1035The Five (5) Types of 'Creole'-Cultural Groups
- May 3, 2006
THE FIVE (5) TYPES OF "CREOLE"-CULTURAL GROUPS
Listed below are several articles which contain some
information on the MGM-Mixed* `Cultural' group
both commonly known and referred to as "Creole".
It might be of interest to note that there are five
(5) different categories of "American Creoles":
ARTICLE: "THE CREOLES & THE
OTHER `FPC' GROUPS IN THE USA"
Free People of Color (F.P.C.) were Africans, Creoles of Color
(New World-Born People of African descent), and persons
of Mixed African, European, and or Native American descent.
Although the term "Creole" has been debated over the past
100 years, under Spanish Colonial Louisiana and the early
American period, the word "Creole" was used to describe
slaves native to the New World and by F.P.C. or Creoles of Color.
Use of the term by whites to describe themselves was inconsistent and
probably did not become common until after the large influx of
Americans arrived in the city after the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.
In Louisiana , the first F.P.C. came from France or its
Colonies in the Caribbean and in West Africa .
The majority of these slaves were Africans
and unmixed Blacks who bought their freedom.
Later on this initial group would be augmented by Haitian refugees and
other F.P.C. from the Caribbean, Mexico , Central and South America ,
other parts of the United States, and from around the world.
The reason for the high number of F.P.C. in New Orleans was
largely due to the influx of Haitian Refugees into the city in 1809.
ARTICLE: THE "COLORED
[T]he notion of "Creole" was socially constructed by whites
and coloreds, such that the definition of Creole varied
depending on the racial background of the definer.
The colored Creoles, or gens de couleur libre, were a separate group
of Creoles who occupied a particular racial position in New Orleans
Creole society and are a perfect example of
a marginalized group that faced strict external
Definitions from Anglo Americans after the Civil War.
After whites characterized colored Creoles as "black,"
the gens de couleur libre created their own society,
defining themselves as a colored Creole community.
Between 1800 and 1860, the gens de couleur libre were
a socially- and self-defined French ethnic group.
They prided themselves on being descendants
of a free, well-cultured people.
The gens de couleur libre occupied a relatively unstable
position in New Orleans between 1800 and 1860.
Their community was both dependent on and
independent of the white and black communities.
Free people of color used many gradations of color
as the standard of respectability, but the white
community was used as the standard of beauty.
Some colored planters owned slaves, whose Labor
naturally contributed to the wealth and prestige of
the planter within the gens de couleur libre community.
They also used blacks to contrast themselves, as they
were a constant reminder of their slave origins.
In this manner, colored Creoles used blacks to
gauge how far they had progressed from slavery.
This ideology was further manifested in an
emphasis on facial features and skin color and tone.
Although the gens de couleur libre did not desire to be
white, they participated in the gradual lightening of their skin.
Their community operated within a caste system
based on terminology, "each meaning one more
generation's elevation toward perfection in white blood."
Thus, colored Creoles imposed a value
hierarchy on physical appearance:
the whiter a person was, the better his/her status.
This apparent confusion is better known
as the colored Creole contradiction.
This identity also came with a price:
other Creoles of color were oppressed or shunned
because they did not look "white" enough.
Again, the emphasis on light skin in the gens de couleur libre
community did not translate into a desire to actually be white.
Whites enjoyed full social equality and freedom under
Louisiana law, and the gens de couleur libre wished to partake
of those same freedoms and equalities but were excluded full
participation because of their varying degrees of black blood.
COLORED CREOLES DISLIKED BEING DEFINED AS
MULATTO because of its origins, from the Spanish
word for mule, which they perceived as an offense.
MULATTO WAS ALSO A SOCIALLY-CONSTRUCTED
TERM THAT WAS GENERALLY APPLIED TO ALL
MIXED BLACKS in the United States, especially
to the gens de couleur libre, without their consent.
Colored Creoles believed that they were neither black nor white.
Thus, they occupied an uncertain region somewhere in between.
White attitudes towards the gens de couleur libre
can be best understood in further historical analysis
of their treatment in the American period of Louisiana .
The American period is more demonstrative of the general beliefs
held about free people of color than the French and Spanish eras.
During the American period, a few years before the Civil War,
the gens de couleur libre BECAME THE VICTIMS OF SOCIAL
DISCRIMINATION IN EVERY PART OF THEIR
LIVES DUE TO WHITE FEAR OF RACIAL EQUALITY.
SEGREGATION MADE WHITES FEEL
SUPERIOR AND COMFORTABLE.
Colored Creoles were regarded as dangerous by whites
because of their ideas of freedom, education, and
"constant influence over slaves."
THE HOSTILITY WAS EVENTUALLY TRANSFORMED
INTO AN ANTI-FREE PERSON OF COLOR MOVEMENT.
White racism and prejudice was detrimental to the colored Creole community
and the effects of these various attitudes on Creoles of color was manifested
by an increasing emphasis on race rather than socio-economic class.
Their unique "position" between blacks and whites lasted for only fifty years.
WHAT DOES THEIR SITUATION REVEAL ABOUT SELF-
PERCEIVED, AND EXTERNALLY APPLIED IDENTITY?
For nineteenth century Creoles of color, their identities
were informed by whites and in part by blacks.
External influences mattered very little before the Civil
War, because they created their own institutions and
environments that defined for themselves who they were.
These institutions reinforced self-perceptions about skin
color and socially prescribed colored Creole culture.
But, the world of the gens de couleur libre was insulated for
only a short time because the Civil War spelled their
eradication as a racially separate group of people.
To romanticize the lives of the gens de couleur libre
ultimately does their memory a great disservice.
The history of race, race relations and the formation of identity as
examined through the lives of the gens de couleur libre continue
to inform our understanding and teaching of American history.
ARTICLE: REFLECTIONS ON THE HISTORY OF
THE LOUISIANA AFRO-CREOLE POPULATION
Most scholars will already be familiar with the
Creoles [those who are] of mixed African
and French or Spanish descent, and their
distinctive situation as an intermediate caste
between the white masters and the black slaves.
Their social and legal status, even after
the American takeover of Louisiana in 1803,
resembled that of a third racial category.
THIS TOPIC HAS BECOME TIMELY OF LATE, WITH
THE CENSUS DISPUTE OVER COUNTING AFRICAN
AMERICANS OF "MULTIRACIAL" BACKGROUND,
A person who can trace his family bloodline to a direct
descendent of the Africans who settled in Louisiana during
the colonial period of African-American history.
Black Creole physical traits:
**Has predominantly African
ancestral physical traits.
THE FIRST RECORDED CREOLES IN AMERICA
HAD A MIXTURE OF ETHNICALLY
FRENCH AND AFRICAN TRAITS..
A person who can trace his family bloodline
to a direct descendent of French settlers
who settled in Louisiana during the colonial
period of French and American History.
French Creole physical traits:
**Fair to tan skin pigmentation.
**Naturally straight to wavy hair, a synthetic
look, without the use of synthetic products.
**Light brown or hazel eyes within the
family genealogical lines.
**High cheek bones, predominantly French
with some ancestral traits of other races.
A person that can trace his family bloodline to
a Creole descendant of the Colonial Creole period,
and the American Indian in American history.
Most Indian Creole have similar physical traits
to the French Creole with very little distinction.
Spaniard Creoles are for the most part
NON-EXISTENT today, due to the strong
French , Indian, and Afro / American and
White influence of the Creole community.
A person that can trace his family bloodline to
Creole and Italian and Indian descendent of the
colonial Creole period prior to the American
Civil War period in American history.
White Creole physical traits:
**Most white Creoles have
very fair skin pigmentation.
**Naturally blond hair, hazel eyes,
(some have blue eyes) and dark brown eyes.
In today's world White Creoles exist
in a White/Creole marriage union.
Over the years more predominantly French traits
have dominated the genealogy of the Creole
cultural heritage or ( or Creole person ).
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