Creole: a contested, polysemous term
Creole, francophone groups, social construction of race, critical mixed-race studies, United States ethnic groups, historical
In this paper, we critically examine the polysemous term, creole, used at different times and various geographical areas to describe diverse identities, languages, peoples, ethnicities, racial heritages, and cultural artefacts. Our objective is twofold: (1) to describe the historically contested nature of the term and its connection to broader trends in defining race in the United States and (2) to suggest that a deeper understanding of racially situated terms such as creole can help to highlight the contextualized character of racial/ethnic divisions, trends, and labels. Our analysis shows that in many ways the Creole people of the United States Gulf Coast Region truly represent the “melting pot” mantra in espoused American ideology and exemplify a direct challenge to bygone racial ideologues which espoused the idea that mixing produces hybridized, impudent, weak, and sickly offspring.
Original Publication Citation
Cope, Michael R. and Mark J. Schafer. 2017. “Creole: A Contested, Polysemous Term.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(15): 2653-2671.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Cope, Michael James and Schafer, Mark J., "Creole: a contested, polysemous term" (2015). Faculty Publications. 3266.
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