An Anti-O.D.R. Essay -- written by Frederick Douglass
THE FUTURE OF THE
-- written by Frederick Douglass
It is quite impossible, at this early date,
to say with any decided emphasis
what the future of the "Colored"
[i.e. Mixed-Race] people will be.
Speculations of that kind, thus far, have only
reflected the mental bias and education of the
many who have essayed to solve the problem.
We all know what the `Negro' has been as a slave.
In this relation we have his experience
before us, and can easily know the
character and qualities he has developed and
exhibited during this long and severe ordeal.
In his new relation to his environments,
we see him only in the twilight of years
of semi-freedom; for he has scarcely been
free long enough to outgrow the marks of
the lash on his back and the fetters on his limbs.
He stands before us, to-day it has come to pass
that he has not the vertical bearing of a perfect man
caused by no fault of his own, creates a resistance
to his progress which cannot well be overestimated, and
should be taken into account, when measuring his speed
in the new race of life upon which he has now entered.
As I have often said before, we should not measure the
`Negro' from the heights which the `White' race has
attained, but from the depths from which he has come
My strongest conviction as to the future of the
`Negro' therefore is, that he will not be expatriated
nor annihilated, nor will he forever remain a separate
and distinct race from the people around him, but
that he will be absorbed, assimilated, and will only
appear finally in the features of a `Blended-Race.
I cannot give at length my reasons for this
conclusion, and perhaps the reader may think
that the wish is father to the thought, and may in his
wrath denounce my conclusion as utterly impossible.
To such I would say, tarry a little, and look at the facts.
Two hundred years ago there were two
distinct and separate streams of human
life running through this country.
They stood at opposite extremes of
ethnological classification: all `Black'
on the one side, all `White' on the other.
Now, between these two extremes, an
Intermediate-"race" has arisen, which
is neither `White nor Black, neither
, and this intermediate race
were impossible we should not have
our "Colored" -- population composed
of persons of Mixed-Blood -- ranging
all the way from a dark-brown color to the
point where there is no visible admixture.
Besides, it is obvious to common sense
that there is no need of the passage of
laws, or the adoption of other devices,
to prevent what is in itself impossible.
Of course this result will not be reached
by any hurried or forced processes.
It will not arise out of any "theory" of the
"wisdom" of Such-Blending-Of-The-Two-Races
I am not a propagandist, but a prophet.
I do not say that what I say should come
to pass, but what I think is likely to
come to pass, and what is inevitable.
Races and varieties of the human family
appear and disappear, but humanity
remains and will remain forever.
The American people will one day
be truer to this idea than now, and
will say with Scotia's inspired son:
"A man's a man for a' that."
When that day shall come, they will not pervert
and sin against the verity of language as they
now do by calling a man of Mixed-Blood,
a `Negro' -- they will tell the truth.
It is only "prejudice against the `Negro'
" which calls every one -- however
nearly-connected with the `White' race,
and however remotely-connected
with the `Negro' race -- a `Negro'.
The motive is not a desire to elevate the `Negro',
but to humiliate and degrade those of Mixed-Blood;
not a desire to bring the `Negro' up, but to cast the
`Mulatto' and the `Quadroon' down by forcing
him below an arbitrary and hated color-line.
Men of Mixed-Blood in this country apply the name
"Negro" to themselves, not because it is a correct
Ethnological-Description, but to seem especially
devoted to the Black side of their [lineage].
Hence in some cases they are more noisily
opposed to the conclusion to which I have come,
than either the `White' or the honestly `Black' race.
The opposition to Amalgamation, of which we hear
so much on the part of "Colored" people, is for most
part the merest affectation, and, will never form an
impassable barrier to the union of the two varieties.
--- written by FREDERICK DOUGLASS.