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An interesting topic that I have not seen on this board. It's bound to generate heated discussions!!!



F. James Davis is a retired professor of sociology at Illinois State University. He is the author of numerous books, including Who is Black? One Nation's Definition (1991), from which this excerpt was taken.
Reprinted with permission of Penn State University Press


To be considered black in the United States not even half of one's ancestry must be African black. But will one-fourth do, or one-eighth, or less? The nation's answer to the question 'Who is black?" has long been that a black is any person with any known African black ancestry. This definition reflects the long experience with slavery and later with Jim Crow segregation. In the South it became known as the "one-drop rule,'' meaning that a single drop of "black blood" makes a person a black. It is also known as the "one black ancestor rule," some courts have called it the "traceable amount rule," and anthropologists call it the "hypo-descent rule," meaning that racially mixed persons are assigned the status of the subordinate group. This definition emerged from the American South to become the nation's definition, generally accepted by whites and blacks. Blacks had no other choice. As we shall see, this American cultural definition of blacks is taken for granted as readily by judges, affirmative action officers, and black protesters as it is by Ku Klux Klansmen.

Let us not he confused by terminology. At present the usual statement of the one-drop rule is in terms of "black blood" or black ancestry, while not so long ago it referred to "Negro blood" or ancestry. The term "black" rapidly replaced "Negro" in general usage in the United States as the black power movement peaked at the end of the 1960s, but the black and Negro populations are the same. The term "black" is used in this book for persons with any black African lineage, not just for unmixed members of populations from sub-Saharan Africa. The term "Negro," which is used in certain historical contexts, means the same thing. Terms such as "African black," "unmixed Negro," and "all black" are used here to refer to unmixed blacks descended from African populations.

We must also pay attention to the terms "mulatto" and "colored." The term "mulatto" was originally used to mean the offspring of a "pure African Negro" and a "pure white." Although the root meaning of mulatto, in Spanish, is "hybrid," "mulatto" came to include the children of unions between whites and so-called "mixed Negroes." For example, Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, with slave mothers and white fathers, were referred to as mulattoes. To whatever extent their mothers were part white, these men were more than half white. Douglass was evidently part Indian as well, and he looked it. Washington had reddish hair and gray eyes. At the time of the American Revolution, many of the founding fathers had some very light slaves, including some who appeared to be white. The term "colored" seemed for a time to refer only to mulattoes, especially lighter ones, but later it became a euphemism for darker Negroes, even including unmixed blacks. With widespread racial mixture, "Negro" came to mean any slave or descendant of a slave, no matter how much mixed. Eventually in the United States, the terms mulatto, colored, Negro, black, and African American all came to mean people with any known black African ancestry. Mulattoes are racially mixed, to whatever degree, while the terms black, Negro, African American, and colored include both mulattoes and unmixed blacks. As we shall see, these terms have quite different meanings in other countries.

Whites in the United States need some help envisioning the American black experience with ancestral fractions. At the beginning of miscegenation between two populations presumed to be racially pure, quadroons appear in the second generation of continuing mixing with whites, and octoroons in the third. A quadroon is one-fourth African black and thus easily classed as black in the United States, yet three of this person's four grandparents are white. An octoroon has seven white great-grandparents out of eight and usually looks white or almost so. Most parents of black American children in recent decades have themselves been racially mixed, but often the fractions get complicated because the earlier details of the mixing were obscured generations ago. Like so many white Americans, black people are forced to speculate about some of the fractions-- one-eighth this, three-sixteenths that, and so on....

Not only does the one-drop rule apply to no other group than American blacks, but apparently the rule is unique in that it is found only in the United States and not in any other nation in the world. In fact, definitions of who is black vary quite sharply from country to country, and for this reason people in other countries often express consternation about our definition. James Baldwin relates a revealing incident that occurred in 1956 at the Conference of Negro-African Writers and Artists held in Paris. The head of the delegation of writers and artists from the United States was John Davis. The French chairperson introduced Davis and then asked him why he considered himself Negro, since he certainly did not look like one. Baldwin wrote, "He is a Negro, of course, from the remarkable legal point of view which obtains in the United States, but more importantly, as he tried to make clear to his interlocutor, he was a Negro by choice and by depth of involvement--by experience, in fact."

The phenomenon known as "passing as white" is difficult to explain in other countries or to foreign students. Typical questions are: "Shouldn't Americans say that a person who is passing as white is white, or nearly all white, and has previously been passing as black?" or "To be consistent, shouldn't you say that someone who is one-eighth white is passing as black?" or "Why is there so much concern, since the so-called blacks who pass take so little negroid ancestry with themThose who ask such questions need to realize that "passing" is much more a social phenomenon than a biological one, reflecting the nation's unique definition of what makes a person black. The concept of "passing" rests on the one-drop rule and on folk beliefs about race and miscegenation, not on biological or historical fact.

The black experience with passing as white in the United States contrasts with the experience of other ethnic minorities that have features that are clearly non-caucasoid. The concept of passing applies only to blacks--consistent with the nation's unique definition of the group. A person who is one-fourth or less American Indian or Korean or Filipino is not regarded as passing if he or she intermarries and joins fully the life of the dominant community, so the minority ancestry need not be hidden. It is often suggested that the key reason for this is that the physical differences between these other groups and whites are less pronounced than the physical differences between African blacks and whites, and therefore are less threatening to whites. However, keep in mind that the one-drop rule and anxiety about passing originated during slavery and later received powerful reinforcement under the Jim Crow system.

For the physically visible groups other than blacks, miscegenation promotes assimilation, despite barriers of prejudice and discrimination during two or more generations of racial mixing. As noted above, when ancestry in one of these racial minority groups does not exceed one-fourth, a person is not defined solely as a member of that group. Masses of white European immigrants have climbed the class ladder not only through education but also with the help of close personal relationships in the dominant community, intermarriage, and ultimately full cultural and social assimilation. Young people tend to marry people they meet in the same informal social circles. For visibly non-caucasoid minorities other than blacks in the United States, this entire route to full assimilation is slow but possible.

For all persons of any known black lineage, however, assimilation is blocked and is not promoted by miscegenation. Barriers to full opportunity and participation for blacks are still formidable, and a fractionally black person cannot escape these obstacles without passing as white and cutting off all ties to the black family and community. The pain of this separation, and condemnation by the black family and community, are major reasons why many or most of those who could pass as white choose not to. Loss of security within the minority community, and fear and distrust of the white world are also factors.

It should now be apparent that the definition of a black person as one with any trace at all of black African ancestry is inextricably woven into the history of the United States. It incorporates beliefs once used to justify slavery and later used to buttress the castelike Jim Crow system of segregation. Developed in the South, the definition of "Negro" (now black) spread and became the nation's social and legal definition. Because blacks are defined according to the one-drop rule, they are a socially constructed category in which there is wide variation in racial traits and therefore not a race group in the scientific sense. However, because that category has a definite status position in the society it has become a self-conscious social group with an ethnic identity.

The one-drop rule has long been taken for granted throughout the United States by whites and blacks alike, and the federal courts have taken "judicial notice" of it as being a matter of common knowledge. State courts have generally upheld the one-drop rule, but some have limited the definition to one thirty-second or one-sixteenth or one-eighth black ancestry, or made other limited exceptions for persons with both Indian and black ancestry. Most Americans seem unaware that this definition of blacks is extremely unusual in other countries, perhaps even unique to the United States, and that Americans define no other minority group in a similar way. . . .

We must first distinguish racial traits from cultural traits, since they are so often confused with each other. As defined in physical anthropology and biology, races are categories of human beings based on average differences in physical traits that are transmitted by the genes not by blood. Culture is a shared pattern of behavior and beliefs that are learned and transmitted through social communication. An ethnic group is a group with a sense of cultural identity, such as Czech or Jewish Americans, but it may also be a racially distinctive group. A group that is racially distinctive in society may be an ethnic group as well, but not necessarily. Although racially mixed, most blacks in the United States are physically distinguishable from whites, but they are also an ethnic group because of the distinctive culture they have developed within the general American framework.

There is a web site http://interracialvoice.com/ which deals on isuues like this ans is very interesting.

What are your thoughts?????
Original Post
It's a hair thing, plain and simple. If it's naturally straight and wavy, you're in like Flynn. If it's the texture of wool, then it's a fight. The Anglo's full of hypocrisy isn't he? If he considered the African an animal, he didn't have any problem jumping the bones as soon they disembarked from the slave ships. That's why we have ALL the CONFUSION and Mixed Africans now. He's in big-time denial, because we're all related, 80% of them and us. He sold his children as slaves and turned his back. He's a Psychotic Racial Entity and we're all mixed up in this sick ball of confusion called the USA. When the war comes and he needs us, he'll forget about it. If anyone survives, and it's all over, it'll be business as usual and all the racial name-calling will be back in place. Been going on for 400 years. How can ANYONE ever forget???
IndependentMan...

If someone is mixed of African blood AND American Indian blood AND European blood... What are they?!?...

Are they Black, Indian or White?!?...

Or... Must they be "labeled" at all???...

And more importantly... Is it to their advantage to be "labeled" at all???... As in the ODR...

And if the ODR has its roots due to past White folks racism... Why is it that in the year 2002 so many Black folks promote, accept and rely on the ODR???...

Questions... questions... I have many...

just curious...

.

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The Liberal/Progressive mantra: "We are the champions of diversity and opinions... We tolerate all beliefs, all religions, and all customs.......... Unless they disagree with ours!"
quote:
Originally posted by Whoopie:
IndependentMan...

If someone is mixed of African blood AND American Indian blood AND European blood... What are they?!?...

Are they Black, Indian or White?!?...

Or... Must they be "labeled" at all???...

And more importantly... Is it to their _advantage_ to be "labeled" at all???... As in the ODR...

And if the ODR has its roots due to past White folks racism... Why is it that in the year 2002 so many Black folks promote, accept and rely on the ODR???...

Questions... questions... I have many...

just curious...

.

------------------------------
The Liberal/Progressive mantra: "We are the champions of diversity and opinions... We tolerate all beliefs, all religions, and all customs.......... _Unless_ they disagree with ours!"


Whoopie, Excellent questions. I have been reading articles and posts on Interracial Voice and the Multi Racial Activist for about a month now. There is an initiative called the Racial Privacy Initiative that seeks to eliminate designations. I know this will not change the minds and hearts of racists of any shade, but it's a start. I personally do not consider myself an "African American", black is still ok with me. I'd rather just say American.

It amazes me that in the '50's and early '60's the civil rights movement was heading towards the "we are all one". But in the late '60's, the Black Power movement took over and now you see within the Civil Rights groups a left wing separatism, us vs. them mentailty. In the fight to get a multi racial box on the US Census in 2000, the NAACP vehemntly opposed this. They actuall said that if there is a choice for blacks to to re-classify themselves, many will walk out the door. What that says to me is that they want to FORCE people to "stay" and FORCE them to their mode of thinking. This is very Stalinist. It reeks of the Soviet Union having to build walls and such to keep people from leaving.

Whoopie, if you have time, go to Point2Point on Interracial Voive and read some of the posts their as well as the articles. The articles are very well written backed up with historical facts and scientifical facts, not rhetoric or inuendo.

Everyone has their own opinions, and mine has been since I was 4 years old back in the mid 1960's that why do you call someone "black" when they look "white" (like my grandmaother and father). It didn't make sense to me then, and it makes even less sense to me now.

Peace

wink
it really depends on two things in my book.

1- what does the person look like?

in order for others to perceive you as black, you must have a dark skin tone, however slightly dark. or you must have features that appear african in descent (vin deisel anyone?) your phenotype, or the way you look on the outside will effect the way folks respond to you. you could have lots of white blood or otherwise, but if you look black, you are treated as black. that's something tiger woods has yet to figure out but it's a fact nonetheless.

2- how does the person identify?

if you look almost white and you don't claim being black then you are perceived as white (vin deisel anyone?). if you look brown or near so in complexion, have some black ancestry and you claim to be black, then you will be accepted as such.

frankly there are lots of white folks walking around with black blood, but they don't look it and they don't own it. so they're white. there are lots of black folks with white blood, but they don't look it (or may look it) and don't claim it. so they're black.

the concept of race was made up by early colonists. it stand for nothing but the color of your skin. and it's rediculously exaggerated. let's face it, no one is really white except albinos and most blacks in actuality are closer to brown than black. it was made up as a divisive technique. and it worked didn't it?

i think it may be safer to refer to the term "people of color". that covers alot of ground. that pretty much means anyone who doesn't look european in origin. it's simpler than hashing out all of the ethnicities that make an american person. we'd have to go on forever just introducing ourselves. . . .
I'm not as thoroughly read up on the issues as some here. Personally, I think I understand the basics enough to know that this will always be an issue until we are all physically blind.

My Point, based on listening to some of my learned brothers/sisters:
  • When they first started coming over, they bought indentured servants. Black and white. Well, problem was, the white indentured servants could run away and blend in. We stood out like a redneck in the ghetto. Easy to see how this lead to slavery, forget the indentured part. No way we could pass for a non-sservant.
  • White people came from a place with class distinction being an integral part of society. They don't need black people around to develop superiority complexes. If everyone in the world could be blond, blue eyed and still they would find a way to discrimnate. It is unfair of me to pin this trait on white people, because it is a human trait. Look at our own neighborhoods, gang wars. But because of where white people came from, a place with limited natural resources, not enough food for everyone, etc... this is the natural development(read The Climate by Pearl Jr.), so thus I admit, we do the same now.
Taking these to things into consideration: How you look will always matter when it comes to the haves and the have-nots, especially when there is not enough to have. So the eliminatin of race consideration will benefit EVERYONE, but those of us with color or features that you can tell are definitely not white. I.E. skin color, eye shape (asian).

An example: I was interacially married for 13 years. My ex husband is Thai (Thailand, not Taiwan). My last name was a long azz obviously Asian last name. When I was job hunting, I'd talk to them over the phone first and they were excited to meet me. They loved me, that is, until they met me and found out I was a black woman. I got this from white and asian perspective (men) employers. They did not do anything outright right there. But even though I did well on the test and it look like I was a fit, all of sudden, I could not reach them on the phone or did not hear back from them.

Solutions: They only thing I want to do is concentrate on building our communities and not rely on them, need them for anything. Everyone else that seems to immigrate here build a strong foundation, commnities, self regulation. And though we did not immigrate willingly, relying on American justice is not going to ever work, not until we can equally run things.

I'm not saying that this is the only answer or even the right one. My heart speaks from the pain of what I see and learn everyday about how they purposely try to keep us down. We can rise above it, I know it!

La Femme Nkechi
quote:
Consider how hard it is to change yourself & you'll understand what little chance you have of changing others
- Create thyself first!
The history of Black men and women in America has made race a relevant issue. To look at how other societies view one another and deal with one another and compare it to America dealings with the Black man and woman will not prove anything. Most comparative judgments render the result desired by those doing the comparison or there would be no comparison.

The history of America dictates that anyone who is not Black gets better treatment than black folk. This is demonstrated in the treatment of the world's people who have migrated to America. The distinction between the Black man and woman in America and the rest of the world holds true when dealing with our Brothers and Sisters from the Islands and from any country in Africa. Yet, it was our struggle for freedom, justice and equality that made it possible for most people to come here and be treated fairly. Who is Black and who is not may not be relevant in many other parts of the world but it is, and will be relevant in America for as long as there is an America.

There has always been a perceived benefit for not identifying oneself as Black. While there is no question who is White there always seem to be a question who is Black. Do not be fooled by those who wish not to be classified as a Black man or woman. Who would want to be identified with a people with a history like the one we have in America. The refusal to be identified as a Black man or woman from America as stated earlier has infected the minds of Black men and Women from other parts of the earth.

While today in America and around the world you have "culture bandits" and people whom take on the characteristics primarily held by Black folk. They all realize they are not us but they love the perverted culture we have developed in America. When a Black person chooses not to identify himself or herself as Black in most cases it is to not identify with those things commonly associated with being Black in America i.e.. Slavery, Speaking slang, Ebonics, listening to rap music, being a militant, Benefiting from affirmative action and having what white folk refer to as a Victim attitude. While the rest of the world continue to imitate us in art, style of dress, music and speech they have the benefit of not being in Black skin. We can look at their imitation as the highest form of admiration but we know they don't want to be us; they want to be anti-establishment, which is imbedded in our culture hence "culture bandits".

The NAACP and other Black organizations refusal to support the check box for "Mixed" people are strictly political. It does not have anything to do with the "one drop rule" or any other historical ways of judging who is Black and who is not Black.

The Black man and woman in America is not as monolithic as we once were as demonstrated on this board. We have become a people divided along religious, political, and ideological lines. Assimilation has been the enemy of the Black man and woman and still is the enemy of the Black man and woman. When assimilation happens the dominant culture takes over and those who are not part of the dominant culture become part of the dominant culture. Assimilation by choice or by force is unnatural. The individuality of the Black man and woman in America must press on until there is No America.
The source of the continued divide in America can be traced to the continued refusal of America to do right by the Black man and woman. When America truly atones for their past and current evils only then will the healing process begin for us all. Until then people like myself will always be a thorn in the side of America and those who identify as Americans.

The objective of the interacialvoice web site is not to help the cause of the Black man and woman in America, it is to show how those who are hybrids are not Black and should not have to identify themselves as Black. In their effort to not offend Black folk they have to say they are not white either. However, the reason the issue of being mixed have become an issue is not based on mixed individual not wanting to be identified as white, it is their refusal to be identified as Black in America and having all those things that are part of that attached to who they are.

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By all standards, some creatures are just plain strange, making us do double takes because their compositions or habits or appearances defy our sense of logic and our way of viewing reality. Take the wildebeest, the warthog, the hyena, the brown pelican, the Shar-Pei. These animals, seemingly wrought by committee, make us laugh or shake our heads. Another such creature, of the human kind -- and perhaps the strangest of all -- is the black Republican. "

Bill Maxwell

More to come later!

Your Brother Faheem
Faheem:
"There has always been a perceived benefit for not identifying oneself as Black. While there is no question who is White there always seem to be a question who is Black. Do not be fooled by those who wish not to be classified as a Black man or woman. Who would want to be identified with a people with a history like the one we have in America. The refusal to be identified as a Black man or woman from America as stated earlier has infected the minds of Black men and Women from other parts of the earth."


Faheem....

First: Putting aside all of your rhetoric and discourse.... You haven't answered IndependentMan's original question...

And that is WHO IS BLACK... ie... What determines a person being Black as apposed to being White, Red, Yellow ect...

Second: Now a days it is BENEFICIAL for a Black individual to "classify" or call themselves "Black"... This is where that racial ODR, brought about by those nasty White folks, becomes an advantage for Black folks... ie. Affirmative Action, Minority Set Asides, Quotas ect...

Soooooo... It is more advantageous, in the U.S., to be labeled "Black" than to deny being Black...

Those that choose to think on their own, act on their own, be themselves, earn it themselves, become Their Own Man... have an Independent attitude, and hate being pigeon holed (forced) into a category... They are usually called "Uncle Toms"...

My 2 pennies worth...

.

------------------------------
The Liberal/Progressive mantra: "We are the champions of diversity and opinions... We tolerate all beliefs, all religions, and all customs.......... Unless they disagree with ours!"
quote:
Originally posted by Whoopie:

Now a days it is BENEFICIAL for a Black individual to "classify" or call themselves "Black"... This is where that racial ODR, brought about by those nasty White folks, becomes an advantage for Black folks... ie. Affirmative Action, Minority Set Asides, Quotas ect...



Do you know what a "set aside" really is Whoopie? Because we live in a nation where, left to their own free will, most white males will break the law and hire or do business based upon race and sex (selecting only people exactly like them), our sometimes bizarre society has created a law to try to offset their apparent inability to do the right thing! (Instead of treating the aberrant/illegal behavior, we create laws to compensate for it? What kind of twisted logic is that? confused ) So where naturally there would be no one other than white males in jobs, schools etc., a "set aside" has been created to offer some small portion of the total opportunity to white women, the disabled, and other racial minorities so they can have something. So instead of having 100%, white males are forced to give up a few percent here and there. Terrible ain't it? mad

quote:
Those that choose to think on their own, act on their own, be themselves, earn it themselves, become Their Own Man... have an Independent attitude, and hate being pigeon holed (forced) into a category... They are usually called "Uncle Toms"...


roll eyes We missed you Whoop! With all due respect, your characterization, description, and use of the phrase "Uncle Tom" here is not only extraordinarily off-base, it is offensive as well.



Onward and Upward!
MBM...

Please check your private mail...


MBM: "With all due respect, your characterization, description, and use of the phrase "Uncle Tom" here is not only extraordinarily off-base, it is offensive as well."

I disagree...

And if it is offensive coming from me, imagine how it must be felt coming from a so-called "brotha"... How much more hurt can there be...

.

------------------------------
The Liberal/Progressive mantra: "We are the champions of diversity and opinions... We tolerate all beliefs, all religions, and all customs.......... Unless they disagree with ours!"
eek whoopie eek

you have got to be kidding me!!!! it's more advantageous to be considered black? in a white male dominated society?

sheesh.

i'm not even going to get into it again. i'm tired of explaining to white folks who don't understand, nay, who refuse to even try to understand.

so fine, have it your way:

that's right, we black folks have it waaay better than white people! behold our wrath as we take your jobs, your wealth, and your women!!!!
I was in a daze, in shock reading this, and shout that I am black, for how can I look at my white skin and say anything else?

quote:
Originally posted by IndependentMan:
An interesting topic that I have not seen on this board. It's bound to generate heated discussions!!!



F. James Davis is a retired professor of sociology at Illinois State University. He is the author of numerous books, including Who is Black? One Nation's Definition (1991), from which this excerpt was taken.
Reprinted with permission of Penn State University Press


To be considered black in the United States not even half of one's ancestry must be African black. But will one-fourth do, or one-eighth, or less? The nation's answer to the question 'Who is black?" has long been that a black is any person with any known African black ancestry. This definition reflects the long experience with slavery and later with Jim Crow segregation. In the South it became known as the "one-drop rule,'' meaning that a single drop of "black blood" makes a person a black. It is also known as the "one black ancestor rule," some courts have called it the "traceable amount rule," and _anthropologists call it the "hypo-descent rule," meaning that racially mixed persons are assigned the status of the subordinate group. _This definition emerged from the American South to become the nation's definition, generally accepted by whites and blacks. Blacks had no other choice. _As we shall see, this American cultural definition of blacks is taken for granted as readily by judges, affirmative action officers, and black protesters as it is by Ku Klux Klansmen._

Let us not he confused by terminology. At present the usual statement of the one-drop rule is in terms of "black blood" or black ancestry, while not so long ago it referred to "Negro blood" or ancestry. The term "black" rapidly replaced "Negro" in general usage in the United States as the black power movement peaked at the end of the 1960s, but the black and Negro populations are the same. The term "black" is used in this book for persons with any black African lineage, not just for unmixed members of populations from sub-Saharan Africa. The term "Negro," which is used in certain historical contexts, means the same thing. Terms such as "African black," "unmixed Negro," and "all black" are used here to refer to unmixed blacks descended from African populations.

_We must also pay attention to the terms "mulatto" and "colored." The term "mulatto" was originally used to mean the offspring of a "pure African Negro" and a "pure white." _Although the root meaning of mulatto, in Spanish, is "hybrid," "mulatto" came to include the children of unions between whites and so-called "mixed Negroes." _For example, Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, with slave mothers and white fathers, were referred to as mulattoes. To whatever extent their mothers were part white, these men were more than half white. Douglass was evidently part Indian as well, and he looked it. Washington had reddish hair and gray eyes. At the time of the American Revolution, many of the founding fathers had some very light slaves, including some who appeared to be white. The term "colored" seemed for a time to refer only to mulattoes, especially lighter ones, but later it became a euphemism for darker Negroes, even including unmixed blacks. With widespread racial mixture, "Negro" came to mean any slave or descendant of a slave, no matter how much mixed. Eventually in the United States, the terms mulatto, colored, Negro, black, and African American all came to mean people with any known black African ancestry. Mulattoes are racially mixed, to whatever degree, while the terms black, Negro, African American, and colored include both mulattoes and unmixed blacks. As we shall see, these terms have quite different meanings in other countries._

Whites in the United States need some help envisioning the American black experience with ancestral fractions. At the beginning of miscegenation between two populations presumed to be racially pure, quadroons appear in the second generation of continuing mixing with whites, and octoroons in the third._ A quadroon is one-fourth African black and thus easily classed as black in the United States, yet three of this person's four grandparents are white. An octoroon has seven white great-grandparents out of eight and usually looks white or almost so. Most parents of black American children in recent decades have themselves been racially mixed, but often the fractions get complicated because the earlier details of the mixing were obscured generations ago. Like so many white Americans, black people are forced to speculate about some of the fractions-- one-eighth this, three-sixteenths that, and so on.... _

_Not only does the one-drop rule apply to no other group than American blacks, but apparently the rule is unique in that it is found only in the United States and not in any other nation in the world. In fact, definitions of who is black vary quite sharply from country to country, and for this reason people in other countries often express consternation about our definition. James Baldwin relates a revealing incident that occurred in 1956 at the Conference of Negro-African Writers and Artists held in Paris. The head of the delegation of writers and artists from the United States was John Davis. The French chairperson introduced Davis and then asked him why he considered himself Negro, since he certainly did not look like one. Baldwin wrote, "He is a Negro, of course, from the remarkable legal point of view which obtains in the United States, but more importantly, as he tried to make clear to his interlocutor, he was a Negro by choice and by depth of involvement--by experience, in fact."_

The phenomenon known as "passing as white" is difficult to explain in other countries or to foreign students. _Typical questions are: "Shouldn't Americans say that a person who is passing as white is white, or nearly all white, and has previously been passing as black?" or "To be consistent, shouldn't you say that someone who is one-eighth white is passing as black?" or "Why is there so much concern, since the so-called blacks who pass take so little negroid ancestry with them_Those who ask such questions need to realize that "passing" is much more a social phenomenon than a biological one, reflecting the nation's unique definition of what makes a person black. The concept of "passing" rests on the one-drop rule and on folk beliefs about race and miscegenation, not on biological or historical fact.

The black experience with passing as white in the United States contrasts with the experience of other ethnic minorities that have features that are clearly non-caucasoid. The concept of passing applies only to blacks--consistent with the nation's unique definition of the group. A person who is one-fourth or less American Indian or Korean or Filipino is not regarded as passing if he or she intermarries and joins fully the life of the dominant community, so the minority ancestry need not be hidden. It is often suggested that the key reason for this is that the physical differences between these other groups and whites are less pronounced than the physical differences between African blacks and whites, and therefore are less threatening to whites. However, keep in mind that the one-drop rule and anxiety about passing originated during slavery and later received powerful reinforcement under the Jim Crow system.

For the physically visible groups other than blacks, miscegenation promotes assimilation, despite barriers of prejudice and discrimination during two or more generations of racial mixing. As noted above, when ancestry in one of these racial minority groups does not exceed one-fourth, a person is not defined solely as a member of that group. Masses of white European immigrants have climbed the class ladder not only through education but also with the help of close personal relationships in the dominant community, intermarriage, and ultimately full cultural and social assimilation. Young people tend to marry people they meet in the same informal social circles. For visibly non-caucasoid minorities other than blacks in the United States, this entire route to full assimilation is slow but possible.

For all persons of any known black lineage, however, assimilation is blocked and is not promoted by miscegenation. Barriers to full opportunity and participation for blacks are still formidable, and a fractionally black person cannot escape these obstacles without passing as white and cutting off all ties to the black family and community. The pain of this separation, and condemnation by the black family and community, are major reasons why many or most of those who could pass as white choose not to. Loss of security within the minority community, and fear and distrust of the white world are also factors.

It should now be apparent that the definition of a black person as one with any trace at all of black African ancestry is inextricably woven into the history of the United States. It incorporates beliefs once used to justify slavery and later used to buttress the castelike Jim Crow system of segregation. Developed in the South, the definition of "Negro" (now black) spread and became the nation's social and legal definition. Because blacks are defined according to the one-drop rule, they are a socially constructed category in which there is wide variation in racial traits and therefore not a race group in the scientific sense. However, because that category has a definite status position in the society it has become a self-conscious social group with an ethnic identity.

The one-drop rule has long been taken for granted throughout the United States by whites and blacks alike, and the federal courts have taken "judicial notice" of it as being a matter of common knowledge. State courts have generally upheld the one-drop rule, but some have limited the definition to one thirty-second or one-sixteenth or one-eighth black ancestry, or made other limited exceptions for persons with both Indian and black ancestry. _Most Americans seem unaware that this definition of blacks is extremely unusual in other countries, perhaps even unique to the United States, and that Americans define no other minority group in a similar way. . . ._

We must first distinguish racial traits from cultural traits, since they are so often confused with each other. As defined in physical anthropology and biology, races are categories of human beings based on average differences in physical traits that are transmitted by the genes not by blood. Culture is a shared pattern of behavior and beliefs that are learned and transmitted through social communication. An ethnic group is a group with a sense of cultural identity, such as Czech or Jewish Americans, but it may also be a racially distinctive group. A group that is racially distinctive in society may be an ethnic group as well, but not necessarily. Although racially mixed, most blacks in the United States are physically distinguishable from whites, but they are also an ethnic group because of the distinctive culture they have developed within the general American framework.

There is a web site http://interracialvoice.com/ which deals on isuues like this ans is very interesting.

What are your thoughts?????
Rather than rewrite, I'll just paste what I opined on this same subject over at tbwt.com on this thread...

... a few years ago, I learned that my mother is "biologically" just over 50% Africoid. The balance of her ancestry is evenly native and white. I don't know much of my father's ancestry, but all of the "mixed" features of my appearance come from him, so if my mother was 50% black, I imagine my father was less than that. And yet...

* they were descended from slaves

* they were descended from sharecroppers

* they lived in the south during Jim Crow, and Jim Crow applied against them;

* they moved north in the 1960s to find work in less segregated areas

Your heritage is biological, but it's also cultural and historical. The culture and history of a people is the culture and history of yourself. Those things I just bulleted are all part and parcel of the black experience in America. My "heritage" is as much about those things I just bulleted as it is about what percentage of my ancestors came from which continent. My parents were from different southern states, and had nothing to do with each other until they met in New Jersey. If their lives hadn't paralleled the "black experience" as I cited above, then they would never have met, and I would never have been born. Therefore, the "black experience" created me. Therefore, I am the black experience. Therefore, I am black.

I may have more native-American in me than most people who are members of Indian "nations" (what's THAT all about, right?), and I may be less mathematically "black" than even Halle Berry, but ETHNICALLY, even my 1/8 black grandmother was BLACK. The one-drop rule is not a rule of biology. It's not one-drop of black "blood;" it's one drop of inherited black experience that determines whether you are ethnically black.

When it comes to black people, "race" and "ethnicity" are interchangeable terms. But they both MEAN "ethncity." And even overcoming racism doesn't put you out of the ethnicity. If you had to "overcome," that's part of our experience. So ethnically, you are BLACK.

Sorry for writing a damn book, but perspectives that are alternative to long- and deeply ingrained concepts sometimes needs a detailed explanation to be understood.

[This message was edited by Vox on September 15, 2002 at 06:00 PM.]
"people of color" sounds good to me, but please do not exclude me, though I am European and the color of my skin is 'white'.

quote:
Originally posted by little minx:
it really depends on two things in my book.

1- what does the person look like?

in order for others to perceive you as black, you must have a dark skin tone, however slightly dark. or you must have features that appear african in descent (vin deisel anyone?) your phenotype, or the way you look on the outside will effect the way folks respond to you. you could have lots of white blood or otherwise, but if you look black, you are treated as black. that's something tiger woods has yet to figure out but it's a fact nonetheless.

2- how does the person identify?

if you look almost white and you don't claim being black then you are perceived as white (vin deisel anyone?). if you look brown or near so in complexion, have some black ancestry and you claim to be black, then you will be accepted as such.

frankly there are lots of white folks walking around with black blood, but they don't look it and they don't own it. so they're white. there are lots of black folks with white blood, but they don't look it (or may look it) and don't claim it. so they're black.

the concept of race was made up by early colonists. it stand for nothing but the color of your skin. and it's rediculously exaggerated. let's face it, no one is really white except albinos and most blacks in actuality are closer to brown than black. it was made up as a divisive technique. and it worked didn't it?

i think it may be safer to refer to the term "people of color". that covers alot of ground. that pretty much means anyone who doesn't look european in origin. it's simpler than hashing out all of the ethnicities that make an american person. we'd have to go on forever just introducing ourselves. . . .
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Whoopie:
_Faheem:
"There has always been a perceived benefit for not identifying oneself as Black. While there is no question who is White there always seem to be a question who is Black. Do not be fooled by those who wish not to be classified as a Black man or woman. Who would want to be identified with a people with a history like the one we have in America. The refusal to be identified as a Black man or woman from America as stated earlier has infected the minds of Black men and Women from other parts of the earth."_

How can I identify with my 'white' skin, with the people who have left Europe to kill and enslave? How much I wish I could say with pride: I am 'black'!


And that is WHO IS BLACK... ie... What determines a person being Black as apposed to being White, Red, Yellow ect...

A chance to be proud?
quote:
Originally posted by Whoopie:

And _if_ it is offensive coming from _me_, imagine how it must be felt coming from a so-called "brotha"...


No, I'd much rather be called 'Uncle Tom' by someone black. I'd feel that they had some standing or basis to call me that. It hurts more from someone black, but it angers me more from someone not black.

My problem with it here is a mixture of the following:

  • You use it within the context of describing anyone that is liberal or a Democrat as intellectually, politically, and professionally lazy. This just because blacks are currently overwhelmingly Democrat. Are the wealthy also "not thinking on their own", "not being their own people", and allowing themselves to be "pigeon-holed" because they are overwhelmingly Republican?

  • It is a part of the feeble argument that suggests that blacks are somehow not able to vote any way other than Democrat. BTW - this argument conveniently takes conservatives off the hook to actually work for black Americas votes. As I've noted a number of times elsewhere, this argument is just factually wrong since _as a block_ we shifted from being Republican (the Party of Lincoln) to Democrat with FDR.

  • By using the epithet "Uncle Tom" here, which alludes to being anti-black, you are now linking into the old and disengenuous 'anti-success' argument that is destructive and serves no positive purpose in our community.

    Anyway - Whoopie - again, and with all due respect, only an aggrieved white man could say that blacks have it better in a society made by and for white males. Just becuase not every white male is Daddy Warbucks does not mean that the game isn't rigged for him and against others.

    smile


    Onward and Upward!

    [This message was edited by MBM on September 15, 2002 at 06:41 PM.]
  • your 'book' has the power to heal.

    quote:
    Originally posted by Vox:
    Rather than rewrite, I'll just paste what I opined on this same subject over at tbwt.com on http://forums.tbwt.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=3;t=001253#000017...

    ... a few years ago, I learned that my mother is "biologically" just over 50% Africoid. The balance of her ancestry is evenly native and white. I don't know much of my father's ancestry, but all of the "mixed" features of my appearance come from him, so if my mother was 50% black, I imagine my father was less than that. And yet...

    * they were descended from slaves

    * they were descended from sharecroppers

    * they lived in the south during Jim Crow, and Jim Crow applied against them;

    * they moved north in the 1960s to find work in less segregated areas

    Your heritage is biological, but it's also cultural and historical. The culture and history of a people is the culture and history of yourself. Those things I just bulleted are all part and parcel of the black experience in America. My "heritage" is as much about those things I just bulleted as it is about what percentage of my ancestors came from which continent. My parents were from different southern states, and had nothing to do with each other until they met in New Jersey. If their lives hadn't paralleled the "black experience" as I cited above, then they would never have met, and I would never have been born. Therefore, the "black experience" created me. Therefore, I am the black experience. Therefore, I am black.

    I may have more native-American in me than most people who are members of Indian "nations" (what's THAT all about, right?), and I may be less mathematically "black" than even Halle Berry, but ETHNICALLY, even my 1/8 black grandmother was BLACK. The one-drop rule is not a rule of biology. It's not one-drop of black "blood;" it's one drop of inherited black experience that determines whether you are ethnically black.

    When it comes to black people, "race" and "ethnicity" are interchangeable terms. But they both MEAN "ethncity." And even overcoming racism doesn't put you out of the ethnicity. If you had to "overcome," that's part of our experience. So ethnically, you are BLACK.

    Sorry for writing a damn book, but perspectives that are alternative to long- and deeply ingrained concepts sometimes needs a detailed explanation to be understood.

    [This message was edited by Vox on September 15, 2002 at 06:00 PM.]
    Whoopie, It would be silly of me or anyone to try to set a definition in stone as to who is Black and who is not Black. That which makes a person Black is far more than just the characteristics commonly associated with being Black. There is no absolute as to who is Black and who is not Black. If there were an absolute we would not be having this discussion. Beyond the characteristics of being Black one must believe and say they are Black. I am a Black man; there is no questioning that. I am not afraid to be associated with those things that are associated with being Black. I am not afraid of the history of the Black man and woman here in America or anywhere in the Diaspora. I don't get involved in silly arguments with anyone who says they are not Black for whatever reason. You have people like Armstrong Williams who have all the characteristic of a Black man but he would tell you he is not Black he is American, as if being American can replace being Black. So if he doesn't want to be Black than that's his personal choice. I am not into making people admit they are anything if they say they are not that.

    The world is viewed through the eyes of every individual. I say Mr. Williams is a Black man. He would say different. If an individual don't want to be Black, oh well. It will not change how others perceive him or her. The same goes for anyone claiming to be Black.

    We must be honest, it only matters who is Black and who is not Black when an issue is being raised that effect Black people detrimentally or beneficially. It matters not to me who is Black and who is not Black. I am about the business of Black people. If you identify with Black people and me then so be it. If you do not and you get in the way of progress for Black people, I will roll over you as if you are the enemy and not think twice. Any one who is arguing who is Black and who is not is wasting their time. Arguing over who is Black and who is not is as asinine as the NAACP in 60's fighting to get "Negro" capitalized in newspapers.



    I hope that helps you out Whoopie.

    -------------------------
    By all standards, some creatures are just plain strange, making us do double takes because their compositions or habits or appearances defy our sense of logic and our way of viewing reality. Take the wildebeest, the warthog, the hyena, the brown pelican, the Shar-Pei. These animals, seemingly wrought by committee, make us laugh or shake our heads. Another such creature, of the human kind -- and perhaps the strangest of all -- is the black Republican. "

    Bill Maxwell

    More to come later!

    Your Brother Faheem
    Sorry folks for the long posts, but I think they are informative and interesting as they represent a point of view not found in most of the media.


    "Race"ing towards Sanity
    by James Landrith


    As someone who, if I believed in "race" could identify as "multiracial" and as one-half of what is broadly considered an "interracial" marriage, I would like to take this time to express my commitment to ending our government's obsession with classifying Americans by "race."

    These nasty little classifications have been contributing to America's "racial" problems from the beginning of our nation's history. It is far past time for Americans to unite, abandon the insidious concept of biological "races" and deconstruct the arbitrary "racial" walls dividing one American from another. Continually dividing our fellow Americans by "race" reinforces the concept that one group of Americans are so different from another group of Americans that they must be viewed differently and as a nasty consequence of this type of thinking, treated differently. These "racial" classifications do not end or lessen "racism." These classifications do, however, reinforce the concept of "race", which in turn fosters the twin demons of superiority and inferiority. This is government-coerced segregation of the body, mind and spirit. It violates the most basic fundamental principles of privacy and fairness. It is just plain wrong and if we are to survive as a free nation, we can no longer allow it.

    Many people believe that abolishing these categories will allow "racism" to multiply unchecked. These alarmists want people to believe that abolishing the categories will bring back the horrors of Jim Crow. I believe those people are wrong. I believe that continuing to force people into little boxes for the purpose of fighting "racism" is intellectually bankrupt and a form of collectivist intolerance. These nasty little boxes were designed from day one to keep people separated for the purpose of ensuring legislative power in slave states. The very idea that these categories have the magical power to end "racism" is a perverse concept when you consider the reason they originally came into being. You cannot fight "racism" while simultaneously promoting the concept of different "racial" classifications.

    Further, the potential for abuses of such "racial" data are immense. Just ask those Americans that the Census Bureau so kindly singled out as being of Japanese descent during World War II. Just ask the Department of Justice, who used this data to corral these Americans into concentration camps for the sole crime of ancestral heritage For those who wish to round up citizens based on supposed "racial" background, there's nothing better than Census rolls which identify people by address, "race" and number of people in the household.

    Of course, during the 1980's and the Gulf War, politicians and Administration officials once again discussed rounding up American citizens based on ancestral descent. In particular, the INS created its now-infamous "Option Paper," which laid out plans "to locate, apprehend and remove a body of aliens from the U.S." This scenario included the use of a 100-acre prison in Oakdale, Louisiana for holding detainees. This time, instead of Japanese, it was Middle Eastern ancestry that became a reason to put people in concentration camps. Fortunately, in January 1991, politicians like Representatives Don Edwards, Norman Y. Mineta, and Romano L. Mazzoli, among others spoke out and changed the direction of the debate away from the ugly path that America appeared to be headed down. Now, in light of the events of September 11, we need more than ever to abandon this insidious concept of separating Americans by supposed "race." Unfortunately, the terrorist attacks have led some to commit cowardly retaliatory attacks against those perceived to be of a specific demographic. Our government only feeds this type of mindset with its insistence on dividing Americans by "race."

    When fascist forces rear their ugly heads again in government, we must not make it easier for them to fulfill their horrific agendas by providing them with lists of Americans by "race" and home address.

    So, with the thought in mind, that in order to defeat "racism" in America we must first defeat and destroy the collectivist concept of "race," I have accepted Ward Connerly's invitation to serve on the steering committee of the Racial Privacy Initiative (RPI). RPI will ban the State of California from classifying people according to race, ethnicity, color or national origin. While this alone will not end "racism," it is an important first step in allowing Americans to break out of the "racialist" mold. Governments must not be allowed to continue to impose "race"-based thinking on its citizens.


    "Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything-you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him." -Robert Heinlein


    The concept of "racial" classifications is one of modern history's biggest "hoodwinks" and is anathema to the concepts of liberty and free will. These nasty little boxes, as used by the government, have now become the weapon of choice by "racialist" groups like the NAACP and National Urban League in their battles for political power against "multiracial" people and "interracial" families who refuse to submit to the oppressive "one-drop" rule. The "one-drop" rule as currently applied by these groups dictates that individuals with even the slightest amount of so-called "black blood" must identify solely as "black" for the sake of "black" political power. Aside from being biologically false, and perpetuating "racist" stereotypes of what is and isn't acceptable "black" behavior, this offensive philosophy violates the free will of Americans to identify how they see fit, including the right to shed a "racial" identity altogether. This is intolerable and must end now. The American public has pushed the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nations to the fringes of society, so shall it be with the NAACP, National Urban League and other traditional civil rights organizations as they continue to push these offensive 18th century "racialist" designs down the throats of "multiracial" people and "interracial" families.

    It is my steadfast belief that until these categories are gone, we will not be able to begin to give "racism" the appropriate burial it deserves. These categories, created for the sole purpose of ensuring slave state political power at our nation's birth are not the solution to "racism." Rejection of collectivist concepts like "racial" groups, however, is the solution. To state otherwise is a perverse distortion of history. America, it's time to step out of the 1790s. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, yet here we are in 2001, still trying to ensure slave state political power.

    It's time to let the deconstruction begin.


    James Landrith is the notorious libertarian editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist and The Abolitionist Examiner, two cyber-rags dedicated to freedom from oppressive racial categorization.

    BTW, James Landrith is a "white" guy married to a "black" woman. Quotes are the way he puts it.

    http://www.multiracial.com/

    wink
    You have any thoughts of your own Independent Man.
    Copying and pasting articles only tell us what the author of the article think and believe to be true. I would like to see some articulation from you on this matter.

    -------------------------
    By all standards, some creatures are just plain strange, making us do double takes because their compositions or habits or appearances defy our sense of logic and our way of viewing reality. Take the wildebeest, the warthog, the hyena, the brown pelican, the Shar-Pei. These animals, seemingly wrought by committee, make us laugh or shake our heads. Another such creature, of the human kind -- and perhaps the strangest of all -- is the black Republican. "

    Bill Maxwell

    More to come later!

    Your Brother Faheem
    quote:
    Originally posted by Faheem:
    You have any thoughts of your own Independent Man.
    Copying and pasting articles only tell us what the author of the article think and believe to be true. I would like to see some articulation from you on this matter.

    -------------------------
    By all standards, some creatures are just plain strange, making us do double takes because their compositions or habits or appearances defy our sense of logic and our way of viewing reality. Take the wildebeest, the warthog, the hyena, the brown pelican, the Shar-Pei. These animals, seemingly wrought by committee, make us laugh or shake our heads. Another such creature, of the human kind -- and perhaps the strangest of all -- is the black Republican. "

    Bill Maxwell

    More to come later!

    Your Brother Faheem


    Sure Faheem, The articles I post are for the most part what I think. Why articulate my position when I can find articles that state it as I would, but offer concrete facts. I noticed in one of your posts that you said this issue was as ridiculous as when the NAACP tries to have "Negro" captitalized in the '60's. It that's the case, why then do you post in this topic?? I find these articles fascinating as they do do not show up in the "mainstream media". They discuss reality as oppossed to rhetoric and historical falsehoods that I think we have all been accustomed to. This is why this fascinates me. I have always had an interest from when I was a child when things were told to me, that in my eyes, did not make sense. This was from my own deduction. "Why is my grandmother and father white??", "they are NOT white, they just look white." "Well if they look white, how can they not be white???" This is a dialogue that would transpire betwwen my mother and me when I was about 4 years old. It didn't make any sense to me then because I knew what I saw. And there's nothing more honest than the observations of a young child. No, I do NOT want to be white. Anyone who knows me personally will attest to that. I just want to be me, hence my name IndependentMan which corresponds to my name on another forum.

    wink
    This is long, but fascinating in my opinion. Something that they will not tell you in history class, particularly in this era of left wing political correctness.......


    Racial Mixture, "White" Identity, and
    The "Forgotten" (or censored) Cause of the Civil War

    By A.D. Powell
    Why would Northern whites oppose slavery while rejecting racial equality for blacks? This is a question one reads constantly in Civil War scholarship. However, the answer is obvious if one is willing to address taboo and "politically incorrect" subjects - "white" slavery and racial mixture. Obviously, the answer to this question also demands that historians acknowledge and deal with another forbidden subject - the definition of "white" and the impossibility of distinguishing the "mixed race white" from the "pure white." Equally taboo is dealing with the fact that, to most "whites," a fellow "white" is defined by looks and not racial "purity" or freedom from the dreaded "black blood." Now, how did this belief on the part of Northern "whites" contribute to the Civil War?

    The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War: A New Look at the Slavery Issue by Lawrence R. Tenzer, Scholars Publishing House, 1997, shows how the whiteness of some slaves increased the fear and hatred of slavery in Northerners because of the possibility that any white person could be seized and taken South - especially after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Tenzer states:

    If "cause" can be defined as any political or social dynamic which exacerbated the tension between the North and South, then white slavery certainly qualifies because it contributed to the deep-rooted friction which existed between the free and slave sections of the country. Lincoln himself made references to slavery "regardless of color." The facts presented in this thoroughly researched text prove that white people were slaves in the American South and that white slavery was indeed a cause of the Civil War.


    Tenzer is careful to define his terms. "The South" refers to the slavocracy - the political power which governed the slave states - not the Southern people in general. This definition embodies an important point. There were many poor and nonslaveholding whites throughout the Southern states who had no influence on proslavery politics... The oligarchy of Southern politicians and their slave holding allies were the power of the South, what came to be known as the "slave power." This is great. Tenzer puts the blame were it lies. Too many historians engage in lazy, meaningless and inaccurate racial generalizations such as "Whites decided that..." or "Whites believed..." Which "whites"? Indulging in collective guilt lets the guilty people off the hook


    --------------------------------------------------

    What Separates the "Mulatto" from the "White"? Can Slaves Be "White"? Can "Whites" Have "Negro blood"?

    The status of children born of white fathers and black or mulatto slave mothers was a pressing issue. The English Common Law said that a child follows the status of the father. However, that would mean that the issue of a female slave was not her master's property - in the way that the issue of female livestock were his property. In 1662 the Southern colony of Virginia was the first to pass legislation which attempted to regulate interracial fornication and marriage as well as the status of the mixed-blood children of slave mothers. Going back into classical Roman history, it confirmed the legal doctrine of partus sequitur ventrem, which held that the child follows the status of the mother. This early legal precedent had far reaching effects.


    Tenzer emphasizes the fact that "negro blood" by itself did not make anyone a slave. It was the maternal descent of the partus rule that enslaved a person - if the maternal slave line was unbroken by legal manumission. A slaveholder could, legally, have more "negro blood" than his slave. A legal "white" man could have more Negro blood than a so-called "light mulatto" who would be legally "white" if he were manumitted. The latter was possible because the general Southern rule was to establish one-eighth or less Negro blood as the dividing line between "white" and "mulatto". Even this could be modified by such things as reputation, acceptance by the local "white" community, property ownership, etc. Hard as it may be for persons raised on "one drop" mythology to believe, a person classified as a "mulatto slave" would, if manumitted and one-eighth or less "black," legally become a free "white" person rather than a "free colored." As Thomas Jefferson, himself the reputed father of "white slaves," states:

    Our canon considers two crosses with the pure white, and a third with any degree of mixture, however small, as clearing the issue of the Negro blood. But observe, that this does not reestablish freedom, which depends on the condition of the mother, the principle of the civil law, partus sequitur ventrem being adopted here.


    The South is caught in a major contradiction here. She has justified slavery on the basis of the alleged inferiority of the "negro race" but also implements the partus rule, while effectively enslaves people who are not only not "black" or "negro" but even "white."



    --------------------------------------------------

    If Slavery is Justified on the Basis of "Race," Shouldn't White Slaves Be Free?

    The Importance of White Slavery in Securing Support for the Abolitionist Cause

    Many anti-slavery people argued that, if the South justified slavery on the basis of "race," then the loss of blackness justified a slave's freedom. This was a direct attack on the legal doctrine of partus sequitur ventrem. "White Slavery" was essentially a godsend for the abolitionist movement. It created an antipathy toward slavery that would not have been as widespread had all slaves been "black" or even dark-skinned. Moreover, with the uncomprehending assistance of the South herself, the movement was able to show white Northerners that they themselves were in personal danger from slavery. If the South would enslave its own "white" children, what wouldn't they do to the hated Yankees, "white" or not?
    The term "white slave" was frequently used in 19th century abolitionist and Republican literature. There was also a recognition that being "mixed race" and "white" were not mutually exclusive. The term "white mulatto" was frequently used to describe a combination of mixed racial descent and Caucasian phenotype. Anti-slavery activists encouraged novels and stories about "white slaves" in order to gain the empathy of Northern readers. The "tragic mulatto" stereotype has its origins in novels about "white slaves.". Up through 1861, no less than 17 novels utilized a "white slave" theme. One of the most popular plays was The Octoroon. Indeed, it was scheduled to be performed at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. the day after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. The first anti-slavery novel, published in 1836, was about a white slave - The Slave: or Memoirs of Archy Moore by Richard Hildreth. After the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, the novel's title was changed to The White Slave: or, Memoirs of a Fugitive. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (which Lincoln credited with helping to start the Civil War) utilized "white slave" characters. Furthermore, "Yankee" and foreign visitors who traveled to the South expecting to see black slavery were shocked and appalled whenever they saw slaves as white as any other "white." Indeed, this was usually the aspect of Southern life that left the greatest impression on them. If they talked or wrote about nothing else in Southern life, they took pains to mention the "perfectly white" slaves they saw in the slave states. Northern whites were being constantly exposed to this type of literature.



    --------------------------------------------------

    The "Slave Power" Responds: Slavery Is A Positive Good - and Not Dependent Upon Race or Color

    The defenders of slavery reacted with the usual extremism, claiming that slavery was a good thing regardless of the race of the slaves, often pointing out the allegedly superior material conditions of Southern slaves to Northern laborers. Indeed, abolitionists had only to quote Southern newspapers and political literature to make their point.

    George Fitzhugh was one of the most important intellectual defenders of slavery. His Sociology for the South, or the Failure of Free Society (1854), was quoted extensively in the election campaign of 1856 and anti-slavery literature in general:


    Make the laboring man the slave of one man, instead of the slave of society, and he would be far better off.

    We do not adopt the theory that Ham was the ancestor of the negro race. The Jewish slaves were not negroes; and to confine the jurisdiction of slavery to that race would be to weaken its scriptural authority for we read of no negro slavery in ancient times. SLAVERY BLACK OR WHITE IS NECESSARY.
    A South Carolina newspaper was widely quoted in abolitionist literature:
    The great evil of northern free society is that it is burdened with a servile class...Slavery is the natural and normal condition of the laboring man, whether WHITE or black. The great evil of Northern free society is that it is burdened with a servile class of MECHANICS and LABOURERS, unfit for self government, yet clothed with the attributes and powers of citizens. Master and slave is a relation in society as necessary as that of parent and child; and the Northern States will yet have to introduce it. Their theory of free government is a delusion.

    The Richmond Enquirer made the South's position plain:

    While is far more obvious that negroes should be slaves than whites...yet the principle of slavery is itself right and does not depend on difference of complexion.

    What could be clearer to Northerners? The South not only defended the principle that it is right to enslave people of any race or color, it proudly proclaimed its contempt for free labor, free society and the egalitarian principles of republicanism that most Northerners held sacred.




    --------------------------------------------------

    Would the Southern "Slave Power" Enslave Free Northern Whites?

    Why Northern Whites Had Reason to Fear the South
    Anti-slavery activists were quick to point out that slavery endangered poor white Northern laborers. If Northerners were made slaves to Southern political power, then the next logical step would be the actual enslavement of free white people, especially those of the laboring class who were poor and vulnerable. Republican literature of the antebellum period constantly warns against "white slavery," and the South's barely hidden wish to eventually take over the entire country and expand the slave system to include Northern white laborers.

    Many Northerners strongly believed that figurative white slavery would lead ultimately to literal white slavery for the free states. The proof of this was not only Southern political power at the federal level but the proved willingness of the Slave Power to put the sanctity of slave "property" above ties of race and kinship.

    The abolitionist press played up the issue of white persons being kidnaped, and with good reason. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 provided for no protection against false identification. There was no formal hearing, no due process of any kind. The accused "slave" had no time to summon witnesses to vouch for his or her identity. In the case of a child claimed as a slave, this helplessness was even greater. Add to this the outrageous fact that the commissioner charged with determining the identity of the accused fugitive received double his fee if he found in favor of the slave-catcher. Bribery was built into the law. In response, Northern states passed a series of "personal liberty" laws to provide due process to accused slaves and nullify the effects of the federal law. Pro-slavery forces reacted with outrage to this assertion of "states' rights."

    It is amazing to discover how much the issue of "white slaves" and "white slavery" were part of the antebellum political agenda. It is rarely mentioned today. Tenzer quotes from historian Russel B. Nye:

    If slavery was a positive good, and the superior political, economic and social system that the South claimed it to be, it seemed reasonable to expect that the next step would be an attempt to impose it upon the nation at large for the nation's own good...It was easy, said the abolitionists, to take one more step, to show that if slavery were the best system for inferior races, it was also the best for inferior classes, regardless of race.

    In 1858, Congressman Philemon Bliss of Ohio predicted the enslavement of free "white" labor if the South could not be checked:

    The more honest advocates of slavery have already repudiated the idea that it should be the sole condition of any race, and many of them would impose it upon all hand laborers. Free labor would have to compete with slave labor and could not survive.

    Editorials like this one from the 1856 Marshall Statesman (Michigan) were common:

    The doctrine of white slavery is now openly broached South of the Potomac. This is no more than could be expected, because the difference in color, especially in Virginia, is so slight that sometimes it is absolutely impossible to tell whether an individual has any African blood in his veins or not....hence rises this new doctrine ...SLAVERY BLACK OR WHITE, IS RIGHT AND NECESSARY.

    In 1856 The Anti-Slavery Bugle predicted the eventual enslavement of "white" immigrant labor:

    What security have the Germans and Irish that their children will not, within a hundred years, be reduced to slavery in this land of their adoption?...Is color any protection? No indeed.

    It is relevant here to report an incident from another book, Blood and Treasure: Confederate Empire in the Southwest by Donald S. Frazier because it perfectly exemplifies the proslavery contempt for labor, free society and "social inferiors." In 1856, Philemon T. Herbert, a Democratic Congressman from Texas, shot and killed the Irish headwaiter at Willard's Hotel in Washington, D.C. for refusing to serve him breakfast after the posted time. This incident was widely publicized during that election year as evidence of Southern or proslavery contempt for all working people - white or otherwise. In the South itself, Herbert was hailed as a hero who acted exactly as a Southern gentleman should. He avenged an "insult" to his "honor" and put an "inferior" in his place. Add to this incident the even more infamous 1856 case of antislavery champion Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts being almost clubbed to death in the Senate chamber by South Carolina Congressman Preston S. Brooks (another matter of Southern "honor") and you can see how the North came to increasingly view the Southern "Slave Power" as fanatical and contemptuous of the rights of others - even "whites."

    In 1862 The Iron Platform, a New York workingman's paper, knew what was really at stake during the Civil War.

    There is one truth which should be clearly understood by every workingman in the Union. The slavery of the black man leads to the slavery of the white man...If the doctrine of treason is true, that Capital should own labor, then their logical conclusion is correct, and all laborers, whether white or black, are and ought to be slaves.



    --------------------------------------------------

    Was the North Paranoid About White Slavery? Was the Threat to Northern Whites Real?

    The North has good reason to fear the kidnaping of "whites" into slavery. The average "white" Southerner was quite poor. Hundreds of thousands of families lived on less than $100 per year. Even skilled laborers averaged no more than $600 or $700 a year. Consider then that the average price of a slave in 1850 was $400, more money than many ordinary people would earn in a year. The 1850s saw a rapid growth in slave prices, with many slaves being worth well over $1,000 or even $2,000. How many men would not be tempted to make a little kidnaping expedition to the North? And, if you found a person who looked like the "light mulatto" slave you were chasing, would you really care whether the suspect was indeed the fugitive or even a "pure" white when you have so much money to gain?

    We must also consider the fact, that contrary to the neo-confederate view that the "War Between the States" was fought to free Southern states from the "tyranny" of the federal government, the antebellum period was characterized by Northern states asserting their rights and sovereignty against a proslavery federal tyranny. In addition to the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, the North felt the power of the South and the tyranny of proslavery forces in these ways:


    From 1836 to 1844 pro-slavery forces in the House of Representatives passed and implemented the so-called "gag rule," a nullification of the First Amendment right of free speech whereby antislavery petitions to Congress were no longer heard.

    From the 1830s until the Civil War, the Southern pro-slavery forces censored the United States mail. Postmasters were forbidden to deliver antislavery literature into the slave states.

    In 1845 Texas was annexed as a slave state.

    In 1846 the Wilmot Proviso, which would have banned slavery from the territories acquired in the Mexican-American War was defeated by proslavery forces in Congress.

    The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 negated the Missouri Compromise and made slavery possible in any of the territories. New states that came from the territories could easily become slave states, thereby increasing Southern power.

    A proslavery U.S. Supreme Court existed from the 1840s until the Civil War.
    Who could doubt that the South had the political power and will to eventually nationalize slavery and augment its slave population with the laboring classes of the free states?


    --------------------------------------------------

    The Theory of Mulatto Inferiority -- The Slave Power's Answer to the Charge of White Slavery

    The abolitionists' challenge to the "Slave Power" regarding "white slavery" had to be answered. It was answered with the theory of "mulatto" inferiority." This is not the racist belief with which most of us are familiar - the idea that mixed-race people are "superior" to the "pure black" but "inferior" to the "pure white" depending upon the degree of "white blood." No, this theory's racism was infinitely greater. It was based upon the assumption that "whites" and "blacks" are like two different species and their mixed-race offspring were sterile, degenerate, and inferior to both parental "races." What made the "mulatto" and mixed "white" far more threatening to slavery than the "black," was the higher regard in which they were held by "whites" in general. Indeed, Tenzer notes that from the late 1700s onward, many observations were made about mulattoes being very physically attractive and intelligent. Here are just two of several such quotes from The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War:

    English traveler Edward S. Abdy, 1835 recalled:

    the dread that the species will be deteriorated by "crossing the breed"; though every one knows, who is capable of comparing forms and figures, that the finest specimens of beauty and symmetry are to be found among those whose veins are filled with mixed blood.
    Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, said in 1811:

    It is possible, the strength of the intellects may be improved in their original conformation, as much as the strength of the body, by certain mixtures of persons of different nations, habits, and constitutions, in marriage. The mulatto has been remarked, in all countries, to exceed in sagacity, his white and black parent.

    Tenzer notes that historian Robert Brent Toplin researched the attitudes of whites toward mulattoes in the South during the period from 1830 to 1861. He has concluded that in addition to often being thought of as physically attractive and intelligent, they were frequently taught skills and given extraordinary responsibilities. Note that while it was considered a great insult to call a "white" person a "mulatto" (Many "whites" sued in court and won large judgements against people who called them "mulatto" or challenged their legal standing as "whites"), there was still a common belief that the mulatto was very much like the "white," - especially if he or she "looked white."

    Many influential people such as Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky, proslavery writer William Gilmore Simms and Congressman James M. Ashley of Ohio believed that the "black race" was destined, through amalgamation, to eventually disappear into the "white race."

    NOTE: Henry Clay was an ancestor to Cassius Clay....Muhammed Ali. --- IndependentMan

    The proslavery intellectuals had to counteract these positive attitudes. Tenzer describes their dilemma very well: In order to keep the institution of slavery intact and not allow any part of it to be compromised, the South had to find a way to defend the enslavement of all mulattoes, regardless of the degree of admixture. This was done with theories which attacked the idea that mulattoes were approaching conformity with whites.

    The father of the theory of "mulatto inferiority" was Dr. Josiah Clark Nott of Mobile, Alabama. His theory was first published in 1843 in an article for the American Journal of the Medical Sciences entitled "The Mulatto a Hybrid - probable extermination of the two races if the Whites and Blacks are allowed to intermarry." A reprint appeared shortly after in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. He introduced the theory of "mulatto sterility" into the "scientific" community, and his theory has been quoted by "anti-miscegenation" judges and lawmakers until the end of the Jim Crow era.

    One may ask how anyone could believe such a preposterous "scientific theory," since anybody who lived near mulattoes could see that they reproduced just as well as "whites" or "blacks." Tenzer explains:

    Of course mulattoes produced children like everyone else, so the sterility theory incorporated the idea that fertility deteriorated through subsequent generations with sterility being the inevitable end. Nott conceived of mulattoes as having weak and frail constitutions, high mortality, and infertility. The more white admixture mulattoes had, the greater their physical problems. According to Nott's theories, light mulattoes could never approach being white because blacks and whites were two different species...

    In other words, Nott claimed that this alleged degeneration and infertility only occurred with white intermixture. He had no objection to these "hybrids" mating with blacks, nor did he concern himself with any of this alleged infertility in mulatto/black matings. Nott's purpose was to defend slavery by denying the abolitionists' contention that white people were being enslaved:

    It has been asserted by writers, that when the grade of Quinteroon [one-sixteenth black - a cross between a white and an octoroon] is arrived at, all trace of black blood is lost, and that they cannot be distinguished from the whites. Now if this be true, most of the Mulattoes must cease to breed before they arrive at this point of mixture; for though I have passed most of my life in places where the two races have been mingling for many generations, I have rarely if ever met an individual tainted with black blood, in whom I could not detect it without difficulty. These higher grades should be extremely common if the chain were not broken by death and sterility. How else can the fact be accounted for?

    The obvious answer is that the offspring of the "higher grades" were socially and legally integrated into the "white race." Remember that while Nott is writing this idiotic "theory," the laws of most Southern states allowed people with more "black blood" than a "quinteroon" to become legal "whites." This was, of course, a silent process not boasted of in Southern writing. But, since there was still a stigma attached to publicly acknowledging "black" ancestry, these "whites" would not identify themselves as being of mixed ancestry or protest this new stigma. Thus, Nott and his ideological confederates were free to publicize their lies without the "proof" of their nonsense being presented to the public.

    Tenzer also relates how the 1840 U.S. Census was used as "proof" of mulatto "inferiority" by the creation of bogus "insanity" rates in the predominately mulatto "free colored" population compared to the slave population. The "sterility theory" was "supported" by pointing out the supposedly higher fertility of slaves compared to free mulattoes, totally ignoring factors such as the illegal slave trade from Cuba and Africa, the kidnaping of free people into slavery, and the deliberate breeding of slaves. These factors bore the primary responsibility, in that order, of augmenting slaves numbers beyond a natural rate of increase. We might also add that free people often have schooling, work or travel ambitions that cause them to postpone starting families. Slaves would generally have no reason to postpone reproduction and would be actively discouraged from doing so by their owners.

    Tenzer reminds us that, ridiculous as Nott's ideas were, they were perpetuated by men who were educated and sophisticated in promoting racist doctrines. When a theory of "mulatto inferiority" appears in the "best" of the "scientific" journals, who is an "uneducated" lay person to question it? "Science" was effectively used in the service of politics and the defense of slavery. Tenzer effectively summarizes the hypocrisy here:

    According to Southern laws, those who were free and less one-fourth or one-eighth black were legally defined as white people; those who were slaves and had any admixture of white and black blood whatsoever were physiologically considered frail and sterile hybrids...who were subject to insanity if freed from slavery.

    The refusal to admit that "Negro blood" was and is entering the "white race" is still a tacit understanding among both Southern and Northern elites. It is a small wonder that the "white slavery" issue is rarely addressed in modern history classes and academic literature.



    --------------------------------------------------
    Conclusion
    The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War inspires us to ask questions that most American historians are afraid to ask:


    Would the Civil War have occurred if the existence of "white slaves" had not brought home to Northern citizens the great danger that slavery posed to a free society?

    Why are racial mixture and mixed-race people relegated to the margins of American history when knowledge of their origins and legal status are essential to understanding the tensions between North and South that led to the Civil War?

    Why is the anti-slavery movement presented to modern students as merely an altruistic concern for "blacks," with no mention made of the threat to all poor and working class "whites" and "free society" in general?

    If slaves could be "white," and legal "whites" could be partially "black," are they not part of "white" or European American history and populations and not just some "exotic" variety of "African Americans"?
    It is no accident that The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War has not received the attention it deserves. The lack of respect for "mixed race" history within American history reflects the lack of respect for, and recognition of, mixed-race people in general. The Civil War is one of the most popular subjects in American society. It is time for us to remind Americans of its "forgotten" cause.
    It seems as if one of my post on TBWT brought a lot of individuals to this board. Well that's good, glad to have you all here.

    Independent man aka myownman be honest with all the posters here first and foremost before posting things as you have posted here. This issue of who is black as I stated earlier only matters to people who do not want to be classified as Black and have all those things that are part of being Black associated with who they are. These are your words "I have more European heritage than I have African, though I was raised to think that this was impossible."

    Let it be known that you do not consider yourself Black and this is your interest in this topic. As far as me posting on this topic, read my words again. I said arguing over who is Black is asinine. I have not nor will I debate who is black and who is not Black. I know who I am, it is men, and women like you that seem to be confused as to who you are.

    -------------------------
    By all standards, some creatures are just plain strange, making us do double takes because their compositions or habits or appearances defy our sense of logic and our way of viewing reality. Take the wildebeest, the warthog, the hyena, the brown pelican, the Shar-Pei. These animals, seemingly wrought by committee, make us laugh or shake our heads. Another such creature, of the human kind -- and perhaps the strangest of all -- is the black Republican. "

    Bill Maxwell

    More to come later!

    Your Brother Faheem
    I'll admit that I have not read every word in this thread. Nevertheless, I wanted to dive in and offer some perspective on your questions below.

    quote:
    Originally posted by IndependentMan:

    Conclusion
    _The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War inspires us to ask questions that most American historians are afraid to ask:_


    _Would the Civil War have occurred if the existence of "white slaves" had not brought home to Northern citizens the great danger that slavery posed to a free society?


    What does this mean? Many of our Founding Fathers understsood the great hypocrisy in their efforts to create a free nation, and yet still permit the existence of an institution built on the principle of human bondage. As you will recall Ben Franklin was an abolititionist. Others were against slavery, but were overwhelmed by the question of what to do with the slaves after emancipation. At that time in history there was no bi-racial country on the face of the earth. This fact was not lost on those that comtemplated this issue and whose first priority was the creation of a new country in America.

    On the other hand, an inherant belief in the superiority of whites was rather commonplace.


    The two races cannot live together on equal terms because of "deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites - ten thousand recollections by the blacks of the injuries they have sustained - new provocations - the real distinctions that nature has made, and many other circumstances which divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which would never end but with the extermination of one or the other race."


    WOW! Doesn't that sound like the most hardened white supremecist? Nope. None other than dear old Thomas Jefferson!

    In any event, because of the volatility of the issue, the Founding Fathers chose to defer debate about it in effort to get back to it when the nation had been built and was (theoretically) strong enough to endure it. (Obviously it wasn't!!)


    quote:
    Why are racial mixture and mixed-race people relegated to the margins of American history when knowledge of their origins and legal status are essential to understanding the tensions between North and South that led to the Civil War?


    Since most blacks are technically of mixed race, I'm not sure I understand your premise here. There is a reason why African America is a rainbow of colors.

    quote:
    Why is the anti-slavery movement presented to modern students as merely an altruistic concern for "blacks," with no mention made of the threat to all poor and working class "whites" and "free society" in general?


    Any such presentation is both inconsistent with the facts and disingenuous. As noted by Jefferson's quote above, there was no "love lost" for Africans in America. There was deep concern and doubt about what exactly would occur after emancipation. Among most, though, there was a commitment to the principles of the American Revolution. The following, quoted from Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis (p.88-89), demonstrates both the schizophrenia of many around this issue, but also the broad sentiment among many:


    Jefferson's initial draft of the Declaration of Independence had included language that described the slave trade as the perverse plot of an evil English monarch designed to contaminate innocent colonists. Though the passage was deleted by the Constitutional Congress in the final draft, it nevertheless captured the nearly rhapsodic sense that the American Revolution was both a triumphant and transformative moment in world history, when all laws and human relationships dependent on coercion would be swept away forever. And however utopian and excessive the natural rights section of the Declaration ("We hold these truths to be self evident") might appear later on, in the crucible of the revolutionary moment it gave lyrical expression to a widespread belief that a general emancipation of slaves was both imminent and inevitable, the natural consequence and fitting capstone of a glorious liberation from medieval mores historically associated with the very British government that Americans were rejecting. If the Bible was a somewhat contradictory source when it came to the question of slavery, the Declaration of Independence, the secular version of American scripture, was an unambiguous tract for abolition.


    quote:
    If slaves could be "white," and legal "whites" could be partially "black," are they not part of "white" or European American history and populations and not just some "exotic" variety of "African Americans"?


    Are you trying to make the argument that blacks aren't really black , they're white? I'm not sure where you're going with this and, more importantly, why.

    quote:
    The lack of respect for "mixed race" history within American history reflects the lack of respect for, and recognition of, mixed-race people in general.


    I respectfully suggest that America's discomfort with "mixed race history" flows from America's general discomfort with the issue of race. Period. Since the "mixing" of races has always been a sensitive/sore issue from the times that slave owners raped their black women slaves (and produced children that obviously had the genes of their slaveowner) to now when we still live in a largely racist and segregated society, the issue of black and white relations is still not yet "solved" here.


    Onward and Upward!
    quote:
    Originally posted by Vox:

    Sorry for writing a damn book, but perspectives that are alternative to long- and deeply ingrained concepts sometimes needs a detailed explanation to be understood.


    quote:
    Originally posted by kuuan:
    your 'book' has the power to heal.


    Thanks Kuuan, and welcome to the forum. Personally, I think my view totally resolves the issue and completely ends the debate. But I think a lot of people deep down would rather hold onto their views because they're somewhat heavily invested in those views.
    quote:
    Originally posted by john doe:
    Well then, it is I, john doe, the doester from the other forum. Good to see you again! How have you been? You'll also bump into BBankins, Whoopie, and Vox! Even Sugar occassionally graces us with his presence. (Well, no site is perfect!)


    JD!! What's up?? I've been doing quite well!! And yourself?? I noticed some of your posts in another topic!! I know you're not yelling, it's just your style!!! I knew I would "run" into you again!!!

    Actually, Landrith's opinions represent my own. I will always continue to slam hard at the One Drop Rule with either my own opinions or those of someone else of whom I am in agreement with.

    Anyways, good to see you old buddy!! As well as it's good to see my buddy Bankins!!


    This is not just a question for you, but for anyone reading:

    Plessy vs. Ferguson (US Supreme Court 1896): Does anybody know what this case was really all about?????

    wink
    Common wisdom would say that this case established the "separate but equal" clause. Quoting Justice Brown:


    "That (the Separate Car Act) does not conflict with the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery...is too clear for argument...A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races -- a distinction which is founded in the color of the two races, and which must always exist so long as white men are distinguished from the other race by color -- has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races...The object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either."


    Why do I sense that you see it differently? smile


    Onward and Upward!
    quote:
    Originally posted by IndependentMan:

    Conclusion
    _The Forgotten Cause of the Civil War inspires us to ask questions that most American historians are afraid to ask:_


    _Would the Civil War have occurred if the existence of "white slaves" had not brought home to Northern citizens the great danger that slavery posed to a free society?


    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:What does this mean? Many of our Founding Fathers understsood the great hypocrisy in their efforts to create a free nation, and yet still permit the existence of an institution built on the principle of human bondage. As you will recall Ben Franklin was an abolititionist. Others were against slavery, but were overwhelmed by the question of what to do with the slaves after emancipation. At that time in history there was no bi-racial country on the face of the earth. This fact was not lost on those that comtemplated this issue and whose first priority was the creation of a new country in America.


    It's very simple what this means. If the slaves had been portrayed as being rather dark skinned with an African phenotype, white Notherners would have less sympathy for the anti-slavery cause. Since they saw that people with light skin and a Caucasian phenotype were slaves, they realized if that was the case, what was to stop the South had they gained the power, to enslave Northern whites. It makes perfect sense. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that at one point in history, there was not a bi-racial country on earth. That is completely false. That idea goes along with the premise of the white supremacist view that "God put each of the races on their own continent so as they do not mix". I'm not saying that was your intention. I mean when you look at it, the people in the Roman empire were mixed....people did not have the racial perceptions that we have today. The racial perceptions that we use today did not even start to come into place until the late 1600's.

    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:On the other hand, an inherant belief in the superiority of whites was rather commonplace.


    Yes I agree. That's the reason for the hypodescent...the One Drop Rule. The notion of white racial superiority and that this "purity" can be tainted with "one drop" of another, particularly African blood.

    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:

    The two races cannot live together on equal terms because of "deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites - ten thousand recollections by the blacks of the injuries they have sustained - new provocations - the real distinctions that nature has made, and many other circumstances which divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which would never end but with the extermination of one or the other race."


    WOW! Doesn't that sound like the most hardened white supremecist? Nope. None other than dear old Thomas Jefferson!



    Again, agreed. But let's not forget what a hypocrite Jefferson was in that he fathered children with Sally Hemmings who incidently was his deceased wifes half sister!!!!


    quote:
    Why are racial mixture and mixed-race people relegated to the margins of American history when knowledge of their origins and legal status are essential to understanding the tensions between North and South that led to the Civil War?


    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:Since most blacks are technically of mixed race, I'm not sure I understand your premise here. There is a reason why African America is a rainbow of colors.


    So if most blacks are mixed, how can they be considered "African". Does that make sense. Not to me it doesn't. So how can a quadroon be considered "African" when 3/4 of their ancestry is from Europe??? This clearly supports the white supremacist view of white racial purity. The reason why "blacks" are a rainbow of colours??? Because a lot of those people are not really "black", but are CONSIDERED black. Big difference. Many so called blacks in the US would not be blacks in many other countries including African countries. I guess that's where I'm trying to go with this. Using your definition, then why would not many "Hispanics" and Middle Easterners be "black"??? Try telling an Arab he's black!!!!

    quote:
    Why is the anti-slavery movement presented to modern students as merely an altruistic concern for "blacks," with no mention made of the threat to all poor and working class "whites" and "free society" in general?


    Any such presentation is both inconsistent with the facts and disingenuous. As noted by Jefferson's quote above, there was no "love lost" for Africans in America. There was deep concern and doubt about what exactly would occur after emancipation. Among most, though, there was a commitment to the principles of the American Revolution. The following, quoted from Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis (p.88-89), demonstrates both the schizophrenia of many around this issue, but also the broad sentiment among many:

    quote:
    If slaves could be "white," and legal "whites" could be partially "black," are they not part of "white" or European American history and populations and not just some "exotic" variety of "African Americans"?


    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:Are you trying to make the argument that blacks aren't really black , they're white? I'm not sure where you're going with this and, more importantly, why.


    The argument I'm making is that a lot of people considered black are not black in a biological context in either skin colour and/or facial phenotype. I'm not saying white, I am saying BOTH. I'm not sure if you got the jist of what this article was about.....it was about the hypodescent, the One Drop Rule - the definition of what CONSIDERED YOU BLACK, how it was used to keep people who were by all practical purposes, white, in the bondages of slavery. WHen the people in the North, particularly abolitionists saw this, they reacted out of personal interest in that if the slave states received any power, they could turn it against them. If "whites" in the SOuth were already slaves, then it would be very easy to modify the standards and make slaves out of Northern whites. The protocol was aready set. So contrary to the accepted belief that Northern abolitionists reacted against slavery as a humanitarian concern, this article suggests it was out of a self interest concern which goes more along with the nature of Human Beings. You ask why, that's easy because it's the truth. If it's not, state where I am mis-representing the facts and/or flat out lying. My feelings will not be hurt.

    quote:
    The lack of respect for "mixed race" history within American history reflects the lack of respect for, and recognition of, mixed-race people in general.


    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:I respectfully suggest that America's discomfort with "mixed race history" flows from America's general discomfort with the issue of race. Period. Since the "mixing" of races has always been a sensitive/sore issue from the times that slave owners raped their black women slaves (and produced children that obviously had the genes of their slaveowner) to now when we still live in a largely racist and segregated society, the issue of black and white relations is still not yet "solved" here.


    Agreed again. However, over the years I have noticed that this issue is more of a sore issue with "blacks" than it is with "whites"....my experiences. But that said, many blacks that I know personally (including some family members), agree with me 100%, though they reject the mixed race designation. Whites I know personally for the most part, support the mixed race designation (can you believe that??). I suppose you can say both are in for selfish reasons, blacks do not want to lose numbers, whites want to decrease the number of blacks. I think there is some truth to this. But to me, an African is someone who is 100% or close to that, African ancestry. That's my opinion. Even Ebony Magazine published that by 2050, people who are mixed with African or something else, will not be calling themselves "black" or "African American". I think this scares the left wing black groups, this is their power base. Again, my opinion.

    wink


    Onward and Upward![/QUOTE]
    quote:
    Originally posted by MBM:
    Common wisdom would say that this case established the "separate but equal" clause. Quoting Justice Brown:


    "That (the Separate Car Act) does not conflict with the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery...is too clear for argument...A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races -- a distinction which is founded in the color of the two races, and which must always exist so long as white men are distinguished from the other race by color -- has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races...The object of the Fourteenth Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either."


    Why do I sense that you see it differently? smile


    Onward and Upward!


    LOL! Because you are siting what the establishment has taught you!!!

    I will post the FULL opinion of the case. But MBM, before I do, do you know why this case came into being, the specifics starting in 1892???

    wink
    I have been reprimanded, trounced upon and challenged for expressing my thoughts concerning the benefits of the ODR for Black's and also for using the term "Uncle Tom"...

    First... the ODR...

    The ODR, like IndependentMan has shown, was established by White folks in order to help create more slaves... In those early times Black's hated the ODR because it classified them as "Negro's" and therefore they were subjected to "lower class" status... Not withstanding the infamous Jim Crow laws...

    But... Times have changed...

    While opportunities for Black's do exist today, many Blacks now use the ODR to their advantage... If a Black entrepreneur can show that he is "Black" then he can call upon Set Asides and Minority Preference to aid in his receipt of a valuable contract... If an applicant with a drop of "Black" blood is vying for a particular position within some corporation, all they need do is follow the Affirmative Action route... Using "Quotas" and AA will aid them to succeed in their quest whether they are qualified or not...

    Today... Many, if not most, Black folks do NOT have a problem with the ODR...

    The above thoughts were told to me by BLACK folks that I know... As one Black guy once told me: "Why shouldn't Black people take advantage of the rules that Whites originally set-up in order to take advantage of us!!!"

    The sad part... is that by "using" the ODR there is the possibility of stigmatizing the truly deserving Black employee that really has earned the position!!!... Plus, they must deflect the "victim status" that is sure to follow...

    Second... Uncle Tom's...

    As for using the term "Uncle Tom"... It is BLACK folks that call, and accuse, each other of being "Uncle Tom's"... Not Whitey!!!... Black folks also use the terms "slave mentality" and/or "still living on the plantation" in conjunction with Uncle Tom...

    .

    PS: Leave it to IndependentMan to start such a controversial thread!!!... He knows that I will end up in trouble and getting "yelled" at for my opinions... hehehe...

    Keep'em thinking and questioning their beliefs IndependentMan!!!...

    .

    ------------------------------
    The Liberal/Progressive mantra: "We are the champions of diversity and opinions... We tolerate all beliefs, all religions, and all customs.......... Unless they disagree with ours!"
    MBM, I will have a busy day tomorrow, so here it is.

    Homer Plessy was an octoroon (7/8 white, 1/8 black) who had purchased a first class rail road ticket. He was sitting in the white railroad car. He was then arrested for being a "colored" man sitting in the white section. The reason why he sued was NOT because he felt that this was racial discrimination against "black" people. The reason why he sued was that he felt that since his skin colour and fcial appearence was white, then he should be entitled to sit in the white section of the railroad car. What this case did was really validate the One Drop Rule of racially classifying someone like Plessy to be black and henceforth obligated to follow the laws perscribed for blacks during Jim Crow. Here is the case from the Supreme Court:

    PLESSY v. FERGUSON, 163 U.S. 537 (1896)

    163 U.S. 537

    May 18, 1896. [163 U.S. 537, 538] This was a petition for writs of prohibition and certiorari originally filed in the supreme court of the state by Plessy, the plaintiff in error, against the Hon. John H. Ferguson, judge of the criminal district court for the parish of Orleans, and setting forth, in substance, the following facts:

    That petitioner was a citizen of the United States and a resident of the state of Louisiana, of mixed descent, in the proportion of seven-e ghths Caucasian and one-eighth African blood; that the mixture of colored blood was not discernible in him, and that he was entitled to every recognition, right, privilege, and immunity secured to the citizens of the United States of the white race by its constitution and laws; that on June 7, 1892, he engaged and paid for a first-class passage on the East Louisiana Railway, from New Orleans to Covington, in the same state, and thereupon entered a passenger train, and took possession of a vacant seat in a coach where passengers of the white race were accommodated; that such railroad company was incorporated by the laws of Louisiana as a common carrier, and was not authorized to distinguish between citizens according to their race, but, notwithstanding this, petitioner was required by the conductor, under penalty of ejection from said train and imprisonment, to vacate said coach, and occupy another seat, in a coach assigned by said company for persons not of the white race, and for no other reason than that petitioner was of the colored race; that, upon petitioner's refusal to comply with such order, he was, with the aid of a police officer, forcibly ejected from said coach, and hurried off to, and imprisoned in, the parish jail of [163 U.S. 537, 539] New Orleans, and there held to answer a charge made by such officer to the effect that he was guilty of having criminally violated an act of the general assembly of the state, approved July 10, 1890, in such case made and provided.

    The petitioner was subsequently brought before the recorder of the city for preliminary examination, and committed for trial to the criminal district court for the parish of Orleans, where an information was filed against him in the matter above set forth, for a violation of the above act, which act the petitioner affirmed to be null and void, because in conflict with the constitution of the United States; that petitioner interposed a plea to such information, based upon the unconstitutionality of the act of the general assembly, to which the district attorney, on behalf of the state, filed a demurrer; that, upon issue being joined upon such demurrer and plea, the court sustained the demurrer, overruled the plea, and ordered petitioner to plead over to the facts set forth in the information, and that, unless the judge of the said court be enjoined by a writ of prohibition from further proceeding in such case, the court will proceed to fine and sentence petitioner to imprisonment, and thus deprive him of his constitutional rights set forth in his said plea, notwithstanding the unconstitutionality of the act under which he was being prosecuted; that no appeal lay from such sentence, and petitioner was without relief or remedy except by writs of prohibition and certiorari. Copies of the information and other proceedings in the criminal district court were annexed to the petition as an exhibit.

    Upon the filing of this petition, an order was issued upon the respondent to show cause why a writ of prohibition should not issue, and be made perpetual, and a further order that the record of the proceedings had in the criminal cause be certified and transmitted to the supreme court.

    To this order the respondent made answer, transmitting a certified copy of the proceedings, asserting the constitutionality of the law, and averring that, instead of pleading or admitting that he belonged to the colored race, the said Plessy declined and refused, either by pleading or otherwise, to ad- [163 U.S. 537, 540] mit that he was in any sense or in any proportion a colored man.

    The case coming on for hearing before the supreme court, that court was of opinion that the law under which the prosecution was had was constitutional and denied the relief prayed for by the petitioner (Ex parte Plessy, 45 La. Ann. 80, 11 South. 948); whereupon petitioner prayed for a writ of error from this court, which was allowed by the chief justice of the supreme court of Louisiana.

    Mr. Justice Harlan dissenting.

    A. W. Tourgee and S. F. Phillips, for plaintiff in error.

    Alex. Porter Morse, for defendant in error.

    Mr. Justice BROWN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.

    This case turns upon the constitutionality of an act of the general assembly of the state of Louisiana, passed in 1890, providing for separate railway carriages for the white and colored races. Acts 1890, No. 111, p. 152.

    The first section of the statute enacts 'that all railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in this state, shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white, and colored races, by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure separate accommodations: provided, that this section shall not be construed to apply to street railroads. No person or persons shall be permitted to occupy seats in coaches, other than the ones assigned to them, on account of the race they belong to.'

    By the second section it was enacted 'that the officers of such passenger trains shall have power and are hereby required [163 U.S. 537, 541] to assign each passenger to the coach or compartment used for the race to which such passenger belongs; any passenger insisting on going into a coach or compartment to which by race he does not belong, shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars, or in lieu thereof to imprisonment for a period of not more than twenty days in the parish prison, and any officer of any railroad insisting on assigning a passenger to a coach or compartment other than the one set aside for the race to which said passenger belongs, shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars, or in lieu thereof to imprisonment for a period of not more than twenty days in the parish prison; and should any passenger refuse to occupy the coach or compartment to which he or she is assigned by the officer of such railway, said officer shall have power to refuse to carry such passenger on his train, and for such refusal neither he nor the railway company which he represents shall be liable for damages in any of the courts of this state.'

    The third section provides penalties for the refusal or neglect of the officers, directors, conductors, and employees of railway companies to comply with the act, with a proviso that 'nothing in this act shall be construed as applying to nurses attending children of the other race.' The fourth section is immaterial.

    The information filed in the criminal district court charged, in substance, that Plessy, being a passenger between two stations within the state of Louisiana, was assigned by officers of the company to the coach used for the race to which he belonged, but he insisted upon going into a coach used by the race to which he did not belong. Neither in the information nor plea was his particular race or color averred.

    The petition for the writ of prohibition averred that petitioner was seven-eights Caucasian and one-eighth African blood; that the mixture of colored blood was not discernible in him; and that he was entitled to every right, privilege, and immunity secured to citizens of the United States of the white race; and that, upon such theory, he took possession of a vacant seat in a coach where passengers of the white race were accommodated, and was ordered by the conductor to vacate [163 U.S. 537, 542] said coach, and take a seat in another, assigned to persons of the colored race, and, having refused to comply with such demand, he was forcibly ejected, with the aid of a police officer, and imprisoned in the parish jail to answer a charge of having violated the above act.

    The constitutionality of this act is attacked upon the ground that it conflicts both with the thirteenth amendment of the constitution, abolishing slavery, and the fourteenth amendment, which prohibits certain restrictive legislation on the part of the states.

    1. That it does not conflict with the thirteenth amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except a punishment for crime, is too clear for argument. Slavery implies involuntary servitude,-a state of bondage; the ownership of mankind as a chattel, or, at least, the control of the labor and services of one man for the benefit of another, and the absence of a legal right to the disposal of his own person, property, and services. This amendment was said in the Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, to have been intended primarily to abolish slavery, as it had been previously known in this country, and that it equally forbade Mexican peonage or the Chinese coolie trade, when they amounted to slavery or involuntary servitude, and that the use of the word 'servitude' was intended to prohibit the use of all forms of involuntary slavery, of whatever class or name. It was intimated, however, in that case, that this amendment was regarded by the statesmen of that day as insufficient to protect the colored race from certain laws which had been enacted in the Southern states, imposing upon the colored race onerous disabilities and burdens, and curtailing their rights in the pursuit of life, liberty, and property to such an extent that their freedom was of little value; and that the fourteenth amendment was devised to meet this exigency.

    So, too, in the Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3, 3 Sup. Ct. 18, it was said that the act of a mere individual, the owner of an inn, a public conveyance or place of amusement, refusing accommodations to colored people, cannot be justly regarded as imposing any badge of slavery or servitude upon the applicant, but [163 U.S. 537, 543] only as involving an ordinary civil injury, properly cognizable by the laws of the state, and presumably subject to redress by those laws until the contrary appears. 'It would be running the slavery question into the ground,' said Mr. Justice Bradley, 'to make it apply to every act of discrimination which a person may see fit to make as to the guests he will entertain, or as to the people he will take into his coach or cab or car, or admit to his concert or theater, or deal with in other matters of intercourse or business.'

    A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races-a distinction which is founded in the color of the two races, and which must always exist so long as white men are distinguished from the other race by color-has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races, or re-establish a state of involuntary servitude. Indeed, we do not understand that the thirteenth amendment is strenuously relied upon by the plaintiff in error in this connection.

    2. By the fourteenth amendment, all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are made citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside; and the states are forbidden from making or enforcing any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, or shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or deny to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    The proper construction of this amendment was first called to the attention of this court in the Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 36, which involved, however, not a question of race, but one of exclusive privileges. The case did not call for any expression of opinion as to the exact rights it was intended to secure to the colored race, but it was said generally that its main purpose was to establish the citizenship of the negro, to give definitions of citizenship of the United States and of the states, and to protect from the hostile legislation of the states the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, as distinguished from those of citizens of the states. [163 U.S. 537, 544] The object of the amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but, in the nature of things, it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguish d from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either. Laws permitting, and even requiring, their separation, in places where they are liable to be brought into contact, do not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race to the other, and have been generally, if not universally, recognized as within the competency of the state legislatures in the exercise of their police power. The most common instance of this is connected with the establishment of separate schools for white and colored children, which have been held to be a valid exercise of the legislative power even by courts of states where the political rights of the colored race have been longest and most earnestly enforced.

    One of the earliest of these cases is that of Roberts v. City of Boston, 5 Cush. 198, in which the supreme judicial court of Massachusetts held that the general school committee of Boston had power to make provision for the instruction of colored children in separate schools established exclusively for them, and to prohibit their attendance upon the other schools. 'The great principle,' said Chief Justice Shaw, 'advanced by the learned and eloquent advocate for the plaintiff [Mr. Charles Sumner], is that, by the constitution and laws of Massachusetts, all persons, without distinction of age or sex, birth or color, origin or condition, are equal before the law. ... But, when this great principle comes to be applied to the actual and various conditions of persons in society, it will not warrant the assertion that men and women are legally clothed with the same civil and political powers, and that children and adults are legally to have the same functions and be subject to the same treatment; but only that the rights of all, as they are settled and regulated by law, are equally entitled to the paternal consideration and protection of the law for their maintenance and security.' It was held that the powers of the committee extended to the establish- [163 U.S. 537, 545] ment of separate schools for children of different ages, sexes and colors, and that they might also establish special schools for poor and neglected children, who have become too old to attend the primary school, and yet have not acquired the rudiments of learning, to enable them to enter the ordinary schools. Similar laws have been enacted by congress under its general power of legislation over the District of Columbia (sections 281- 283, 310, 319, Rev. St. D. C.), as well as by the legislatures of many of the states, and have been generally, if not uniformly, sustained by the courts. State v. McCann, 21 Ohio St. 210; Lehew v. Brummell (Mo. Sup.) 15 S. W. 765; Ward v. Flood, 48 Cal. 36; Bertonneau v. Directors of City Schools, 3 Woods, 177, Fed. Cas. No. 1,361; People v. Gallagher, 93 N. Y. 438; Cory v. Carter, 48 Ind. 337; Dawson v. Lee, 83 Ky. 49.

    Laws forbidding the intermarriage of the two races may be said in a technical sense to interfere with the freedom of contract, and yet have been universally recognized as within the police power of the state. State v. Gibson, 36 Ind. 389.

    The distinction between laws interfering with the political equality of the negro and those requiring the separation of the two races in schools, theaters, and railway carriages has been frequently drawn by this court. Thus, in Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, it was held that a law of West Virginia limiting to white male persons 21 years of age, and citizens of the state, the right to sit upon juries, was a discrimination which implied a legal inferiority in civil society, which lessened the security of the right of the colored race, and was a step towards reducing them to a condition of servility. Indeed, the right of a colored man that, in the selection of jurors to pass upon his life, liberty, and property, there shall be no exclusion of his race, and no discrimination against them because of color, has been asserted in a number of cases. Virginia v. Rivers, 100 U.S. 313; Neal v. Delaware, 103 U.S. 370; ush v. Com., 107 U.S. 110, 1 Sup. Ct. 625; Gibson v. Mississippi, 162 U.S. 565, 16 Sup. Ct. 904. So, where the laws of a particular locality or the charter of a particular railway corporation has provided that no person shall be excluded from the cars on account of [163 U.S. 537, 546] color, we have held that this meant that persons of color should travel in the same car as white ones, and that the enactment was not satisfied by the company providing cars assigned exclusively to people of color, though they were as good as those which they assigned exclusively to white persons. Railroad Co. v. Brown, 17 Wall. 445.

    Upon the other hand, where a statute of Louisiana required those engaged in the transportation of passengers among the states to give to all persons traveling within that state, upon vessels employed in that business, equal rights and privileges in all parts of the vessel, without distinction on account of race or color, and subjected to an action for damages the owner of such a vessel who excluded colored passengers on account of their color from the cabin set aside by him for the use of whites, it was held to be, so far as it applied to interstate commerce, unconstitutional and void. Hall v. De Cuir, 95 U.S. 485. The court in this case, however, expressly disclaimed that it had anything whatever to do with the statute as a regulation of internal commerce, or affecting anything else than commerce among the states.

    In the Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3, 3 Sup. Ct. 18, it was held that an act of congress entitling all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public conveyances, on land or water, theaters, and other places of public amusement, and made applicable to citizens of every race and color, regardless of any previous condition of servitude, was unconstitutional and void, upon the ground that the fourteenth amendment was prohibitory upon the states only, and the legislation authorized to be adopted by congress for enforcing it was not direct legislation on matters respecting which the states were prohibited from making or enforcing certain laws, or doing certain acts, but was corrective legislation, such as might be necessary or proper for counter-acting and redressing the effect of such laws or acts. In delivering the opinion of the court, Mr. Justice Bradley observed that the fourteenth amendment 'does not invest congress with power to legislate upon subjects that are within the [163 U.S. 537, 547] domain of state legislation, but to provide modes of relief against state legislation or state action of the kind referred to. It does not authorize congress to create a code of municipal law for the regulation of private rights, but to provide modes of redress against the operation of state laws, and the action of state officers, executive or judicial, when these are subversive of the fundamental rights specified in the amendment. Positive rights and privileges are undoubtedly secured by the fourteenth amendment; but they are secured by way of prohibition against state laws and state proceedings affecting those rights and privileges, and by power given to congress to legislate for the purpose of carrying such prohibition into effect; and such legislation must necessarily be predicated upon such supposed state laws or state proceedings, and be directed to the correction of their operation and effect.'

    Much nearer, and, indeed, almost directly in point, is the case of the Louisville, N. O. & T. Ry. Co. v. State, 133 U.S. 587, 10 Sup. Ct. 348, wherein the railway company was indicted for a violation of a statute of Mississippi, enacting that all railroads carrying passengers should provide equal, but separate, accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger cars for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger cars by a partition, so as to secure separate accommodations. The case was presented in a different aspe t from the one under consideration, inasmuch as it was an indictment against the railway company for failing to provide the separate accommodations, but the question considered was the constitutionality of the law. In that case, the supreme court of Mississippi (66 Miss. 662, 6 South. 203) had held that the statute applied solely to commerce within the state, and, that being the construction of the state statute by its highest court, was accepted as conclusive. 'If it be a matter,' said the court (page 591, 133 U. S., and page 348, 10 Sup. Ct.), 'respecting commerce wholly within a state, and not interfering with commerce between the states, then, obviously, there is no violation of the commerce clause of the federal constitution. ... No question arises under this section as to the power of the state to separate in different compartments interstate pas- [163 U.S. 537, 548] sengers, or affect, in any manner, the privileges and rights of such passengers. All that we can consider is whether the state has the power to require that railroad trains within her limits shall have separate accommodations for the two races. That affecting only commerce within the state is no invasion of the power given to congress by the commerce clause.'

    A like course of reasoning applies to the case under consideration, since the supreme court of Louisiana, in the case of State v. Judge, 44 La. Ann. 770, 11 South. 74, held that the statute in question did not apply to interstate passengers, but was confined in its application to passengers traveling exclusively within the borders of the state. The case was decided largely upon the authority of Louisville, N. O. & T. Ry. Co. v. State, 66 Miss. 662, 6 South, 203, and affirmed by this court in 133 U.S. 587, 10 Sup. Ct. 348. In the present case no question of interference with interstate commerce can possibly arise, since the East Louisiana Railway appears to have been purely a local line, with both its termini within the state of Louisiana. Similar statutes for the separation of the two races upon public conveyances were held to be constitutional in Railroad v. Miles, 55 Pa. St. 209; Day v. Owen 5 Mich. 520; Railway Co. v. Williams, 55 Ill. 185; Railroad Co. v. Wells, 85 Tenn. 613; 4 S. W. 5; Railroad Co. v. Benson, 85 Tenn. 627, 4 S. W. 5; The Sue, 22 Fed. 843; Logwood v. Railroad Co., 23 Fed. 318; McGuinn v. Forbes, 37 Fed. 639; People v. King ( N. Y. App.) 18 N. E. 245; Houck v. Railway Co., 38 Fed. 226; Heard v. Railroad Co., 3 Inter St. Commerce Com. R. 111, 1 Inter St. Commerce Com. R. 428.

    While we think the enforced separation of the races, as applied to the internal commerce of the state, neither abridges the privileges or immunities of the colored man, deprives him of his property without due process of law, nor denies him the equal protection of the laws, within the meaning of the fourteenth amendment, we are not prepared to say that the conductor, in assigning passengers to the coaches according to their race, does not act at his peril, or that the provision of the second section of the act that denies to the passenger compensa- [163 U.S. 537, 549] tion in damages for a refusal to receive him into the coach in which he properly belongs is a valid exercise of the legislative power. Indeed, we understand it to be conceded by the state's attorney that such part of the act as exempts from liability the railway company and its officers is unconstitutional. The power to assign to a particular coach obviously implies the power to determine to which race the passenger belongs, as well as the power to determine who, under the laws of the particular state, is to be deemed a white, and who a colored, person. This question, though indicated in the brief of the plaintiff in error, does not properly arise upon the record in this case, since the only issue made is as to the unconstitutionality of the act, so far as it requires the railway to provide separate accommodations, and the conductor to assign passengers according to their race.

    It is claimed by the plaintiff in error that, in an mixed community, the reputation of belonging to the dominant race, in this instance the white race, is 'property,' in the same sense that a right of action or of inheritance is property. Conceding this to be so, for the purposes of this case, we are unable to see how this statute deprives him of, or in any way affects his right to, such property. If he be a white man, and assigned to a colored coach, he may have his action for damages against the company for being deprived of his so-called 'property.' Upon the other hand, if he be a colored man, and be so assigned, he has been deprived of no property, since he is not lawfully entitled to the reputation of being a white man.

    In this connection, it is also suggested by the learned counsel for the plaintiff in error that the same argument that will justify the state legislature in requiring railways to provide separate accommodations for the two races will also authorize them to require separate cars to be provided for people whose hair is of a certain color, or who are aliens, or who belong to certain nationalities, or to enact laws requiring colored people to walk upon one side of the street, and white people upon the other, or requiring white men's houses to be painted white, and colored men's black, or their vehicles or business signs to be of different colors, upon the theory that one side [163 U.S. 537, 550] of the street is as good as the other, or that a house or vehicle of one color is as good as one of another color. The reply to all this is that every exercise of the police power must be reasonable, and extend only to such laws as are enacted in good faith for the promotion of the public good, and not for the annoyance or oppression of a particular class. Thus, in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 6 Sup. Ct. 1064, it was held by this court that a municipal ordinance of the city of San Francisco, to regulate the carrying on of public laundries within the limits of the municipality, violated the provisions of the constitution of the United States, if it conferred upon the municipal authorities arbitrary power, at their own will, and without regard to discretion, in the legal sense of the term, to give or withhold consent as to persons or places, without regard to the competency of the persons applying or the propriety of the places selected for the carrying on of the business. It was held to be a covert attempt on the part of the municipality to make an arbitrary and unjust discrimination against the Chinese race. While this was the case of a municipal ordinance, a like principle has been held to apply to acts of a state legislature passed in the exercise of the police power. Railroad Co. v. Husen, 95 U.S. 465; Louisville & N. R. Co. v. Kentucky, 161 U.S. 677, 16 Sup. Ct. 714, and cases cited on page 700, 161 U. S., and page 714, 16 Sup. Ct.; Daggett v. Hudson, 43 Ohio St. 548, 3 N. E. 538; Capen v. Foster, 12 Pick. 485; State v. Baker, 38 Wis. 71; Monroe v. Collins, 17 Ohio St. 665; Hulseman v. Rems, 41 Pa. St. 396; Osman v. Riley, 15 Cal. 48.

    So far, then, as a conflict with the fourteenth amendment is concerned, the case reduces itself to the question whether the statute of Louisiana is a reasonable regulation, and with respect to this there must necessarily be a large discretion on the part of the legislature. In determining the question of reasonableness, it is at liberty to act with reference to the established usages, customs, and traditions of the people, and with a view to the promotion of their comfort, and the preservation of the public peace and good order. Gauged by this standard, we cannot say that a law which authorizes or even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances [163 U.S. 537, 551] is unreasonable, or more obnoxious to the fourteenth amendment than the acts of congress requiring separate schools for colored children in the District of Columbia, the constitutionality of which does not seem to have been questioned, or the corresponding acts of state legislatures.

    We consider the u derlying fallacy of the plaintiff's argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it. The argument necessarily assumes that if, as has been more than once the case, and is not unlikely to be so again, the colored race should become the dominant power in the state legislature, and should enact a law in precisely similar terms, it would thereby relegate the white race to an inferior position. We imagine that the white race, at least, would not acquiesce in this assumption. The argument also assumes that social prejudices may be overcome by legislation, and that equal rights cannot be secured to the negro except by an enforced commingling of the two races. We cannot accept this proposition. If the two races are to meet upon terms of social equality, it must be the result of natural affinities, a mutual appreciation of each other's merits, and a voluntary consent of individuals. As was said by the court of appeals of New York in People v. Gallagher, 93 N. Y. 438, 448: 'This end can neither be accomplished nor promoted by laws which conflict with the general sentiment of the community upon whom they are designed to operate. When the government, therefore, has secured to each of its citizens equal rights before the law, and equal opportunities for improvement and progress, it has accomplished the end for which it was organized, and performed all of the functions respecting social advantages with which it is endowed.' Legislation is powerless to eradicate racial instincts, or to abolish distinctions based upon physical differences, and the attempt to do so can only result in accentuating the difficulties of the present situation. If the civil and political rights of both races be equal, one cannot be inferior to the other civilly [163 U.S. 537, 552] or politically. If one race be inferior to the other socially, the constitution of the United States cannot put them upon the same plane.

    It is true that the question of the proportion of colored blood necessary to constitute a colored person, as distinguished from a white person, is one upon which there is a difference of opinion in the different states; some holding that any visible admixture of black blood stamps the person as belonging to the colored race (State v. Chavers, 5 Jones [N. C.] 1); others, that it depends upon the preponderance of blood ( Gray v. State, 4 Ohio, 354; Monroe v. Collins, 17 Ohio St. 665); and still others, that the predominance of white blood must only be in the proportion of three-fourths (People v. Dean, 14 Mich. 406; Jones v. Com., 80 Va. 544). But these are questions to be determined under the laws of each state, and are not properly put in issue in this case. Under the allegations of his petition, it may undoubtedly become a question of importance whether, under the laws of Louisiana, the petitioner belongs to the white or colored race.

    The judgment of the court below is therefore affirmed.

    Mr. Justice BREWER did not hear the argument or participate in the decision of this case.

    Mr. Justice HARLAN dissenting.

    By the Louisiana statute the validity of which is here involved, all railway companies (other than street-railroad companies) carry passengers in that state are required to have separate but equal accommodations for white and colored persons, 'by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure separate accommodations.' Under this statute, no colored person is permitted to occupy a seat in a coach assigned to white persons; nor any white person to occupy a seat in a coach assigned to colored persons. The managers of the railroad are not allowed to exercise any discretion in the premises, but are required to assign each passenger to some coach or compartment set apart for the exclusive use of is race. If a passenger insists upon going into a coach or compartment not set apart for persons of his race, [163 U.S. 537, 553] he is subject to be fined, or to be imprisoned in the parish jail. Penalties are prescribed for the refusal or neglect of the officers, directors, conductors, and employees of railroad companies to comply with the provisions of the act.

    Only 'nurses attending children of the other race' are excepted from the operation of the statute. No exception is made of colored attendants traveling with adults. A white man is not permitted to have his colored servant with him in the same coach, even if his condition of health requires the constant personal assistance of such servant. If a colored maid insists upon riding in the same coach with a white woman whom she has been employed to serve, and who may need her personal attention while traveling, she is subject to be fined or imprisoned for such an exhibition of zeal in the discharge of duty.

    While there may be in Louisiana persons of different races who are not citizens of the United States, the words in the act 'white and colored races' necessarily include all citizens of the United States of both races residing in that state. So that we have before us a state enactment that compels, under penalties, the separation of the two races in railroad passenger coaches, and makes it a crime for a citizen of either race to enter a coach that has been assigned to citizens of the other race.

    Thus, the state regulates the use of a public highway by citizens of the United States solely upon the basis of race.

    However apparent the injustice of such legislation may be, we have only to consider whether it is consistent with the constitution of the United States.

    That a railroad is a public highway, and that the corporation which owns or operates it is in the exercise of public functions, is not, at this day, to be disputed. Mr. Justice Nelson, speaking for this court in New Jersey Steam Nav. Co. v. Merchants' Bank, 6 How. 344, 382, said that a common carrier was in the exercise 'of a sort of public office, and has public duties to perform, from which he should not be permitted to exonerate himself without the assent of the parties concerned.' Mr. Justice Strong, delivering the judgment of [163 U.S. 537, 554] this court in Olcott v. Supervisors, 16 Wall. 678, 694, said: 'That railroads, though constructed by private corporations, and owned by them, are public highways, has been the doctrine of nearly all the courts ever since such conveniences for passage and transportation have had any existence. Very early the question arose whether a state's right of eminent domain could be exercised by a private corporation created for the purpose of constructing a railroad. Clearly, it could not, unless taking land for such a purpose by such an agency is taking land for public use. The right of eminent domain nowhere justifies taking property for a private use. Yet it is a doctrine universally accepted that a state legislature may authorize a private corporation to take land for the construction of such a road, making compensation to the owner. What else does this doctrine mean if not that building a railroad, though it be built by a private corporation, is an act done for a public use?' So, in Township of Pine Grove v. Talcott, 19 Wall. 666, 676: 'Though the corporation [a railroad company] was private, its work was public, as much so as if it were to be constructed by the state.' So, in Inhabitants of Worcester v. Western R. Corp., 4 Metc. (Mass.) 564: 'The establishment of that great thoroughfare is regarded as a public work, established by public authority, intended for the public use and benefit, the use of which is secured to the whole community, and constitutes, therefore, like a canal, turnpike, or highway, a public easement.' 'It is true that the real and personal property, necessary to the establishment and management of the railroad, is vested in the corporation; but it is in trust for the public.'

    In respect of civil r ghts, common to all citizens, the constitution of the United States does not, I think, permit any public authority to know the race of those entitled to be protected in the enjoyment of such rights. Every true man has pride of race, and under appropriate circumstances, when the rights of others, his equals before the law, are not to be affected, it is his privilege to express such pride and to take such action based upon it as to him seems proper. But I deny that any legislative body or judicial tribunal may have regard to the [163 U.S. 537, 555] race of citizens when the civil rights of those citizens are involved. Indeed, such legislation as that here in question is inconsistent not only with that equality of rights which pertains to citizenship, national and state, but with the personal liberty enjoyed by every one within the United States.

    The thirteenth amendment does not permit the withholding or the deprivation of any right necessarily inhering in freedom. It not only struck down the institution of slavery as previously existing in the United States, but it prevents the imposition of any burdens or disabilities that constitute badges of slavery or servitude. It decreed universal civil freedom in this country. This court has so adjudged. But, that amendment having been found inadequate to the protection of the rights of those who had been in slavery, it was followed by the fourteenth amendment, which added greatly to the dignity and glory of American citizenship, and to the security of personal liberty, by declaring that 'all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside,' and that 'no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.' These two amendments, if enforced according to their true intent and meaning, will protect all the civil rights that pertain to freedom and citizenship. Finally, and to the end that no citizen should be denied, on account of his race, the privilege of participating in the political control of his country, it was declared by the fifteenth amendment that 'the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.'

    These notable additions to the fundamental law were welcomed by the friends of liberty throughout the world. They removed the race line from our governmental systems. They had, as this court has said, a common purpose, namely, to secure 'to a race recently emancipated, a race that through [163 U.S. 537, 556] many generations have been held in slavery, all the civil rights that the superior race enjoy.' They declared, in legal effect, this court has further said, 'that the law in the states shall be the same for the black as for the white; that all persons, whether colored or white, shall stand equal before the laws of the states; and in regard to the colored race, for whose protection the amendment was primarily designed, that no discrimination shall be made against them by law because of their color.' We also said: 'The words of the amendment, it is true, are prohibitory, but they contain a necessary implication of a positive immunity or right, most valuable to the colored race,-the right to exemption from unfriendly legislation against them distinctively as colored; exemption from legal discriminations, implying inferiority in civil society, lessening the security of their enjoyment of the rights which others enjoy; and discriminations which are steps towards reducing them to the condition of a subject race.' It was, consequently, adjudged that a state law that excluded citizens of the colored race from juries, because of their race, however well qualified in other respects to dischar e the duties of jurymen, was repugnant to the fourteenth amendment. Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 306, 307 S.; Virginia v. Rives, Id. 313; Ex parte Virginia, Id. 339; Neal v. Delaware, 103 U.S. 370, 386; Bush v. Com., 107 U.S. 110, 116, 1 S. Sup. Ct. 625. At the present term, referring to the previous adjudications, this court declared that 'underlying all of those decisions is the principle that the constitution of the United States, in its present form, forbids, so far as civil and political rights are concerned, discrimination by the general government or the states against any citizen because of his race. All citizens are equal before the law.' Gibson v. State, 162 U.S. 565, 16 Sup. Ct. 904.

    The decisions referred to show the scope of the recent amendments of the constitution. They also show that it is not within the power of a state to prohibit colored citizens, because of their race, from participating as jurors in the administration of justice.

    It was said in argument that the statute of Louisiana does [163 U.S. 537, 557] not discriminate against either race, but prescribes a rule applicable alike to white and colored citizens. But this argument does not meet the difficulty. Every one knows that the statute in question had its origin in the purpose, not so much to exclude white persons from railroad cars occupied by blacks, as to exclude colored people from coaches occupied by or assigned to white persons. Railroad corporations of Louisiana did not make discrimination among whites in the matter of commodation for travelers. The thing to accomplish was, under the guise of giving equal accommodation for whites and blacks, to compel the latter to keep to themselves while traveling in railroad passenger coaches. No one would be so wanting in candor as to assert the contrary. The fundamental objection, therefore, to the statute, is that it interferes with the personal freedom of citizens. 'Personal liberty,' it has been well said, 'consists in the power of locomotion, of changing situation, or removing one's person to whatsoever places one's own inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint, unless by due course of law.' 1 Bl. Comm. *134. If a white man and a black man choose to occupy the same public conveyance on a public highway, it is their right to do so; and no government, proceeding alone on grounds of race, can prevent it without infringing the personal liberty of each.

    It is one thing for railroad carriers to furnish, or to be required by law to furnish, equal accommodations for all whom they are under a legal duty to carry. It is quite another thing for government to forbid citizens of the white and black races from traveling in the same public conveyance, and to punish officers of railroad companies for permitting persons of the two races to occupy the same passenger coach. If a state can prescribe, as a rule of civil conduct, that whites and blacks shall not travel as passengers in the same railroad coach, why may it not so regulate the use of the streets of its cities and towns as to compel white citizens to keep on one side of a street, and black citizens to keep on the other? Why may it not, upon like grounds, punish whites and blacks who ride together in street cars or in open vehicles on a public road [163 U.S. 537, 558] or street? Why may it not require sheriffs to assign whites to one side of a court room, and blacks to the other? And why may it not also prohibit the commingling of the two races in the galleries of legislative halls or in public assemblages convened for the consideration of the political questions of the day? Further, if this statute of Louisiana is consistent with the personal liberty of citizens, why may not the state require the separation in railroad coaches of native and naturalized citizens of the United States, or of Protestants and Roman Catholics?

    The answer given at the argument to these questions was that regulations of the kind they suggest would be unreasonable, and could not, therefore, stand before the la . Is it meant that the determination of questions of legislative power depends upon the inquiry whether the statute whose validity is questioned is, in the judgment of the courts, a reasonable one, taking all the circumstances into consideration? A statute may be unreasonable merely because a sound public policy forbade its enactment. But I do not understand that the courts have anything to do with the policy or expediency of legislation. A statute may be valid, and yet, upon grounds of public policy, may well be characterized as unreasonable. Mr. Sedgwick correctly states the rule when he says that, the legislative intention being clearly ascertained, 'the courts have no other duty to perform than to execute the legislative will, without any regard to their views as to the wisdom or justice of the particular enactment.' Sedg. St. & Const. Law, 324. There is a dangerous tendency in these latter days to enlarge the functions of the courts, by means of judicial interference with the will of the people as expressed by the legislature. Our institutions have the distinguishing characteristic that the three departments of government are co-ordinate and separate. Each much keep within the limits defined by the constitution. And the courts best discharge their duty by executing the will of the law-making power, constitutionally expressed, leaving the results of legislation to be dealt with by the people through their representatives. Statutes must always have a reasonable construction. Sometimes they are to be construed strictly, sometimes literally, in order to carry out the legisla- [163 U.S. 537, 559] tive will. But, however construed, the intent of the legislature is to be respected if the particular statute in question is valid, although the courts, looking at the public interests, may conceive the statute to be both unreasonable and impolitic. If the power exists to enact a statute, that ends the matter so far as the courts are concerned. The adjudged cases in which statutes have been held to be void, because unreasonable, are those in which the means employed by the legislature were not at all germane to the end to which the legislature was competent.

    The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is, in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth, and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage, and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guarantied by the spreme law of the land are involved. It is therefore to be regretted that this high tribunal, the final expositor of the fundamental law of the land, has reached the conclusion that it is competent for a state to regulate the enjoyment by citizens of their civil rights solely upon the basis of race.

    In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will, in time, prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the Dred Scott Case.

    It was adjudged in that case that the descendants of Africans who were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, were not included nor intended to be included under the word 'citizens' in the constitution, and could not claim any of the rights and privileges which that instrument provided for and secured to citizens of the United States; that, at time of the adoption of the constitution, they were 'considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant [163 U.S. 537, 560] race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the government might choose to grant them.' 17 How. 393, 404. The recent amendments of the constitution, it was supposed, had eradicated these principles from our institutions. But it seems that we have yet, in some of the states, a dominant race,-a superior class of citizens,-which assumes to regulate the enjoyment of civil rights, common to all citizens, upon the basis of race. The present decision, it may well be apprehended, will not only stimulate aggressions, more or less brutal and irritating, upon the admitted rights of colored citizens, but will encourage the belief that it is possible, by means of state enactments, to defeat the beneficent purposes which the people of the United States had in view when they adopted the recent amendments of the constitution, by one of which the blacks of this country were made citizens of the United States and of the states in which they respectively reside, and whose privileges and immunities, as citizens, the states are forbidden to abridge. Sixty millions of whites are in no danger from the presence here of eight millions of blacks. The destinies of the two races, in this country, are indissolubly linked together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction of law. What can more certainly arouse race hate, what more certainly create and perpetuate a feeling of distrust between these races, than state enactments which, in fact, proceed on the ground that colored citizens are so inferior and degraded that they cannot be allowed to sit in public coaches occupied by white citizens? That, as all will admit, is the real meaning of such legislation as was enacted in Louisiana.

    The sure guaranty of the peace and security of each race is the clear, distinct, unconditional recognition by our governments, national and state, of every right that inheres in civil freedom, and of the equality before the law of all citizens of the United States, without regard to race. State enactments regulating the enjoyment of civil rights upon the basis of race, and cunningly devised to defeat legitimate results of the [163 U.S. 537, 561] war, under the pretense of recognizing equality of rights, can have no other result than to render permanent peace impossible, and to keep alive a conflict of races, the continuance of which must do harm to all concerned. This question is not met by the suggestion that social equality cannot exist between the white and black races in this country. That argument, if it can be properly regarded as one, is scarcely worthy of consideration; for social equality no more exists between two races when traveling in a passenger coach or a public highway than when members of the same races sit by each other in a street car or in the jury box, or stand or sit with each other in a political assembly, or when they use in common the streets of a city or town, or when they are in the same room for the purpose of having their names placed on the registry of voters, or when they approach the ballot box in order to exercise the high privilege of voting.

    There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese race. But, by the statute in question, a Chinaman can ride in the same passenger coach with white citizens of the United States, while citizens of the black race in Louisiana, many of whom, perhaps, risked their lives for the preservation of the Union, who are entitled, by law, to participate in the political control of the state and nation, who are not excluded, by law or by reason of their race, from public stations of any kind, and who have all the legal rights that belong to white citizens, are yet declared to be criminals, liable to imprisonment, if they ride in a public coach occupied by citizens of the white race. It is scarcely just to say that a colored citizen should not object to occupying a public coach assigned to his own race. He does not object, nor, perhaps, would he object to separate coaches for his race if his rights under the law were recognized. But he does object, and he ought never to cease objecting, that citizens of the white and black races can be adjudged criminals because they sit, or claim the right to sit, in the same public coach on a public highway. [163 U.S. 537, 562] The arbitrary separation of citizens, on the basis of race, while they are on a public highway, is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and the equality before the law established by the constitution. It cannot be justified upon any legal grounds.

    If evils will result from the commingling of the two races upon public highways established for the benefit of all, they will be infinitely less than those that will surely come from state legislation regulating the enjoyment of civil rights upon the basis of race. We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our people above all other peoples. But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of the law which, practically, puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a large class of our fellow citizens,-our equals before the law. The thin disguise of 'equal' accommodations for passengers in railroad coaches will not mislead any one, nor atone for the wrong this day done.

    The result of the whole matter is that while this court has frequently adjudged, and at the present term has recognized the doctrine, that a state cannot, consistently with the constitution of the United States, prevent white and black citizens, having the required qualifications for jury service, from sitting in the same jury box, it is now solemnly held that a state may prohibit white and black citizens from sitting in the same passenger coach on a public highway, or may require that they be separated by a 'partition' when in the same passenger coach. May it not now be reasonably expected that astute men of the dominant race, who affect to be disturbed at the possibility that the integrity of the white race may be corrupted, or that its supremacy will be imperiled, by contact on public highways with black people, will endeavor to procure statutes requiring white and black jurors to be separated in the jury box by a 'partition,' and that, upon retiring from the court room to consult as to their verdict, such partition, if it be a movable one, shall be taken to their consultation room, and set up in such way as to prevent black jurors from coming too close to their brother jurors of the white race. If the 'partition' used in the court room happens to be stationary, provision could be made for screens with openings through [163 U.S. 537, 563] which jurors of the two races could confer as to their verdict without coming into personal contact with each other. I cannot see but that, according to the principles this day announced, such state legislation, although conceived in hostility to, and enacted for the purpose of humiliating, citizens of the United States of a particular race, would be held to be consistent with the constitution.

    I do not deem it necessary to review the decisions of state courts to which reference was made in argument. Some, and the most important, of them, are wholly inapplicable, because rendered prior to the adoption of the last amendments of the constitution, when colored people had very few rights which the dominant race felt obliged to respect. Others were made at a time when public opinion, in many localities, was dominated by the institution of slavery; when it would not have been safe to do justice to the black man; and when, so far as the rights of blacks were concerned, race prejudice was, practically, the supreme law of the land. Those decisions cannot be guides in the era introduced by the recent amendments of the supreme law, which established universal civil freedom, gave citizenship to all born or naturalized in the United States, and residing ere, obliterated the race line from our systems of governments, national and state, and placed our free institutions upon the broad and sure foundation of the equality of all men before the law.

    I am of opinion that the state of Louisiana is inconsistent with the personal liberty of citizens, white and black, in that state, and hostile to both the spirit and letter of the constitution of the United States. If laws of like character should be enacted in the several states of the Union, the effect would be in the highest degree mischievous. Slavery, as an institution tolerated by law, would, it is true, have disappeared from our country; but there would remain a power in the states, by sinister legislation, to interfere with the full enjoyment of the blessings of freedom, to regulate civil rights, common to all citizens, upon the basis of race, and to place in a condition of legal inferiority a large body of American citizens, now constituting a part of the political community, called the [163 U.S. 537, 564] 'People of the United States,' for whom, and by whom through representatives, our government is administered. Such a system is inconsistent with the guaranty given by the constitution to each state of a republican form of government, and may be stricken down by congressional action, or by the courts in the discharge of their solemn duty to maintain the supreme law of the land, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

    For the reason stated, I am constrained to withhold my assent from the opinion and judgment of the majority. Index
    AND? What point are you making here?

    Also - obviously he "looked" black or else the conductor would not have asked him to leave the white section. Since many fair blacks of that day "passed", it looks like he just got busted.

    Still - I understand generally where you're coming from, but what are your conclusions? What's your point here? smile


    Onward and Upward!
    Re: white slaves - my read of history and the debates over African slavery suggests that the concept of liberty was such that I cannot comprehend any consideration of white slavery in America. I'll go back and read your earlier posts/articles, but if the Founding Fathers were troubled about blacks in slavery because of the tension it created with the original intent of the Revolution - certainly white slavery would not be a serious possibility. Remember - the folks that formed this country left England because of tyranny, subjugation to the will of the monarchy, etc. They were hyper sensitive to power/freedom/liberty etc.

    I really suggest you pick up Founding Brothers. I think you'll find it enlightening on their thinking and intent as it relates to both slavery and the new American government.

    Re: defining one's ethnicity, you are obviously completely free to define yourself in whatever manner that makes you happy. On the other hand, you cannot force society to necessarily go along with you. Biology is only relevant to the degree that it shapes one's appearance. So, one may be 1/100000000000000 black, but if they look black, society will label them as such. Now, becuase being black has all sorts of consequences in this society I can clearly understand how one might not want to embrance this "label". Nevertheless - if you look black, you're black. smile

    It is clear that you have some really strong feelings about this issue. I invite you to write a Member Editorial about it. Unencumbered by argument and interferance, I'd love to read what you think. smile


    Onward and Upward!

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