Jack Johnson, the Galveston Giant (Better Together)

History Channel:   I've learned about Jack Johnson, an African American professional boxer who was finally allowed to fight a white champion, Tommy Burns.  See also the Ken Burns documentary on PBS, titled "Unforgivable Blackness". He's in the news again (last month), for a congressional request to Barack Obama to grant Jack Johnson a pardon for his phoney conviction.

US Library of Congress
Both History Channel and Wikipedia link concern about Johnson's interracial sexual partnerships, and fear of his dominance of the sport, with the passage of the Mann Act. The Mann "White Slave" Act made it illegal to transport a prostitute geographically across state lines.   According to Wikipedia:

The White-Slave Traffic Act, better known as the Mann Act, is a United States law, passed June 25, 1910 (ch. 395, 36 Stat. 825codified as amended at 18 U.S.C. §§ 24212424). It is named after Congressman James Robert Mann, and in its original form prohibited white slavery and the interstate transport of females for "immoral purposes". Its primary stated intent was to address prostitution, "immorality", and human trafficking; however, its ambiguous language of "immorality" allowed selective prosecutions for many years, and was used to criminalize forms of consensual sexual behavior.[1] It was later amended by Congress in 1978, and again in 1986 to apply only to transport for the purpose of prostitution or illegal sexual acts.[1]

According to the History Channel documentary, the passage of the Mann Act in 1910 coincided with Jack Johnson's peak years, and specifically with Jackson's defeat of great-white-hope champion James Jeffries.  Race riots resulted.  Blacks celebrated, whites tried to stop the celebrations, people got killed.  It was the top news story the year the Mann Act was passed.

How to solve a problem of competition?  With racial discomfort and fear-based overreaction. 
 In addition to his punishing victories, however, Johnson was known for his extravagant lifestyle, and was excoriated by his white critics for his romantic relationships with white women. In 1913, Johnson was convicted (in what was widely considered a sham trial) of violating a federal law, the Mann Act of 1910, which outlawed the transportation of women across state lines for "prostitution, debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose." He was found to have traveled with his second wife, a former prostitute, across state lines before they were married.
That's right.   The 2010 Mann Act law against transporting prostitutes across a state geographical border was used to arrest Jack Johnson for driving his wife, a white woman, and ex-prostitute.   The courts found him guilty because he had driven her across a state border before they were married, in 1908.. Two YEARS BEFORE THE MANN ACT WAS PASSED!  

What does that remind us of?  How about the Basel Ban Amendment, which still hasn't been passed, which is described as some kind of a limit for transboundary export-for-repair, in today's trade journals?

Geography, protectionism, racial segregation... greed and fear... cognitive dissonance.    What's the root story?   Out of fear of competition, blacks were banned from boxing whites in the USA.   When Jack Johnson found a venue (Sydney, Australia) to meet and defeat the white boxing champion, and used his winnings to celebrate with white women prostitutes, whites tried to find a white hope to shred Jackson in the ring,  But the undefeated champion Jeffries, allowed to box Jackson in Las Vegas, would lose in 1910.

Should we stop White Slavery?  Of course.  But was it really a problem in the first place?  Or was it a way to rationalize interfering in relationships which bothered us for the wrong reasons?  People like Jacksons wife are described as victims, transportation is observed.   It doesn't add up to a crime.

Unable to defeat him in the ring, whites depicted his relationship with a white wife as immoral "kidnapping".  They manufactured a fake victim, and then manufactured a law, and then convicted Jackson for a deed he did two years before the law was passed.

scary competitors 1910 Paris Newspaper
It's so easy to tell ourselves that these "Jim Crow" days are behind us.  (When I hear the name Jack Johnson, I think of the musician).

But 100 years isn't such a long time.  And the CAER "Big Shred" legislation, designed to ban the transport of used computers for repair, resembles the Mann Act in many ways.  Its promoters use pictures of suffering blacks to justify arrests of blacks, Arabs, Asians and Latinos who out-pay shredders for working and repairable product.

Big Shred doesn't want to compete with reuse and hand disassembly overseas.  So they are misusing and misrepresenting the Basel Convention, (which allows export for recycling, let alone export for repair and reuse).   Big Shred and BAN.org have banned together to convince journalists that exports are illegal here and now. 

jack_&_lucille_johnson.pngCalling the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Jack Johnson (nee Lucille Cameron) a violation of the "White Slave Act" is a bit like CAER legislation calling 91% reused equipment "waste" or "e-waste".  The first conflates love with kidnapping, the second calls purchase, use, repair and trade a bad environmental name - "dumping".  Back to Eden with you.

IFIXIT Trivia:  In prison, Johnson was a tinkerer.  He patented a kind of wrench...

The reuse of electronics, carefully inspected by Africans in Europe and the USA and Australia before shipping, has been demonstrated to be better (based on failure rates and lifecycle analysis), than the import of affordable brand new product sold in Africa.   Project Eden means well, but it's a witch hunt, sending European customs police "trained" by Basel Action Network propaganda to believe that they are protecting blacks from "dumping" by seizing affordable electronics the blacks have purchased, and transported, with their own money.

Interpol, we love you.  Stick to rhino horns, ivory, drugs, guns, illegal timber, child soldiers, and other immoral policing.   Driving while black, or cooking (with a pressure cooker) while Arab, or recycling while Chinese, or disassembling while hispanic, or marrying across racial divides... these "crimes" are yesterday's news. 

To borrow a phrase from another Jack Johnson, we are better together.   Please, David Higgins, take the time to read the studies posted at fairtraderecycling.org, and use Interpol's resources wisely.  It has taken over 100 years for Congress to ask the president (Obama) to grant a pardon to Jack Johnson.   We don't want to wait that long for Joseph Benson, Hamdy Moussa, and Gordon Chiu... 

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