Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/577

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573
THE MULATTO

THE BIOLOGICAL STATUS AND SOCIAL WORTH OF THE MULATTO
By Professor H. E. JORDAN, Ph.D.
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

THE United States has something more than a "negro problem"; it has a mulatto problem. Our 10,000,000 colored fellow-citizens comprise somewhat less than 8,000,000 full-blooded negroes; approximately 2,000,000 contain varying percentages of "white" blood. This "white man's burden" has several cardinal aspects, notably, social, economic and political. The fundamental aspect, however, is the biologic. Does the presence of this vast company of "half-breeds" complicate or facilitate the "problem"? Certain it is that they must be reckoned with. Are they an aid or a hindrance to a permanent satisfactory adjustment of full relationship between the white race and the colored? To one man their presence is a source of black despair, to another of radiant hope. Which is the more rational attitude? It depends upon the scientific facts in the case. The first point concerns the biological status of this mulatto hybrid.

It may help the subsequent discussion to note at this point the fact that Jamaica does not have a "negro problem" as we know it in the United States. And on the face of things it would appear that it might well be present there in even more aggravated form. For in Jamaica there are only about 15,000 whites among a colored population of about 700,000, including about 50,000 mulattoes. It should be noted that in this "Queen of the Greater Antilles" the mulattoes, as a class, are more nearly at the level of the whites than at that of the pure negroes. The mulattoes contribute the artisans, the teachers, the business and professional men. They are the very backbone of wonderful Jamaica. To be sure, Jamaica has had 30 years more than the United States during which to "solve" her "negro problem." But perhaps the perfect adjustment between the races in Jamaica and the elimination of any "problem" of this kind finds its explanation in a more rational and more consistent political treatment made possible by the absence of any constitutional prescription. We may well suspect that the inconsistency of according to the negro legal (constitutional) equality and withholding it practically (politically and socially) has had a morally harmful effect upon both black and white. To stultify oneself as between one's theory and practise is always subversive of high moral tone. We shall return to this point below.