The Superiority of the Mulatto

The Superiority of the Mulatto

American Journal of Sociology
Volume 23, Number 1 (July, 1917)
pages 83-106

E. B. Reuter (1880-1946)

Perhaps the most significant fact regarding the Negro people in America is the degree to which the race has undergone differen- tiation during the period of contact with European civilization. From the low and relatively uniform state of West African culture there has come to be a degree of cultural heterogeneity not else- where observable among a primitive people. While the bulk of the race in America is as yet not many steps removed from the African standards, there has nevertheless arisen a considerable middle class, which conforms in most essential respects to the conventional middle-class standards of American people, as well as a small intellectual group, some members of which have succeeded in coming within measurable distance of the best models of European culture. Within the racial group in America at the present time there are represented the antipodal degrees of human culture: at the one extreme are the standards of West Africa; at the other, those of Western Europe.

A study of the more advanced groups shows a great preponderance of individuals of mixed blood and a dearth, almost an entire absence, of Negroes of pure blood. In the numerous lists of exceptional Negroes, published from time to time by Negroes as well as by white students of race matters, there is a regular recurrence of a few names; the various lists are virtually repetitions. The dozen or score of men everywhere mentioned as having attained some degree of eminence are, in all but one or two cases, men of more Caucasian than Negro blood. In a recently published compilation of one hundred and thirty-nine of the supposedly best-known American Negroes there are not more than four men of pure Negro blood, and one of these, at least, owes his prominence to the fact of his black skin and African features rather than to any demonstrated native superiority. Of the twelve Negroes on whom the degree of doctor of philosophy has been conferred by reputable American universities, eleven at least were men of mixed blood. Among the professional classes of the race the mulattoes outclass the black Negroes perhaps ten to one, and the ratio is yet higher if only men of real attainments be considered. In medicine the ratio is probably fifteen to one, in literature3 the ratio is somewhat higher, on the stage it is probably thirteen to one, in music the ratio is at least twelve to one. In art no American Negro of full blood has so far found a place among the successful. In politics, the ministry, and other occupations in which success is in no way conditioned by education or ability the proportion of mulattoes to black Negroes is somewhat less, though still high. In politics the ratio is at least seven to one, and even in the ministry it is not less than five to one. The successful business men of the race are in nearly all cases men of a bi-racial ancestry. Among the successful men in every field of human effort which Negroes have entered there is the same disproportion between the numbers of pure- and mixed-blood individuals…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,