Tuesday, November 16, 2010
An Essay I am Working On
The old sage beggar addressed it when he called out to the gawking public, “what are you looking at?! Act you ain’t never seen this before!” As Nina and Bulworth appear as a couple in the film Bulworth. J.A. Rogers addressed it in his Sex and Race series, making particular commentary on the compulsion of German women to lose their panties whenever Africans came into town with the P.T. Barnum Circus. Interracial mixing is a wild and radical growth that is native to American soil whose roots run very deep into the American fabric. Its very existence challenges the stalwart conservatism that runs rampant in America today. This vegetation stands testament to the integrity of the American fabric; it shadders the myth of white supremacy and exposes to all the connections that the handlers of America have failed to draw time and time again as a means of maintaining their dominance in a social order beneficial to them. These connections are seen when America lifts the folds of her skirts. Ann Soetoero was not the first white woman to introduce children into the America with footholds inside disparate cultures. Ann Soeteoro, the mother of Barack Obama, fits inside a huge legacy, the trajectory of which continues into the present day as new multiracial alliances are formed, legitimately and illegitimately, and as new casts are molded from the melting pot and served into the American populace. Most folks are aware that the people known today as Afro-Americans have ties to the white male American establishment that run as deep as blood and legacy. The point that must be underscored however, that which must be pointed out, is that the legacy of the illegitimate slave begotten by the master is not the only narrative woven into America’s racial past. There is a legacy of white women having children for men of color, such as my great-great-great grandmother, Caroline Roper. The daughter of a white Methodist minister, she bore seven children for a mulatto slave and bore two more completely white in the decade before the Civil War. During Reconstruction there was a resurgence of white female cohabitation with Black men, particularly in the south where the landscape was devastated, Black men possessed a new found power, and white women were left with few economic resources as their husbands, fathers, and brothers either were killed or mutilated in the Civil War. In the colonial era, racial mixing was such a common practice that laws were passed against it with severe penalties for both the white women who bore biracial children and for the children themselves. Usually, the women were forced into indentured servitude, given a certain number of years to work off their debt and the child was sold completely into bondage. Such cases were found well up until the resolution of the Civil War. These children, and the families created and disavowed within the American social fabric, planted radical and potent seeds within the United States, particularly as such racial mixing included revolts and rebellions and other contestations of white supremacy. The very existence of this biracial population shredded the legitimacy of whiteness and was a threat to the white male power structure. The element of this biracial phenomenon that was grounded in the poor, working class, and enslaved populations of this country made this even more of a threat. This called for even stricter policing of racial boundaries, drawing of racial lines, and stronger penalties for racial mixing. When you add in such information as Noel Ignatiev’s conclusion that the majority of white people who exist as such in the United States today are racially mixed and don’t fit neatly inside the defined lines of white supremacy, the entire foundation for America’s hidden racial habit is nullified, with severe implications for American imperialism, American exceptionalism, and much of the American way of life as defined by this nations fathers over the past two hundred and fifty years. Today, we are compelled to carry out this revolution in the way we think and exist in this country that was begun by our forefathers who clung together across boundaries of race, class, and sex to see a new harmony filled with equality and dignity for all overtake the world.