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Hypodescent

    '''Hypodescent''' is the practice of determining the lineage of a child of mixed race ancestry by assigning the child the race of her more socially subordinate parent
    The American practice of applying a rule of hypodescent rule developed in the colonies in the 1600s largely in response to the American context of slavery: a mixed-race child was likely to have a mother who was a slave and a father who was a slave master or owner In its most extreme form in the United States hypodescent came to be a "one drop rule" meaning that if a person had one drop of black blood she was considered to be black An example was Virginia’s 1924 Act for the "Preservation of Racial Integrity" which defined as white a person with "no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian" Similarly Utah's anti-miscegenation law (passed in 1899 repealed in 1963) also followed the hypodescent rule although it didn’t carry it to the "one-drop" extreme The Utah marriage law prohibited marriage between a white and anyone considered a negro mulatto quadroon (one-quarter negro) octoroon (one-eighth negro) Mongolian or member of the malay race (presumably a Polynesian or Melanesian) No restrictions were placed on marriages between people that wer not "white persons"

    Examples of application of hyperdescent and other methods of determining lineage

    • In the United States hypodescent has been consistently used to determine the race of children of mixed race couples where one of the parents was classified as "black" That practice seems to be diminishing at least a litle Hypodescent has been applied less consistently in the United States to other "races" (such as in intermarriage between whites and Native Americans Hispanics Asians etc)
    • In the Hebrew Bible the line of descent for monarchs and main personalities is almost exclusively through patrilineality See Davidic line
    • Brazil is an example of a country with a history of European slavery of black Africans somewhat analogous to that of the United States However in Brazil as opposed to the US hypodescent did not become the dominant means of classifying the race of mixed-race children Thomas e. Skidmore in Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought (Durham: Duke University press 1993)explains that many of Brazilian elite encouraged a national process of "whitening" through miscegenation Skidmore writes "In fact miscegenation did not arouse the instictinve opposition of th white elite in Brazil On the contrary it was a well—recognzied (and tacitly condoned) process by which a fiew mixed bloods (almost invariably light mulattoes) had risen to the top of the social and political hierarchy” p. 55

    References
    • Christine B. Hickman "The Devil and the One Drop Rule: Racial Categories African Americans and the US Census" Michigan Law Review Vol: 95, March 1997 1175-1176
    • Thomas e. Skidmore Black into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought (Durham: Duke University press 1993)

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