2824Re: THE FIVE (5) TYPES OF "CREOLE"-CULTURAL GROUPS
- May 14, 2007There are a few things in these articles
that I wanted to bring attention to:
The Haitian Migrations that began in 1809 doubled
the population of the Free People of Color (FPC).
There were already a lot of Free People of Color (FPC)
which was a byproduct of Spanish Colonial policies,
but it did strengthen the group considerably.
I mention this because the reading gives the
impression that New Orleans FPC came primarily from
Haiti and that there weren't many FPC initially.
The intense Colorism and Color Stratification of
Creoles of Color was a response to loss of status
from the Civil War and Jim Crow which began setting
in during the early part of the 20th century.
Although Colorism did exist, Class and
Refinement was more important than skin
color to the Antebellum Creoles of Color.
It was the racial environment of post-Reconstruction
in which extreme Colorism flourished.
Again, it was still "better" to be closer to
White, but it was in no way as pronounced
as it became in the more recent history.
I also wanted to make the distinction that the five (5)
types of Creole Cultural groups are not specifically
talking about Louisiana but the whole United States.
This is distinct from the Louisiana Creole Culture
because their definitions in no way describe the
Racial and Ethnic group dynamics of Louisiana.
To apply these categories to Louisiana is very
very problematic, because although all of the
Ethnicities mentioned are present in Louisiana,
these divisions didn't exist in the way
that the five (5) types describe.
To apply the physical descriptions
to Louisiana makes even less sense.
Anyway, sorry to be nitpicky on the article,
but I wanted to let y'all know, that there
were a few spots in the articles that I found
to be misrepresentations or problematic.
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":
"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.
THE "COLORED CREOLE CONTRADICTION"
[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 (FPC) 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 'statu'.
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 ...
THE '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.
The '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
(FPC) 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...
The '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 (FPC) 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.
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 owners 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 Creole person)...
- << Previous post in topic