Sociology Index

Mulatto

A mulatto is legally considered to be an individual with mixed black and white heritage. Though, some individuals who were designated mulattos may have a slightly more mixed parentage, including Native American blood. Miscegenation is the interbreeding of Whites and non-Whites. Mulattoes represent a large portion of various countries' populations in Latin America. May 13th is Mulatto Day in Brazil.

The term mulatto is used to describe a person with one white parent and one black parent, or a person whose ancestry is a mixture of black and white. The term mestišo is used to describe people of mixed European and African ancestry in Africa. The great majority of their current populations descend from the mixing of the Portuguese that initially settled the islands from the 15th century onwards and the black Africans brought from the African mainland to work as slaves.

Historian Lezley Saar, professor emerita from MU (Mulatto University) and a lifelong outspoken activist for the Mulatto Movement, traces the history of the Mulatto Nation from its bumpy beginnings to its conflicted present. She has codified the five stages of its history, depicted here in visual form, as follows: "Birth of a Nation", "The Founding Mothers and Fathers of the Mulatto Nation", "The Mulattoville Athenaeum", "Alienation" and "Materialism and the Mulatto".

In the United States the term mulatto is not lin common use. The term mulatto existed as an official census category until 1930. In the Southern United States, mulattos inherited slave status if their mothers were slaves.