AfriGeneas World Research Forum
Re: Tracing Persons Passing for White
In Response To: Re: Tracing Persons Passing for White ()
My white English mother married a Bengali in the late 1950s, she had three mixed race kids, I'm the only one out of the three of us who could "pass" for white. I choose not too though I can tell you for nothing my life would have been a hell of a lot easier if I had done!
A lot of men and women during the days of the Raj passed themselves off as white, it is not just an African American experience, many of these children were the result of liaisons between white English soldiers and low caste girls, however nearly every mixed race family claimed their Indian ancestor was actually an Indian Princess, no one was the offspring of a prostitute and her white customer, or the result of a temporary arrangement whilst a solider was based in India.
When the Raj crumbled in 1948, many Anglo Indians (the ones who had the money that is!) as they were now known as left for the UK and merged in with the general white population. To this day there are many families in the UK who don’t know that in their lineage a liaison with an Indian girl or more rarely (though it did happen!) an Indian boy produced a child that is their ancestor.
For these “bastards” of the Raj, tracing their ancestor who choose to pass is next to impossible. Sometimes the proof lies in a throwback being born into a family that is supposed “white” but it’s rare and history has covered its tracks.
I’m lucky, my mother never tried to pretend we were white, and I never choose to go down that road either so my family know where we came from and we all hope we know where we are going too.
Having the “stain” of Indian blood meant that many people hid their heritage from their families and if they were forced to admit to it, they elevated their status, making their ancestor an Hindu or Mogul Princess when it reality they were ordinary people living in extraordinary times…
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