Neither Black nor White: Louisiana Creoles of Color, South African Coloureds and the Struggle for Identity, Nationhood, and Belonging Public Deposited

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  • February 26, 2019
  • Lerner, Griffin
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • This thesis presents a comparative history of two mixed-race groups within Reconstruction Louisiana and apartheid South Africa in order to examine the nature of and agenda behind racial construction. Using existing histories, explorations of racial structures, and personal accounts from Creoles of Color and Coloureds, as well as white Louisianans and South Africans, this thesis seeks to answer how, why, and to what effect is race socially constructed. In Louisiana, whites, who represented the majority of the population, engaged in lengthy semantic arguments to distance themselves racially from Creoles of color, who were subsequently lumped into the monolithic African-American race despite having limited cultural similarities to freedman. A tri-caste racial system became bifurcated as Creoles of color legally became black minorities. In South Africa, minority Afrikaners asserted their own differences from Coloureds while simultaneously differentiating Coloureds from black Africans as well. While whites controlled the power structure, Coloureds occupied a middle ground between whites and blacks, and many apartheid laws did not affect Coloureds as severely. Whites in South Africa represented less than twenty percent of the population, so they sought to construct a racial system that would discourage solidarity between non-white groups by affording different privileges to different groups.
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  • In Copyright
  • Funding: David Anthony Kusa Undergraduate Student Memorial Award
  • Funding: Dunlevie Honors Undergraduate Research Fund
  • Lindsay, Lisa
  • Bachelor of Arts
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 83

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