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An Anti-O.D.R. Essay -- written by Frederick Douglass

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  • multiracialbookclub
    THE FUTURE OF THE COLORED RACE -- written by Frederick Douglass [Frederick Douglass] It is quite impossible, at this early date, to say with any decided
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 28, 2006



      -- written by Frederick Douglass

      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
      is constantly-increasing …

      If This-Blending-Of-The-Two-Races
      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.

      Frederick Douglass

      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.


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