Biracial Identities within the African American and White Communities
Black enough, white enough, light or dark enough are just a few aspects to a biracial individual’s physical perception. For many with one ethic background, understanding who and what they are tends to be reflections of the expectations that are held by society. Those who carry a dual ethnic background have dealt with many expectations of identification not only by society but by standards upheld culturally as well as a parental influence in regards to exposure to both ethnicities.
From early interactions of blacks and whites, a slave master and his slaves operated with a purpose to erase blacks from society and purify ...view middle of the document...
Racial stereotypes have destroyed the brightest futures by limiting the possibilities of people of color in America. The history of this racial culture has been quite painful for most, and exemplifies the irrational behaviors that hold children of color hostage within their own "free" existence. First, it has only been in this decade that an African-American/European American person has been able to define him/herself without fearing being ostracized by society.
The history of the biracial culture began long ago on the great continent of Africa along its western and southern coasts. European invaders came to the countries of Africa to take the land's most precious resource, the people, to be used for slave labor. With this violent assault on the Africans came the murder and rape of thousands, maybe millions, of African women. The children that were conceived from this ungodly act were the first "black/white" biracial children. From what I have read, these children were killed immediately. Initially, the history of biracial people was to be eliminated. What a sad beginning to any culture.
As the enslaved Africans came to the Americas, the evil and barbaric act of raping women did not stop, but the murdering of the biracial children ceased. This was the beginning of the African-American/European-American biracial history. If the most civilized European men for example, President, senators, and judges of the newly created United States had biracial children, I think one can safely say that many European-American males who owned enslaved people fathered biracial children. So we are not talking about a few biracial people, but literally thousands who shared a commonality and culture.
Although, the "one drop of African blood" rule defined the biracial people as of Negro decent, it was clear that their history now stretched into the old England, Italy, France, Germany, and every other European country that had representatives that came to the New World.
Historical figures such as Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, and W.E.B. DuBois were all biracial with African American mothers and White or European fathers. Without their fair skin, they would not be the historical figures they are today. Their abilities to pass allowed them to bypass laws and implement tremendous standards in society as they set many firsts. Though Frederick Douglass was not historically noted to fall within the passing spectrum, the power of his voice and rumor of a white father emphasized his words and ambition to continuously fight for the abolition of slavery and continued fight for African American rights.
Throughout the 1940s and 50s many biracial individuals in the entertainment industry benefited from the concept of passing. Exposure on the big screen was a major component in the jump start of many careers for biracial actors and actresses. Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, and Halle Berry, all 3 women became big in the world of movies and film landing...