Four child slaves of mixed-race heritage with pale skin were used in pictures to raise funds
March 4, 2012 6:04 PM   Subscribe

The ‘white’ slave children of New Orleans: Almost immediately after the law came into practice, Northerners and abolitionists set up relief organisations, which battled to establish schools and provide other forms of support – but their resources were limited. They soon discovered it was near-impossible to find sympathy and support in a war-torn and racially-prejudiced county.
posted by nickyskye (11 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Why the scare quotes? More like 'black' slave children.

Ah, the one drop rule.
posted by TheKM at 6:07 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by The Confessor at 6:27 PM on March 4, 2012

They were actually being referred to as white:
A story by Harper’s Weekly at the time called the children ‘perfectly white’ and ‘very fair’.
posted by XMLicious at 6:29 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

FTFA in nickysky's 2nd link: To say that fundraisers chose lighter-skinned children because they thought they would raise more money is way too simplistic an answer for this complicated subject.

Nope, I'd say that about covers it.

Really, that does it.

Good on 'em for recognizing how to sculpt their PR for a worthy cause.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:37 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Charles Taylor was sold into slavery by his own father? And Rebecca Huger was a slave in her father's house. How could those men look at their own children and see them as a commodity?
posted by Kevin Street at 9:37 PM on March 4, 2012 [5 favorites]

The fact that their skin color was felt to make a difference is awful, but at least they did their best to use it as a sort of wedge tactic, rather than saying that whiter children deserved to be treated differently because of their paler skin.

And as for the parents selling their children ... yes, this is what a slave society is like. The US President Thomas Jefferson fathered children on a slave woman; he never freed her and they were born into slavery. If he had died younger they would probably have been sold with the rest of his property.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:04 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]

the "fathers" were the white slave-owners. why do you think many would they go out of they way to rape female slaves? to sell the babies for a profit.

there's a whole cycle of literature in latin america around the phenomenon of white post/colonial families having white-looking daughters or sons who once married was revelead they were really black because their babies would come out black. in some instances it was the mother who "adopted" the husband's slave offspring. i do remember reading one novel where the white-looking child had been bought for adoption, but can't remember the name.

human trafficking of white(-looking) babies isn't a new thing.
posted by liza at 10:12 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

the "fathers" were the white slave-owners. why do you think many would they go out of they way to rape female slaves? to sell the babies for a profit.

More than that, liza: they were raping their slaves in order to produce the more-profitable white-looking (or at least fairer-skinned) babies.

Otherwise, they could have left it up to the "bucks".

There are days I wish the bonobos were the dominant species, and Homo sapiens was endangered...
posted by IAmBroom at 7:35 AM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well, didn't the brown-bag test originate in the big easy ?
posted by k5.user at 10:51 AM on March 5, 2012

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