In discussing racism in regard to Francis Harper's "Iola Leroy,"the one drop of African American blood rule comes into play. Consider the events in which Iola is forced to confront her African American heritage, and the ways in which she is segregated as a result. As Iola is more white than black in appearance, her status as a black woman in society shows us the power of the one drop rule. Specifically, this rule states that any person with even one drop of African American blood is to be considered African American.
There are several problems which must be confronted in regard to the one drop rule. First, many African Americans, such as Iola Leroy, posses more "white" blood in their bodies than that of African American blood. Yet, the Whites, who hold their blood line to be extremely pure, view one drop of African blood to be so vile. Thus, one may say that the white Americans are contradicting their own disgust with African blood and love for "white" blood. Here, one may see that the real issue behind the racism in "Iola Leroy" is not concerned with blood, but with maintaining illusions. Such illusions may be witnessed as white characters mistakenly assume African American characters to also be "white."