Meaning of Mulatto (for Dummies)

The meaning of Mulatto: (I am sick & tired of people asking me what mulatto means. Apparently there are quite a few on-line chatters who should unplug their PC's, sell 'em and buy themselves a very large dictionary *some include pictures & crayons even!*)

A mulatto (also mulatto) is a person of mixed ancestry with an African and a European parent (half black and half white) and the offspring of two mulatto parents. Also, a person of lighter skin pigmentation that may refer to his/herself as the oxymoron (light-skinned black)

In colonial years the term originally referred to the children of one European and one African parent [only some of you know this, but I am a child of a white mother and a black father], or the children of two mulatto parents. Today, mulatto usually refers to people with a median of African and European skin tone and features.

The origin of the term is often said to derive from "mula", the Spanish word for mule, once a generic designation name for any hybrid. This is believed to be the reason it is considered offensive by some English-speakers, who might prefer terms like "biracial" or "mixed" instead. Others, however, insist on using the term mulatto because it is more precise in defining the genetic admixture [not to mention that it gives me great pride knowing that I embrace both my African American and European heritage. I am proud to be “mulatto”]. Even though some words may have negative origins, many words that are now widely used are acceptable in American vernacular, e.g. Hysteria (sexist origin but now refers to something very amusing) and Slav (referred to being enslaved but now refers to the Slavic people. Many Spanish-speakers do not consider "mulatto" offensive; in fact, in Latin America the term is even associated with beauty and sometimes with artistic ability [have I ever mentioned that I am incredibly artistic?]. An alternate etymology traces mulatto to the Arabic muwallad, which means "a person of mixed ancestry".

On and On ….


When I see my own reflection, I see a woman w/curly yet soft hair. I see a woman w/strong black features (nose/mouth) and I see someone who is commonly passed off as white, and occasionally thought of as Spanish.  I see a woman who knows that her heritage does not define who she is; although this woman I see is very proud of her ethnic beauty as well.  I simply see a woman.  What do you see? (And no I am not a tragic mulatto!)

Apparently I am not black enough or white enough in today’s society and I am left feeling dumbfounded as to what it means to be “me”.  I was raised in the ghetto and didn’t fit in, then moved to a predominantly white neighborhood and shunned by most. For the most part I am/was stuck in the middle w/no way out.  

For instance, after work this evening I decided to go out and socialize with a few neighbors and I finally sat down with an older gentleman, whom I had always seen as fairly intelligent and non-prejudice. As I’m sitting there listening to some of his life stories we ended up talking about musical interests. He preferred country and classical rock while I would rather listen to rhythm/blues and reggae.  And then suddenly I heard it.  The “N” word.  I sat there with wide eyes and my mouth gaping open.  “Oh hell no!” the old man said, “I can’t stand that “N” music!”  Wow.  And that’s when I realized that most people can’t see what or who I am (on the outside).  To them, to most, I am white.  My neighbor had no ******* idea that I was “mulatto”.  The ole’ guy couldn’t see past my slightly tanned skin.  I’d like to think my Caucasian afro would give people some clue as to my ethnic background, but I could only be so lucky.  No, I didn’t yell or scream at my neighbor instead I closed my mouth and politely excused myself from the conversation.  I think he knew why I walked away, but I was too tired from work to argue with a man who obviously didn’t have the intelligence to argue back



 I am mulatto. I am black and I am white.  I am woman.

For those of you who didn’t know, now you do.

full0secrets full0secrets
26-30, F
2 Responses Jun 22, 2007

I just wanted to point out that you are right.<br />
I grew up in South America and the term Mulata is used to describe a beautiful woman.<br />
It's good to see someone actually knows the meaning of the word; I grew up around it and many other that somehow describe your ethnic background.<br />
Also I'm a Hybrid myself I'm half Venezuelan and half Irish which kind of makes me a Mestizo.

Congratulations for your intelligent and moving "confession". Now I know why you addressed me... Thank you very much - and yes: I'll contact you once my present state of being very busy is over. And yes, I would like to spoil those velvety petals with tenderness...