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Interracial Relationships Through Legal History Essay

3190 words - 13 pages

Interracial Relationships:Increasing Acceptance in the United States.Generations ago when racial issues separated society, inner-race marriages were a taboo. Interracial relationships were once frowned upon by others and thought of as a sin. Those who were not interracially mixed believed that the couples that racially or culturally mixed were a disgrace. What was formerly bizarre and forbidden is now common. Over the years those barriers have broken down, as our country becomes more diverse with foreign cultures. Interracial relationships have become increasing acceptable.Interracial romance has been a controversial subject in America since the time of slavery, when slave owners had ...view middle of the document...

Before the Thirteenth Amendment was abolished in 1865, many white slave masters took advantage of black women, with whom they fathered scores of children (Grapes 1). The babies born from these "illegal" romances weren't completely white neither black. The skin complexion was light brown, a mixed color. No law classified these children has a free person or slave. What is called to be the most evil rule the U.S. ever devised, the "one-drop rule," was created essentially that if a child has even one African ancestor, that person must be categorized as black ( 1). For most of the United States' history, a category called "mulatto" existed for people of mixed racial ancestry. According to Wikipedia, the term is often said to derive from "mula," that Spanish word for mule, one a generic designation name for any hybrid. "Mulatto" was considered offensive by English-speakers, who preferred the term "biracial" instead (1). Multiracial people were viewed as being weak physically, mentally, emotionally and morally, leading to early deaths and inability to reproduce, and eventually to a group extinction. Which is one reason many object to the word "mulatto," because a mule cannot reproduce (Wardle 69). Although, great multiracial heroes like Fredrick Douglass, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. Dubois. Pop singers like Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, and Paula Abdul all illustrate the success of biracial born backgrounds. Beethoven, the world's 'greatest' musician was without a doubt a dark 'mulatto.' He was called "the Black Spaniard" (Crudup 1). Arnold Rampersad wrote an autobiography about the life of Langston Hughes. Rampersad found a "Lost Poem" that Hughes expresses his confusion on his classification of being a "mulatto" it goes as following:"My old man's a white man,and my old mother's black.If I ever cursed my white old man,I take my curses back.If I ever cursed my black old mother,And wished she were in hell,I'm sorry for that evil wishAnd now I wish her well.My old man died in a fine big house.My ma dies in a shack.I wonder where I'm going to die,Being neither white nor black "(264).Terry P. Wilson, in an article in the book, Racially Mixed People in America, discusses Native American/White people, who were able to use their biracial heritage to access both cultures. This gave biracial people an advantage (Wardle 68).The senate passed the Thirteenth Amendment the year of 1865, and slavery was abolished. Many southern states instituted what were known as the "Black Codes." In addition to stripping freed slaves of most of their newly acquired right, these codes continued the prohibition of marriage between white and blacks (Grapes 1). The purpose of the Black Codes was to maintain the white hierarchy after the Civil War. Many were afraid interbreeding would effect the white gene pool. However, in 1884 former slave and famous African American activist, Fredrick Douglass married a white women named Helen Pitts.Being the vocal activist that...

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