Who is a “Mulatto”?
Anytime I fill the UK employment equality application and it comes to filling the ethnicity part I always have a sense of trepidation as to whether I should say I am African or Mixed Black and White African. The reason being that my mother is mixed race and my Father is Black, so the question is am I Black and how black? My mother of Portuguese and Saotomean descent sees herself as “Mulatto”. The conundrum is that according to the definition from Wikipedia Mulatto is a term used to refer to a person who is born from one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of any proportion of noticeable European and African ancestry”.My mothers’ mother (Grand Mother) is mixed race and my Mothers Father (Grand Father) is also mixed race so is she a second generation Mulatto?
Looking into the near historical context – miscegenation- had slavery era roots quite traceable when European Merchants relations with native African women brought forth Mulatto offspring. They were in many cases educated and treated quite well and held high offices in the African colonies as I learned from my African history class. In the American colonies that wasn’t necessarily the case as most often the “illegitimate” children of White masters were also seen as “black” and sold into slavery as per this article . Later anti-miscegenation laws were passed to prevent hybrid races before being rescinded post the civil right era.
Another interesting notion that I have witnessed is that an over whelming case of mulattoes class themselves as “black”. President Barack Obama is recorded in the annals as the first “African American” to hold that office. His mother is White and lived most of his growing years with his white grand parents ,so how does that work out? I am mostly intrigued when I watch the Mobo’s (Music of Black Origin) and Bet (Black Entertainment Televison) awards. I see a lot of Mulatto (Mixed race) celebrities such as Alicia Keys and Mariah Carey coming on stage and exhibiting a profound pride of their black lineage which leaves me puzzled and beleaguered. The video which I watched below however shared some problems mixed race people have when there is a problem in finding one’s identity and hence I do share some empathy.