The Pocahontas Exception

This week we read ” The Pocahontas Exception” by Kevin Noble Maillard. The article talks about the Racial Integrity Act which made it illegal for a white person to marry a non-white person. However there was an exception to the law. If someone was one-sixteenth or less American Indian then they were considered white. This was necessary because many affluent people in Virginia claimed that they were decedents of Pocahontas, so without this clause they wouldn’t be allowed to marry white people. I thought that it was interesting that if people could prove that they were American Indian instead of African American then they could secure rights similar to white people. I had never heard about Miscegenistic exceptionalism and I found the idea interesting. This idea invokes a race hierarchy. Only people who were part Native American were eligible for this exception. I thought that the part about the Indian Grandmother was interesting because my great-grandmother swore that her grandmother was a Native American princess.

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