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Chapter 4 examines cases of alleged interracial rape in the interwar period. In the 1920s, an official government commission was appointed to investigate the problem of “Black Peril,” a term used across colonial spaces to refer to sexual assaults allegedly committed by Black or brown men on white women and children. The commission was prompted by several well-publicized cases where adult male African domestic servants were accused of assaulting white or Indian children. Scholars have long shown how such scares were used as a tool of white supremacy and have stressed that actual incidences of rape were not correlated to the outbreak of “Black Perils.” However, the Kenyan committee came to a surprising conclusion: not only was “Black Peril” deemed a rare occurrence in the colony, but in those cases where it had occurred, the commission thought white mothers were to blame. Both settlers and colonials advanced a narrative that I term “White Peril,” which accused white women of teaching African men to desire deviant sexual acts by behaving with excessive familiarity toward their domestic servants. The chapter outlines the narrative of White Peril, showing how it proved useful for both controlling the behavior of white women and diffusing anxieties about the daily cross-racial and cross-gendered intimacies of the settler home.

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