On Mixed-Racial Isolates

On Mixed-Racial Isolates

American Anthropologist
Volume 76, Issue 2 (June 1974)
pages 343–344
DOI: 10.1525/aa.1974.76.2.02a00190

G. Harry Stopp, Jr.
Louisiana State University

In recent articles on American isolates (American Anthropologist 74: 693-7 34) Beale, and Dane and Griessman predicted change for “mixed-racial” communities in the United States stemming from the recent civil rights legislation. They alluded to “Red Power” movements or associations and coalitions of some kind as mechanisms for such possible divergence from past models of behavior.

These gentlemen have presented an excellent outline of the problems many “mixed-racial” isolates have had to face. Dane and Griessman’s North Carolina example could serve as a model of almost every isolate group in the United States. Beale’s chronology of group identity assumption gives us insight into the time-depth most isolate groups will exhibit. Both articles, however, lean too heavily on the “Indian” identity as both the isolate groups’ own solution to its controversial background and as the ultimate role of all isolates.

If we assume American isolates to be “tri-racial,” I believe we will see that their reactions to racial problems have been, and continue to be, three-fold. The Lumbee have chosen to be Red; the community around them has accepted this; so, we could consider the Lumbee as Indians. With the advent of recent civil rights legislation, I expect that the Lumbee, and any other isolate group that has assumed a Red identity, will remain a cohesive group, possibly under a banner of Red Power. The Creoles of Mobile have, on the other hand, often accepted the mantle of the Black man. Bond (1931:556) reported this, and I have seen evidence of this also in my brief acquaintance with the Mobile Creoles. I can only assume that, with the advent of civil rights legislation, this group will begin to identify with the Black Power movement (though not necessarily on a radical basis). I would expect any isolate group that has accepted a Black identity to maintain cohesiveness as a Black group…

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