Frank Sweet on the “One Drop Rule”

The Mulatto Nations Times
Taking a Closer Look at the ‘One Drop Rule’: An Interview with Frank Sweet
by Barbara Yanez and Frank Sweet

Few topics conjure up the unease, surprise, and chagrin as the topic of the color line in the U.S. Exactly who is black? And who is white? What do ‘black’ and ‘white’ mean? And how do so-called “Hispanics”, “Middle-Easterners” and Native Americans, not to mention other ethnic groups, fit into these “neat categories,” if at all?

It is not clear that many Americans fully grasp the ludicrousness of the infamous ‘One Drop Rule.” For as long as any living American can remember, one drop of black blood placed one in the “black” racial category. Period. Waves of immigration of peoples from all over the world have forced the adoptions of increasingly broader (and therefore meaningless) definitions of both the terms “white” and “black” – as today, the former group includes black and mullato-looking Middle-Easterners and Latinos, while the latter group includes completely “white” –looking “blacks” – persons with no detectable traces of African ancestry whatsoever.

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