Mulatto "escape hatch" or "trap door"?

In 1971, Carl Degler concluded:
"The significant point is that the mulatto escape hatch ... has ... had the effect of inhibiting the advancement of the Negroes as group ... ; what was once a drawback, under new circumstances, becomes a gain for the Negro in the United States, but just the opposite in Brazil. The historical and deep virulence of North American racism has welded Negroes into an effective social force, whereas the ambiguity of the color-class line in Brazil has left the blacks without cohesion or leaders."*
So the question is: was Manuel Querino a victim of the mulatto "escape hatch" or, as it has also been called, a "trap door" for people of African descent who refused to overlook, whitewash and/or subliminate their African heritage in order to be accepted by the "white," mainstream community?

*In Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States

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