fair and good features….on the dark half

Good Lord!!

Ebony & Ivory

San Jose Mercury Evening News, November 30, 1887. Here’s the “tragic mulatto” principle taken to extremes by cruel Nature. Or then again, maybe circus life would have offered more to this kid than whatever hardscrabble misery awaited him in post-Redemption Florida. If only we had a name other than “it” for the child in question, I might be able to find out what happened to him.

Ebony & Ivory2

reblogged from The Hope Chest

art by Kaadaa

6 thoughts on “fair and good features….on the dark half

  1. Woah, this is… I don’t even know if there is proper terminology to answer this.

    My hypothesis on what happened: possibly this boy was a chimera (basically, someone who has two sets of DNA in his body instead of one). I don’t know enough about the condition to say for any certainty whether it could have developed the features this boy has.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimera_%28genetics%29 (not greatest resource, but a start…)

    I remember watching a documentary on human chimerism once, and there was a segment on a biracial baby whose stomach’s color was split right down the middle, one side black and the other side white. Unfortunately, I can’t find the image at all on the Internet.

  2. Here is another story from this century that raises similar questions. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9438648/. I feel for the black twin in this story. His desire to be white is an example of how white supremacy can impact mixed race individuals self-esteem. It seems that the family has little if any contact with black people that could help their child realize that “Black is Beautiful.”

  3. all 3 of these stories are very interesting…I have never heard of anything like this before.

  4. so true, sharon. i just posted something similar to both this post and the twin story you linked to. thanks for that, btw 🙂

  5. I know the Dutch mother indicated wishing her child had contact with blacks, to get a better sense of what it means to be black/have a connection to blacks. But I’m curious to know if the child is in fact considered black in the Netherlands. By U.S. conventions, the child “looks black” and would automatically – albeit erroneously, IMO – be labeled as black alone by most Americans. But, again, to “look black” in the U.S. is certainly not always to “look black” in other countries. As for the white supremacy point, I don’t discount this but it’s hard to know the degree to which this is the case. In other words, even if there was no anti-black racism in the Netherlands, the child still would stand out as “different” than the vast majority of Dutch people and therefore confront issues of not fitting in – perhaps, unfortunately, even developing a sense of inferiority as a result.

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