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Old 03-01-2021, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Glen Burnie, Maryland
1,643 posts, read 3,811,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tritone View Post
Skip gates does it again. In a recent episode on the ancestry of Roseanne Cash, daughter of Johnny Cash, Finding your roots confirmed old rumors from the 60's about Johnny Cash's wife, Vivian cash, who once stirred controversy because she was suspected to be of negro descent.

Gates has an odd preoccupation with "passing" as a subject, and enjoys exposing passers by fishing out any black ancestor he can find. So when Roseanne Cash was on the show, he knew what he was doing. He successfully found "mulatto" census records, a paper trail to a slave, manumission records, and a DNA test confirming that Vivian Cash indeed had a black ancestor - just one though.

While it was interesting that he confirmed old rumors about Cash's wife, these kinds of episodes seem to be more about sensationalism than ancestry. He's like today's Walter Plecker or Naomi Drake, who exposed passing negros for a living and enjoyed what they did.

Surely there were plenty of interesting stories to tell about the other 97% of Roseanne Cash's ancestry. No?
In looking at photos of Vivian Cash, I can clearly see that she was a person of color. I'm thinking most must have known this at the time. Was it such a secret?
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,653 posts, read 15,129,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tritone View Post
Skip Gates's obsession with "passing" is a recurring theme is all of his programming. He does this over and over again.
So? It was a recurring theme in history. He's a historian. I don't see the problem, and I don't see why you're so obsessed with having a problem with Gates. If you don't like his show, don't watch it. Problem solved.
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:50 AM
 
3,048 posts, read 1,323,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg1963 View Post
In looking at photos of Vivian Cash, I can clearly see that she was a person of color. I'm thinking most must have known this at the time.
The family was harassed because people suspected it. They got confronted by the KKK. Johnny even had to make a public statement that he was not married to a negro. Really ugly stuff.

Quote:
I'm thinking must have known this at the time. Was it such a secret?
There's no indication that Vivian Cash knew that she had any black ancestry. It's possible that she wasn't keeping any secrets, and believed she was just white. She certainly wasn't lying about being Italian.

There's probably some elderly people who caught the show and remember this gossip from the 60s who are saying "AHA! I knew all along!"
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Old 03-01-2021, 11:21 AM
 
253 posts, read 60,452 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjg1963 View Post
In looking at photos of Vivian Cash, I can clearly see that she was a person of color. I'm thinking most must have known this at the time. Was it such a secret?
You are looking at this with 2021 eyes, we live in a time where most people are used to seeing biracial people, But back then we were 90 years past slavery and had laws on the book against interracial marriage, so most of the biracial made during slavery had either passed and blended into white families(often claiming to be part Indian) or bred into the larger black population, so most people outside of places like Louisiana weren't used to seeing people who were that close to white with very minor giveaway's, so they were just assumed to be white, where as today most people can spot that because we have had decades of Maria Carey, Wentworth Miller, Rashida Jones and Vin Diesel(notice all those actors played white characters at the start of their careers) also Vivian was 1/4 black and part Italian(southern Italian) and many of them could pass for light skinned black people. I have a friend who's parents marriage was broken up by ancestry.com as it turned out his father was not his father(and 4 black half siblings popped up), and he looked biracial but nobody in his family thought anything of his appearance because the white guy he thought was his father had an Italian mother(who looked typically white) but he had full Italian cousins on his fathers side that looked like him as far as the curly hair and olive skintone. So everyone just assumed he got a double dose of genes from his grandmothers father who was a dark curly haired Italian off the boat from Italy.

(turned out his real father was an African American frycook at his maternal grandfathers diner back in the 70's and my friend has no Italian DNA)
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Old 03-01-2021, 11:47 AM
 
3,048 posts, read 1,323,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChileSauceCritic View Post
also Vivian was 1/4 black and part Italian(southern Italian) and many of them could pass for light skinned black people.
That's quite an overstatement. Vivian was 1/16th black. It's her maternal grandfather that was 1/4.
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Old 03-01-2021, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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It seems like the question of her being part black or not was one that had a significant impact on her life, so I'd say it's appropriate to focus on it in the context of that show.
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:43 PM
 
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
6,480 posts, read 3,512,921 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tritone View Post
That's quite an overstatement. Vivian was 1/16th black. It's her maternal grandfather that was 1/4.
I had never heard of Vivian Cash, just but just looked at a pageful of photos of her on Google Images.

Whatever her DNA, the woman pictured has un-mistakeably black features and looks considerably more than 1/16th black. She doesn't look Italian.

https://external-content.duckduckgo....jpg&f=1&nofb=1
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Old 03-01-2021, 11:18 PM
 
8,685 posts, read 6,636,370 times
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Wasn't she a Latina from San Antonio Texas?
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Old 03-02-2021, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
28,254 posts, read 18,669,490 times
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I just watched the show. I think it is OK to focus on the widespread racial mixing that happened in former times. American families that have been here awhile are invariably mixed, with multiple heritages. Certainly we all know that many of Jefferson’s descendants with Sally Hemmings passed at some point. There were social advantages to passing, so when possible, people passed.

If Gates finds black folks in family trees, I don’t see why it should not be mentioned. This is after all, part of our American story. I also think it helps us understand that we are truly all members of the same human race. The fact that he finds Black ancestors often is itself an interesting fact.
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Old 03-02-2021, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
4,249 posts, read 4,715,184 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tritone View Post
No it's not.

They're both doing exactly the same thing - for a living. And Gates believes in the notion of "passing" as much as Plecker and Naomi Drake.
Telling someone they have SubSaharan/African ancestry is not accusing someone of "passing". Passing is an intentional act meant to deceive others as to identity. Gates is not alleging that his guests are passing. Nor is he attempting to persuade the guest that she should now identify as black or biracial.

Plecker, a EUGENICIST, was evil. He not only accused people of passing, he abused his position by ordering Health Department staff to amend legal documents, i.e. birth certificates, to reflect HIS determination of the child's race. Comparing Gates to Plecker is totally inappropriate.
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