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The Indians said I was white by law

The White Man always called me "Indian Squaw"
Cher, "Half Breed"

So, you just happen to be the child of that army guy who went native and married The Chief's Daughter? Or perhaps the reverse applies and dear mum left home and joined dad on the ancestral family homestead back in rural Smalltownington. This of course is assuming both your parents are alive and love each other, (Star-Crossed Lovers have a tendency to have it rough), or you might be the product of less than consensual affairs. And then you were born. Congratulations, you are now guaranteed to be despised by one or both sides of your family. Maybe it was that time you wore the ritual face paint to Sunday school....

Nevertheless, the Moral Guardians of the local town have branded you the Half-Breed. ("Half-caste" is a roughly synonymous term.)

Lucky for you, you (hopefully) have the love and support of your immediate family, and if you had a shaman/witch-doctor/priestess in the family genes, you can most assuredly tell them where to stick their supremacist ideologies by unleashing the can of mystical whup-ass. Conversely, you may need to give the other side of the family the can of whup-ass if the tribe never accepts you as one of them, but let's not dwell.

Life may be difficult. If you bear a closer resemblance to one parent over the other, you might tend to stick out like a sore thumb. Fortunately, genetics is probably on your side. Not only are you likely to possess an exotic attractiveness, you may even have the ability to pass as either race at any given time. In another time, you might be written as a Tragic Mulatto.

A word of caution: any revelation of your parentage might bring down the wrath of a mob wielding Torches and Pitchforks of doom at any given moment. Always have an escape plan ready, even if it requires mass carnage.

If you happen to live in a fantasy or scifi world, you're probably a Half-Human Hybrid. Here's to hoping you at least have five fully functioning limbs. More specifically, if one of your parents happens to be an elf, then congratulations you are a half-elf who will be hated and despised by your "superior" elven family. See also Raised by Natives.

See also But Not Too Foreign and Maligned Mixed Marriage.

Please note that in Real Life the terms half-breed and half-caste are highly offensive. Fantasy (or soft Science Fiction) works may include Halfbreeds of different species, mostly Half Human Hybrids, sometimes Nonhuman Humanoid Hybrids.

Examples of Halfbreed include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, both Half-Demons Kotaro and Setsuna mention having problems fitting into either the Human or Demon world. Setsuna doubly so as her demon family considers albinism to be taboo.
  • In Sora no Woto, it is implied that Rio is of mixed heritage since she lacks the Phenotype Stereotype looks of her blonde, green-eyed half-sister and her last names are Japanese/Slavic. Most probably a very common thing in Helvetia and no one seems to care.
  • Hayato Gokudera is half Italian, half Japanese, which lead to him being rejected by every mafia family except for the one headed by the almost totally Japanese Tsuna Sawada.
  • Urd from Ah! My Goddess is half-demon on her mother's side. Off course, the only one the really seems to be affected by it is her as most goddesses are nice enough not to bring it up (or simply don't care) and most demons, well they don't really want to mess with the beloved daughter of the ruler of Hell herself.
  • A non human example, Blue from Wolf's Rain is a wolf-dog. Upon meeting Cheza, the dog side of her virtually disappears and she joins the other wolves.
  • The main character of Kemono no Souja Erin is a child of a woman of the Mist People and a Tohda breeding man. Results of such unions are usually called "Akun Meh Chai" ("Child of Impossibilities"), because their parents should have never meet, yet alone fall in love.

Comic Books

  • Cheshire (Vietnamese/French), a supervillain in The DCU, basically went insane.
    • There was also the character Mongrel, aka Josh Xan, who was half-Vietnamese as well. He died in Infinite Crisis.
  • A heroic example is the multi-racial Connor Hawke. His mother is half Korean and half African-American. His father, Ollie Queen, is white. The trouble he had fitting in was what drove him to try and find peace in Buddhism and monkhood.
  • Marvel plays with this a bit. Hulkling from Young Avengers is half-Kree, half-Skrull. His Skrull grandfather even ordered his death, though now the Skrull Empire wants him back, as he's the only living member of the Imperial family. And the Kree would rather he join their ranks instead. The kicker? He considers himself more human than either Kree or Skrull due to being raised as one, and doesn't want to join either group.
  • The current iteration of Mon-El, the Daxamite hero born as Lar Gand, is the descendant of Bal Gand, a Daxamite explorer and ambassador, and an unnamed Mesoamerican male, before the discovery of America. Bal, fearing the Torches and Pitchforks of doom, made sure to entrust her unnamed son with a spaceship programmed to bring him on Earth at the first sign of xenophobia. While the unnamed Gand was able to subvert the pitchforks and live a fairly happy life, hiding his lineage, his still operative spaceship was later found by his distant nephew Lar, wishing to escape his oppressive homeland and travel in space as his ancestors did, starting the cycle anew.
  • Daken, Wolverine's son, is half-Canadian and half-Japanese. His named even means Mongrel. He grew up in Japan right after World War II had just ended. Considering how the culture would be responding to an abandoned child of mixed descent at the time, his Jerkass nature becomes a little more understandable.

Film

  • Lucy Liu (full Chinese) played the half-Chinese American, half-Japanese O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill. Several of the Yakuza clan leaders had problems with it--but since O-Ren was an assassin since twelve years old, nobody mentions it unless they want to lose their head.
  • Spock from the 2009 Star Trek has to deal with racism from Vulcans because of his human mother, including having his human side referred to as a liability by other Vulcans, which leads to a Crowning Moment of Awesome where he tells the Vulcan Science Academy where to shove it in classic Spock manner. He will also promptly beat the crap out of anyone who dares insult his mother or call her a whore, as three Vulcan boys and Kirk found out the hard way (though the latter proved to be a Batman Gambit to assume command of the ship, albeit in a rather Jerkass fashion).
  • Frank Hopkins from Hidalgo is a half Native American, and has a foot in both cultures.
  • Elvis Presley plays a man with a white father and an Indian mother in Flaming Star.

Literature

  • Rehv, from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, is half-vampire and half-sympath.
  • Tanis of the Dragonlance novels is a half-elf who gets a fair amount of shunning from the humans as well.
  • Hagrid, a half-giant, introduces us to the Ministry inclinations towards Fantastic Racism.
  • Most notably in the Deryni works, Morgan and Duncan come in for a great deal of criticism from the Camberian Council for their mixed parentage. They are frequently denigrated as "rogue half-breeds", and despite showing great promise as mages (including manifesting a Healing talent lost for centuries), they are extended official Counciliar protection only after much acrimonious debate in High Deryni. Even their continued heroism and loyalty does not mitigate the stigma for some elder Deryni High Lords and Ladies. From the human side of things, since there is an absolute taint (socially speaking) from magic, their parentage does not make them any less reviled.
  • Oliza in Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' Kiesha'ra series is a half-snake shapeshifter, half-hawk shapeshifter. She has the forms of both a hawk, a cobra, and a combined form referred to as a wyvern. Her cousin, Hai, is half-falcon and half-cobra and suffers from unstable magic that allows her to see several possible timelines (making her a Waif Prophet) but leaving her starkly out of touch with reality. Oliza and Hai are also both example of All Genes Are Codominant
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40000 Ultramarines novel Black Sun Dead Sky, Honsou is termed a half-breed. In Storm of Iron, it is revealed that this is because he has gene-seed stolen from Imperial sources as well as the Chaos ones; the Warmaster exploits this to develop rivalries.
  • A number of characters in J.R.R Tolkien's Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings are half-breeds: Luthien (half Elf, half Maia), her son Dior (half human, 1/4 Elf, 1/4 Maia), Eärendil (half Elf, half Man)...and their descendants. All seem to be well loved and respected by both sides of their respective families.
  • In the Shadows of the Apt series Half Breeds are treated as an inferiour class by all other races (despite many of the different kinden living in peace with strong interracial friendships and couplings). However all the Halfbreed characters we meet are either already being used for their blend of abilities or eventually rise above their racist superiours: Totho is recruited by the Wasp military engineer Dariandrephos (another Half Breed who outshone his peers)who recognises his talent for designing weapons. Also Tisamon's Half Breed daughter is a mix of the two most rivaled races Spider and Mantis. Unsurprisingly she also becomes grudgingly accepted among the Mantis kinden for her talent as a Weaponsmaster.
  • Rayona from A Yellow Raft In Blue Water is half Native American and half African American, and finds that she fits in with neither culture.
  • The na'kyrim of the Godless World. Also an example of Half-Human Hybrid.
  • Injun Joe. The bad kind. And he's even referred about as such several times.
  • Can't forget the Whateley Twins Wilbur and OH MY FUCKING GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?
  • In The Stone Dance of the Chameleon, children of Masters and common people are called Muramaga. As the Masters place a tremendous value on blood purity, the Muramaga technically slightly higher in the hierarchy than common people, but it doesn't really matter all that much.
  • The Ysabel Kid, from The Floating Outfit novels of J. T. Edson, is half Kentucky Irish, a quarter Commanche and a quarter French-Canadian.
  • The Ewu in Who Fears Death, being born from the union of Okeke and Nuru people. Looking surprisingly like neither tribe, the Ewu are sand-colored, skin and hair, with light eyes, like albino Africans.
  • In Warrior Cats, cats who are the result of a forbidden relationship between cats from two different Clans are called half-Clan cats. Some characters are more accepting of them, knowing that it's the cat inside and not their blood that determines who they are, but others mistrust them simply because they share the blood of another Clan. A notable example is Jayfeather in the fourth series - everyone trusted him before, but after his lineage is revealed, when he fails to save a drowning cat, he's accused of trying to murder said cat, even with witnesses. He points out that it's only because he's half-Clan that they don't trust him.
  • In Jacqueline Carey's The Sundering, Ushahin Dreamspinner is a half-Ellylon Child by Rape who is completely rejected by the Ellylon and eventually beaten nearly to death by humans.

Live Action TV

  • MASH had an episode featuring a Chinese-American who ended up being the special patient: the inner conflict of killing other Chinese guys got him to subconsciously want to do himself in for it.
    • Another episode involved a half-Korean, half-white baby being left at the camp (presumably the off-spring of an American soldier). They are told that her life would be in danger in a Korean orphanage, because she represents a threat to racial purity. Since her father won't identify himself and callous American officials refuse to allow her to be sent the US, the only option to protect her is to send her to a monastery to be raised by the monks.
  • In the miniseries Centennial, Jacques and Marcel Pasquinel are sons of a French trapper father and Arapaho mother. They have a hard time fitting in, and it doesn't turn out well.
  • In Charmed Paige is a half-witch, half-whitelighter. She gains whitelighter powers such as orbing and healing without having to actually die though she has to learn how to use them while whitelighters know them automatically. Wyatt and Chris are also the same though stronger because their mother is a Charmed One.

Music

  • Cher's hit single "Half Breed" is about the tumultuous life of a half-white, half-Cherokee woman rejected by both races.

Newspaper Comics

  • The titular hero of Latigo, by Stan Lynde, was the son of an Irish father and Native American mother.

Theatre

  • Azuri in The Desert Song.
  • One of the love plots in the musical South Pacific (also a film)

Video Games

  • This trope is played up in the video game Red Dead Revolver, with Red, the main character, being the offspring of a white settler and a Native American.
    • And in the similarly themed GUN.
    • Connor, the main character in the upcoming game Assassin's Creed III, has a similar background.
  • Final Fantasy likes this trope.
    • Final Fantasy IV, Cecil and his brother Golbez are half-human and half-Lunarian. They're the same as regular humans mostly, but Cecil doesn't know of his heritage for most of the game, while Golbez and Fusoya are both damn powerful mages.
    • Final Fantasy V, Bartz is fully human, but his parents hail from different halves of the world that existed as separate planets for centuries.
    • Final Fantasy VI, Terra is half-human and half-Esper. Mostly manifests as occasionally losing control of her powers and being controlled by a Super-Powered Evil Side, as well as the power to use magic innately.
    • Final Fantasy VII, Aerith is half-human and half-Cetra. She's mostly normal aside from the fact she hears the planet speak to her, and can use magic without Materia.
    • Final Fantasy X, Yuna is the daughter of a human and an Al-Bhed, an ethnicity distinguished by their green eyes and spiral irises. The mixture manifested itself as Yuna's Mismatched Eyes.
  • Reversed in Mass Effect with the Asari, where being a pureblood is considered offensive as it indicates that neither parent Asari was interested in expanding the Asari genetic memory by mating with another species. It's an indication of extreme selfishness according to Liara. Plus pure breeds tend to have a higher tendency to produce their psycho space vampires.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, a book called "Notes on Racial Phylogeny" states that children of interracial unions typically resemble the mother more, with some traits from the father still persisting. In Oblivion, the Gray Prince, a champion gladiator is part human, part orc[1]. The entire race of Bretons descend from half-breeds between nedes (ancestral race of men) and Aldmer (ancestral race of elves), when the Elves took concubines. The Bretons are considered a race of men, but their elven ancestry manifests as having the highest racial aptitude for magic of all men races. A few aristocratic Breton lineages still retain a slight point to their ears.

Web Comics

  • In Drowtales Drowolath/Drowussu hybrids have it particularly rough in the Crapsack World of the setting, since the two cultures are not supposed to mix. They have a few places they can go and be respected, but one of the major clans that accepted them fell apart and sent many to the streets or to other clans. Chiri'nide also experiences some of this since her father was a Light Elf, until it turns out that Drowussu are descended from Light Elves anyway, so she doesn't really count.
  • Banquo of Goodbye Chains. His character profile proudly describes him as "half-Mexican and half-Swedish, and also a colossal dick." He was the result of a one-night stand between an actress and a mestizo Mexican man, and faces quite a bit of racism because of his background. His Distaff Counterpart and part time lover, Cordelia, is half-Ute, but there are certainly no parallels between them and how they treat their companions, no siree.
  • And let's not forget the Fantastic Racism version prevalent in the world of Kevin and Kell, where most of the 'race' definition is based on diet (thus, Rudy is generally not subject to this despite being mixed species).
    • Though Lindesfarne did note in a plotline where lawmakers tried to ban marriages between herbivores and carnivores that it was a slippery slope, and that banning herbivore/carnivore marriages now could lead in the future to banning mixed marriages of any sort-say, a wolf (Rudy) and a fox (Fiona).
    • There seems to be widespread prejudice against herbivore-carnivore relationships held by many people in Kevin and Kell. Those who are prejudiced against any mixed breeding are portrayed as a group of small extremists and this is much less accepted.

Notes

  1. the (human) father was also a vampire, but just what that had for consequences for the Gray Prince is uncertain, as he is both the only known case of human/orc interbreeding and vampire/living interbreeding
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