Social Inequalities Between Blacks and Mulattoes
Myths about mixed marriages and biracial people have emerged from centuries of socially and politically constructed racisms. Throughout history, such blindness has caused for there to be racial divisions within the Black community. The belief that “mulattoes” and/or “fair-skinned” Blacks are somewhat better than their “dark-skinned” brethren has created many limitations for our culture. Creating this division has separated the Black race on grounds of socioeconomic status, religion, and education. Mulattoes have been so far removed that the practice of segregating within one’s race still persists, because of advantages granted to them by White plantation owners in the past.
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Giving unique privileges to the mulattoes allowed for them to serve as a link between Whites and Blacks. The presence of a mulatto “reduced racial tensions, especially in areas where Negroes outnumbered Whites” (15). Many mulattoes feared that newly freed slaves would infringe upon their so-called civil liberties. To prevent such actions, some mulattoes “intermingled and intermarried only with each other, actively discriminating against those who were dark” (16). The rights that were given to mulattoes by Whites played a significant role in dividing the Black community. By treating the mulattoes as if they were better than the darker Blacks, the Whites had “laid the groundwork for a pattern of color classism in Black America” (23). There presently exists a “color gap in power and privilege that divides the Black community” that is the result of mulattoes gaining a degree of social standing from Whites before the Civil War (24). The trends that were set during this age of supreme racial discrimination remain evident in the social clubs, churches, neighborhoods, and schools of America. To be a part of many of the elite organizations of the early twentieth century, candidates would have to pass tests: “The paper bag, test involved placing an arm inside a brown paper, and only if the skin on the arm was lighter than the color of the bag would a prospective member be invited