Thanks for the informative piece on Miscegenation.I'd like to share my thoughts about the remarks made by Booker T. Washington.
In 1900 Booker T. Washington summed up the practice when he remarked:
[It is a fact that, if a person is known to have one percent of African blood in his veins, he ceases to be a white man. The ninety-nine percent of Caucasian blood does not weigh by the side of the one percent of African blood. The white blood counts for nothing. The person is a Negro every time...]
So if I'm understanding this correctly, there are many Caucasians who are and or could be considered as African American if it were not for their physical appearances? Or African Americans who, if not for their physical appearances are or could be considered white?
I've come across numerous queries on message boards posted by people who identified themselves as white/caucasian in search of their Native American roots. Most of these queries have been based soley on family folklore and relatives with "olive complexions". Similarly, I've also come across queries made by people who identified themselves as "African Americans", whose query was based on family folklore and because some had straight hair, light complexions, etc.
What I find most interesting, is that rarely, if ever,the white/caucasians, consider the possibility that "olive complexions" that appear in their family lines could be the result of their ancestors mixing with African Americans. Or the "straight hair and light complexions" that appear amongst African Americans, the result of mixing with Europeans. Both groups seem to only consider the Native American folklore passed down although they can not find any "proof" of those claims. I wonder why....
Just this past Friday night, July 16, 2010, I saw a vey interesting episode that aired on Dateline NBC, "Did You See That". "
The show featured the findings of a"Psychologist Dr. Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptics magazine, explains how our brains can sometime deceive us. When a group of volunteers are asked to perform several tasks, will their brains trick them?"
It talked about the power of expectations, gave examples of the invisible man, change blindness, unattentional blindness, intentional blindness and gave several examples of how we are programmed to see, hear, believe, etc. what we want.
There was an example in which customers came into a store of some sort, and upon approaching the clerk at the counter, were asked if they'd like to fill out a survey. If they said yes, the clerk asked them to wait while they bent down, below the counter top to retrieve the survey.
However, a different clerk would appear and give the customer the blank survey and $5 for filling it out then asking the customer to step to the side to fill it out. A Harvard graduate who had a 1600 on her SAT's was one of the customers. Long story short, the customers were not aware that a switch up had occured at the counter.
What does this have to do with genealogy? To quote DR. MICHAEL SHERMER: "That's an example of this inattentional blindness, where you're attending to one thing so focused that you miss something big, like the alarms going off, or just look out the window" Another way to put it, can't see the truth which is looking you straight in the face while focusing on "wishful" genealogy. Another very interesting point Dr. Shermer acknowledged was that "Of course, not everyone was fooled".
Just goes to show, we can post whatever we want in terms of false or undocumented genealogy, family history claims but what happens when another living descendant, or several come along and challenge the false claims being made? A better question we might want to ask ourselves is "Is this the type of legacy (false) I want to leave for my descendants to untangled?
I just read a story about a person who created many false genealogies for people. Most of the clients interviewed denied having any knowledge or involvement with the "shams", but they admit they were paying this professional researcher.I can't recall who the researcher was, or if there's some investigative group that follows these types of things, but if I find it I'll post it here.