Mulatto Functions

Topics: Mulatto, Oxford English Dictionary, Multiracial Pages: 4 (1374 words) Published: November 5, 2011
“By the standards of antebellum America, the distinction was not accidental or minor. Contemporary attitudes about the difference between Negro and mulatto related to fundamental racial ideas. For many years Americans from both the North and South openly expressed a marked bias favoring the mulatto over the Negro” (Toplin 185). When initially being introduced to Victor Sejour’s text titled, “The Mulatto” it is natural for one’s historical and social knowledge to contribute to a formation of assumptions. Based on the previous quotation it is clear that historically and socially the “mulatto” has been preferred over the “negro” or a person from two parents of African decent. Beginning to read Sejours text there is the assumption that “The Mullato” will be a privileged individual, whether he is a slave or a free man, his status as a mulatto will place him above those black persons who are not mulattos. When examining the Oxford English Dictionary definition of mulatto, there is a very clear and precise way to identify one as a mulatto, “A person having one white and one black parent. Freq. more generally: a person of mixed race resembling a mulatto” (OED). The fact that a mulatto is a person of mixed race, it is implied that the “white blood” present will enable that person specific privileges and options that otherwise wouldn’t be available in the absence of their “white blood.” Instead of privileges and opportunities, Georges or “The Mulatto” is presented with tragedy, a nonexistent identity, death and misfortune. His mulatto status does not manifest itself how the definition implies. Instead it manifests itself in the complete opposite manner. Due to the fact that Georges had one white parent and one black parent, he is by definition a mulatto. Considering the social and historical implications of antebellum America it is assumed that Georges would have an easier time socially as a slave. Instead Georges is faced with severe identity issues that...
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