Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tragic Mulatto: Cadillac Records Edition

During a recent viewing of "Cadillac Records" I learned that the legendary Etta James considers herself biracial, citing a claim from her mother that her father was the well-known white pool player Minnesota Fats. Perhaps I'm reading a bit much into this, but the pride I initially felt was tempered by what seemed like the film's emphasis on the racial background of the purported father who denied her, thus implying that not only was this a key reason for Etta's later substance abuse, but also that being mulatto causes such strong emotional turmoil. First of all, this portrayal dismissed the other painful life circumstances that may have led her to self-destructive habits, and secondly, the-age old stereotype that mulattos are eternally conflicted belittles the experience of the many joyful mixed-race families and diminishes the legacy we've created within the larger fabric of society.

1 comment:

  1. yeah, once i left the commercial world of high school, i realized that being mulatto is not a curse but a unique blessing. And when did being mixed become a confusing physical trait?