Detail of Velázquez’s Portrait of Juan de Pareja (from here (

When I was in graduate school long ago, I found myself in a one on one discussion with a tall, thin fellow crowned with a large afro. During this discussion my friend got a bit angry. At the time that amused me more than it informed me (don’t think fast enough on my feet). Therefore, when my friend said that the gene for black skin was dominate and white skin would eventually fade away, I just asked him if he had looked in a mirror. He got even more steamed, of course, and I was just more amused. I regarded my friend’s concerns about race as futile and therefore foolish. Even though I was correct, I should have expressed my opinion with more kindness.

American blacks are not members of the black race. There is no black race. There is only one human race. What we call racial distinctions are too minor to matter. Yet even if there were a black race, American blacks are “mulattos”, not blacks. Here is what the Online Etymology Dictionary says about the origin of the word “mulatto”.

mulatto (n.)

1590s, “one who is the offspring of a European and a black African,” from Spanish or Portuguese mulato “of mixed breed,” literally “young mule,” from mulo “mule,” from Latin mulus (fem. mula) “mule” (see mule (n.1)); possibly in reference to hybrid origin of mules (compare Greek hēmi-onos “a mule,” literally “a half-ass;” as an adjective, “one of mixed race”). As an adjective from 1670s. Fem. mulatta is attested from 1620s; mulattress from 1805.

American culture, even in its most rigidly segregated precincts, is patently and irrevocably composite. It is, regardless of all the hysterical protestations of those who would have it otherwise, incontestibly mulatto. Indeed, for all their traditional antagonisms and obvious differences, the so-called black and so-called white people of the United States resemble nobody else in the world so much as they resemble each other. [Albert Murray, “The Omni-Americans: Black Experience & American Culture,” 1970]

Old English had sunderboren “born of disparate parents.”


The reference to “a half-ass” probably will probably annoy some, but try looking up the etymology of the word “nice“. Then consider how often you have wanted to be thought of as “nice“. If we knew the origin of all the words we use, would we be tongue-tied? Would that be a good thing?

Anyway, please note Albert Murray‘s comment in the etymological definition above. American blacks share a distinctive heritage, but that heritage is distinctively American. That heritage is also distinctively human. The shared history of slavery, supposedly distinctive to American blacks, has been a common human failing throughout human history, not just American history. Europe, for example, saw plenty of slaves and latter serfs long before slaves were brought to America in 1619.

What is different in America with regard to slavery? Each generation of Americans has strived mightily with blood, sweat and tears to overcome the evil of slavery, and one generation saw nearly 700,000 dead in a bloody civil war over slavery.

Therefore, what should we think when see a memorial to the soldiers of Lost Cause, to those who served the army of the Confederate States of America? To protect the institution of slavery, the South fought the North with an unsurpassed fervor. We need to remember that even the best of men — and the rebels and the women who sent them to war were good people — can be blindly and stubbornly committed to an evil purpose. That is why we each need to carefully examine our own motives and purposes. Anyone can be blind to their own sins.

What about the mulatto character of the complexion of so many Americans? What should we see when we stop to think about this blending of black with white? The often lovely blending of black and white should give us cause for hope. Long ago, far before any record of human history, mankind separated into tribal groups and began an exploration of the world. Eventually those tribal groups, long separated by mountains and oceans, began the process of becoming genetically distinct. Since then we have overcome those mountains and oceans, and we are separated no more. In a world rife with conflict and war, the blending of black with white shows us that peace remains possible. We are still one human race. Because God created each of us His image, we can still live in peace together, but we must each examine ourselves, lest we repeat the mistakes of the past.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 New King James Version

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which it may be said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.



  1. Something worth to think about:

    I am a black, Southern woman, and of my immediate white male ancestors, all of them were rapists. My very existence is a relic of slavery and Jim Crow.

    According to the rule of hypodescent (the social and legal practice of assigning a genetically mixed-race person to the race with less social power) I am the daughter of two black people, the granddaughter of four black people, the great-granddaughter of eight black people. Go back one more generation and it gets less straightforward, and more sinister. As far as family history has always told, and as modern DNA testing has allowed me to confirm, I am the descendant of black women who were domestic servants and white men who raped their help.

    It is an extraordinary truth of my life that I am biologically more than half white, and yet I have no white people in my genealogy in living memory. No. Voluntary. Whiteness. I am more than half white, and none of it was consensual. White Southern men — my ancestors — took what they wanted from women they did not love, over whom they had extraordinary power, and then failed to claim their children.

    What is a monument but a standing memory? An artifact to make tangible the truth of the past. My body and blood are a tangible truth of the South and its past. The black people I come from were owned by the white people I come from. The white people I come from fought and died for their Lost Cause. And I ask you now, who dares to tell me to celebrate them? Who dares to ask me to accept their mounted pedestals?


    1. @marmoewp

      I expected the rape complaint to come up. Predicable. Some people are determined to nurse their hatred and maintain their status of victimhood. None of us have a “right” to extoll our hatred as a virtue and demand that those living pay the debts of sinners long dead.

      That determinedly black, Southern woman knows her ancestry better than I know mine. I have no idea how far back I would have to go to find an ancestor who was forced into a relationship he or (or more likely she, of course) did not want. Nevertheless, I expect we can all find traces of at least minor “royalty” in the DNA of every human being. When men have the power to do so, most will collect harems of some kind. It is a stupid, evil thing to do, but even King David and his son Solomon collected wives and concubines.

      On the African continent the slave trade was largely the project of the dark skinned. Therefore, the dark skinned ancestors of that determinedly black, Southern woman who knows her ancestry so well were most probably sold to the men who ran slave ships by dark skinned people in whose genes she takes pride. Most likely (almost a certainty), at least minor dark skinned “royalty” runs in her DNA too. Might even include some dark skinned slave traders. Would be ironic, don’t you think?

      The fact is that there is only one human race, and we are imperfect. All too often, we abuse whatever power we have.

      Are men and whites (especially privileged, Christian white men) more evil than women and blacks respectively? Is that not what the bigoted “woke” would have us believe? Well, the “woke” are wrong. Men just have different responsibilities and different opportunities to abuse their authority than women. “Whiteness” has more to with nationality and culture than race (We are all members of the human race.). So, commonsense dictates we set aside skin color and learn from the past and do our best to instruct our children in the benefits of doing good and the consequences of evil.

      Because human beings are imperfect, we can always find an excuse to hate anyone. Hatred is dumb, and nursing age-old grievances is pointless. What can we do to the dead? Bury their history, the memory of their existence? That’s dumb. We should learn from the past, not bury it. Yet burying the past is what the “woke” would have us do. “Wokeness” is just another crummy ideology that excuses irrational pride in one’s self and the hatred of others.

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