Chief Joyi railed against the white man, who he believed had deliberately sundered the Xhosa tribe, dividing brother from brother. The white man had told the Thembus that their true chief was the great white queen across the ocean and that they were her subjects. But the white queen brought nothing but misery and perfidy to the black people, and if she was a chief she was an evil chief. Chief Joyi’s war stories and his indictment of the British made me feel angry and cheated, as though I had already been robbed of my own birthright.
Chief Joyi said that the African people lived in relative peace until the coming of the abelungu, the white people, who arrived from across the sea with fire-breathing weapons. Once, he said, the Thembu, the Mpondo, the Xhosa, and the Zulu were all children of one father, and lived as brothers. The white man shattered the abantu, the fellowship, of the various tribes. The white man was hungry and greedy for land, and the black man shared the land with him as they shared the air and water; land was not for man to possess. But the white man took the land as you might seize another man’s horse.
I did not yet know that the real history of our country was not to be found in standard British textbooks, which claimed South Africa began with the landing of Jan Van Riebeeck at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. It was from Chief Joyi that I began to discover that the history of the Bantu-speaking peoples began far to the north, in a country of lakes and green plains and valleys, and that slowly over the millennia we made our way down to the very tip of this great continent.
Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
… sounds super familiar.(via adailyriot)
“In an era where the quantity of blood was the measure of one’s identity, Americans devised a vernacular and legal fractionalization of racial identities in order to determine who was and was not to be counted as white. Mulatto (half-black and half-white), Quadroon (one-quarter black) and Octoroon (one-eighth black) were, in the eyes of the law, not the equivalent of white racial identity. Anti-miscegenation laws were thus further compounded by the one-drop rule.” Debra Thompson
For generations, the boundaries of the African-American race have been formed by a rule, informally known as the “one drop rule,” which, in its colloquial definition, provides that one drop of Black blood makes a person Black. In more formal, sociological circles, the rule is known as a form of “hypodescent” and its meaning remains basically the same: anyone with a known Black ancestor is considered Black. Over the generations, this rule has not only shaped countless lives, it has created the African-American race as we know it today, and it has defined not just the history of this race but a large part of the history of America.
Race mixing between Whites and Blacks in America is not new. The unique American definition of “Black” has roots that are almost as old as race mixing on this continent. […] The legal treatment of mulattoes as Blacks, with all of the attached legal disabilities, may have begun as early as the seventeenth century. One of the earliest judicial uses of the term “mulatto” to describe a person of mixed Black-White descent, appears in the Virginia case of In Re Mulatto. Although the opinion consists of a single sentence, and we know of no supporting record to illuminate the facts of the case, its logic constructs the American view of racial mixture between Black and White that has endured for over three hundred years.
In re Mulatto in its entirety states: “Mulatto held to be a slave and appeal taken.”Without discussion or debate, the court thus apparently articulated the first judicial expression of the rule of hypodescent. Implicit in its opinion is the finding that the litigant was of both African and European descent, but the court found that the European ancestry made no legally significant difference at all, and the holding is likely to have severed whatever ties this “racial hybrid” had with his European ancestry. In fact, it was the African ancestry that both defined his status and determined his fate.
As racial mixing continued largely unchecked by the laws that purported to prohibit it, the result was children. As intermixture continued through the generations, many children became “light-skinned,” even White-skinned. While in most statutes mulattoes were classified with Blacks, ”logic required … some demarcation between [mulattoes] and white men” in order to establish a clear way of distinguishing someone White from someone who would not be considered White.
Without a bright line to distinguish White from mulatto, the efficient administration of American society, in which substantial legal rights were based on being White, would have been impossible. Guarding the port of entry to White status was essential to the protection of the delicate social order of a racial caste system, and the persistence and extent of illegitimate race mixing made this an issue of both importance and some delicacy.On the one hand, families considered White for generations had to be protected from the social consequences of an unknown dalliance by a distant ancestor. ”To have pushed the definition [of black] any further would have embarrassed too many prominent ’white’ families.
As the court noted in State v. Davis, “[i]t would be dangerous and cruel to subjet to this disqualification [being regarded as someone in the degraded class] persons bearing all the feature of a white on account of some remote admixture of negro blood.” On the other hand, steps had to be taken to curb “[t]he constant tendency of this [mixed-race] class to assimilate to the white, and the desire of elevation, [that] present frequent cases of embarrassment and difficulty.” Finally, maintaining the color line, however ethereal, was important as a matter of social etiquette. As Chief Justice Lumpkin lamented in Bryan v. Walton: “Which one of us has not narrowly escaped petting one of the pretty little mulattoes belonging to our neighbors as one of the family?”
a. Adjudicating Fractions of Blood. Many states had laws that specifically set forth the fraction of Negro blood necessary to make a person Black. Over the years, this fraction ranged from one-quarter to one drop. The concept of “pure blood,” based as it was on pure conjecture, proved difficult both to litigate and adjudicate. Even though fractional definitions of race gave the appearance of judicial objectivity, fairness, and consistency, the rational for the decisions switched fairly quickly from a pseudo-scientific basis to the common social meaning of race.
Anti-miscegenation legislation was frequently assigned to prohibit and control interracial sex and marriage, making it a prime example of states regulation of interracial intimacies. The term ‘miscegenation’ was not coined until 1863, but the West’s concern with the morality and consequences of interracial mixing is documented at least two centuries prior.
In the United States, the historical prohibition of interracial relationships exempliﬁes the state’s regulation of intimate life. Anti-miscegenation laws prohibiting interracial sex and marriage predate the Declaration of Independence by more than a century. At one time or other 41 of the 50 states have enacted such legislation, encompassing restrictions not simply against Blacks, but also Asians, Native Americans, ‘Orientals’, ‘Malays’, Native Hawaiians, and in some cases, simply all non-Whites. These laws were universally declared unconstitutional in the landmark civil rights case of Loving v Virginia (1967). Anti-miscegenation laws named as such were not enacted in Canada, though an informal and extra-legal regime ensured that the social taboo of racial intermixing was kept to a minimum. However, it is arguable that Canada’s various manifestations of the federal Indian Act were designed to regulate interracial (in this circumstance, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) marital relations and the categorization of mixed-race offspring.
Of particular interest is the former Section 12.1.b, ﬁnally amended by Bill C-31 in 1985, which stipulated that Aboriginal women who married non-Aboriginal men and the progeny of these interracial relationships would be denied Indian legal status, while Aboriginal men who married non-Aboriginal women would retain the status that would also be given to their wives and children. Both anti-miscegenation laws and the Indian Act are, in short, striking examples of the state’s regulation of the intimate sphere.
The Indian Act, with all its variations, clearly restricted and provided penalties for interracial sex and marriages, providing criteria against which the category of ‘Indian’ is to be measured, just as was the case in US anti-miscegenation regulations. During the colonial era, intermarriage was encouraged and seen as vital both by European fur traders and Aboriginal groups. Once the frontier came under the control of the British colonial power, however, this trend became condemnable. Though the ﬁrst Indian Act was passed in 1876, the ﬁrst of the legal instruments designed to regulate the classiﬁcation of Aboriginal peoples can be dated to 1850 when the legislatures of Upper and Lower Canada passed parallel acts that provided the ﬁrst deﬁnition of who was an Indian. This early legislation, which formed the template for all future manifestations of the federal Indian Act, provided a characterization of ‘Indian and none other’ based on having Indian blood, descent from Indians, and women married to those who met the ﬁrst two criteria.
This deﬁnition of ‘Indian’, with an emphasis on ‘Indian blood’ that would last until 1951, strongly resembles anti-miscegenation regimes in the United States which were always enacted and enforced in tandem with classiﬁcatory rules principled on the fractionalization of racial identities – that is, the determination of legal racial identity based on the amount of non-white blood a person has as represented by a fraction (1 /4, 1/8, 1/16).
In contrast to the anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, the Indian Acts were designed to remove Indian status, called ‘enfranchisement’ by the legislation itself. However, much like the United States, this was not an attempt by the state to ensure the equal treatment of Aboriginal people in Canadian society. Rather, the federal government was compelled by legal precedent, constitutional convention and colonial legacy to administer ‘Indians and lands reserved for Indians’, as per the Constitution Act of 1867. The legal category of ‘status Indian’, after all, ‘is the only category to whom a historic nation-to-nation relationship between the Canadian and Indigenous people eis recognized’. The removal of Indian status, therefore, was a two-fold strategy: it removed the constitutional Indian status of individuals, and therefore diminished the collective claim of underlying Aboriginal title to the land, and simultaneously alleviated the burden of Indian administration on the Crown.
Several provisions of the Indian Act also reveal the gendered nature of the retention or loss of Indian status. Under what would become the infamous Section 12.1.b of the 1876 Indian Act, Indian women who married non-Indian men would lose status, as would their offspring. Indian men who married non-Indian women, however, would not only retain status for themselves and their progeny, but their wives would gain status as well. […] In considering this, it’s important to note that white women were constructed in Canada as the guardians of morality and the vessels through which white civilization would continue. For a white woman to marry an Aboriginal man, she would be required to commit the sin of crossing racial boundaries and stepping beyond the societal norms of acceptable behaviour for the moral, chaste, proper and civilized ideal of femininity. Racialization and the provision of status to white wives, therefore, could be interpreted as a punishment for white women, who, while subjugated on the basis of gender were at least white, and would now have their positions on the racial hierarchy slide down to its lowest rung – that of a (legal) woman of colour.
Debra Thompson called “Nation and Miscegenation: Comparing Anti-Miscegenation Regulations in North America”
I’ve highlighted excerpts of this article in a way, so that, hopefully, the passage might be understood without reading the full article. While it’s quite “academic,” I think that the article is well written enough so that someone unfamiliar with the jargon might be able grasp what Thompson is trying to say. Thompson highlights the underpinnings of Canada’s horrid Indian Act, while detailing the history of anti-miscegenation laws in North America. If you’d like to learn more about the history of multiraciality in North America and whiteness, racism in the legal system and how colonial white men were threatened by just about everything, I would recommend clicking on the link to read the full article.
See more about the one drop rule here @ fuckyeahethnicwomen
Can we talk about the fact that Haiti’s lack of wealth has everything to do with the economic sabotage waged on it by other nations?
Can we talk about the fact that after the Haitian revolution France demanded Haiti pay them millions of francs to compensate for loss of men and slaves during the war?
These motherfuckers had the gall to demand their former slaves pay them for recognition as a sovereign nation.
Can we talk about how the US refused to do similar so knowledge of Haiti’s freedom wouldn’t inspire a slave uprising here?
Can we talk about the US occupying Haiti for fifteen years and blatantly interfering in elections when it suited them?
Can we talk about how my former professor, a Navy man, admitted to me his own part in the “political destabilization” of the country back in the 70s and 80s?
Can we fucking talk about how the US government watched two generations of Duvaliers destroy the country economically, socially, and environmentally, all the while letting American agriculture and medical and manufacturing industries profit?
Lets fucking talk about how this country has never given any fucks about Haiti
You want to know why Haitians don’t have clean fucking water?
It’s because Uncle Sam doesn’t want them too
Just gonna leave this here for anyone who believes that Australia is not a racist country.
We’ve only recognised Indigenous Australians as fully human for less than 50 years. It takes a lot longer than that to gain full equality and justice for survivors of colonialism and systematic oppression.
My 16-year-old sister was crying quiet tears by the door at the mom that walked out on herself. My mom, a misunderstood woman, a disrespected woman, a frightened, insecure young woman - I now understand her better than I did as an eight-year-old child. My mom was a mom-child - she had no parenting lessons, or positive Anishinaabekwe role models, only residential school. The nuns’ stern looks, the priests silently pulling teenage Anishinaabekwe girls by the wrists to a place where their screams or cries won’t be heard. The big long dormitory cold and dark and sad with little baby girls wimpering in the night. These were my mom’s parents.
not like English was violently forced on colonized peoples or anything cultural appropriation is all about power dynamics and unequal relationships now shut up
Oh, I’m sorry, did this happen to you personally?
Go cry about your non-existent problems to someone who cares.
actually yes can we talk about how I don’t know Anishinaabemowin and am cut off from huge and significant parts of my culture and identity because my grandparents and elders are residential school survivors?
omg holy shit you’re a fucking asshole
ok douchebag aka “geth-metal”, let’s talk about “non-existent problems”; let’s talk about how this has affected me personally:
- I never really got to know any of my grandparents because they mostly spoke Spanish
- the US gov’t’s push for Latin@ assimilation when my parents were kids? It meant they never encouraged me to speak the Spanish that I often heard around me when I was growing up & learned English instead.
- I can’t be certain of which indigenous groups I’m connected to, with the exception of one group, which one of my grandmothers told me begrudgingly when I was impertinent enough to ask (Colonialism saw to it that my grandparents believed it was best that I didn’t know, you see)
to learn the language & writing system of the one group I know I’m connected to, I’d have to
- move to a country that uses a Common Language (also a European language that uses a Roman alphabet) that I’m not super great with
- somehow gain the favor of this group enough that they’d teach me the traditional customs & language, which could well mean living with them
- which could mean being separated from many aspects of only life I’ve known, including possibly limiting access to medications & nutritional supplements that are pretty vital to my health & well-being.now, what were you were saying about non-existent problems that don’t affect me personally…?