why fear miscegenation?


The caste system of Mexico held that there was racial mobility in miscegenation. A mestizo line could move forward to become Spanish after three generations of interbreeding with pure Spaniards, whereas mixing with Africans moved one back toward the pure African.

Gary Winogrand’s Central Park Zoo photograph from 1967 plays on a buried notion of racial mobility that persists despite our knowledge of its inanity and primitiveness.

Lest we think that Winogrand just happened upon this scene, it is possible to see the way in which he shaped the circumstance of the beautiful interracial couple with their pet chimpanzees into his iconic statement by comparing it to a picture taken a minute sooner by Winograd’s friend, Tod Papageorge, who wrote a fascinating description of what transpired. Papageorge’s image seems only to be a quirky moment in New York’s Central Park

Meanwhile, interracial marriage is on the upswing. On 2/17/12, The Wall Street Journal reported that, in 2010, 15% of new marriages in the USA were cross-racial, more than double the percentage in 1980. It’s not hard to see where this tend is going: towards the normalization of inter-racial marriage and ultimately, even, toward colorblindness.

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