The Melungeons Black-White People Who Live In Appalachia, What!
Copyright 2012 VVeasey Publishing
People who make a big issue about race, about being pure this or that race have been brainwashed as children growing up in racially polarized mental environments, to think there are sharp divisions that separate people into nice neat racial categories.
Geneticists and those of us who can see beyond those racially-tinged lenses know that, that's an illusion.
Some people use race like it means species and think there are different species of people. This is not true. If it were true that we are of different species we wouldn't be able to create babies with one another which we all know we can do.
Tainted Racial Lens
These tainted racial lens we view each other through, started when various European countries started participating in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. For various reasons they preferred the people they enslaved to come from West African countries.This lead to origin of the racial concept that whites are superior to blacks and their descendants, that we've had to deal with since then down to today. But I digress.
The point is that many people who think they are “pure” white actually have a mixed racial heritage but don't know it. Many have the dreaded African ancestor in the up line that they descend from, but wouldn't want to know it. And I can see why. There's been so much negative propaganda written about African people and their descendants to justify enslaving them for 400 years. Who would want to be black or descended from blacks. At one point in history Even Americn blacks didn't want to be black.
During 1920s right up to the black is beautiful movement of 1960s many blacks when talking about their racial heritage would be quick to point out that they had Native American Indians in their racial background or some other non black ethnic groups. They wanted to be anything but pure black. The so-called “One drop rule” created by slave traders, said anyone who could be proven to have or even thought to have “one drop” of African blood in them, was black no-matter how white they looked.
Many people who had “black” blood but were light enough to pass for white, passed for white. They would claim to have “Mediterranean” or Portuguese blood to account for any brown or dark tint in their skin color.
It's really a shame that because of the falsities created by the slave traders about blacks to justify enslaving them, caused those who had the dreaded “black” blood to hide it and deny that heritage to ovoid being deprived of their liberty and forced into slavery.
The Point of The Hub
This leads me to the point of this hub.
There are families of dark-skinned "white" people called Melungeons living in Appalachia, whose origins has been somewhat of a mystery. Some thought they were of Portuguese, Turkish , or Gypsies heritage. But a DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy has finally brought the truth to light. The evidence says the Melungeons are the descendants of Black African men and white women of northern or central European origin. And of course those who consider themselves Melungeon don't like the sound or the taste of that soda.
G. Reginald Daniel, a sociologist at the University of California-Santa Barbara who has spent more than 30 years tracing the history of multiracial groups in the U.S. said the study is more evidence that race-mixing in the U.S. isn't a new phenomenon. "All of us are multiracial," "It is recapturing a more authentic U.S. History."
And that's a good point and my point. We should celebrate the real racial heritage of America. But for 400 years all of us and people around the world have been so affected by racist propaganda, the doctrine of “white supremacy” and the “inferiority' of Blacks, to justify slavery, that we're racially polarized and only identify with our own little racial sector.
People Were Upset By The Study
Roberta Estes, the lead researcher for DNA study said "There were a whole lot of people upset by this study," "They just knew they were Portuguese, or Native American." (Just like those blacks who tried to claim native American heritage)
But we're all of mixed racial heritage and that's wouldn't be seen as such a bad thing if it wasn't for the negative racial attitudes that are still being perpetrated on us and our children, to this day.
Researchers think that the Melungeons were probably the result of intermarriages between black and white indentured servants living in Virginia during the mid-1600s, before the introduction of the slave trade.
They think that when laws were passed to prevent blacks and whites from intermixing, the various families intermarried and eventually migrated to the mountains of East Tennessee. They passed themselves off as being Portuguese so they could retain their freedom and all the privileges that go along with being white (just as many blacks did).
Don't Want Tainted Blood
There was a Tennessee court case in 1874 against, Martha Simmerman, a Melungeon woman whose right to her inheritance was being contested because she was believed to have Negro blood. Her attorney, argued that Simmerman's family was really descended from ancient Phoenicians who had migrated to Portugal and then North America.
Years later Simmerman's attorney Wrote about the case stating, "Our Southern high-bred people will never tolerate on equal terms any person who is even remotely tainted with negro blood, but they do not make the same objection to other brown or dark-skinned people, like the Spanish, the Cubans, the Italians, etc." (Read my hub "Are Blacks the Cursed Descendants of Ham for an explanation of this "tainted" blood)
Jack Goins another researcher who identifies himself as Melungeon, had relatives who were listed as Portuguese on an 1880 census. He had a DNA test done and was “unpleasantly” surprised when the test showed he had African ancestry. He was so "surprised" that he had his DNA tested three times and every time they confirmed he was of African descent.
No one knows how the name Melungeon originated but it's known that it was used as a racial slur by white Appalachia families who suspected the Melungions were possibly of mixed race.
Wayne Winkler, past president of the Melungeon Heritage Association. Says, "It's sometimes embarrassing to see the lengths your ancestors went to hide their African heritage, but look at the consequences" "They suffered anyway because of the suspicion."
He's right. It is a shame that the Melungeons had to hide their racial heritage and deny their ancestors to avoid racial hatred and bigotry, They hid it so well that their descendants don't even know their true ancestral history.
This is the ugly legacy of racism and white supremacy that many whites don't want to see or look at. Because they're white they feel they have to defend themselves and their “race” against how this ugly racial history makes them look and feel.
But they shouldn't feel guilty. If they don't share those ugly racial views and feelings in the present. They have nothing to feel guilty about or to be ashamed about.
Just because you're white doesn't mean that you're guilty of what other white people did in the past or currently, if you don't currently share their views.
So if you're one of those people, let go of the guilt and identification with the legacy of racist whites, because you happen to be white.
And you will feel much better and see much clearer. And you and the world will be a better place for it.
Words Of Wisdom From Paleoanthropologist Richard Leaky
I'll end with the words of paleoanthropologist Richard Leaky, "If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it's solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive, "then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges."
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