Racial Discrimination: The Affect On America’s Past

1027 words - 5 pages

Throughout American history, racial discrimination has been a huge problem. The affect it has had on African Americans over the years is drastic. The Caucasian Americans used to use the African Americans as slaves, when the country first began and they were treated almost like animals. If a person was only half African American would they be treated the same as a full African American? In Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby, there is a great example on racial discrimination and how partially blooded African Americans were treated, compared to full blooded African Americans in the 19th century. Armand Aubigny fell in love with Desiree who was the daughter of a plantation owner with the name Valmonde. Monsieur Valmonde found Desiree abandoned as a baby and took her in to live with his wife and himself. Monsieur and Madame Valmonde could never be sure of Desiree’s heritage. When Desiree was all grown up, Monsieur Valmonde handed her over to be wed to Armand. Armand and Desiree had a baby and they both loved the baby very much. As the baby got older people started to see changes and the changes were not good. The baby started to develop African American qualities which made Armand very upset. Armand decided to ignore Desiree and the baby because he thought Desiree had some African American heritage in her past. Desiree was sure she did not and she even compared her skin to Armand’s and said “Look at my hand; whiter than yours, Armand.” Armand continued to ignore Desiree, so she took the baby, left and never came back. Armand later found out that he was the one with the African American blood, not Desiree.
Armand was greatly affected by race throughout his life. He started off as a slave owner and he did not treat them the best. Then he found out his baby was part African American so he wanted nothing to do with it. After all that time of treating African Americans poorly he then came to find out that he was actually part African American himself. That surely changed his view on African Americans and the way he treated them.
Armand had African American blood in him, yet he still appeared to have lighter skin. A person would commonly think the more white ancestors a person has the less obvious it will seem that a person has African American ancestry but that is not necessarily true. If a Caucasian person and an African American person have a child, then it is half Caucasian and half African American. The term for a half Caucasian and a half African American person is mulatto. A mulatto person is most likely to have the physical characteristics of a Caucasian. When a mulatto person has a child with another Caucasian then that child is called a quadroon because it is one-forth African American. A quadroon baby is more likely to pick up the physical characteristics of its African American ancestor. In Desiree’s Baby Armand was most likely mulatto and his baby was a quadroon. The story even stated that the baby looked very alike to the...

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