Saturday, December 16

The Archaic Word-Mulatto And Its Meaning

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 I have been reading a lot about the deep south in America. I learn’t about the Mulatto from books on that region.Mulatto is an archaic word not much in use these days as it reminds people of slavery. But it is part of the dictionary. I remember meeting a girl, a decade and a half back in America, who mentioned that she was a Mulatto.It was a word I had heard for the first time.

That made me think and a bit of study and I realized that Mulatto was a term to denote an off spring of a relationship between a white and black of either sex. But in real terms particularly in the deep south of the USA , it was a one way relationship with black women and white men, who were the masters. It was not uncommon for the white master to ask for a black girl for his sexual gratification as and when the mood seized him.

With the advent of slavery in the south and the large mansions and plantations, it was inevitable that the white masters would exploit the women on the plantations. This continued for a good part of a hundred years, till the concept of the black man as a bonded slave weakened. Black women who were young and comely were invariably exploited by the white master and his son for their pleasure. A lot many women had children who were termed mulatto’s. The sad part was that these Mulatto girls who were very beautiful again slept with their white masters in an incestuous relationship. In fact in New Orleans Mulato girls were in great demand by the whites.

As far as the Negro male was concerned, relationship with a white woman was taboo, as the whites guarded their women zealously. But some times a relationship did occur, the consequence of which was death for the black man. This is beautifully brought out in the novel ‘To kill a Mocking Bird’, also made into a movie with Gregory Peck.
The Mulatto was an anachronism of history, and it is good that the word has gone into disuse. Its certainly not a credit to the whites in America and the Christian religion, that condoned these acts of the whites. The repercussions are there now in the form of Black militant organizations and the conversion of the Blacks to Islam.Perhaps this was inevitable, with all the discrimination going on against the Black in America.


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