I am not a prejudiced man, nor one who vaunts himself on his natural privileges, though the worst enemy I have on earth, and he is an Iroquois, daren’t deny that I am genuine white.

Hawkeye describes himself with these words in Chapter III when Chingachgook asks how white men like Hawkeye know about Indians. Though The Last of the Mohicans predates scientific knowledge about genetics, Hawkeye comes up with what sounds like a genetic description of the purity of his racial makeup. The adjective “genuine” suggests sexual purity, foreshadowing the novel’s later exploration of racial mixing and Hawkeye’s phobic response to the possibility of interracial marriage. Hawkeye holds mixed views on race, as these words show. Although he has strong friendships with many Indian men, here he demonstrates an energetic insistence on his own “genuine” whiteness. Although he asserts that he is not prejudiced, he shows his prejudice by implying he would injure any man who accused him of having mixed parentage.