Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday Dead Racist Blogging: It's Not Friday Edition

I've mentioned before some of the double-standard in attitudes towards miscegenation. White men could sleep with black women, but white women sleeping with black men was considered unthinkable.

And it turns out that New Mexico actually coded this into law:
The last intermarriage prohibition passed before the decision was delivered in the Dred Scott case, was promulgated by the Territory of New Mexico on January 29, 1857, as follows:

SEC. 3. If any negro or mulatto, being free or a slave, shall marry or cohabit with any woman of the white race of this Territory, said negro or mulatto shall be liable to be presented by indictment, and on conviction shall be sentenced to hard labor in the penitentiary, for a term not less than two years, nor more than three years. Provided, That the provisions of this section shall not effect the free negroes or mulattos who may have married before the passage of this act.

SEC. 4. If any woman of the whit race, shall marry or cohabit with any free negro or mulatto, she shall be liable and punished on conviction, in the same manner as is provided in the foregoing section and any minister of the Gospel or other person who shall solemnize the prohibited matrimonies in this and the foregoing section, shall be punished with a fine not less than one hundred dollars, nor more than two hundred dollars; recoverable before any Court having jurisdiction of the same.

New Mexico's initial venture into anti-miscegenation legislation was a clear example of the frequently heard about but infrequently enacted double standard. The prohibitions and punishments under this double standard applied only to white women and nonwhite men combinations. There was no illegality in or sanction against white men marrying or cohabiting with non-white women. The New Mexico law was patently unfair and the chief sample of sexism-racism duality during the
1831-1857 period.

--Byron Curti Martyn, Racism in the United States: A History of the Anti-Miscegenation Legislation and Litigation, pp. 458-59.

No comments: