It’s either Black or White, Or is it?

Babette April2

Recently, I was asked by a social media friend,  “why would someone that is biracial,  identify with only one 1/2 of their racial heritage?”  This friend wanted to know why particularly those that are half Caucasian and half Black American, that she has met personally, usually identify predominantly as black.

It is not something I haven’t been asked before, nor does it bother me to have someone that is curious about someone of a different ethnicity than them.   Most of my youth and adult life I have been asked to identify my racial make-up.  The video is my personal view point, and I explain one drop rule’s history. Below is the reading of the speech by George D. Tillman and some other pertinent historical links on racial identification practices in the United States.

At the South Carolina constitutional convention in 1895, an anti-miscegenation law and changes that would disfranchise blacks were proposed. Delegates debated a proposal for a one-drop rule in these laws. George D. Tillman said the following in opposition:

“If the law is made as it now stands respectable families in Aiken, Barnwell, Colleton, and Orangeburg will be denied the right to intermarry among people with whom they are now associated and identified. At least one hundred families would be affected to my knowledge. They have sent good soldiers to the Confederate Army, and are now landowners and taxpayers. Those men served creditably, and it would be unjust and disgraceful to embarrass them in this way. It is a scientific fact that there is not one full-blooded Caucasian on the floor of this convention. Every member has in him a certain mixture of… colored blood. The pure-blooded white has needed and received a certain infusion of darker blood to give him readiness and purpose. It would be a cruel injustice and the source of endless litigation, of scandal, horror, feud, and bloodshed to undertake to annul or forbid marriage for a remote, perhaps obsolete trace of Negro blood. The doors would be open to scandal, malice and greed; to statements on the witness stand that the father or grandfather or grandmother had said that A or B had Negro blood in their veins. Any man who is half a man would be ready to blow up half the world with dynamite to prevent or avenge attacks upon the honor of his mother in the legitimacy or purity of the blood of his father.”

Like I stated in the video, defining one’s racial identity and ethnicity in America and some European countries was conceived with racist intentions.  As early as the 1822 Virginia Mulatto-1/4 law and definition to the 1924 Racial integrity Act which once again was enacted in the state of Virginia, this law required the racial description of everyone at birth and there were only two classifications, white or colored.  It should also be noted that the Racial Integrity act had another law tacked on with it and that was the Sterilization Act.  The Sterilization Act  called for compulsory sterilization of persons deemed to be “feeble-minded,” including the “insane, idiotic, imbecile, or epileptic.  These were all part of a eugenics project in Virginia.

I also would recommend this very interesting article I found from 2010 on Harvard Science Gazette.  This article discusses a research study by Professor  James Sidanius, and PhD Psychology student Arnold K. Ho at Harvard University, Mr. Ho states,

“The United States is already a country of ethnic mixtures, but in the near future it will be even more so, and more so than any other country on earth,” says Banaji, Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard. “When we see in our data that our own minds are limited in the perception of those who are the products of two different ethnic groups, we recognize how far we have to go in order to have an objectively accurate and fair assessment of people. That’s the challenge for modern minds.”

The team found few differences in how whites and non-whites perceive biracial individuals, with both assigning them with equal frequency to lower-status groups. The researchers are conducting further studies to examine why Americans continue to associate biracials more with their minority parent group.

“The persistence of hypodescent serves to reinforce racial boundaries, rather than moving us toward a race-neutral society,” Ho says.

Race neutral society, that’s an interesting concept, would a race neutral society even be possible?  Would one want or welcome a race neutral society and would it benefit society to be racially neutral?


8 thoughts on “It’s either Black or White, Or is it?

  1. .
    More people need to simply realize that …
    by embracing the racist-‘One-Drop Rule’
    (and / or by using ‘One-Droppist’ terms
    such as that of “Light-Skinned Black”)
    … what they are actually doing is …
    ‘spitting in the face’ of the Black-race
    (and, thus, of their Black-ancestors).
    Someone seriously needs to try to explain
    to some people that … TO embrace the
    racist-‘One-Drop Rule’ — IN REALITY —
    means TO support and uphold the false
    idea of a (blood-based) “Black-Inferiority”.
    This Link below provides
    more information on why
    the racist-‘One-Drop Rule’
    should simply be rejected for
    the racist-nonsense that it is.
    — APGifts [allpeoplegifts AT gmail DOT com]

  2. This was great. I don’t know that we could ever really have a neutral society, it seems that here in America everyone’s from or descendant of somewhere else. On the flip side, I think it’d be great if we could all just say we’re American and leave it at that…I can’t see that happening anytime soon though especially considering we seem to identify people by color from skin tone to hair color.

    • Thanks Jason, that Harvard study that I linked into the blog points out how society has been so trained to racially identify just based on features. Like the Ho and the Prof. stated it will take some time to change societies way of wanting to classify and put citizens in categories based upon race.

  3. If we use the words ‘race’ and ‘culture’ as synonymous then no, I don’t think we want a race-neutral society because it seems as though that would mean sacrificing histories and rich culture just to ‘get along’

  4. Yeah…isn’t it a shame that’s how we see each other…in terms of color. We will never ever get past the race issue in this country because we refuse to go past it. We bring it up at every single opportunity. Its asked on applications…on surveys…everywhere. Like I said….when we stop seeing color….when we stop talking about color….then maybe we can get past color.

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