David Hollinger has performed a valuable service by insisting on the historical uniqueness of the Afro-American experience, rejecting the false history, spurious logic, and expedient politics that collapse the situations of Afro-Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans, and indigenous Americans into a single category. He correctly insists that there is no counterpart for any other descent group to the one-drop or any-known-ancestry rule that, with minor exceptions, has historically identified Afro-Americans. He criticizes the bankrupt politics that has resulted from treating a multi-century history of enslavement and racist persecution as a simple variation on the immigrant experience. (He might have added that the immigrants-all version of American history, while labeling as immigrants Africans and Afro-Caribbeans who arrived as slaves as well as Indians and Mexicans whose country was taken over by outsiders, omits from its central narrative persons of African descent who truly were immigrants.) And when he gets too close to some of the very misconceptions that his own analysis ought to preclude, his good sense draws him back; as when, after speculating that greater recognition of mixed-ancestry offspring might result in greater acceptance of unambiguous African ancestry, he quickly acknowledges that greater isolation is just as likely. But the focus on “ethnoracial mixture” with the suggestion that historians should “see the history of the United States as, among other things, a story of amalgamation” is a different matter. It brings to mind an anecdote about an Irishman who, when asked the way to Ballynahinch, responds: “If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here at all.”
Starting from “ethnoracial mixture” leads to the great evasion of American historical literature, as of American history itself: the substitution of “race” for “racism.” That substitution, as I have written elsewhere, “transforms the act of a subject into an attribute of the object.” Disguised as race, racism becomes something Afro-Americans are, rather than something racists do. Racists and apologists for racism have long availed themselves of the deception. “Don’t blame me because you’re colored,” a white homeowner in Westchester, New York, told Hugh Mulzac, an Afro-Caribbean, when refusing to sell him a house—as though Mulzac’s ancestry, rather than the homeowner’s refusal, had aborted the sale. Similarly, a Washington Post columnist, during an effort to mitigate the killing of a blameless and unarmed African immigrant by New York City police officers, characterized as “race—but not racism” the commonplace refusal of cab drivers to stop for Afro-American passengers. It is as though real estate transactions, the braking of motor vehicles, and the discharge of firearms were controlled—perhaps through telekinesis or some other paranormal or supernatural process—by the victim’s appearance or ancestry, without the aggressor’s will or participation.
Thomas Jefferson pioneered the race-instead-of-racism ideological maneuver, and his Notes on the State of Virginia is its locus classicus. Judging slavery essential to the project of extending the sovereignty of the United States over the American continent, he tried to resolve the contradiction between enslavement and the natural right to freedom by interpreting slavery as a fact of the slaves’ inferior nature. To that end, he formulated the notion of race, draping its ideological nakedness in a tissue of purported scientific argument so thin that he would surely have seen through it on any subject less central to his nation-founding project than slavery: the American mammoth, let us say, or the intellectual potential of the American Indians. Significantly, he addressed both of those subjects in a query about nature, whereas he sketched his argument about the inferiority of the Negroes in a query about civilization. Jefferson’s ingenuity could not free him from his bind, however. As surely as he knew that slavery was essential to his project, he also knew that it could wreck his project by lodging a deadly flaw at the heart of American sovereignty and in the government that embodied that sovereignty.
Knowing with equal profoundness two irreconcilable truths—that slavery was vital to the nation and, at the same time, likely to destroy it—Jefferson could not sustain, even to the end of the book, the self-deceiving transformation of racism into race. Into the famous query on “Manners,” he dropped as if from nowhere a hyperbolic account of slavery as “a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions” (not much time for cultivating tobacco if that were literally true) and, for good measure, referred to the slaves as citizens and implied their moral and intellectual equality with their enslavers.
[W]ith what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him.
Abruptly contradicting his own earlier rationale, he revealed race to be racism; and slavery, rather than something slaves were, became something slaveholders did—to the corruption of themselves, the injustice of the slaves, and the probable destruction of the country. Thereafter, Jefferson masked his eyes from the glare of that momentary insight, so confounding that it caused him, for a split second, to abandon rationalism and secularism along with racism, and to ponder supernatural interference in human history.
Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!
Jefferson’s successors (one scholar has called him America’s first racial pundit) have proved more adept than he at the race-racism evasion, indulging in it without Jefferson’s outburst of compensatory hyperbole. “Race” appears in the titles of an ever-growing number of scholarly books and articles as a euphemism for slavery, disfranchisement, segregation, lynching, mass murder, and related historical atrocities; or as an unintentionally belittling shorthand for “persons of African descent and anything pertaining to them.” The more dutifully scholars acknowledge that the concept of race belongs in the same category as geocentrism or witchcraft, the more blithely they invoke it as though it were both a coherent analytical category and a valid empirical datum. In place of Jefferson’s moment of impassioned truth-telling, his successors fall back on italics or quotation marks, typographical abbreviations for the trite formula, “race is a social construction.”
The formula is meant to spare those who invoke race in historical explanation the raised eyebrows that would greet someone who, studying a crop failure, proposed witchcraft as an independent variable. But identifying race as a social construction does nothing to solidify the intellectual ground on which it totters. The London Underground and the United States of America are social constructions, so are the evil eye and the calling of spirits from the vasty deep, and so are murder and genocide. All derive from the thoughts, plans, and actions of human beings living in human societies. Scholars who intone “social construction” as a spell for the purification of race do not make clear—perhaps because they do not themselves realize—that race and racism belong to different families of social construction, and that neither belongs to the same family as the United States of America or the London Underground. Race belongs to the same family as the evil eye. Racism belongs to the same family as murder and genocide. Which is to say that racism, unlike race, is not a fiction, an illusion, a superstition, or a hoax. It is a crime against humanity.
No operation performed on the fiction can ever make headway against the crime. But the fiction is easier for well-meaning people to handle. (“Race,” I have written elsewhere, “is a homier and more tractable notion than racism, a rogue elephant gelded and tamed into a pliant beast of burden.”) Confronted with the intellectual arguments against the concept of race, my undergraduates react by grasping for another word to occupy the same conceptual space. “I don’t feel comfortable saying ‘race’ after your class. But I don’t know what else to call it,” is a characteristic response. At the suggestion, “Why not ‘ancestry,’ if that’s what you’re talking about?” they retreat into inarticulate dissatisfaction. Instinctively, they understand that, while everyone has ancestry, only African ancestry carries the ultimate stigma. Therefore, what they are unknowingly searching for is a neutral-sounding word with racism hidden inside, which is what “race” is. The apparently blameless word permits students to reabsorb into the decorum of the routine something whose essence is not just indecorum but monstrosity: the attachment to fellow human beings of a stigma akin to leprosy in medieval Europe, only worse, in that it sets beyond the pale of humanity not the leper alone but the leper’s progeny ad infinitum.
Domesticating such a monstrosity for presentation in civilized company requires believers in race to attempt cosmetic repairs of its most obnoxious peculiarities. One such peculiarity is the fact that, effectively, there can be only one race, since the one-drop-of-blood or any-known-ancestry rule applies only to African ancestry; indeed, the rule ceases to function at all if applied to more than one type of ancestry. The cosmetic applied to the resulting asymmetry and invidiousness is “whiteness,” whose champions purport to discover “racialization”—and therefore races—all over the shop. A further sleight of hand defines race as identity so that “white” also becomes a race. Similar cosmetic embellishments claim “agency” for the victims in creating race or deodorize it by tracing its origin to “culture” rather than racism. But people no more fasten the stigma of race upon themselves than cattle sear the brand into their own flesh. And, no matter how slipshod the definition of culture, no one can seriously assert that one culture unites those whom American usage identifies without hesitation as one race.
Even language can be squeezed into the glass slipper of race by a sufficiently ruthless pruning of the foot. According to believers in something known as “black English,” the deep structures of African languages—in other words, the speakers’ African-ness—accounts for the speech habits of Afro-Americans. But African linguistic structures cannot explain why, despite the much greater survival of Africanisms in Jamaican creole, the children of Jamaican migrants to Britain do not speak “black English”; instead, they speak the language of their class and region, as white Britons do. (Nor can such structures explain why there is no such thing as black French, black Portuguese, or black Spanish.) The speech patterns of Afro-Americans testify not to the greater strength of African linguistic survivals among Afro-Americans as compared to Afro-Caribbean migrants in Britain but to the greater prevalence and rigidity of segregated schooling, housing, and sociability, especially among the working class, in the United States, as compared to Britain. Racism, in other words, not race.
Once the race-racism evasion has seated monstrosity in the realm of the normal, corollary evasions follow. Two scholars, one of them a member of the Civil Rights Commission, have defended the disfranchisement of law-abiding Afro-Floridians during the presidential election of 2000 against the charge of racism. They do so on the grounds that a higher proportion of Afro-Floridians than Euro-Floridians have felony convictions and are therefore not entitled to vote. No matter that law-abiding Afro-Floridians have exactly the same rate of felony convictions (zero) as law-abiding Euro-Floridians, and that punishing one person for another’s conduct negates the basic premises of a law-governed democratic society. Under cover of the evasion that attributes race to the disfranchised rather than racism to the disfranchiser, the authors have smuggled in a charter for collective punishment. Presumably, they would not defend stripping citizens of the right to vote because of felony convictions among persons sharing their occupation, hobbies, astrological sign, or shoe size. But, according to these scholars’ reasoning, innocent persons may legitimately be punished for the conduct of those who share their ancestry—which is racism by definition.
Another widely read author defends collective punishment even more explicitly while discussing the refusal of cab drivers to stop for black passengers. He calls the refusal “rational discrimination” and concludes that it is based on “group differences which are real.” He concedes that such discrimination, while rational, may not be moral, not, however, because it violates basic rules of justice by punishing one person for the alleged misconduct of another but because it “penalizes minorities for physical characteristics that they cannot change.” The issue, in that view, is intolerance rather than injustice.
Tolerance itself, generally surrounded by a beatific glow in American political discussion, is another evasion born of the race-racism switch. Its shallowness as a moral or ethical precept is plain. (“Tolerate thy neighbor as thyself” is not quite what Jesus said, Edward Mendelson, a colleague in the Columbia English department, reminds students in his classes.) As a political precept, tolerance has unimpeachably anti-democratic credentials, dividing society into persons entitled to claim respect as a right and persons obliged to beg tolerance as a favor. The curricular fad for “teaching tolerance” underlines the anti-democratic implications. A teacher identifies for the children’s benefit characteristics (ancestry, appearance, sexual orientation, and the like) that count as disqualifications from full and equal membership in human society. These, the children learn, they may overlook, in an act of generous condescension—or refuse to overlook, in an act of ungenerous condescension. Tolerance thus bases equal rights on benevolent patronization rather than democratic first principles, much as a parent’s misguided plea that Jason “share” the swing or seesaw on a public playground teaches Jason that his gracious consent, rather than another child’s equal claim, determines the other child’s access.
Tolerance as an alternative to equality is so firmly rooted in good intentions that practitioners fail to recognize the evil. Reed Whittemore probably felt no pang about claiming, in a review of Ralph Ellison’s Shadow and Act, that, by writing the book, Ellison had “decided it was possible to join the human race, and so did so.” Whittemore contrasted Ellison favorably with white artists who were “trying to secede” from the human race. White persons, he implied, are human beings until they choose not to be; black persons are not human beings until they earn the privilege, one at a time, by performing a meritorious act (such as writing a book Whittemore approves of).
Hannah Arendt illustrates another corollary of the race-racism evasion by insisting that the denial of human and citizenship rights is divisible into parts, some worthier of condemnation than others, and prohibition of intermarriage the worst of all. But what makes prohibition of marriage across the color line worse than forbidding someone to vote, sit on a jury, move about freely, get an adequate education, express political views without fear, or even enjoy safety of life and limb? Arendt was probably tempted into error by a belief that intermarriage would promote assimilation, which would eliminate the problem by eliminating the problem people. Such a solution appears logical if one attributes the problem to the race of the prey, rather than the racism of the predator.
The historical precedents have long since discredited that solution, in any case. The descendants of Portuguese and Spanish Jews who had converted to Christianity under duress during the fifteenth century were still “New Christians” to their persecutors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Under the statutes of purity of blood (estatutos de limpieza de sangre), candidates for posts in government, the military, cathedrals and chapters, monastic and religious orders, and universities had to be certified as free from Jewish ancestry through elaborate genealogical searches. Persons whose families had been Christian for centuries could find themselves stigmatized by the discovery of a remote Jewish antecedent unknown to them; and the disability extended, with greater or lesser efficiency depending on the time and place, to the American colonies of Spain and Portugal. The Jews’ very compliance with their persecutors’ demand for conversion kindled greater anger against them, their enemies interpreting centuries of Christian practice as deep cover for a crypto-Jewish menace boring from within.
Whether called assimilation or amalgamation, the goal of blending in the discordant element operates on the rationale rather than on the problem. Framing questions in those terms guarantees that the answers will remain entangled in racist ideology. For example, a pair of sociologists investigating the degree of Afro-Caribbean immigrants’ assimilation into American society unquestioningly adopt as their measure of assimilation the rate of intermarriage between Afro-Caribbeans and native white Americans, rather than the much higher rate of intermarriage between Afro-Caribbeans and native Afro-Americans. The American ancestry of most native Afro-Americans goes back to the seventeenth or eighteenth century, whereas native white Americans are apt to be only first or second-generation Americans. Racism thus enters unannounced and unnoticed, to define eleventh or twelfth-generation black natives as less American than the children and grandchildren of white immigrants.
The race evasion compounded by the equation of race with identity explains why the siren song of multi-racialism attracts so many people. The point is best approached by way of a question: What is wrong with racism? One answer, whose historical pedigree includes such antecedents as David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, W. E. B. Du Bois, A. Phillip Randolph, and Martin Luther King, Jr., holds that racism is wrong because it violates the basic rights of human being and citizen. Most decent people would assent to that view, if it were put to them in so many words. But the ever-widening campaign for recognition of a “multi-racial” category of Americans suggests a different answer. What is wrong with racism, in that view, is that it subjects persons of provably mixed ancestry to the same stigma and penalties as persons of unambiguously African ancestry. The anguish of the Jean Toomer or the Anatole Broyard rests, ultimately, on a thwarted hope to be excused, on grounds of mixed ancestry, from a fate deemed entirely appropriate for persons of unambiguous African ancestry.
Such a view, for all the aura of progressivism and righteousness that currently surrounds multi-racialism, is not a cure for racism but a particularly ugly manifestation of it. For Jean Toomer and Anatole Broyard, as for today’s apostles of multi-racialism, it is mixed ancestry, rather than human status, that makes racism wrong in their case. If there is pathos in their predicament (bathos seems closer to the mark), it arises from that fact that American racism, while making no room for fractional pariahs, vaguely supposes that, logically, it ought to. White Americans have conceded little space for those claiming immunity by reason of mixed ancestry, and generally regarding passing as a particularly insidious form of deceit. The Anatole Broyard who passes without detection is like a leper who neglects to strike his clapper dish and shout “Unclean!” before approaching an inhabited area. Still, a latent strain of sentimentality has sympathized with the predicament of the person of mixed African and European ancestry: the tragic mulatto of racist literature and pop culture. Consistency seems to require that injustice be visited on the pariahs according to their quantum of pariah blood. But the imitation-of-life, tragic-mulatto plot-line works and appears tragic only if the audience simultaneously accepts two conflicting views, both racist: on the one hand, that the penalty for African taint should be proportioned to its extent; on the other, that there can be no such thing as a fractional pariah: one either is or is not.
Persons of mixed background like Jean Toomer, Anatole Broyard, and Tiger Woods, along with their well-meaning but misguided champions, have reached the understanding that the categories imposed by racism are too restrictive to fit persons of ambiguous ancestry. They have not reached the deeper understanding that these categories are too restrictive to fit anyone. They were too tight for Amadou Diallo, the African immigrant mistakenly killed by New York City police officers, and he died of the constriction. Diallo probably defined himself as a member of his nation or tribe or lineage, rather than as “black.” But, under the American system, it was the officers’ definition of him, not his definition of himself, that held the balance between life and death.
Racism is a qualitative, not a quantitative, evil. Its harm does not depend on how many people fall under its ban but on the fact that any at all do. And the first principle of racism is belief in race, even if the believer does not deduce from that belief that the member of a race should be enslaved or disfranchised or shot on sight by trigger-happy police officers or asked for identification when crossing the campus of the university where he teaches, just as believing that the sun travels around the earth is geocentrism, whether or not one deduces from the belief that persons affirming the contrary should be hauled before an inquisition and forced to recant. Once everyone understands that African descent is not race and that African ancestry differs from others only in the racism with which Euro-America has stigmatized it, the problem changes: what is needed is not a more varied set of words and categories to represent racism but a politics to uproot it.
For helpful comments and suggestions, I would like to thank Karen E. Fields, Winston A. James, Michael R. West, Gregory C. Baggett, and Junko Isono Kato.
Barbara J. Fields is a professor of history at Columbia University. She earned her doctorate at Yale University, where she studied under C. Vann Woodward. She is the author of Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland during the Nineteenth Century (1985), which won the AHA’s John H. Dunning Prize. She is the co-author of The Destruction of Slavery (1985), Slaves No More: Three Essays on Emancipation and the Civil War (1992), and Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War (1992), for which she shared the Lincoln Prize. From 1992 to 1997, she was a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow. Her book in progress concerns the politics, ethics, and craft of writing about human affairs.
1� See Winston James, “Explaining Afro-Caribbean Social Mobility in the United States: Beyond the Sowell Thesis,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 44 (April 2002): 218–62; Roy Bryce-Laporte, “Black Immigrants: The Experience of Invisibility and Inequality,” Journal of Black Studies 3 (1972): 29–56.
2� Eric Hobsbawm tells a version of this universal joke in “On the Revival of Narrative,” in Hobsbawm, On History (London, 1997), 191. David A. Hollinger, “Amalgamation and Hypodescent: The Question of Ethnoracial Mixture in the History of the United States,” AHR 108 (December 2003): 1389, 1386.
3� Barbara J. Fields, “Whiteness, Racism, and Identity,” International Labor and Working-Class History 60 (Fall 2001): 48.
4� Martha Biondi, To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City (Cambridge, Mass., 2003), 115; Richard Cohen, “Profile of a Killing,” Washington Post (March 16, 2000): A27.
5� Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia (1787; Chapel Hill, N.C., 1982).
6� “Those holding liberty to be inalienable and holding Afro-Americans as slaves were bound to end by holding race to be a self-evident truth.” Barbara Jeanne Fields, “Slavery, Race, and Ideology in the United States of America,” New Left Review 181 (May/June 1990): 101.
7� For example, in dismissing the claim of the Indians’ inferiority, Jefferson insists on the importance of investigating them in a proper context: “[T]o form a just estimate of their genius and mental powers, more facts are wanting, and great allowance to be made for those circumstances of their situation that call for a display of particular talents only.” But, in pronouncing black people devoid of the talent Indians display in handicraft arts and oratory, he sees no comparable need for context, asserting baldly that “[i]t would be unfair to follow them to Africa for this investigation.” Jefferson, Notes, Query VI, 62, and Query XIV, 139.
8� Jefferson’s ruminations about the mammoth and his vindication of the American Indians appear in Notes, Query VI, “Productions Mineral, Vegetable and Animal.” His speculation about the Negroes’ biological inferiority appears in Query XIV, “Laws.”
9� Jefferson, Notes, Query XVIII, 162–63. See Lewis P. Simpson’s remarkable analysis in “Land, Slaves, and Mind: The High Culture of the Jeffersonian South,” in Simpson, Mind and the American Civil War: A Meditation on Lost Causes (Baton Rouge, La., 1989), esp. 25–28.
10� Jefferson, Notes, 163. Simpson argues that Query XVIII marks a crisis in Jefferson’s faith in the capacity of reason to solve the problems of human society and human history; see “Land, Slaves, and Mind,” 25–28.
11� Michael R. West uses the expression in “The Education of Booker T. Washington: The Negro Problem, Democracy, and the Idea of Race Relations” (forthcoming, Columbia University Press).
12� Examples include The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class; Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigration and the Alchemy of Race; Race, Rock, and Elvis; Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory; Appalachians and Race: The Mountain South from Slavery to Segregation; Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1789–1860; The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post–Civil War North, 1865–1901; Race, War, and Surveillance: African Americans and the United States Government during World War I.
13� Scholars often identify the truism that race is “socially constructed” as the argument of my essay “Slavery, Race, and Ideology in the United States of America.” But (minus the tedious language), that is the article’s starting point, not its conclusion.
14� Fields, “Whiteness, Racism, and Identity,” 48.
15� In this, they are not alone. The noted scholar Steven Pinker, determined to salvage some vestige of biological race from the “popular” view that “races do not exist but are purely social constructions,” commits the common error of confusing genetic distinctions with racial distinctions. (See The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature [New York, 2002], 143–44.) He thereby twists a scientifically justifiable view of race as a statistical abstraction—that is, an imaginary entity comparable to the per capita annual income or the body mass index—to fit the old and discredited view of race as a group of people defined by particular characteristics. He mentions Tay-Sachs and sickle-cell anemia, often tagged by true believers as racial characteristics. But both are, in fact, uncharacteristic, afflicting only a minority even within the populations most affected by them. On Pinker’s own showing, statistical generalizations about “the large inbred families we call races” no more define individuals or groups than does average height or per capita income in a person’s county of residence. Races “exist,” therefore, only in the sense that the equator, the body mass index, or the per capital annual income “exists.”
16� Fields, “Slavery, Race, and Ideology,” 97–98.
17� Fields, “Whiteness, Racism, and Identity,” 48–51. Rogers Brubaker and Frederick Cooper, in “Beyond ‘Identity,'” Theory and Society 29 (2000): 1–47, pours a needed bucket of cold water on the ubiquitous concept of “identity.”
18� Raymond Williams, Keywords (London, 1988), 87–93; and Terry Eagleton, The Idea of Culture (Oxford, 2000), explore some of the byways in the history and politics of the word and the many things the word has stood for.
19� Barbara J. Fields, “Origins of the New South and the Negro Question,” Journal of Southern History 67 (November 2001): 824–26. See Mervyn Alleyne, “A Linguistic Perspective on the Caribbean,” in Caribbean Contours, Sidney W. Mintz and Sally Price, eds. (Baltimore, 1985), 155–79. Alleyne notes the presence of creole languages in the Francophone Caribbean, their absence in the Hispanophone Caribbean, and their presence in some parts of the Anglophone Caribbean and absence in others.
20� Abigail Thernstrom and John R. Lott, Jr., Letters, New York Times, June 1, 2002.
21� It is symptomatic of the abrogation of democracy by racism that the United States maintains a penal system in which arrest, charge, conviction, and sentence depend heavily on one’s ancestry and that, alone among supposedly advanced democracies, it permanently disfranchises persons who have served out their time in prison.
22� Dinesh D’Souza, The End of Racism (New York, 1995), 245–88. Thernstrom, Lott, and D’Souza appear untroubled that their defense of group discrimination contradicts individualism, which otherwise ranks among their highest political values.
23� Reed Whittemore, “Beating That Boy Again,” New Republic (November 14, 1964): 26. Michael R. West kindly drew my attention to this instance of well-meant racism.
24� Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Assimilation and Racial Anti-Semitism: The Iberian and the German Models (New York, 1982), 11–14, 22, 44n; C. R. Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire, 1415–1825 (London, 1969), 266–72, 333–34; Stuart B. Schwartz, “Colonial Brazil, c. 1580–c. 1750: Plantations and Peripheries,” in The Cambridge History of Latin America, Vol. 2, Leslie Bethell, ed. (Cambridge, 1984), 494–96. Estatutos de limpieza de sangre also policed the color line in Latin America. For example, see Jay Kinsbruner, Not of Pure Blood: The Free People of Color and Racial Prejudice in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico (Durham, N.C., 1996), 36–37, 120, 128.
25� Suzanne Model and Gene Fisher, “Unions between Blacks and Whites: England and the US Compared,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 25 (September 2002): 728–54.
26� Jean Toomer, described by one scholar as “a signal light for the writers of the Harlem Renaissance,” seethed at publishers’ expectation that he should go on producing what they and their readers would recognize as “Negro” literature. Eventually, he denied outright any trace of African ancestry. See Darwin Turner, “Introduction,” The Wayward and the Seeking: A Collection of Writings by Jean Toomer (Washington, D.C., 1982), 11–12; and his introduction to Toomer, Cane (New York, 1988), 136. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., discusses Broyard’s explicitly racist contempt for black people in Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man (New York, 1997), 201–02.
By BARBARA J. FIELDS