One -Drop Rule Essay

2797 Words Dec 24th, 2012 12 Pages
The One-Drop Rule: A Key Player in the Construction of Race in the United States

Barack Obama’s election as the President of the United States in 2008 was considered by many to be a representation of the huge strides the country has made in terms of race relations. Considering that blacks in America were denied civil rights less than five decades ago, his election certainly indicates that progress has been made. Obama and his election to office is linked to this progress because much of the population considers him to be black, including himself. Yet, Obama has as much “white ancestry” as he does “black ancestry.” This specific example can be related to the convention ‘that considered a white woman capable of giving birth to a black
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Similarly, Virginia enacted a statute in 1662 “categorizing ‘all children borne in this country’ as ‘bond or free according to the conditions of the mother.’” [7] This rule was commonly known as “partus sequitur ventrem’ which means “One is Black if one has a single African antecedent.”[8] These two examples of legislature were detrimental in their own ways. The interracial sex laws served not only to maintain white racial purity, an idea adopted by whites supremacists later on, but they also helped to establish the divide between white and black that would continue to exist throughout the history of the United States. Moreover, this legislature was instrumental in beginning to determine what would become known as the “black race” The one-drop rule was undoubtedly present during the time of colonialism and slavery, however it wasn’t until the Jim Crow Era that it was officially referenced in legislation. The evolution of this law from the time of slavery in to Jim Crow resulted from “The American insistence on absolute white racial purity...[which was] synonymous with racism and central to the evolution of racial identity and resistance in the United States.” [9] The Jim Crow Era can largely be defined by

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