How I Learned about the One-Drop Rule: Mark



FANSHEN: Recently I asked my friends when was the first time that they heard about the one-drop rule. And their answers were really incredible, so we’re sharing them here and we’d like to hear yours. So send us an email (onedropoflove(at)gmail, tweet us, anything, and let us know: when was the first time that YOU learned about the one-drop rule?

: I self-identify as mixed, but I am politically Black. In our family we never talked about race or the one-drop rule – anything. And so basically I just intuited that there was a one-drop rule because I was defined as Black growing up as far as my experiences.

My dearest friend, growing up, would call me “contraband” because he learned about the phrase – he read something about slavery and that a slave that was seeking freedom, if they were caught they were considered ‘contraband’ and he thought that was funny. I had no knowledge, so he was calling me contraband and it hurt like hell and I had no ability to defend myself or to articulate a different argument.

So it really wasn’t until I graduated from high school, I was in the Marine Corps, I came across an interesting story in the New York Times about a woman who was suing the State of Louisiana because her birth certificate said that she was ‘Colored.’ She was raised White, she self-identified as White. And she fought her case all the way up to the Supreme Court and lost because according to state law, in 1970 if you were just any – any trace of Black, you were Colored to 1/32 Black, you were Colored. And she had 3/32s – they even went so far as to hire a genealogist. And so that fascinated me – it really resonated with me. I couldn’t articulate why, but I just found it a fascinating story.

Ten years later I was attending school at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and I learned about the one-drop rule. And that’s where I learned about slavery, I learned about Manifest Destiny, etc. etc. etc. And I learned about the one-drop rule and I learned how pernicious and ridiculous it is and how hard we work to create a caste system and what really saddened me was defining Black as a negative – that if you had any part Black in you, that was not a good thing. And that’s…that’s heartbreaking. Nobody should ever have that experience and it will end because of people like Fanshen, who are creating this space for us to talk about elements of racism such as the one-drop rule and I’m very appreciative and have much gratitude for allowing me to share my story of how I learned about the one-drop rule.

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Update 2: New Article in TruthOut About Guest! · Guest: A New Film About The Guestworker Program

Hi all! I recently wrote this article in Truth Out “Is A Safe And Legal Immigration System Possible?” featuring stories and background from Guest. Please give it a read and spread the word, we only have two weeks left to raise what we need to make Guest happen!Thank you, as always, for your support,LVD


A border activist said “You are either a worker or a guest. You don’t have a guest in your house, then ask them to wash your dishes.”

During enslavement the workers were taken care of, although only like property, and only when not being beaten and raped.

Now that enslavement is over by law, the U.S. doesn’t want agricultural workers to even have citizenship.



Mixed Experience History Month: John Punch, first documented slave


“John Punch (mid 1600s)–an African man–served as an indentured servant to a Virginia planter.


Researchers have concluded that he likely fathered a child with a white woman.  That child, John Bunch, was born in 1637.  In 1640, Punch ran away with two other (white) indentured servants.  All three were caught in Maryland.  The two white men were sentenced to an additional four years to their servitude; Punch was sentenced to a lifetime.




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July Flashback: Robert Small (White/Black) [American]

See on Scoop.itMixed American Life

Known as: Politician, Sea Captain & Ship Pilot (US Congressman from South Carolina from 1875-79 & 1882-1887; First captain of African-American descent of a naval vessel in the service of the United States; Influenced Abraham Lincoln to accept African-American soliders into the Union Army; Authored legislation in South Carolina first free and compulsory public school system in the United States; Founded the Republican Party of South Carolina; The US naval vessal “USS Robert Smalls” was named in his honor)

Special Historical Note: Freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery by commandeering the CSS Planter, a Confederate transport ship, and sailing it to freedom.

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Robert Purvis(Moroccan, German Jewish, English) [American]

See on Scoop.itMixed American Life

Known as: Abolitionist (Helped establish the Library Company of Colored People and the American Anti-Slavery Society; Involved in the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee which sheltered slaves on the Underground Railroad)
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Andrea Stuart | A Barbados Family Tree With ‘Sugar In The Blood’ | NPR interview

See on Scoop.itCommunity Village Daily

In her new book, Andrea Stuart explores the intersection of sugar, slavery, settlement, migration and survival in the Americas.

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Spielberg’s “Lincoln” Begs the Question: Where is Fred?

See on Scoop.itMixed American Life

By Marc Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League

“Stephen Spielberg’s “Lincoln” affirms the fact that President Abraham Lincoln played a pivotal role in ending slavery in America, but it egregiously omits the fact that Frederick Douglass and a courageous group of grassroots abolitionists led Lincoln and the nation to this victory.”

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Django In Chains: Why Revenge Is Just For The Movies

See on Scoop.itCommunity Village World History

“In order to get the real horror of slavery, we need to grapple with this fact. Slave revolts were unusual through most of the period, even when Blacks were often in a position to overwhelm their masters. Post-emancipation, revenge didn’t really happen, even when responding to mistreatment on such a magnificent scale with violence would have been all too sadly understandable.

Whites had most of the guns and the legal cover to do pretty much as they pleased when it came to Black people. Chain gangs, lynchings, violent white uprisings, white racist vigilantes, and extrajudicial assassinations were common, and the chilling effect kept Black people in virtual chains throughout the country and especially in the South. Django is a fictional character for a reason, and knowing that reason is necessary to understanding slavery and the persistence of its legacy of inequality in contemporary American life.”

– MORE –

Glenn Robinson‘s insight:

There were actually many revolts from enslaved Blacks in the U.S.

*New York Slave Revolt of 1712
*Stono Rebellion 1739
*New York Slave Insurrection of 1741
*Gabriel Prosser Rebellion 1800
*German Coast Uprising 1811
*Nat Turner’s slave rebellion 1831
*Slave Revolt in the Cherokee Nation 1842
*John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry 1859

I’m not sure if the word revenge applies however.

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