GENMSC-L ArchivesArchiver > GENMSC > 1998-12 > 0915052486
From: Will Pratt <>
Subject: Re: Black Dutch
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 13:14:46 -0800
Cindy Bolinger wrote:
> I am sure this subject has been discussed before, and I didn't pay any
> attention because it didn't apply to me. <grin> Now I find I need to know.
> Can someone please give me a definition? Thanks in advance.
The trouble with names like this is that they got used in many different
ways. It's also encountered with "Black Irish". In one context, one
had "Dutch" (who were more often of German (Deutch) extraction) who were
blond and blue eyed and "Black Dutch" who were dark haired people of
similar origin, who didn't match the blond stereotype. Similarly "red"
and "black" Irish, that is Irish immigrants of Viking ancestry, with red
hair and blue/green eyes, and "black" Irish of Celtic ancestry with
black hair and dark eyes. Then you have application of the term "Black
Dutch" to Dutch-speaking Creole populations in the West Indies, of mixed
European and African ancestry. And again you have the term applied to
little enclaves of people who were of mixed African and Caucasian, and
sometimes Native American, ancestry in the US who tended to inmarry and
keep to themselves. In New York they were also called "Jackson Whites"
(corruption of "jacks (mildly perjorative term for negroes)and whites".
In the upper south, they were often called melungeons. "Black" Dutch or
"Black" Irish were then used as mildly perjorative names in place of
strongly perjorative ones that we needn't quote here.
In brief the terms have been used so widely, in so many ways, that you
just have to ignore them for the moment and sort out the genealogy.
Then you may be able to come back to them with some idea of what they
meant in the case at hand.
William L. Pratt, Ph.D., Curator of Invertebrates, Barrick Museum
Mail Stop 4012, Univ. Nevada, Las Vegas 89154-4012
(702) 895-1403; Fax (702) 895-3094;