1. Because they make me feel like I live in the 1920s. Or the Harlem Renaissance, to be exact.
2. Because it forces you to pay attention to detail.
3. Because I happen to be mixed-race and am researching what that designation means in a literary context.
etymology: Spanish mulato, from mulo (mule), Latin mulus
1: the first-generation offspring of a black person and a white person
2: a person of mixed white and black ancestry
Mixed-race figures continue to present challenges for critical scholarship. Literature and literary studies on mixed-race characters have attempted to understand what being “mixed” means in its social, cultural and political implications. Many times, these attempts hold on to negative “tragic mulatto” stereotypes, in which interracial becomes synonymous with confused, exiled. Literature is at the root of the continued production of this image, which has in turn served as a point of departure for writings on mixed-race.
Though “mixed-race” can refer to those who may have more than a single ancestral background, of which one does not have to be European, this thesis looks at the complex history of black/white relations in the American context, and the products of those relations who are usually “damned” regardless of the racial communities of which they attempt to be a part. Many mixed-race characters literally disappear in narratives, whether by virtue of passing for white or in their representations as lost, wandering figures. I am interested in teasing out how novels imagine mixed-race characters, from within the complex web of discourses informed by the science fiction of race, and why these imaginings tend to reiterate the tragic mulatto narrative… that is, the poor mulatto soul doomed to forever wander along the colour line.
I am currently pursuing the study of race and the (im)possibility of mixed-race designations
in literature spanning across the 19th and 20th centuries, in North America. I will be exploring
this field at the Graduate level. I’d also like to be a part of an anthology of mixed-race voices
P.S. “Mulatto” is no longer politically correct. Never forget that “mulatto” as a mixed black/white racial designation derives from a blood quantum version of race equating blackness to animalism, as was used during slavery. I use the term instead to invoke a sense of the constructed, mythic ties that make these figures a product of the historic American law of hypodescent (or “one drop rule”). I use the term often with quotation marks, so as to suggest a continuous questioning of the designation “mulatto.”
4. B&W Photographs are just more flattering.