Friday, June 3, 2011

Walter White & The NAACP

The black male in the middle is Walter White

   Walter F. White was born in 1893 in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended an all black high school and an all black college. At 25-years-old, Mr. White joined the NAACP (1918). In 1931, at 37-years-old, he became the Executive Director of the NAACP, and would remain in that capacity until his death in 1955 (White also booted W.E.B. Du Bois from the organization in 1934).

         But aside from Mr. White's career choice and his performance within the NAACP, there was one thing which I found about Mr. White to be more than a bit peculiar (and many others during his lifetime as well), which is what he claimed as his actual race. He looked - undeniably - like a Caucasian male. His hair was blonde, eyes were blue, and his skin tone was white as an Englishman. Yet, he always insisted to everyone, and quite freely, he was a Negro (Walker "claimed" both of his parents were very light-skinned blacks).1   However, an incident in Atlanta in 1906 undoubtedly had to register with the then 13-year-old Walter regarding his appearance (that is, if Walter really was spawned from negro parents...and he really did believe he was black).  A race riot had erupted (black males raped four white females in the month of September - and local white males had had ENOUGH) and white mobs formed looking for blacks ... and revenge.  Walter and his father were driving home when they encountered one of the many angry white mobs that had formed. Upon seeing Walter and his father, however, the mob simply ignored them - because they looked white. Naturally, it is a given Walter didn’t leap from the car and shout to that raging mob he was black (one does have to wonder, if it were blacks attacking white people [like the Watts Riot] and they came upon Walter, would he have escaped their racial attack by insisting he was black?). So in this case, Walter’s appearance saved him a certain beating, maybe even his life. In essence, Walter was one of the very few males in America at that time who could play two race cards. In Walter's case, it was akin to him sitting at a poker table and being the only player who was allowed to substitute a King for Queen, or vice versa, whenever he felt there was an advantage to do it. Naturally, with an advantage like that, Walter would do quite well at a poker table. And at America's racially separated table, Walter, not surprisingly (human nature being what it is), often leaped from one side to the other - that is, whenever it benefited him. Everywhere a black man couldn't go because of the established color line, Walter had no trouble crossing over. He ate at restaurants traditionally reserved for white people. He stayed at any hotel he fancied, and went into any white theater or white community he chose to visit. And, again, it's a given that Walter, while in the process of receiving the benefits or services normally reserved for white people, he never once revealed he considered himself a Negro. In the area of employment, the most crucial of all stations in life for a male at that time, Walter's appearance turned out to be the deciding factor in his career choice. Weldon Johnson , a Negro, recognized Walter’s appearance as an advantage to the NAACP and arranged a nice paying job for him (Walter was basically hired as a spy for the organization). This was also a time when most urban adult Negro males were unemployed (1918). So Walter was able to secure employment at the NAACP because of the way he looked, and he did quite well there financially, assuming control of the whole organization in 1931 --the beginning of the Great Depression.  Yes, no question about it, Walter, being able to jump the color line whenever he recognized an advantage to be had, was able to live far better than the average Negro male.

      But, of what race did Walter White belong? White? Or Black?  Even though Walter White would never admit it , and which was obvious to everyone,  he was in fact a white male. But what about the  one drop rule (one drop of black in your lineage you're black)?
The one drop rule should be regarded exactly as it sounds to rational thinking people : Absurd.  Let's look at it this way...  Appearance equates to what the human being is cognizant of. Walter White’s appearance was Caucasian. The racial message he conveyed to people then ... was that he was Caucasian. Additionally, let's look at Walter's situation through the DMG Theorem.  According to the Theorem, a Dominant Male Group is composed of males racially, linguistically and religiously similar (including the non-religious).  Walter's appearance was unmistakable Caucasian, he spoke English and he was Christian. Therefore, according to the Theorem, and, again, regardless of what Walter believed his racial identity to be, he was a member de jure of the Caucasian race in America (he was an American, not a Negro).

1. There is no evidence Walter's parents were "light skinned negroes". No picture of his parents - strangely - exist. Hmmm.  Could be that little Walter was just so desperately seeking attention...so he claimed he was black. And,  of course, among blacks he sure would stand out. People do weird things. Also, I do believe it is genetically impossible for a person to have blond hair and blue eyes and come from even light skinned negroes. No doubt in my mind...Walter's parents were both white. 

2 comments:

  1. VERY GOOD READ HERE. Every school kid should read this article.

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  2. Absurb! How can a person who was born to two light-skinned Negro parents by a "White male." What country are you from?

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