a note on terminology
: :
This book addresses the histories of multiracial people in British Central
Africa. The term multiracial (designating more than one race) is commonly
employed by sociologists and other scholars today instead of more dated
expressions such as mulatto and mixed race. I consequently use multiracial
in preference over the other two terms. When I do apply the ambiguous
descriptions mixed or mixed race, I often place the words in quotes to high-
light my critical view of these overused and analytically unhelpful adjec-
tives, which tend to obscure both personal and social histories as argued
in this book. I similarly place pejorative expressions such as half- caste in
quotes. In the context of southern Africa, the term Coloured is often uti-
lized. I use it as well, though with caution and specificity, since this book
seeks to develop a broader comparative conversation between experiences
found in southern Africa, elsewhere in Africa, and other parts of the world.
The term Coloured is controversial in some quarters—particularly in South
Africa, where it is viewed as part of an apartheid- era terminology. Provi-
sional solutions by other scholars have included placing the term in quotes
(“Coloured”), making it lower- case (coloured), and qualifying it with prefa-
tory language (so- called Coloured), all which attempt to unsettle a strict
racial meaning. Though I am deeply sympathetic to such politics, this book
exercises the term in capitalized form, given its common historical use in
this way and due to the fact that lower- case and quoted forms do not nec-
essarily safeguard it from more problematic practices and understandings.
Most significantly, this book emphasizes regionally specific historical
terms such as Anglo- African, Euro- African, Eur- African, and Eurafrican when
appropriate. These self- fashioned expressions found in the Rhodesias and
Nyasaland during the colonial period are qualitatively different from the
more generic, state- sanctioned Coloured, as addressed in the chapters that
follow. Many regional intellectuals and organizations criticized this latter
expression, and I have taken these local views seriously. This book there-
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