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MISCEGENATION

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MISCEGENATION

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:53 pm

• miscegenation •


Pronunciation: mis-sej-ê-nay-shên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (No plural)

Meaning: 1. Interracial marriage involving people with different skin colors. 2. The process by which children are born to parents of different races. 3. The mixture of two different styles, cultures, etc.

Notes: Today's Good Word is an activity noun created from the verb miscegenate, which also gave us miscegenator and miscegenationist. This word has a synonym, miscegeny, which accounts for miscegenist and miscegenic. The size of the family of today's Good Word reflects its importance historically, which continues in some parts of the world even today.

In Play: Today's Good Word is seldom used any more. I was mildly shocked to hear it when watching the 1951 movie of Jerome Kern's and Oscar Hammerstein's musical Show Boat, based on a book of the same name by Edna Ferber. The star of the show, Julie, was forced under threat of arrest to leave the show boat because she was a half-African living with a white man. However, this word is used much more broadly today: "Bob Dylan's music is a miscegenation of folk music and jazz." It has even lost its pejorative tinge.

Word History: Today's Good Word would seem to be built using the prefix mis- "wrong". The original meaning tends to support a misanalysis of the word as "wrong cegenation". This interpretation doesn't work because neither English nor Latin has a word cegenation. Miscegenation actually originated as a hoax perpetrated by David Goodman and George Wakeman. These two published a pamphlet in 1863 which implied that Republicans favored mixed-race relationships. The word they invented comprised legitimate Latin words: miscere "to mix" + genus, generis "race". These two words brought with them a long, illustrious history. The root of miscere comes from the same PIE source as English mix. Genus, generis goes back to a word meaning "give birth to", for it turns up in Greek gyne "woman", as in gynecology, and generation. It descended to English via its Germanic roots as kin and kind.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby MTC » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:47 am

"The red ink of stigma as often stains the author's hands."

from The Apocrypha of MTC
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:26 pm

Interesting thought.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:00 pm

New Orleans history is filled with references to quadroons and octaroons. They seem to have had an intermediate place in society as a caste between black and white. The understanding was they were either a fourth or an eighth black, often considered as black by white society, but they received better treatment by some. The references I have read are often, though not exclusively, to prostitues. Most famous was Marie Laveux, known as a Cajun octaroon who conducted rituals at midnight in the swamps outside NOLA.

A chief obstacle to integration in the South was the fear of miscegenation. I heard several in the sixties say that if blacks and whites go to school together, they won't know the difference and feel free to marry. Thankfully, that prophecy is coming true. The church I attend ordained three new deacons a couple of years ago. One was a black who married a white woman, and they now have a child much loved by the church. The other two, btw, were a WASP and an Hispanic whose parents fled Cuba under Castro.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby call_copse » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:30 am

You are welcome to count me amongst the miscegenators - though I can assure you it is not a self-image I have ever presented, it not being a pretty word, I dwell in such ranks by definition.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby bamaboy56 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:13 pm

Here in the Deep South miscegenation is still an issue, though not as big a deal as it used to be (at least not where I live). What if one day we just looked at each other as human beings and not so much as what "blood" we have? Just wondering.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:11 pm

Ian: There is no real need for the word miscegenator. In the past, my family was "lily white" and now we are a mixture of Anglos, Hispanics and Africans. My first half-African cousin and his white mother were roundly hated by a few of the clan. But these were the same clan members who called my adopted children bastards. There is only one race, the human race.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby bamaboy56 » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:24 pm

Great post, P. Hudson, and I agree. My family is a mixture of Anglos, Hispanics and Philippinos. There's even some French mixed in there several generations back. I repeat from my last post, what if one day we just looked at each other as human beings and not what "blood" we have? I'll bet a high percentage of us would find blood of a lot of different races in our family trees.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby call_copse » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:23 am

Not French! The rest I could take but...

I jest of course, but I am interested that it may still be an issue - to be honest I supposed that likely to be the case. I live in a pretty cosmopolitan area but imagine there exist those for whom it may be an issue. I suspect these are more likely to be recent immigrants than the longer term settled population, which is very liberal (in the general sense of tolerant).

I confess should I meet those with these attitudes or similar I might struggle not to display contempt, which of course I would not consider worthy, but may be tricky to hide in the circumstances. In circles in which I move clearly any such intolerant attitudes would be shocking beyond belief.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby bnjtokyo » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:28 am

Around here, we are trying to help people understand that the result of miscegenation should not be referred to has a "half" but as a "both." Both languages, both cultures, both talents.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:52 am

Not French! The rest I could take but..


Are you still angry about the Norman Invasion?
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:55 pm

Racial prejudice may be rooted in clan solidarity based on a rationale of "who can you trust." A Louisiana friend who had worked as an engineer by one of the Great Lakes liked to tell of being criticized as being from the South by the same people who hated some type of Indians living on a nearby island.

The other side of the issue is depicted pretty clearly in Tony Hillerman's (and other) novels of the Navahos. They are in a bind between preserving the old traditional culture and the need for education and jobs on the "outside." The old ways lead to a third world reservation and poverty. It seems to me to echo the Middle East situation with radical Islamists fighting education and civilization that doesn't advance beyond the seventh century. That said, a lot of Protestant theology is more sixteenth century than first or 21st.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby LukeJavan8 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:04 pm

I visited a Native American Store locally, and
a few were in buying sweetgrass for ceremonies, etc.
I felt the miscegenation a little bit when one
started speaking Lakota and used the word
wasica which means 'loathed white man' or something
similar. They, of course, did not know I speak
a pittance of the language.
Was also in Jericho, West Bank, once when a
boy of 12 -14 said "Go home American" to my
self and a friend. I can empathize somewhat
with others.
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby Slava » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:11 pm

This word reminds me of a fairly recent major faux pas from a coffee shop. They decided to market a drink called the "Moo Latte". They professed to being taken aback by the vehemency of the protests. :shock:
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Re: MISCEGENATION

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:10 pm

I was taken aback at "Moo Latte" because of my naivety. I had no idea for several minutes what was meant and what was implied. I confess I do not know exactly what a latte is and don't want to know. I drink real coffee. When I finally got the double entendre people seem to have imagined, I could not believe this was an intentional thing. I think the moo was from the sound a cow is supposed to make. Thin skins abound.
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