E. Belfort Bax

Blacks, Whites and “Fads”

(16 February 1901)

Blacks, Whites and “Fads”, Justice, 16th February 1901, p.6 (letter).
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.


In reply to the letter of Mr. Billy Johnson, in your issue of February 2, permit me to say that my recollection of the communication of his of a year ago, which he refers to, is that after reading it, I remained as wise as before as to the drift of his argument. I hope I duly recognised the brilliant corruscations of wit it contained, but they were, I suppose, too dazzling for my poor vision to pierce through to the wisdom behind. Under these circumstances I felt hardly in a position to answer his letter.

I thought I had exposed the fallacy of the silly controversial “tag” in question clearly and conclusively both in Justice and in my article in the last number of the Social-Democrat, bit if Mr. Billy Johnson thinks otherwise and is really yearning for any little light I might be able to afford him on the subject; as he implies, perhaps he will kindly give me his objections to my argument in plain language unadorned by feathers, bladders, negroes, white-skinned babies and such-like recondite tropes so hard to be comprehended by a person of mere plain understanding, like myself. If he will do this I will, in my poor way, attempt to satisfy him.

As regards “Ignoramus’s” rejoinder in your current issue, I must emphatically disclaim any intention of being discourteous to him. I merely referred to his signature as having been selected either “in truth or modesty.” More I could scarcely say, being absolutely ignorant of the personality concealed by it. Certainly, to describe an opinion as “tommy-rot” is not argument, but it is just as little argument to designate it a “fad”; while the latter epithet, I was contending, is not merely rude or untrue in intention, but etymologically incorrect in any case where the subject in question is of far-reaching importance.

At the same time, It is difficult to characterise in parliamentary language such a statement as that “female slavery” (on a sex basis) exists! Feminists should really have a care how far they try the patient credulity even of their dupes, let alone of average men of the world.

By the way, a good sample of the quality of feminist “wit” is afforded in another column of Justice, where a meeting is reported in which the chairman, having given expression to a commonplace truism, but which was supposed to be derogatory to “woman,” was met on the part of another speaker (capable of better things), by way of repartee, with a perfectly irrelevant personal reference to the baldness of his (the chairman’s) head! This brilliant and tasteful sally was received apparently with rapturous applause by the feminist audience. Amiable creatures, who can be amused so easily. – Yours,


E. Belfort Bax


Last updated on 15.6.2004