The tragic mulatto was more myth than reality; [Dorothy] Dandridge was an exception. The mulatto was made tragic in the minds of Whites who reasoned that the greatest tragedy was to be near-White: so close, yet a racial gulf away. The near-White was to be pitied -- and shunned. There were undoubtedly light skinned Blacks, male and female, who felt marginalized in this race conscious culture. This was true for many people of color, including dark skinned Blacks. Self-hatred and intraracial hatred are not limited to light skinned Blacks. There is evidence that all racial minorities in the United States have battled feelings of inferiority and in-group animosity; those are, unfortunately, the costs of being a minority.
The tragic mulatto stereotype claims that mulattoes occupy the margins of two worlds, fitting into neither, accepted by neither. This is not true of real life mulattoes. Historically, mulattoes were not only accepted into the Black community, but were often its leaders and spokespersons, both nationally and at neighborhood levels. Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Elizabeth Ross Hayes, Mary Church Terrell, Thurgood Marshall, Malcolm X, and Louis Farrakhan were all mulattoes. Walter White, the former head of the NAACP, and Adam Clayton Powell, an outspoken Congressman, were both light enough to pass for White. Other notable mulattoes include Langston Hughes, Billie Holiday, and Jean Toomer, author of Cane (1923), and the grandson of mulatto Reconstruction politician P.B.S. Pinchback.
There was tragedy in the lives of light skinned Black women -- there was also tragedy in the lives of most dark skinned Black women -- and men and children. The tragedy was not that they were Black, or had a drop of "Negro blood," although Whites saw that as a tragedy. Rather, the real tragedy was the way race was used to limit the chances of people of color. The 21st century finds an America increasingly more tolerant of interracial unions and the resulting offspring.
"Bardwell said a justice of the peace is not required to conduct a marriage ceremony and is at liberty to recuse himself “from a marriage or anything else.”
He said the state attorney general told him years ago that he would eventually get into trouble for not performing interracial marriages.
“I told him if I do, I’ll resign,” Bardwell said. “I have rights too. I’m not obligated to do that just because I’m a justice of the peace.”
« Older A few days back I was introduced to the Banjo Ninj... | The OER Commons exists to help... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt