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(Article:) How Do We Inherit Our Skin Color?

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  • multiracialbookclub
    ... (Article) How Do We Inherit Our Skin Color? ... Of the white women in the national probability sample, 63% agreed with the belief that a white woman and a
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 6 1:58 PM
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      -------------------------------------------
      (Article) How Do We Inherit Our Skin Color?
      -------------------------------------------

      Of the white women in the national probability sample,
      63% agreed with the belief that a white woman and a
      light-complexioned Afro-American man could have a child
      with a darker complexion than the man (Belief Statement 6).

      Inasmuch as it is a genetic impossibility for
      these two people to have such a child,
      this survey finding shows that skin color inheritance
      is an often misunderstood phenomenon.

      In order to understand the process involved here,
      three different unions will be discussed - white and black,
      white and `mulatto', `mulatto' and `mulatto'.

      --- When a ["full"] white-and-a-["full"] black [reproduce],
      their child will be an intermediate combination of the
      all light skin color genes of one parent and the
      all dark skin color genes of the other parent.

      (Pigment-producing skin color genes may vary in potency
      which explains the reason several offspring of a white
      and a black may differ slightly in shade from one another.)

      This child is a true "mulatto" in the strict definition of the word,
      although it is important to note that the term is `commonly taken'
      to mean a person with `any degree' of white-and-black-admixture...

      --- When a white and a mulatto-of-any-degree
      [reproduce], the situation is different.

      The light skin color genes from the white parent
      and the light and dark skin color genes from the
      mulatto parent can combine in any combination.

      There are at least three pairs of genes at work in skin
      color inheritance so many combinations are possible.

      With reference to Belief Statement 6, as long as one
      parent is white and is contributing light skin color
      genes, the child will always be lighter in color than the
      other mulatto parent whether dark or light-complexioned.

      On extremely rare occasions interracial couples have
      produced sets of twins with very different skin colors.
      Two such cases exist in England - the
      Smithtwins and the Charnock twins.
      In each instance one child is light-complexioned
      and the other is dark-complexioned.
      As extraordinary as this may be for twins, the laws of
      skin color inheritance still hold because one parent is
      white in each case and neither of the darker children
      is any darker than the dark-complexioned parent.

      --- When two "mulattoes-of-any-degree" [reproduce],
      each contributes both light and dark skin color genes.

      The child can get all or most of the dark skin color genes
      from both parents and be darker than either parent;
      the child can get all or most of the light skin color genes
      from both parents and be lighter than either parent;
      the child can get any combination of light and dark skin color genes
      from both parents and be whatever color that combination dictates.

      This principle can be illustrated in the pre-Civil
      War work of historian Kenneth M. Stampp.

      In examining manuscript census returns for 1860,
      he found that slave mothers who were listed as
      "Mulatto" often had children who were listed as "Black."
      Their dark color is readily explained by laws
      of genetic skin color inheritance whereby
      two mulattoes can produce a child darker than either parent.

      The children referred to in the census data had
      mulatto mothers and either mulatto or black fathers.

      --- As long as "a-`mulatto'-of-any-degree" continues to
      [reproduce] with white, skin color will necessarily lighten.

      Marquis de Chastellux, a major-general in the French Army
      and one of only forty members of the prestigious
      French Academy, knew this truth over 200 years ago.

      In 1787 he wrote of ["full"] white men marrying ["full"] black women,
      which "would give rise to a race of mulattoes, which would in turn
      produce a race of quadroons [theoretically one-fourth black],
      and so on, until the color would be totally changed."

      Likewise, in 1823 "Philo Humanitas" (pseudonym used by an
      antislavery Southerner) expressed the idea that slavery
      would be abolished because of the great extent to which
      interracial sexual [contact] occurred in the South.
      [H]e concluded that everyone would end up having the same
      complexion "which will be' esteemed' "white" by the inhabitants.
      Philo invented a new name for this process
      "which for the want of a more appropriate term,
      I shall call the `whitening operation'."..

      --- The inheritance of `skin color' differs from
      the inheritance of `eye color', for example.

      In the latter there are dominant and recessive genes.

      Simply stated, if one dark eye color gene and one light
      eye color gene couple together, the dark one dominates
      and the effect is the same as if both were dark.

      The light eye color gene is recessive and
      can manifest itself in future generations.

      --- The inheritance of skin color, however,
      works on an entirely different principle.

      When a dark skin color gene and a light skin color gene
      couple together, the result is a blending of the two.

      It has been seen that as long as subsequent generations of
      mulattoes-of-any-degree continue to mate with whites, the
      skin color of each new generation will necessarily be lighter.

      Even in cases where white people have `remote black ancestry',
      it is impossible to produce `a genetic throwback' because
      dark skin color genes have all been blended out.

      The issue of skin color inheritance has had an interesting history
      that can be traced back over 2,000 years to ancient times.
      To begin with, it must be understood that in those
      days, there was no racial prejudice per se.
      Unlike America, nowhere in the entire classical world was there ever
      any law which forbid intermarriage based on skin color or race.

      The Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
      discussed the commonalities which exist among all
      people and asserted that "there is no difference in race
      ....Nor is there anyone of any race who has taken
      nature as his guide that cannot reach virtue."

      The antipathy which did exist in ancient society was
      that of xenophobia, a fear of strangers or foreigners,
      including those of different cultures or religions.

      The dislike that Spartans and Cretans felt for strangers, for
      example, was well known as was the religious intolerance expressed
      toward Jews and Christians with their belief in monotheism.

      With no racial prejudice and no prohibitive social stigma
      attached to skin color, interracial [intimate] relations
      occurred freely throughout the ancient world...

      With interracial marriage not thought of as anything extraordinary,
      a white woman having a mulatto child was uneventful.

      Problems arose, however, when a white woman who
      was married to a white man had a mulatto child.

      The Roman poet Ovid (43 B.C.-?17 A.D.) alludes to adultery in a
      story from Roman mythology where white Aurora and white Tithonus
      produce a black son (which could only happen in mythology):

      A black son was born to you, the color of his mother's heart.
      I might wish that Tithonus could talk about you.
      No woman would ever be more morally disgraced in heaven.

      In the real world, women who cheated on their husbands
      had a great deal to worry about because adultery was
      considered an offense so severe as to be punishable by death...

      White women married to white men were giving birth to
      mulatto babies and being charged with adultery.

      To admit the obvious would be to admit the offense,
      so other explanations were sought in order to
      maintain the innocence of the women so charged.

      Two popular theories evolved – `atavism' and `maternal impression'.

      The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
      began the tradition of interracial atavism,
      "explaining" that the black [mulatto] son of a white woman
      was `a hereditary throwback' to the child's grandfather:
      Children can resemble their more `remote ancestor' s....

      There was at Elis a woman who cohabited with a Negro.
      Her daughter was not a Negro, but the son
      that came from that daughter was.

      Aristotle's "explanation" provided a powerful "answer"...

      More than three centuries after Aristotle,
      this explanation was still popular.

      The Roman scholar Pliny (23-79 A.D.)
      wrote regarding "oddities" of birth:

      "One certain example is that of the renowned boxer Nicaeus, born at
      Byzantium, whose mother was the daughter of adultery with a Negro.
      Her complexion was no different from that of the others [other white
      women], but her son Nicaeus appeared like his Negro grandfather."

      The seemingly impossible birth which Aristotle described
      was not `a throwback' and is easily explained otherwise.

      The white woman from Elis was pregnant
      with a baby fathered by a `white' man.
      When her daughter was born, she was, of course, white.
      That daughter's son, who was expected to be white
      but was not, was fathered by a `black' man...

      In ancient times, this theory was one way of explaining how a white
      woman could have a black (but really mulatto) baby even though
      she was married to a white man, without being an adulteress.

      [The theory of]' "Maternal Impression" was the other
      `technique' used to account for how a so-called black
      baby could be born to two white parents...

      Pliny explained the general theory as follows:

      "A great many likenesses that appear accidental
      were influenced by sense impressions of sights
      and sounds received at the time of conception.
      A trivial thought suddenly crossing the mind of
      either parent will also produce likeness."

      It was believed that `at the moment of conception' the mind of the
      white woman was' influenced by a mere thought' of a black man,
      that somehow `an impression was left upon
      her' and she produced a "black" child.

      Roman rhetorician Calpurnius Flaccus (fl.second century A.D.)
      discussed pro and con views of maternal impression
      in his declamation `Negro Birth'.

      On one hand,
      "Each people keeps its own appearance...
      The types of mortal men are diverse,
      yet no one is dissimilar to his own people."
      On the other hand,
      presumably under the influence of maternal impression,
      the dark color of the childmay be explained as
      "skin scorched by imperfection of the blood.'

      Doctor of the Church Saint Jerome (340?-420) explained,

      "Nor is it strange that this is the nature of women in their
      conceiving, namely that they beget the kind of offspring which they
      see or they conceive in their minds in the extreme heat of passion."

      Saint Jerome relates how by using this argument the Roman
      rhetorician Quintilian (it.first century A.D.) defended a
      Roman matron who gavebirth to a black [mulatto] child.

      The original account of Hippocrates is not to be found in his
      extant works and is assumed lost, however, whether true or not,
      the fact is that Saint Augustine perpetuated the concept of
      `maternal impression' by including it in his own writings.

      The story was carried into three fifteenth-century
      manuscripts which advanced the view still further.

      In the words of researcher Lynn Thorndike, each describes
      a white woman who "as a result of fixing her gaze upon
      the picture of a Negro at the time of conception, gave
      birth to a child as black as the figure in the picture".

      These particular reports deal with the double genetic impossibilities
      of maternal Impression and two white people producing a black child.

      It is worth noting that the idea of
      `maternal impression' was not limited
      exclusively to white women.

      In the fictional tale Aethiopia, an early Greek romance by
      Heliodorus (fourth century? A.D.), the black queen Persinna
      who is married to a black husband gives birth to a white
      daughter and believes that at the time of conception she
      was looking at a picture of Andromeda, a white woman.

      [The theories of] `Atavism' and `Maternal Impression'
      have had a mixed history of acceptance and rejection.

      One proponent of atavism was phrenologist 0.S.
      Fowler who recorded this interesting case in 1843:
      Two white parents in New Jersey, were very much astonished to find
      in their child unequivocal marks of the African race and blood ...
      His wife protested her innocence in terms so strong and solemn,
      that he was finally led to believe in her integrity.
      Still, no `explanation' of the phenomenon appeared.
      At length he sailed for France, and visited a town on its frontiers
      where her family had resided for several generations, and found,
      to his joy, that his wife's great grandfather was an African.

      The idea of `Atavism' has survived into modern times.

      In 1972, for example, sociologist Ian Robertson and
      commentator Phillip Whitten reported that some whites
      in South Africa still utilize "the genetic throwback"
      to account for a mulatto birth to white parents.

      As explained earlier in this chapter, [the long dis-proven
      theory of] "INTERRACIAL ATAVISM" IS A GENETIC IMPOSSIBILITY.

      Even so, the "concept" endures.

      [The theory of] `Maternal Impression', on
      the other hand, appears not to have survived.

      Although modern examples are lacking,
      it was a popular concept in the past.

      Unlike other references already cited, English author
      Reginald Scot knew that maternal impression was
      outright fraud and spoke the truth back in 1584:

      "A woman that brought forth a young Negro, by means of an
      old Negro who was in her house at the time of her conception,
      whom she beheld in fantasy, as is supposed...a jealous husband
      will not be satisfied with such fantastical imaginations.
      For in truth a Negro never faileth to beget black
      children, of what colour soever the other be."

      In other cases, however, [the theory of] maternal impression was
      [rather irrationally seen as] valid, acceptable, and popular.

      Richard Brathwait, English poet and author (1641):

      "It is incredible, what rare effects were sometimes drawn from
      a Negro Picture, being onely hung up in a Ladies Chamber."

      In the early 1 700s the Dutch physician Hermann Boerhaave related,
      "A Princess was delivered of a black daughter, by only seeing, f
      or the first time, a Negro whilst she was pregnant."

      In London The Morning Post, and Daily Advertiser of
      December 22, 1786 alluded to maternal impression
      in the following statement about mulattoes:

      "The numerous dingy coloured [dusky] faces which crowded
      our streets, must have their origin in our wives being
      terrified when pregnant, by the numerous Africans
      who were to be seen in all parts of the town."

      While traveling in South Africa in the 1830s Sir James
      Edward Alexander visited with a white couple who
      after seven months of marriage had a mulatto child.

      According to the husband

      "One day his wife was going out and was frightened by
      a black man, whom she suddenly saw behind the door,
      and that the child became black in consequence."

      [The concept of] `Maternal Impression' was so widely
      accepted that reports of the phenomenon even
      appeared in a prestigious French medical journal in 1873.

      One case concerned a woman who had had carnal
      relations many times with a black in America.
      On returning to Europe she was placed in a convent, and
      after a stay of two years she left arid married a white man.
      After nine months of pregnancy she gave birth to a black infant.

      -----------------------------

      [[In several of the preceding accounts as well/ as others in this
      chapter, the word "black" was used figuratively to mean `mulatto'.]]

      A New York court case which occurred in 1816
      exemplifies h&)~ confusing such usage can be.

      The court reviewed forty-year-old records wherein it was found that a
      white woman named Catreen Race had "delivered of a male black child"
      and claimed that a white man named Adam Heydon was the father.

      The court acknowledged that white women could produce
      `mulatto' children but not `black' ones and stated that:

      "if Catreen Race a white woman had been delivered
      of a mulatto child, instead of a black child,
      there could be no question on the subject of illegitimacy,
      because it would have appeared impossible for Adam
      Heydon, a white man, to have been the father."

      However, Catreen Race produced a `black' baby (on paper,
      at least) and not a `mulatto', and the court ruled that
      Adam Heydon was the father, implying that'Atavism'
      or `Maternal Impression' was responsible.

      What had to have happened was that Catreen Race did have
      a `mulatto `child, but the court mistakenly interpreted the
      forty-year-old records and took the word "black" to mean "Negro"
      rather than the `general figurativ' term for a `mulatto'.

      (For another example of a white woman's `mulatto' baby
      who was referred to as `black', see Chapter 5, p.85.)

      A related court case is worth mentioning here.

      In 1840 a Virginia court appropriately ruled in agreement with
      "professional men that, according to the course of nature,
      a `mulatto' child cannot be the offspring of two white persons."

      For over 2,000 years [the long since dis-proven theories of]
      `Atavism' and `Maternal Impression' were ways of explaining
      how a white woman married to a white man could give birth
      to a `mulatto' (often referred to as a `black') child.

      In looking back over this span of time, it is really
      remarkable how these two ideas have flourished.

      As science has evolved and more accurate information has
      become available in the fields of genetics and heredity,
      knowledge has replaced ignorance,
      and this long history is now finally drawing to a close.

      Excerpted from a posting by Lawrence R. Tenzer
      found at http://multiracial.com/readers/tenzer2.html

      Related Links:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/171

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/117

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/137

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/140
    • j s
      Philo invented a new name for this process which for the want of a more appropriate term, I shall call the `whitening operation . .. I love it. ... (Article)
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 7 11:21 AM
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        Philo invented a new name for this process
        "which for the want of a more appropriate term,
        I shall call the `whitening operation'."..

        I love it.

        multiracialbookclub <soaptalk@...wrote:

        -------------------------------------------
        (Article) How Do We Inherit Our Skin Color?
        -------------------------------------------

        Of the white women in the national probability sample,
        63% agreed with the belief that a white woman and a
        light-complexioned Afro-American man could have a child
        with a darker complexion than the man (Belief Statement 6).

        Inasmuch as it is a genetic impossibility for
        these two people to have such a child, this survey
        finding shows that skin color inheritance
        is an often misunderstood phenomenon.

        In order to understand the process involved here,
        three different unions will be discussed - white
        and black, white and `mulatto', `mulatto' and `mulatto'.

        --- When a ["full"] white-and-a-["full"] black [reproduce],
        their child will be an intermediate combination of the
        all light skin color genes of one parent and the
        all dark skin color genes of the other parent.

        (Pigment-producing skin color genes may vary in potency
        which explains the reason several offspring of a white and
        a black may differ slightly in shade from one another.)

        This child is a true "mulatto" in the strict definition
        of the word, although it is important to note that the
        term is `commonly taken' to mean a person with
        `any degree' of white-and-black-admixture...

        --- When a white and a mulatto-of-any-degree
        [reproduce], the situation is different.

        The light skin color genes from the white parent
        and the light and dark skin color genes from the
        mulatto parent can combine in any combination.

        There are at least three pairs of genes at work in skin
        color inheritance so many combinations are possible.

        With reference to Belief Statement 6, as long as one
        parent is white and is contributing light skin color
        genes, the child will always be lighter in color than
        the other mulatto parent whether dark or light-complexioned.

        On extremely rare occasions interracial couples have

        produced sets of twins with very different skin colors.
        Two such cases exist in England - the Smithtwins and
        the Charnock twins. In each instance one child is
        light-complexioned and the other is dark-complexioned.
        As extraordinary as this may be for twins, the laws of
        skin color inheritance still hold because one parent is
        white in each case and neither of the darker children
        is any darker than the dark-complexioned parent.

        --- When two "mulattoes-of-any-degree" [reproduce],
        each contributes both light and dark skin color genes.

        The child can get all or most of the dark skin color genes
        from both parents and be darker than either parent; the
        child can get all or most of the light skin color genes
        from both parents and be lighter than either parent;

        the child can get any combination of light and
        dark skin color genes from both parents and
        be whatever color that combination dictates.

        This principle can be illustrated in the pre-Civil
        War work of historian Kenneth M. Stampp.

        In examining manuscript census returns for 1860,
        he found that slave mothers who were listed as
        "Mulatto" often had children who were listed as
        "Black." Their dark color is readily explained by
        laws of genetic skin color inheritance whereby two
        mulattoes can produce a child darker than either parent.

        The children referred to in the census data had
        mulatto mothers and either mulatto or black fathers.

        --- As long as "a-`mulatto'-of-any-degree"
        continues to [reproduce] with white,
        skin color will necessarily lighten.

        Marquis de Chastellux, a major-general in the French
        Army and one of only forty members of the prestigious
        French Academy, knew this truth over 200 years ago.

        In 1787 he wrote of ["full"] white men marrying ["full"]
        black women, which "would give rise to a race of
        mulattoes, which would in turn produce a race of
        quadroons [theoretically one-fourth black], and
        so on, until the color would be totally changed."

        Likewise, in 1823 "Philo Humanitas" (pseudonym used by
        an antislavery Southerner) expressed the idea that
        slavery would be abolished because of the great extent
        to which interracial sexual [contact] occurred in the
        South. [H]e concluded that everyone would end up having
        the same complexion "which will be' esteemed' "white"
        by the inhabitants. Philo invented a new name for this
        process "which for the want of a more appropriate
        term, I shall call the `whitening operation'."..

        --- The inheritance of `skin color' differs from
        the inheritance of `eye color', for example.

        In the latter there are dominant and recessive genes.

        Simply stated, if one dark eye color gene and one light
        eye color gene couple together, the dark one dominates
        and the effect is the same as if both were dark.

        The light eye color gene is recessive and can
        manifest itself in future generations.

        --- The inheritance of skin color, however,
        works on an entirely different principle.

        When a dark skin color gene and a light skin color gene
        couple together, the result is a blending of the two.

        It has been seen that as long as subsequent generations
        of mulattoes-of-any-degree continue to mate with
        whites, the skin color of each new generation
        will necessarily be lighter.

        Even in cases where white people have `remote
        black ancestry', it is impossible to produce
        `a genetic throwback' because dark skin
        color genes have all been blended out.

        The issue of skin color inheritance has had an interesting
        history that can be traced back over 2,000 years to
        ancient times. To begin with, it must be understood
        that in those days, there was no racial prejudice per se.
        Unlike America, nowhere in the entire classical
        world was there ever any law which forbid
        intermarriage based on skin color or race.

        The Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
        discussed the commonalities which exist among all
        people and asserted that "there is no difference
        in race ....Nor is there anyone of any race who has
        taken nature as his guide that cannot reach virtue."

        The antipathy which did exist in ancient society was

        === message truncated ===
      • multiracialbookclub
        ... -- (Article) How Do We Inherit Our Skin Color? ... -- Of the white women in the national probability sample, 63% agreed with the belief that a White
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 21, 2006
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          --------------------------------------------------------------------------
          (Article) How Do We Inherit Our Skin Color?
          --------------------------------------------------------------------------

          Of the white women in the national probability sample,
          63% agreed with the belief that a 'White' woman and a
          "light-complexioned Afro-American" man could have a child
          with a darker complexion than the man (Belief Statement 6).

          In as much as it is a genetic impossibility for these two people
          to have such a child, this survey finding shows that
          skin
          color inheritance is an often misunderstood phenomenon
          .

          In order to understand the process involved here,
          three different unions will be discussed: 'White' and
          'Black', 'White'-and-Mulatto, Mulatto-and-Mulatto'.

          --- When a ["full"] White-and-a-["full"] Black [reproduce],
          their child will be an intermediate combination of the
          all light skin color genes of one parent and the
          all dark skin color genes of the other parent.

          (Pigment-producing skin color genes may vary in potency
          which explains the reason several offspring of a white
          and a black may differ slightly in shade from one another.)

          This child is a true "Mulatto" in the
          strict definition of the word, although
          it is important to note that the term is
          `commonly taken' to mean a person with
          `any degree' of white-and-black-admixture...

          --- When a 'White' and a Mulatto-of-any-degree
          [reproduce],[however], the situation is different.

          The light skin color genes from the 'White' parent
          and the light and dark skin color genes from the
          Mulatto parent can combine in any combination.

          There are at least three pairs of genes at work in skin
          color inheritance so many combinations are possible.

          With reference to Belief Statement 6, as long as one
          parent is 'White' and is contributing light skin color
          genes, the child will always be lighter in color than the
          other Mulatto parent whether dark or light-complexioned.

          On extremely rare occasions interracial couples have
          produced sets of twins with very different skin colors.
          Two such cases exist in England - the
          Smithtwins and the Charnock twins.
          In each instance one child is light-complexioned
          and the other is dark-complexioned.
          As extraordinary as this may be for twins,
          the laws of
          skin color inheritance still hold
          because one parent is
          white in each case and neither of the darker children
          is any darker than the dark-complexioned parent.

          --- When two "Mulattoes-of-any-degree" [reproduce],
          each contributes both light and dark skin color genes.

          The child can get all or most of the dark skin color genes
          from both parents and be darker than either parent;
          the child can get all or most of the light skin color genes
          from both parents and be lighter than either parent;
          the child can get any combination of light and dark
          skin color genes from both parents and be
          whatever color that combination dictates.

          This principle can be illustrated in the pre-Civil
          War work of historian Kenneth M. Stampp.

          In examining manuscript census returns for 1860,
          he found that slave mothers who were listed as
          Mulatto often had children who were listed as 'Black'.

          Their dark color is readily explained by
          laws of genetic skin color inheritance
          whereby
          two Mulattoes can produce
          a child darker than either parent
          .

          The children referred to in the census data had
          Mulatto mothers and either Mulatto or Black fathers.

          --- As long as "a-Mulatto-of-any-degree" continues to
          [reproduce] with 'White', skin color will necessarily lighten.

          Marquis de Chastellux, a major-general in the French
          Army and one of only forty members of the prestigious
          French Academy, knew this truth over 200 years ago.

          In 1787 he wrote of ["full"] ' White' men marrying ["full"] 'Black' women,
          which "would give rise to a race of Mulattoes, which would in turn
          produce a race of Quadroons [theoretically one-fourth black],
          and so on, until the color would be totally changed."

          Likewise, in 1823 "Philo Humanitas" (pseudonym used by an
          antislavery Southerner) expressed the idea that slavery
          would be abolished because of the great extent to which
          interracial sexual [contact] occurred in the South.

          [H]e concluded that everyone would end up having the same
          complexion "which will be' esteemed' "white" by the inhabitants.

          Philo invented a new name for this process
          "which for the want of a more appropriate term,
          I shall call the `Whitening-Operation'."..

          --- The inheritance of `skin color' differs from
          the inheritance of `eye color', for example.

          In the latter there are dominant and recessive genes.

          Simply stated, if one dark eye color gene and one light
          eye color gene couple together, the dark one dominates
          and the effect is the same as if both were dark.

          The light eye color gene is recessive and
          can manifest itself in future generations.

          --- The inheritance of skin color, however,
          works on an entirely different principle.

          When a dark skin color gene and a light skin color gene
          couple together, the result is a blending of the two.

          It has been seen that as long as subsequent generations
          ofMulattoes-of-any-degree continue to [have children]
          with 'Whites', the skin color of each new
          generation will necessarily be lighter.

          Even in cases where white people
          have `remote black ancestry',
          it is impossible to produce
          `a genetic throwback'
          because
          dark skin color genes have
          all been blended out.

          The issue of skin color inheritance has had an interesting history
          that can be traced back over 2,000 years to ancient times.

          To begin with, it must be understood that in those
          days, there was no racial prejudice per se.

          Unlike America, nowhere in the entire classical world was there ever
          any law which forbid intermarriage based on skin color or race.

          The Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero
          (106-43 B.C.) discussed the commonalities
          which exist among all people and asserted that
          "there is no difference in race ...
          Nor is there anyone of any race
          who has taken nature as his
          guide that cannot reach virtue."

          The antipathy which did exist in ancient society was
          that of xenophobia, a fear of strangers or foreigners,
          including those of different cultures or religions.

          The dislike that Spartans and Cretans felt for strangers, for
          example, was well known as was the religious intolerance expressed
          toward Jews and Christians with their belief in monotheism.

          With no racial prejudice and no prohibitive social stigma
          attached to skin color, interracial [intimate] relations
          occurred freely throughout the ancient world...

          With interracial marriage not thought of as anything extraordinary,
          a white woman having a mulatto child was uneventful.

          Problems arose, however, when a 'White' woman who
          was married to a 'White' man had a Mulatto child.

          The Roman poet Ovid (43 B.C.-?17 A.D.) alludes to
          adultery in a story from Roman mythology where
          'White 'Aurora and 'White' Tithonus produce a
          "black" son (which could only happen in mythology):

          A "black" son was born to you, the color of his mother's heart.
          I might wish that Tithonus could talk about you.
          No woman would ever be more morally disgraced in heaven.

          In the real world, women who cheated on their husbands
          had a great deal to worry about because adultery was
          considered an offense so severe as to be punishable by death...

          [The] 'White' women married to 'White' men were giving
          birth to Mulatto babies and being charged with adultery.

          To admit the obvious would be to admit the offense,
          so other explanations were sought
          in order to
          maintain the innocence of the women so charged.

          Two popular theories evolved .....
          `Atavism' and `Materna-Impression'.

          The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
          began the tradition of Interracial-Atavism,
          "explaining" that the "black" [Mulatto] son of a 'White' woman
          was `a hereditary throwback' to the child's grandfather:
          Children can resemble their more `remote ancestor' s....

          There was at Elis a woman who cohabited with a Negro.
          Her daughter was not a Negro, but the son
          that came from that daughter was.

          Aristotle's "explanation" provided a powerful "answer"...

          More than three centuries after Aristotle,
          this explanation was still popular.

          The Roman scholar Pliny (23-79 A.D.)
          wrote regarding "oddities" of birth:

          "One certain example is that of the renowned boxer Nicaeus, born at
          Byzantium, whose mother was the daughter of adultery with a Negro.
          Her complexion was no different from that of the others [other white
          women], but her son Nicaeus appeared like his Negro grandfather."

          The seemingly impossible birth which Aristotle described
          was not `a throwback' and is easily explained otherwise.

          The 'White' woman from Elis was pregnant
          with a baby fathered by a `White' man.
          When her daughter was born, she was, of course, 'White'.
          That daughter's son, who was expected to be 'White'
          but was not, was fathered by a `Black' man...

          In ancient times, this theory was one way of explaining how a 'White'
          woman could have a "black" (but really Mlatto) baby even though
          she was married to a 'White' man, without being an adulteress.

          [The theory of]' "Maternal-Impression"
          was the other
          `technique' used
          to account for how a so-called
          "black" baby could be born to two 'White' parents...

          Pliny explained the general theory as follows:

          "A great many likenesses that appear accidental
          were influenced by sense impressions of sights
          and sounds received at the time of conception.
          A trivial thought suddenly crossing the mind
          of either parent will also produce likeness."

          It was believed that `at the moment of conception'
          the mind of the 'White' woman was' influenced by
          a mere thought' of a 'Black' man, that
          somehow `an impression was left upon
          her' and she produced a "black" child.

          Roman rhetorician Calpurnius Flaccus
          (fl.second century A.D.) discussed pro
          and con views of 'Maternal-Impression
          in his declamation `Negro Birth'.

          On one hand,
          "Each people keeps its own appearance...
          The types of mortal men are diverse,
          yet no one is dissimilar to his own people."
          On the other hand,
          presumably under the influence of maternal impression,
          the dark color of the childmay be explained as
          "skin scorched by imperfection of the blood.'

          Doctor of the Church Saint Jerome (340?-420) explained,

          "Nor is it strange that this is the nature of women in their
          conceiving, namely that they beget the kind of offspring which they
          see or they conceive in their minds in the extreme heat of passion."

          Saint Jerome relates how by using this argument the Roman
          rhetorician Quintilian (it.first century A.D.) defended a
          Roman matron who gave birth to a "black" [Mulatto] child.

          The original account of Hippocrates is not to be found in his
          extant works and is assumed lost, however, whether true or not,
          the fact is that Saint Augustine perpetuated the concept of
          `Maternal-Impression' by including it in his own writings.

          The story was carried into three fifteenth-century
          manuscripts which advanced the view still further.

          In the words of researcher Lynn Thorndike, each describes
          a 'White' woman who "as a result of fixing her gaze upon
          the picture of a Negro at the time of conception, gave
          birth to a child as "black" as the figure in the picture".

          These particular reports deal with the double
          genetic impossibilities of Maternal-Impression
          and two 'White' people producing a black child.

          It is worth noting that the idea of
          `Maternal-Impression' was not limited
          exclusively to 'White' women.

          In the fictional tale Aethiopia, an early Greek romance by
          Heliodorus (fourth century? A.D.), the "black" queen Persinna
          who is married to a 'Black' husband gives birth to a 'White'
          daughter and believes that at the time of conception she
          was looking at a picture of Andromeda, a 'White' woman.

          [The theories of] `Atavism' and `Maternal-Impression'
          have had a mixed history of acceptance and rejection.

          One proponent of Atavism was phrenologist 0.S.
          Fowler who recorded this interesting case in 1843:

          Two 'White' parents in New Jersey, were very much astonished to find
          in their child unequivocal "marks of the African race and blood" ...

          His wife protested her innocence in terms so strong and
          solemn, that he was finally led to believe in her integrity.

          Still, no `explanation' of the phenomenon appeared.

          At length he sailed for France, and visited a town on its frontiers
          where her family had resided for several generations, and found,
          --to his joy -- that his wife's great-grandfather was an African.

          The idea of `Atavism' has survived into modern times.

          In 1972, for example, sociologist Ian Robertson and
          commentator Phillip Whitten reported that some 'Whites'
          in South Africa
          still utilize "the genetic throwback"
          to account for a Mulatto birth to 'White' parents
          .

          As explained earlier in this chapter,
          [the long dis-proven theory of]
          "INTERRACIAL ATAVISM" IS
          A GENETIC IMPOSSIBILITY.

          Even so, the "concept" endures.

          [The theory of] `Maternal-Impression', on
          the other hand,
          appears not to have survived.

          Although modern examples are lacking,
          it was a popular concept in the past.

          Unlike other references already cited, English author
          Reginald Scot knew that Maternal-Impression was
          outright fraud and spoke the truth back in 1584:

          "A woman that brought forth a young Negro, by means of an
          old Negro who was in her house at the time of her conception,
          whom she beheld in fantasy, as is supposed...a jealous husband
          will not be satisfied with such fantastical imaginations.
          For in truth a Negro never faileth to beget black
          children, of what colour soever the other be."

          In other cases, however, [the theory of]
          Maternal-Impression was [rather irrationally
          seen as] valid, acceptable, and popular.

          Richard Brathwait, English poet and author (1641):

          "It is incredible, what rare effects were sometimes drawn from
          a Negro Picture, being onely hung up in a Ladies Chamber."

          In the early 1 700s the Dutch physician
          Hermann Boerhaave related,
          "A Princess was delivered of a "black"
          daughter, by only seeing, for the first
          time, a Negro whilst she was pregnant."

          In London The Morning Post, and Daily Advertiser of
          December 22, 1786 alluded to maternal impression
          in the following statement about Mulattoes:

          "The numerous dingy coloured [dusky] faces which crowded
          our streets, must have their origin in our wives being
          "terrified when pregnant", by the numerous Africans
          who were to be seen in all parts of the town."

          While traveling in South Africa in the 1830s Sir James
          Edward Alexander visited with a 'White' couple who
          after seven months of marriage had a Mulatto child.

          According to the husband

          "One day his wife was going out and was frightened by
          a 'Black' man, whom she suddenly saw behind the door,
          and that the child became "black" in consequence."

          [The concept of] `Maternal-Impression' was so widely
          accepted that reports of the phenomenon even
          appeared in a prestigious French medical journal in 1873.

          One case concerned a woman who had had carnal
          relations many times with a 'Black' in America.

          On returning to Europe she was placed in a convent, and
          after a stay of two years she left arid married a 'White' man.

          After nine months of pregnancy she gave birth to a "black" infant.

          -----------------------------

          [[In several of the preceding accounts as
          well/ as others in this chapter, the word
          "black" was used figuratively to mean `Mulatto'.]]

          A New York court case which occurred in 1816
          exemplifies how~ confusing such usage can be.

          The court reviewed forty-year-old records wherein
          it was found that a 'White' woman named Catreen
          Race had "delivered of a male "black" child and claimed
          that a 'White' man named Adam Heydon was the father.

          The court acknowledged that 'White' women could produce
          Mulatto children but not `Black' ones and stated that:

          "If Catreen Race a 'White' woman had been delivered
          of a Mulatto child, instead of a 'Black' child, there
          could be no question on the subject of illegitimacy,
          because it would have appeared impossible for Adam
          Heydon, a 'White' man, to have been the father."

          However, Catreen Race produced a `Black' baby
          (on paper, at least) and not a `Mulatto', and the court
          ruled that Adam Heydon was the father, implying that
          'Atavism' or `Maternal-Impression' was responsible.

          What had to have happened was that Catreen Race
          did have a Mulatto child, but the court mistakenly
          interpreted the forty-year-old records and took
          the word 'black" to mean "Negro" rather than
          the `general figurative' term for a Mulatto'.

          (For another example of a 'White' woman's Mulatto baby
          who was referred to as "black",  see Chapter 5, p.85.)

          A related court case is worth mentioning here.

          In 1840 a Virginia court appropriately ruled in agreement with
          "professional men that, according to the course of nature,
          a Mulatto child cannot be the offspring of two 'White' persons."

          For over 2,000 years [the long since dis-proven theories of]
          `Atavism' and `Maternal Impression'
          were ways of explaining
          how a 'White' woman married to a 'White' man could give birth
          to a Mulatto' (often referred to as a "black") child.

          In looking back over this span of time, it is really
          remarkable how these two ideas have flourished.

          As science has evolved and more accurate information
          has become available in the fields of genetics and
          heredity, knowledge has replaced ignorance,
          and this long history is now finally drawing to a close.

          Excerpted from a posting by Lawrence R. Tenzer
          found at
          http://multiracial.com/readers/tenzer2.html

          Related Links:

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/171

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/117

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/137

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/140

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