Continued popular perception and past scholarly analysis of the South as a region to be mapped in black and white is not surprising, given that African slaves were brought to Virginia in 1619, a Civil War was fought over the enslavement of black people, a bloody civil rights movement was needed to end the de jure racial segregation and racial violence that followed, and much ink continues to be spilled over the de facto social segregation that lingers outside the workplace. But since the turn of the twenty-first century, many scholars have come to view this biracial rendering as a problematic "obsession," "diverting attention from the varieties of multiracial, transnational experiences" that have equally been part of the region's history and culture.1 As a term, "biracial" can be restrictive because it often posits separation rather than mixing and blending of people but even more so because it may only suggest the possibility of two absolute, flattening categories in a world of complex ethnic origins and makeups. However, as we turn our attention to analyses of races and ethnic groups that have been omitted in southern studies, we should not ignore issues in black and white that are still ongoing, even as they are changing in significant ways.
Copyright © 2016 University of Georgia Press. This chapter first appeared in Keywords for Southern Studies.
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Jones, Suzanne W. . "Black and White." Keywords for Southern Studies. Ed. Scott Romine and Jennifer Rae Greeson. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2016. 155-165. Print.