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Archiver > Melungeon > 2011-06 > 1309201532


From: Trevor Bauknight <>
Subject: Re: [MELUNGEON] racial origins vs. geographic origins
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2011 15:05:32 -0400
References: <1309059395.39650.YahooMailClassic@web111511.mail.gq1.yahoo.com><007201cc33b5$d55c39b0$8014ad10$@net>
In-Reply-To: <007201cc33b5$d55c39b0$8014ad10$@net>


People tend to have this idea that because someone claimed "Portuguese" ancestry, they must be white Europeans, since Portugal is right there in Western Europe, next to Spain. The history of that country, and the one next to it, however, is a convoluted one, and on the day after Columbus' departure for the New World in 1492, Spain issued an edict of expulsion, compelling the Sephardic Jews in that country to convert or leave. Jewish families that had been in Spain and Portugal for centuries fled to northern Europe, particularly Holland and Scotland, and eventually to the New World. Nowadays, "race" is such an important cultural construct that much of our petty bigotries and so on are related to it. That was not always the case. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, religion was the driving force behind much of human migration and conflict, and one can view history through that lens easily enough to determine that the settlement of the New World was, along with a business propositi!
on for some very wealthy individuals, a response to Catholic persecution of non-Catholics throughout Europe. Most of the early immigrants to America were fleeing Catholic domination, Inquisition and so on and readily cast their lot with each other against the common enemy. Protestants of all stripe, Jews and Muslims (Moors) came to the New World in droves and readily took up with each other, skin color and ethnicity proving not nearly so formidable a barrier as those factors would later form.

Answering the question "What religion were the Melungeons, and how did they get that way?" would go a lot further toward solving the riddle than a hundred years of bickering over ethnicity. It didn't matter nearly as much then as it does now. In the 19th and 20th Centuries, sure, it was an ugly history, but before that, when the pioneers were hacking out a living in the Holston and Clinch Valleys, an African Indian would have been much more a friend to the nominal Quaker Daniel Boone while the English were shooting at him.

Trevor


On Jun 26, 2011, at 12:02 AM, Randy wrote:

> That's my point. Just as describing Katy as an American gives no clue as to
> her race, describing Lewis Collins as Portuguese gives no clue as to his
> race.
>
> =====================================
>
> Randy, People don't identify themselves by "race," let alone by haplotype,
> but also nations, culture, geographical areas, neighborhoods and families.
> If you ask a Causasian person what they are, they'll tell you Spanish,
> Scottish, Norwegian. An Oriental person could be Korean, Chinese or Thai.
> Racially I am more than one race with ancestors from more than one nation
> and culturally I am an American. America, like most other nations, has more
> than one race of people.
> Katy
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