Black And Yellow Perils In Col

2413 words - 10 pages

" Explain the obsession amongst European settlers in sub-Saharan Africa with 'black' and 'yellow' perils".ISSUES OF MISCEGENATION AND RACIAL PURITY: There was a general outrage at the concept of mixed race relations within colonial Europe, especially within Britain, who did not take the same line on the subject of assimilation as their French and especially Portuguese counterparts. Although mixed relationships between white males and coloured females were tolerated, similar such relationships concerning white women were not, as this raised imperial issues of race theory and Darwinistic eugenics. A prime example of this was the reaction to the engagement of the son of the recently subjugated leader of the Ndebele to a Miss Kitty Jewell, an English woman. Indeed, "The proposed marriage seems to have been a trigger for a spate of articles raising, overtly now, the thorny issue of miscegenation". The controversy surrounding this inter-racial union was accentuated by the fact that not only did this take place in England itself, but also the fact that the African in question had been an exhibit at the 'Savage South Africa' exposition. This accentuated the fears that formed the basis for the paranoia concerning 'yellow' and especially 'black' perils in imperial Africa, and also enhanced worries concerning racial degeneration. The result of this and one or two other isolated incidents, was that women were forbidden to attend the majority of any subsequent exhibitions, if not nationally, then certainly in the London area. The appearance of scientific racism in the second half of the nineteenth century, the basis for which was social Darwinism and anatomical measurement, enabled white colonists to justify their belief in their own racial superiority. Once this superiority had been established, the idea of maintaining this level of evolutionary advancement through the avoidance of sexual contact with other races became an all consuming concern." If European women, 'apparently of good birth' were to become tainted by sexual contact with black Africans, the imperial race would not survive" . In an attempt reduce the possibility of inter-racial relations, and thus protect the purity of the race, exhibitions and dramatic re-enactments were often used within Britain to re-affirm racial boundaries." It was considered necessary to bring home to the viewer the inconceivability of a white woman actually entertaining the notion of a romantic liaison with a black man, while paradoxically the reverse was actually anticipated" In South Africa the Dutch attempted to avoid racial impurity through the passing of the mixed marriage laws, which prevented white women from assimilating black partners or children to the Imperial race. This was partly in response to the fear that black men may try to marry white women in order to improve their social standing, and thus gain the same rights and privileges as the colonists. REACTION TO...

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