This may be a bit of a hijack, but could people get around anti-miscegenation laws by the white spouse simply claiming to be 1/8 black?

He was the first to intellectualize it.

There would be quite a steep social cost to that approach. Something similar happened in the musical Show Boat, IIRC.

Can’t a word can mean anything you want it to mean. Maybe, if you are the Red Queen or George Orwell’s “Big Brother” or seeking election.

Martin Bernal wrote a 3-volume work entitled Black Athena. He used the word “black” to refer to genetic lineages, cultural heritage, skin colour, whatever suited his purpose: Black to black and black to Black. In effect, he used lines of argument and evidence from a definition of “black” to make conclusions about “Black” origins. His work was based on word games.

So too with the word “black” in reference to skin colour and “Black” in reference to ethnicity (culture) and “race”. It’s easy to infuse descriptive words with political and religious meaning. And that is what Bernal did.

Are Chinese “Black” or “black”? Some from the south are quite dark, as dark as light-skinned American “Blacks”. Or are Chinese yellow/Yellow? In the north, most are lighter-skinned than most white Americans. Certainly, lighter-skinned than me because I am about 1/8th Amerind, maybe Mohawk and Algonquin.

But am I Red? Or at least “red”. Now we are firmly into American politics, a la Joe McCarthy. Better Red that dead. Or was it the other way round?

I cannot claim to be “Red”, a First Nations person, which in Canada is defined by legal criteria with genealogical evidence. DNA won’t do.

Anyhow, a DNA test doesn’t show up the Indian ancestry because both my mt-DNA and Y-DNA are Irish. This seems like a paradox, until you know that my Indian and French ancestry is through my mother’s father, something that is not picked up by the common DNA tests for ancestry, which test your mother’s mother etc and your father’s father etc.

For me it is a bit of a joke that my father’s family exiled him when he married my mother. His family trace their ancestry to southern England and cannot accept that their Y-DNA is found only in Ireland and the outer islands north of Scotland.

Using a bioinformatics tool, I ran my mt-DNA against that of a Yoruba woman (Nigerian) and found that the differences did not amount to much. Mainly, I suppose because we all originated in Africa. And if at conception, DNA changed in important ways our mother’s mothers mother etc would have miscarried spontaneously instead of birthing monsters.

Even so, some people can manage to be monsters without any significant genetic modification. I suppose that’s because the most important thing about humans is how they behave and that depends on culture not DNA.