Evoking the Mulatto is a multimedia project examining black mixed identity in the 21st century, through the lens of the history of racial classification in the United States. It was created by the filmmaker Lindsay Catherine Harris , and features compelling interviews with young Americans as they reflect on the complex process of defining themselves. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic. Skip to content. Sign in My Account Subscribe.
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About one-fourth of Cubans are mulattoes of mixed European and African lineage , and some two-thirds are descendants of white Europeans, mainly from Spain. Whites have been the dominant ethnic group for centuries, monopolizing the direction of the economy as well as access to education and other government services. Although mulattoes…. Other African slaves bought their freedom, and a mainly urban class of free blacks began to emerge.
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The English term mulatto is derived from the Spanish and Portuguese mulato. Jack D. Forbes suggests it originated in the Arabic term muwallad , which means "a person of mixed ancestry". Walad means, "descendant, offspring, scion; child; son; boy; young animal, young one". Specifically, the term was historically applied to the descendants of indigenous Christian Iberians who, after several generations of living among a Muslim majority, adopted their culture and religion. Notable examples of this category include the famous Muslim scholar Ibn Hazm. According to Lisan al-Arab , one of the earliest Arab dictionaries c. Thus, in this context, the term "Muwalad" has a meaning close to "the adopted". According to the same source, the term does not denote being of mixed-race but rather being of foreign-blood and local culture. In English, printed usage of mulatto dates to at least the 16th century.