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The map at the top of the post is showing how many people are “of color” in America and where they are living.  It is part of a series of maps which  show the increase in the numbers and distribution of these said “people of color”.

It shows how, perhaps, non whites will be the majority in the United States by 2030.  Naturally this has been blown up by various sites, and some newspapers like the British Daily Mail that really ought to know better. All are basically reworking the old “yellow peril” nonsense of yesteryear, purporting directly or just subtly to show how the white man is being bred out of “his” country.  Now you see, I don’t think it shows anything of the kind.  What it shows is something really very healthy in America.  The falling away of racial hypocrisy.

It is called “America’s Tomorrow” from PolicyLink on Vimeo and if you click on the link here it will take you to all the maps.

America had, even when I was a boy, an appalling attitude to black people and arguably an even worse one to those who were of mixed race. Despite laws being in place which said all people are born equal, black people and those “of color” could not use the same restaurants, drink from the same taps, eat at the same restaurants or sit at the front of a bus.  America still practised apartheid every bit as rabid and vile as South Africa. As for job opportunities forget it.

 

The map here shows the states that would not sanction mixed race marriages, which they called “miscegenation” well into the sixties.  The last seventeen states (yes 17!) only relenting after being dragged kicking and screaming into the nineteenth century by  Loving v Virginia 388 US1 1967.  You can bet those states would do their level best to arrange statistics of mixed race peoples as advantageously as possible.  Check those seventeen from this map to the top map.

Gray            No Laws against mixed marriages.
Green          Repealed before 1887
Yellow         Repealed 1948 through 1967
Red             Repealed 12 June 1967

How did you know if you were black?  Well the slightest hint of a heavy tan, or curly hair was best avoided.  Hair strengtheners and skin whitening creams were there for those that needed it. The “one drop rule” reigned supreme.  This loathsome doctrine ascribed a black outcome to any person who had down to one sixteenth black ancestry, condemning them to sit at the back of the bus of life forever.   Worst of all this rule was never some hangover of a benighted past, but was a product of the enlightened twentieth century.  For example Tennessee, introduced it in 1910 and Virginia in 1924.

It was therefore an advantage if you were of mixed blood but might pass, like Sally Hemming, as white to lie about one’s background and say that one was fully “unblemished white”.

Not that it was purely an American phenonomenon, but it was strongest in America.  It’s something I know about from personal experience.  My mother immigrated to Britain in the thirties along with her own mother and grandmother from India where they had all been born.  Mummy who was light skinned, always said she was English but that was the last thing she was.  Anglo Indian would be a better term.  The question though was why do it?  Simple, for all the reasons above.  And sadly she spent the whole of her life worrying and waiting to be “found out”.

So for me, at least, the rise of the numbers of “people of color” that the top maps are showing is, I believe, indicative of an acceptance of one’s mixed ancestry and a pride in this heritage.  Maybe in this respect America is growing up.

It’s not something for Americans or the Daily Mails of life to get all strung up on.  It is both healthy and comfortable.  It is a good thing.  No, it’s actually a wonderful thing.

Copyright David Macadam 2011

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