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Article

mulatto  

Peter Martin

The word ‘mulatto’ is derived from the Arabic muwallad, which originally referred to persons who were not ‘genuine’ Arabs, especially individuals born of black–white ‘misalliances’. With the beginning of the transatlantic African slave trade in the fifteenth century, the word mulatto first found its way into Portuguese, and then into almost all European languages, as the term for offspring of mixed European (Caucasian) and African (Negroid) parentage. (Only Afrikaans used the word ‘Bastard’ for such persons.)

The social position of these half breeds varied from place to place and over time On the sugar plantations of Latin America in several Caribbean colonies and in southern and western Africa where white masters faced an overwhelming number of black workers in bondage to them the mulatto and his or her descendants formed a buffer zone between blacks and whites that was indispensable for maintaining the authority and prosperity of the Europeans ...

Article

racism  

H. Augstein

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term describes ‘the theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race’. The word itself is rather recent, probably going back only to the 1930s. There are two attitudes towards the concept of racism: one says that ‘racism’ is usefully applied only where it is derived from a perception of race and the ensuing fixation on ‘typical’ racial traits. In this sense ‘racism’ describes the racialist attitudes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, deriving from the merger of physical anthropology und ethnography on the background of the idea of evolution. Another school has argued that racism consists in intentional practices and unintended processes or consequences of attitudes towards the ethnic ‘other’. According to this line of thought, it is not necessary to possess a concept of ‘race’ to entertain prejudices towards other peoples.

As the term was coined in reaction ...