Saturday, July 10, 2004

The Tragic Mulatto (1936), or One Drop Rule* Hits the Silver Screen

Our brave White hero, upon un-
veiling his mulatto mistress' villanous
dark secret, slices her shadowy wrist; then
in the ultimate sacrifice, pulls it to his
quivering mouth & sucks a single drop
of her Negro blood, enough to become...

a Negro himself! The frenetic Whites
Only cinema - half in awe, half in disgust - half
applauds our newly-mulattoed hero & his lover's
fateful walk, hand-in-hand into the darkening
sunset. If I could, the green-eyed
director thought, I would have them


*Colloquial name for Virginia's 1924 Racial Integrity Act.

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