Are “Mulatto” people “Black”?

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 Later anti-miscegenation laws were passed to prevent hybrid races before being rescinded post the civil right era.

Mulatto

Is Mariah Carey black or Mixed Race?

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.

References:

4forums.com

Attractive Mixed Race People

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African Poetry – Gustavus Vassa

Gustavus Vassa

Gustavus Vassa was a slave who later became free and educated!

Gustavus Vassa – The Forbidden Letter.

 

 

 

 

Margaret Pascal:

Oluadah Equiano as you would like to be called,
Gustavus Vassa as I want you to be called,
You do not know how much I desire to hold you,
The desire is intense as I want to hover around you,
Your bronze mannish body glows in the sun,
Did that body make the doe’s in Igboland run?
The plantations beseech you and I feel your pain,
Whilst you work in the rain, with little food and disdain,
I have asked that you be treated kind; but not too kind to cause suspicion,
Lest, Michael might notice and cause you to deny me in submission.

Gustavus Vassa:

I noticed the sweet affection which you clutch towards me,
On the day you cleaned my wounds meted out by my master’s adversary,
I have also desired you Ms Pascal, even in the depths of my sleep,
Where the sensations are so sweet and the desire so meek,
If you were living in my Igboland, all the bucks will chase after you,
For your beauty as well is like the radiance of the sun,
But I must state Ms Pascal that this unholy desire we must flip,
Else we would blip, into a hole so deep,
Am I still your slave and nothing more?
For one day I am afraid you will walk me out of your door.

Margaret Pascal:

You are my black knight, the knight in my dark armour,
Let’s meet tonight and you will truly discover,
That my love for you is not just a cover,
You hold a special place in my heart,
And I swear to God nothing will keep as apart,
Tonight you will feel the softness of my breasts,
And the tenderness of my lips,
You will feel the breath of mine breath,
And I will touch your masculine hips,
Let’s meet in our clandestine place, at midnight, do not be late!

Gustavus Vassa:

Last night was beautiful, the ecstasy was amazing,
Though we may be regretting,
As I overheard Felicia the young African maiden,
Tell other maidens of our blissful adventure,
She did see us in the woods,
And if word gets out,
Cauliflowers and onions my head will surely sprout,
But I know you will be able to handle it, for you are her Madam,
When shall we meet again?
You are my Eve and I am your Adam.

Margaret Pascal:

Sorry my love for I had to ignore you,
Lest this be worrying times I will have to implore you,
Am three months pregnant if you care to know?
Let your heart not be burdened, but be strong as snow,
I have asked Master Michael to take you to England,
We must be very far away from this very instant,
As for Felicia and the other maidens if you must know,
They are in their graves crying with so much sorrow,
Let this secret be between you and I,
Else I swear I will deny you in the eye.

Gustavus Vassa:

Margaret my love, what is the meaning of this treachery?
Why do you commit this sin and debauchery?
If I must leave, I will leave with my son,
And that I swear by the heat of the sun,
And not for a second will I be on the run,
Am the leopard and warrior from Igweland,
Maybe and maybe Master Pascal should know?
The adulterous wife he has under the glow,
Let’s meet sometime and discuss this in detail,
For am not a piece of glass that is marked brittle.

Margaret Pascal:

Do not tempt me, young man, my love,
For you arrogance and impudence I noticed from the start,
But what I am telling you is the truth from my heart,
The situation is precarious and we must be cautious, my love,
We must not see, or speak of each other,
That’s the sacrifice we must make for one another,
But if you refuse to do what I tell of you,
My wrath and my vengeance shall be upon you,
In two weeks time you will set sail for England,
You will get educated and be a noble gentleman.

Gustavus Vassa:

I will leave, if this is what you beg of me,
Name my child as that of mine master,
But if he is a boy also call him Obinah Ochuko after my Father,
So I will be sailing to England never to return?
Let the gods of my Fathers make my heart burn,
So our love was just a journey in vain,
Thank you for all the love and the excruciating pain,
And also if you care to know,
Felicia the eavesdropper was pregnant from Master Pascal,
But since she is no more, it will be of no scandal.

Click here for commentary

References:

BBC History – Oluadah Equiano

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Gustavus Vassa -Commentary

Poet’s commentary:  

The “Decastich” or ten line poetry tells a remarkable dialogue between a slave and his owner’s wife. The setting is set in the late 18th century when the abolitionists had set up a movement and were trying to have their governments outlaw slavery. The Characters are real but the storyline is a pure work of fiction as there is no evidence to suggest that Ms. Pascal the wife of a navy captain and Gustavus Vassa (Oluadah Equiano) had an amorous relationship, albeit, when taking out of the genuine historical context one will wonder what will prompt her decision to send Gustavus a common slave to her sister in England to get educated?

A brief background of Gustavus depicts him as a young man kidnapped from southern Nigeria who makes his way through a perilous voyage to the Island of Barbados in the West Indies and later to the British colony of Virginia in the United States. It is there he meets Michael Pascal a navy captain who will take him under his wings and have him travel with him if he is not working on their local sugarcane plantation.

In my opinion the authenticity of whether a licentious relationship did exist or not should be disregarded by literary critiques and left open to be debated by benign historians. The piece of art depicts a lot of subtle metaphorical allegory worthy to consider and the dialogue does not deviate from its infantile origins. The language is simple but still leaves the reader with the following questions:

  • What actually happened to Felicia the slave maid who caught Ms.Pascal and Gustavus having intercourse in the bush?

  • Why did Gustav have a sudden change of mind and tone and decide to obey his Masters Wife orders and travel to England?

  • What was Ms.Pascal post reacti-on after she was told by Gustav that Felicia had Michael Pascal’s baby?

The poetry’s main intent is to provoke the mental sub consciousness of the reader, and if it does not then the objective is deemed less successful, lest one has to come to grips of the poetry power in conveying the message it needs.

To read more Poems by Joseph Silveira Asamoah do purchase the anthology of the sacred rose for kindle here.

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