The constitutional fiction was the notion that miscegenation
laws affected all races and sexes equally; the scientific fiction was the idea that racial purity could and had to be protected systematically; and the popular fiction was the remarkable notion (still alive and well in human society) that race was a biological fact--that it could be known, measured, and controlled.
In Portuguese-speaking Latin American, their miscegenation
might signal a lower rung in an unacknowledged but very real caste system.
And yet, by applying these familiar narrative tropes to the experience of black women during slavery and the controversial issue of miscegenation
, Collins addresses key political issues; by recasting miscegenation
and black female virtue, she enters the debate over black citizenship in 1865.
I mused that miscegenation
between white war heroes and Black slaves or servants was not a proper topic for a tour as we walked into the bedroom containing an actual bed of the general's.
The paintings depict a system of hypodescent in which mestizos would be considered white only after four generations of miscegenation
with Europeans had diluted their proportion of Indian blood to just one-sixteenth, while those with some African ancestry could never become white.
The ensuing essay offers a wonderfully informative survey of the theme of miscegenation
as it has been redefined in late-twentieth-century and contemporary literature of the Americas, including the Haitian-Canadian satirist Dany Laferriere's sardonic Comment faire l'amour avec un negre sans se fatiguer (1985); Maryse Conde' s revisionist-historical novel Moi, Titube, Soreiere de Salero (1986); Ana Castillo's mythical-realist hybrid novel Sapogonia (1990); the English Canadian writer Thomas King's novel of Native identity, Green Grass, Running Water (1994); the Brazilian writer Nelida Pinon's family saga, A republica dos sonhos (1984); and, finally, John Updike's retelling of the legend of Tristan and Isolde in his parodic historicalallegorical novel Brazil (1994).
Over several years Colescott produced a number of variations on this theme, including Eat Dem Taters, 1975 (a riff on van Gogh's The Potato Eaters of 1885), and Natural Rhythm: Thank You Jan Van Eyck, 1976, in which the female figure in Van Eyck's 1434 The Arnolfini Portrait is rendered in crude blackface, her swollen belly now alluding to the history of cultural attitudes toward miscegenation
The product of an interracial relationship, Matejka, in turn, makes miscegenation
the organizing principle for many of his poems.
Nascimento's main thesis, fully supported by statistical evidence, was that the process of "whitening" in Brazil, based on miscegenation
and massive white immigration, was tantamount to a "genocide" of Brazil's black people.
Although the last law against miscegenation
was repealed in the 1960s, the fear of miscegenation
remains a significant issue.
To those interested in the topic of miscegenation
, however, such large claims are unnecessary.
In parts of the US, as well as South Africa, miscegenation
laws were integral to the humiliation and oppression of people termed of "lesser races".