The Concept of Miscegenation

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The definition of miscegenation is the sexual relations between people from different racial groups. It comes from the Latin words “miscere” and “genus,” which mean “to mix” and “race,” respectively. For white men, having sex with women of any race was acceptable as long as it was not public. Legal, political, and social restrictions against these relationships have existed at various times. Maintaining racial purity within the white race has been the dominant discourse in marriage laws and intermarriage prohibitions. Historically, legal restrictions placed on inter-marriage and miscegenation has varied by state. Miscegenation had been discouraged and treated as socially deviant since the arrival of African slaves in the American colonies. In 1691 interracial sex was made illegal. Virginia passed the first statute against miscegenation between blacks and whites. Since the beginning of the sixteenth century, people involved in interracial sex have faced informal sanctions, punishment, and social exclusion. Interracial sex was constructed as deviant within the institution of slavery, and from the beginning this view was primarily aimed at preventing black male slaves from engaging in sexual relations with white women. The frequent abuse and lynching of black men for allegedly raping or desiring sexual relations with white women, played a very important part in the socio-historical construction of race and the rules of race. 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 colored females were tolerated, similar such relationships concerning white women were not, as this raised imperial issue of race theory and Darwinistic
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