one-drop rule

Darla Wells lethe9 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 3 20:19:48 UTC 2010

Wilson's right. If it were really from the past, my redneck family wouldn't
be going to such lengths to try to figure out what to call my grandchild to
make her "acceptable" to the racists in the family. My mother who's always
been somewhere to the right of Hitler (if it ain't blond and blue eyed, it's
questionable) finally settled on "olive skinned," to our great amusement.
Some idiot's already called her the "n" word. She has an Indian name and
nobody can figure out her pedigree from looking at her; it is amusing to see
them try. I just call her Beautiful and it seems to suit her. It seems that
"mixed" makes a person sound like some sort of mongrel---so what should we
be calling people who are some of one thing, some of another? I just settled
on Creole, since her dad is local and speaks something that isn't Cajun yet
isn't the English I grew up speaking in North Louisiana and it seems to be a
local custom to consider black Cajuns to be Creole. I'm so confused, lol.
Proud new Grandmother,

2010/12/1 Wilson Gray <hwgray at>

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: one-drop rule
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 7:02 AM, Paul Frank <paulfrank at>
> wrote:
> > hist.
> Not precisely true. As was pointed out in a thread from a while ago,
> were the concept truly merely a "blast from the past," the history of
> civil rights in the United States might very well have proceeded quite
> differently. Suppose that protagonists as disparate as Thurgood
> Marshall and Huey Long had been psychologically able to regard
> themselves as members of a group distinct from that to which, e.g.
> Martin Luther King, Jr. and Vernon Jordan belonged. Can you imagine
> what a difference it would make, if Obama were regarded as a *white*
> man who is "part-black" and not as a *black* man who is "part-white"?
> Somewhat OT: After the movie, Flashdance, made Jennifer Beals a
> temporary star, I was really caught off guard when she was "outed" as
> black by TIME. In an interview published in the Boston Globe, Ms.
> Beals revealed that her [white] mother had told her that she was
> "mixed." But, she was sure that her late [black] father would have
> wanted her to say that she was "black." EBONY subsequently published a
> cover story "outing" every notable personage in any field of endeavor
> whose ancestry could be traced to any sub-Saharan African on any limb
> whatsoever of the family-tree as "black," possibly motivating Tiger's
> dad to mount his campaign to keep (white) people from regarding his
> son as just another "black" athlete.
> --
> -Wilson
> –––
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"––a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> –Mark Twain
> Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity,
> or evil intent, we can uncumber ourselves of the impossible burden of
> trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition
> that we could be in error, without necessarily deeming ourselves
> idiotic or unworthy.
> –Kathryn Schulz
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