White Women and Men of Colour: Miscegenation Fears in Britain after the Great War

TitleWhite Women and Men of Colour: Miscegenation Fears in Britain after the Great War
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsBland, Lucy
JournalGender & History
Date Published06/2005

This article examines miscegenation fears in Britain in the period after World War I, noting three dominant discourses: that miscegenation leads inevitably to violence between white and black men (focusing on the 1919 race riots), that these relationships involve sexual immorality (analysing the 1920 "Black Horror on the Rhine," a case involving a white woman, a Chinese man and drugs and a trial of a white woman for killing her Egyptian husband) and that miscegenation has "disastrous" procreative consequences. It is suggested that miscegenation stood as one British boundary marker, separating the nationally acceptable and the nationally threatening. The parties concerned—the "primitive" man of colour, the white woman of a "low type" and the "misfit" offspring—were each pathologised in terms of their deviant sexuality. Yet interracial relationships did not decrease, quite the contrary. The move in Britain towards a more racially mixed community began in the years after the Great War, when certain white women made choices against the norms of respectable femininity.

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