Aren’t Genetics Awesome?!
Sometimes a picture is truly worth a thousand words. For those of us from the “multiracial” or mixed race community, photos of our population — our people, our families, our children — aren’t as shocking as they are an affirmation of what we have already known: Race is a social construct.
For twins, Lucy and Maria Aylmer from Gloucester, England who have been asked to produce their birth certificates to prove they are related, they aren’t alone. In the U.S., the self-identified “multiracial” community is at nine million and climbing. So why is it so difficult for so many to believe that the two girls are related, even after being told of their biological ties? Well, our notion of “race” and the historical “one-drop-rule” may be a good place to start.
The 1924 Racial Integrity Act defined race by the “one-drop rule,” defining as “colored” persons as anyone with any African or Native American ancestry. This law was in effect to purify the white population, while also expanding the scope of Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage (anti-miscegenation law) by criminalizing all marriages between white persons and non-white persons. In 1967 the law was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in its ruling on Loving v. Virginia.