nuclear company, fell seven percent overnight.

Hulot’s opposition to nuclear comes out of an emerging trend of thinking in France—and in Europe more generally—that holds that nuclear power ought to be phased out as soon as possible and replaced by renewables. Germany, motivated by an irrational fear of the energy source following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, is leading this charge to its own detriment. Berlin hasn’t been able to replace its shuttered nuclear plants with wind and solar, but has instead been forced to increase its reliance on lignite coal, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels around. As a result, the country’s emissions have risen, an entirely predictable consequence of snubbing the only source (other than hydropower) of zero-emissions baseload power.

Germany’s experience hasn’t been enough to phase France’s greens, though, and Hulot’s new position of leadership suggests that Paris is preparing to follow in Berlin’s footsteps. That would be a grave error, though, especially during a time in which Europe is placing such a heavy emphasis on emissions reductions. EDF itself has pointed out that environmentalist plans to replace France’s nuclear fleet with 100 percent renewables by 2050 are “not based on technological realities.”

A turn against nuclear in France is particularly shocking, because France has long been one of the most pro-nuclear countries in the world. Currently, France gets more than 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear.

Europe has apparently succumbed to an irrational fear of nuclear power. And it is indeed irrational, because nuclear is just about the safest form of energy. Even at Fukushima, where the tsunami caused three reactors to melt down, the number of deaths attributable to the incident currently stands at ZERO. Two people were hospitalized.

Of course, it is possible that a small number of people in the future might die from cancer. But nobody really knows how many, since the radiation doses were very small, and the effects of small doses are not well understood. A small dose of radiation is kind of like consuming diet Coke; safe in the short-run, but in the long-run, nobody has any idea what the health effects might be.

The so-called ‘linear no-threshold’ model tends to vastly exaggerate the impact of small radiation doses. The model’s linear extrapolation is analogous to assuming that if 70 percent of people are killed by falling 20 feet, then 7 percent would be killed by falling 2 feet. In any event, this model predicts 130 deaths as a result of Fukushima. So 130 deaths is most likely a gross exaggeration, with the real figure much closer to zero, and perhaps literally zero.

By comparison, more people are killed every year in coal mining accidents than have ever been killed by nuclear power. According to one estimate, in just one year (2013) in China, 1,049 coal miners were killed in accidents. Several major accidents that each take the lives of dozens of miners occur every year in China. For instance, last December, an explosion at a coal mine in Inner Mongolia claimed 32 lives. That figure might well eclipse the death toll from Fukushima.

Europeans take to the streets over non-existent nuclear deaths, but very real coal deaths get no attention. And using less nuclear means using more coal, which will cause more deaths.

The average European spends nearly a decade and a half in school. The ostensible purpose of schooling is to educate people for citizenship. Part of that education includes several years of science. Yet the typical European’s view of nuclear power is irrational fear based in ignorance; it is a view indistinguishable from that of an illiterate goat herder. If this sort of abject ignorance is the best the schools can do, then they deserve to be shut down rather than the nuclear plants.

A Generational Decline in Testosterone

Ever wonder how, in just three generations, American males went from G.I.s who defeated the Nazis and the Japanese Empire to whiny Pajama Boys who think Barack Obama is cool? Well, I’m just throwing this out there: maybe it has something to do with low-T. Several studies have found that contemporary western males have significantly lower testosterone levels than same-age males had roughly 30 years ago. A couple of studies first reported the secular decline in testosterone about ten years ago. One study focused on men in Massachusetts over age 45.

“Male serum testosterone levels appear to vary by generation, even after age is taken into account,” said Thomas G. Travison, Ph.D., of the New England Research Institutes (NERI) in Watertown, Mass., and lead author of the study. “In 1988, men who were 50 years old had higher serum testosterone concentrations than did comparable 50-year-old men in 1996. This suggests that some factor other than age may be contributing to the observed declines in testosterone over time.”

For men 65-69 years of age in this study, average total testosterone levels fell from 503 ng/dL (nanograms/deciliter) in 1988 to 423 ng/dL in 2003.

Another study published the same year found similar results for men in Denmark. But that was 10 years ago, and I was wondering if any follow-up studies had been done since then. All I managed to find was a 2012 study from Finland. This study also found a secular decline in testosterone.

We analysed serum levels of testosterone, gonadotrophin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in 3271 men representing different ages (25–74 years) and birth cohorts within three large Finnish population surveys conducted in 1972, 1977 and 2002…The more recently born Finnish men have lower testosterone levels than their earlier born peers.

French leftists protesting in skirts

Notably, the fall in T-levels cannot be fully explained by changes in health or lifestyle such as obesity or smoking. Some other environmental factors must be responsible, but nobody knows which. Speculation involves a wide range of possibilities, everything from endocrine disruptors in plastics to tight underwear!

Whatever the cause, I wonder if this change in hormone levels has implications for male behavior and social outcomes. For instance, could low-T have an effect on marriage or divorce rates? And what about birth rates? (There is some mixed evidence suggesting that sperm also has declined in both quality and quantity.)

Right now, violent crime rates in America are at their lowest level in about 50 years. Could the drop in violent crime be caused at least in part by diminished male aggression due to lower testosterone?

Low T might offer some benefits, like maybe lower crime rates, but the fact that some unknown factor is adversely affecting men’s health is nonetheless disturbing. And yet, nobody seems to care. As far as I know, there is no concern among advocacy groups or public health officials regarding the problem of secularly declining testosterone. Some endocrinologists have an academic interest in the issue, but it does not show up on the radar screen of people working in public health.

Imagine, however, if the sexes were reversed, and it were women instead of men who had exhibited a long-term decline in hormone levels. In that case, it would be a genuine public health crisis. We would all know about the problem, and the subject would be discussed endlessly on The View.

But when it happens to men: crickets. Men take note: Society does not care about you.

Making Headlines in America: 21st Century Slavery

Media outlets around the country carried the recent story of the woman who purchased a handbag at an Arizona Walmart and found hidden in the bag a desperate note, purportedly from an enslaved Chinese worker. Here is a translation of the note.

Inmates in the Yingshan Prison in Guangxi, China are working 14 hours daily with no break/rest at noon, continue working overtime until 12 midnight, and whoever doesn’t finish his work will be beaten. Their meals are without oil and salt. Every month, the boss pays the inmate 2000 yuan, any additional dishes will be finished by the police. If the inmates are sick and need medicine, the cost will be deducted from the salary. Prison in China is unlike prison in America, horse cow goat pig dog (literally, means inhumane treatment).

Nonprofit groups like China Labor Watch are accusing Walmart of not doing enough to prevent sourcing of goods made with slave labor. For its part, Walmart says it is investigating.

“We’re making contact with the customer and appreciate her bringing this to our attention. With the information we have, we are looking into what happened so we can take the appropriate actions,” Ragan Dickens, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said in an e-mail to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Of course, it’s possible that the note is not authentic, since anyone who handled the bag between China and Arizona could have inserted the note. Walmart should nonetheless investigate, and if they find evidence of slave labor, they should definitely act to rectify the situation.

Meanwhile, non-profit groups seem to be much less concerned about another recent report about slavery even though it took place right here in the USA. You read that right–slavery in modern America. The story comes from Filipino-American journalist Alex Tizon who revealed shortly before he died that he and his family owned a slave.

Her name was Eudocia Tomas Pulido. We called her Lola. She was 4 foot 11, with mocha-brown skin and almond eyes that I can still see looking into mine—my first memory. She was 18 years old when my grandfather gave her to my mother as a gift, and when my family moved to the United States, we brought her with us. No other word but slave encompassed the life she lived. Her days began before everyone else woke and ended after we went to bed. She prepared three meals a day, cleaned the house, waited on my parents, and took care of my four siblings and me. My parents never paid her, and they scolded her constantly. She wasn’t kept in leg irons, but she might as well have been. So many nights, on my way to the bathroom, I’d spot her sleeping in a corner, slumped against a mound of laundry, her fingers clutching a garment she was in the middle of folding.

To our American neighbors, we were model immigrants, a poster family. They told us so. My father had a law degree, my mother was on her way to becoming a doctor, and my siblings and I got good grades and always said “please” and “thank you.” We never talked about Lola. Our secret went to the core of who we were and, at least for us kids, who we wanted to be.

After my mother died of leukemia, in 1999, Lola came to live with me in a small town north of Seattle. I had a family, a career, a house in the suburbs—the American dream. And then I had a slave.

Needless to say, owning a slave in America is highly unlawful. In fact, it’s unconstitutional! And how long was this poor woman enslaved in America? Fifty-six years, until she died. U.S. government authorities allowed this family to traffic the slave into the country, and then never did catch up with them for fifty-six years. Good job!

Now I’m wondering: How many other immigrants are bringing slaves with them to America? How many slaves live among us in America today? What is the government doing about it? Not much, if the Tizon case is any indication.

Walmart may or may not have a slavery problem. But the federal government surely does. Maybe I’m biased, but I frankly have more confidence in Walmart’s ability to clean up its act than I do in the federal government’s.

Meanwhile, Tizon the slaveowner actually published a bestselling book about how America is racist toward Asian males like him. The book is apparently an assigned text for many of the proliferating college courses on victimology. The Seattle Times called his book “a devastating critique of contemporary American culture.”

Tizon’s arguments in the book seem to be based primarily on personal anecdotes of slights he perceived to have received from Americans on account of being Asian. Tizon’s book may well have some merit, but even though the book is autobiographical, he never mentions his slaveowning. I guess it would tend to undermine his narrative as a victim of discrimination if he admitted to owning a freaking slave.

Meanwhile, in racist America, Tizon somehow managed to live in affluent neighborhoods, attend the best schools, win a Pulitzer Prize, and write a best-selling book. By his own admission he “had a family, a career, a house in the suburbs—the American dream.”

Too bad his slave never had those same opportunities.