What explains the fear of miscegenation?

Posted May 17, 2011 9:10 pm  

The caste system of Mexico held that there was racial mobility in miscegenation. A mestizo line could move forward to become Spanish after three generations of interbreeding with pure Spaniards, whereas mixing with Africans moved one back toward the pure African.



Gary Winogrand’s Central Park Zoo photograph from 1967 plays on a buried notion of racial mobility that persists despite our knowledge of its inanity and primitiveness.

photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisafarmer/3435512653/


Meanwhile, interracial marriage is on the upswing. On 2/17/12, The Wall Street Journal reported that, in 2010, 15% of new marriages in the USA were cross-racial, more than double the percentage in 1980. Among those marrying outside their race last year were:

9% of Whites

17% of Blacks

26% of Hispanics

28% of Asians

It’s not hard to see where this tend is going: towards the normalization of inter-racial marriage and ultimately, even, toward colorblindness.


 Still, that day has not yet arrived. A NY Times article took up the subject on 10/13/11 in its intimate portrait of a racial-mixed family, the Greenwoods, who see progress but suffer the daily stares and stupid questions of surprised strangers.

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