The Legacy of Perceptions of Interracial Relationships as Demonstrated in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Black Literature and Events

The Legacy of Perceptions of Interracial Relationships as Demonstrated in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Black Literature and Events

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The Legacy of Perceptions of Interracial Relationships as Demonstrated in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Black Literature and Events

The history of interracial relationships in America is a painfully loaded issue which is still evolving in the consciousness of the 20th century. Because the first instances of sexual integration occurred under the institution of slavery, our understanding of them is necessarily beset with dominance, violence, and rape. Interracial relationships and the children they produced became another manifestation of power relationships between whites and blacks in our contorted social atmosphere. Even to the present day, interracial relationships are often looked upon as being propelled by impure motives and compounded by the social dynamics that have been inherited in our culture.

Literature
Events
Legacy

Literature

Francis E.W. Harper's Iola Leroy

One of the themes that is addressed by Iola Leroy is that of African Americans that can pass as white, yet reject that selfish option in order to proudly identify themselves as black. Iola Leroy, a light skinned black woman who could pass as white, has the alternative of marrying a wealthy white doctor, Dr. Gresham, and living her life as a white woman. However, although she deeply cares for him, she refuses his offer and the "comfortable" life that could have come with it. In analyzing Iola Leroy and her rejection of Dr. Gresham's proposal, the reader can come to the conclusion that it was Iola who had to deal with inner struggle, whereas Dr. Gresham was able to overlook issues of racial difference as long as Iola would not publicly admit her heritage. Dr. Gresham would have remained unaffected by the conflict she faced if she had chosen t...


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...n the end, Angie goes back home to her family and Flip goes back to his wife. Lee makes direct and severe statements about interracial relationships through this film. Essentially, he argues that in the context of modern American society, interracial relationships are motivated by curiosity as a result of historical stigma. The generation just before Angie and Flip projects fear, ignorance, and violence with regard to mixed- race unions, and so the their children's response is a reactionary one. In Lee's view, it is black women that are victimized as a result of interracial relationsahips, whereas the black man realizes his mistake and asks for forgiveness, and the white woman basically persues her life as before the incident occurred. The only real change that occurs is that the latter two have satisfied their curiosity, which was all that was at stake to begin with.

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