Saturday, January 16, 2016

Walter Plecker- Father of Racial, Political, and Ethnic Divisiveness

Walter Plecker- An American Bigot

Walter Plecker by Abagond:

Donald Trump would be so proud of him!

Plecker in 1935 at the Bureau of Vital Statistics (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
Walter Plecker (1861-1947), a White American eugenicist, was the mastermind of the state of Virginia’s Act to Preserve Racial Integrity (1924). The law was an instrument of Jim Crow and did considerable damage to Native American tribes. It led to Loving v Virginia (1967), which made mixed-race marriages legal across the US.
Plecker was born the son of a slave owner ten days before the start of the Civil War. He became a country doctor, then a county public health officer and then, from 1912 to 1946, the head of Virginia’s Bureau of Vital Statistics.
He was a pioneer in public health. He cut infant mortality among Blacks nearly in half and reduced blindness among Blacks and Natives.
As a eugenicist he believed in “race improvement”, so his concern for public health extended to keeping the White race “pure”:
“Unless this can be done, we have little to hope for, but may expect in the future decline or complete destruction of our civilization.”
To that end he pushed for the Act to Preserve Racial Integrity:
“the most perfect expression of the white ideal, and the most important eugenic effort that has been made in 4,000 years.”
It was not completely overturned till 1974.
Under the law, his Bureau recorded the race of every person born in Virginia, as either “white” or “coloured”, using the One Drop Rule. When you got married, you had to go through the Bureau, which either knew your race already or required proof of it. This prevented mixed marriages, like the Lovings.
It went beyond marriage: you could not go to a good school or a good hospital unless you were White.
Plecker wrote to one White mother:
“This is to inform you that this is a mulatto child and you cannot pass it off as white. You will have to do something about this matter and see that this child is not allowed to mix with white children. It cannot go to white schools and can never marry a white person in Virginia.
“It is a horrible thing.”
He was a devout Christian:
“Let us turn a deaf ear to those who would interpret Christian brotherhood as racial equality.”
Because many Virginia lawmakers counted Pocahontas as an ancestor, they made an exception to his White ideal: you could be up to 1/16th Native and still count as White.
To close this loophole, Plecker said that all Natives were “mixed-blooded negroes,” that he could prove that with state records going back to 1830.
Because some Natives could pass for White, he made lists of common Native names, like Branham, public.
Families were torn apart: many Natives left Virginia to escape Plecker’s world.
Natives were recorded as “coloured” (Black) under Plecker. In part because they had disappeared from state records as Natives, the US government sees Virginia as having no tribes. So Virginian tribes do not receive the rights and money granted to other tribes.
It will take an act of Congress to undo the damage, something tribes have been pushing for.
– Abagond, 2015.

My take on Walter Plecker and his racist/fascist legacy:

He left a legacy of racial, ethnic, and class division not only in the commonwealth of Virginia, but also this nation.  He not only want to classify Native Americans as Black, but also many groups such as the Melungeons.  He strongly believed in white racial purity as well as eugenics to purge certain groups of people from the body politic of the nation.  Buck v Bell case comes to mind.  He thought that Carrie Buck was a danger and a threat to American social order, so he favored her sterilization.  

The real legacy of Mr. Plecker is that he wanted America to be divided into two races, pure white and nonwhite.  Now his evil legacy lives on today in the right wing of the Republican Party. Just take a look at the demagoguery of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz(person of Color), etc., the HBD crowd, the American Renaissance crowd, talk radio and media hosts Bob Dumas and Richard Cohen, and the Tea Party Crowd.  Also, some liberals as well.  They, too, imbibe the poison of Mr. Plecker by not recognizing American Indian tribes in Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina.

His legacy is alive and well in racial profiling by American government, the divisive political atmosphere of the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as ongoing systemic institutionalized racism.

The evil spirit of Walter Plecker is alive and well today and it's not going anywhere unless people push back against racial/ethnic divisiveness.- S.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails