Who's White Exercise (UPDATED AGAIN)

2nd Update: Ok before we move on to the debriefing stage, I just wanted to move this post back to the top to see if we can get a few more answers.  Keep in mind the groups that people disagree on.

Given the debate in the comments section on the immigration thread, I thought this might be a good exercise/thread. This comes from a classroom exercise I used, which is based on an article by Doug Daniels((Daniels, Doug. “The White Race is Shrinking: Perceptions of Race in Canada and Some Speculations on the Political Economy of Race Classification.” Pp. 51-54 in Critical White Studies: Looking Behind the Mirror by R. Delgado and Jean Stefancic (Eds.). Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.))

For the following groups, please answer whether or not each group is white: YES or NO

  1. Chileans
  2. Irish
  3. English
  4. Iranians
  5. Cameroonians
  6. Israelis
  7. Italians
  8. Nigerians
  9. Chinese
  10. Mexicans
  11. Portuguese
  12. Russians
  13. Puerto Ricans
  14. Saudis
  15. Egyptians
  16. Germans
  17. Canadians
  18. Americans

Feel free to cut and paste your answers into the comments section. If you would like to explain your answers, you can also do this in the comments section.

UPDATE: Part 2 of the project.Now let’s look at the ones that we disagree on………Israelis, Chileans, are there any others? Why do you think we disagree about these particular groups? What do you think this says about the construction of whiteness?

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96 Responses to Who's White Exercise (UPDATED AGAIN)

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  3. 3
    Sailorman says:

    personal opinions, or are we supposed to try to summarize what society thinks?

  4. 4
    Robert says:

    These are ethnically heterogenous populations (mostly). It’s meaningless to speak of whether Americans are white or not; which Americans?

    Besides, there are only two ethnic groups:

    Italo-Scots, who are genetically and morally superior to all other lifeforms, and Other Humanoids.

    Viva Roma! Viva Caledonia! Screw everyone else.

  5. 5
    Adrian Turtle says:

    It’s interesting how the concept of “white” is different depending on where you ask it. I’m from the midwestern US, now living in the northeastern US, and I’ve had some very confusing conversations with friends who grew up in Europe or Asia. Some racial distinctions that are very clear to me are completely invisible to them, and vice versa. (For instance, a German friend of mine had a hard time recognizing the concept of “hispanic” when I talked about it. The Latin American ancestry on one side of his own family was just “non-German,” there wasn’t a classification for it he could just *recognize*, he had to build it, which was harder.)

    I’ve never lived in London, but my impression from people who *have* lived there, is that looking like one is from Dehli is not a bar to respectability. Or at least not so much. But sounding like one is from Dublin is much more of a bar to respectability. (And of course “respectability” is not just a matter of making friends and being listed in the Social Register, if there even is a Social Register anymore. Bank loans, job interviews, police decisions about whether a passerby is suspicious or just an innocent bystander…those all connect to vague thoughts of respectability.) It’s different here in New England — more of that initial classification is based on skin color/appearance, less on accent and other class markers. We’re having an international conversation here, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

  6. 6
    Ed says:

    Rachel,

    I think this is very intresting but there are more ambiguous areas I believe. Like Jews, Greeks, or Gypsies (Roma). Are European Spaniards or Portuguese white? In most Latin American cultures there is also a segregation by “race”. Some Mexicans are Mestizo and other of nearly pure native blood. And at what point does a Mexican, Chinese or other immigrant become an American or Canadian… First, second, third generation citizenship? Maybe I am reading too deeply into it.

  7. 7
    DavidS says:

    Obviously, for everyone of these groups there are members who are white, who are not white, and where it would be difficult to say. That said, I’ll play along and give my immediate reactions:

    Chileans –White (borderline case)
    Irish — White
    English — White
    Iranians — Not white
    Cameroonians — Not white
    Israelis — White
    Italians — White
    Nigerians — Not White
    Chinese — Not white
    Mexicans — Not white (borderline case)
    Portuguese — White
    Russians — White
    Puerto Ricans — Not white
    Saudis — Not White
    Egyptians — Not white
    Germans — White
    Canadians — White
    Americans — White, but … for all the other groups that I termed white, while I could certainly imagine non-white members of this groups, I felt that all of my stereotypical examples of, say, Germans, were white. For Americans, I feel that the image of a black american who is a poor urban teenager or a jazz musician is as much an established type of american as the white american who is a rural western farmer or a rude fast talking eastern salesman. (Yes, these are stereotypes. As far as I can determine, this question was asking me to report what stereotypes I instinctively hold to.) This is probably because, as an American, I simply have more images of what an American could be than a German.

    I guess I should look up Daniels’ paper if I care, but is he claiming that there are a large number of people who would be called non-white now but would have been called white in the past? That seems surprising to me — Irish, Jewish and Slavic people, as I understand it, have all moved from the non-white to the white category during the 20th century. What groups have moved the other way?

  8. 8
    Rachel S. says:

    Personal Opinions

  9. 9
    Rachel S. says:

    Ed said,
    Maybe I am reading too deeply into it.

    Maybe you’re not.

  10. 10
    Sailorman says:

    If personal opinions, not sure what the point is. Those are countries where both whites and nonwhites live. What are you trying to show?

  11. 11
    inge says:

    Which again reminds me that historically, Irish, Russians, Germans and Swedes have been considered black in the early US.

    If I define as “white”: “where my easily sunburnt self has good chances of looking native”, that’d be among Irish, English, Russians, Germans, Canadians and Americans. In Italy it would depend on the area, and I haven’t got a clue about Chile or Israel. (6 white, 1 mixed, 2 unknown, 9 non-white).

    If I turn this around and look for places where dark skin would be unusual, I would guess Ireland, rural England, northern Italy, maybe Russia, and Germany. (2 white, 2 half, 1 unnown, 13 non-white).

    If I define as “white”: “of mostly European ancestry”, that’d be Irish, English, Italians, Portuguese, Russians, Germans and Canadians. I do not know enough about the people living in Chile, Israel (where a lot would depend on naturalization laws), Mexicans or Puerto Ricans to make an educated guess, which in turn means I can’t rate Americans at all. (7 white, 5 unknown, 6 non-white).

    Without some definition of “white” — not for an individual, which would be hard enough, but on a statistical level — one guess is as good as another.

  12. 12
    ebog/gary says:

    I’ll play:

    1. Chileans – Kinda white
    2. Irish – white, but they get a pass by being the proverbial Negroes of Europe
    3. English – Used to be mighty white, but get less so everytime the Pakistanis beat them at cricket
    4. Iranians – The ones who tell you they’re “Persian” think they’re white
    5. Cameroonians – Come on now
    6. Israelis – Off white, not white if you’re an anti-semite
    7. Italians – Really, some of the hottest white people in all god’s creation. RE: Sicilians see the Irish
    8. Nigerians – See Cameroonians
    9. Chinese – Ask again in 200 years
    10. Mexicans – I want to say “not white,” but I live in California and meet generic seeming emo/indie rock guys all the time who I think are white and who then turn out to be of Mexican extraction. So go figure.
    11. Portuguese – The Moors dropped the ball here so: White!
    12. Russians – White, but also brawly and super ethnic in ways that often put off other, de-ethnicized white people, so there may be some give here
    13. Puerto Ricans – A lovely, choco-creamy blend like the Brazilians, but not white
    14. Saudis – not white, but tending towards off white
    15. Egyptians – The intensity with which you say “not white!” largely depends on whether you think the ancient Egyptians were Africans, and whether you think the ancient Greeks owe the ancient Egyptians a conceptual solid
    16. Germans – when your people are going to go down in history as having wombed the greatest racists and mass murderers ever, you are pretty much white
    17. Canadians – generally too nice and civilized for me to have the heart to abuse here
    18. Americans – As fucked up as we are, we live in the world’s only functioning multi-racial democracy, making this a trick question.

  13. 13
    Blue says:

    Which again reminds me that historically, Irish, Russians, Germans and Swedes have been considered black in the early US.

    Inge, I understand (I think) your meaning that these groups were treated as “lesser” upon immigration to the U.S., but I think it’s inaccurate to say they were considered “black.” Firstly, because the dichotomy clearly doesn’t work for many nations on the above list, but also because it’s a bit extreme to say that Swedish immigrants, for example, were treated akin to a group of people who were literally enslaved in the U.S.

    As for the list exercise — very interesting. I tend to think that any nation that isn’t of North America or Europe has non-white people in the sense that this is my perception of the dominant Western belief of what race is about. Except Iraelis are white and Portuguese are perhaps non-white within the limited and flawed categorization of race. It’s nonsensical, isn’t it?

  14. 14
    Denise says:

    OK, I’ll play, as long as it doesn’t end in flaming. :-) These are knee-jerk responses…

    Chileans – no
    Irish – yes
    English – yes
    Iranians – no
    Cameroonians – no
    Israelis – no
    Italians – yes
    Nigerians – no
    Chinese – no
    Mexicans – no
    Portuguese – yes
    Russians – yes (maybe)
    Puerto Ricans – no
    Saudis – no
    Egyptians – no
    Germans – yes
    Canadians – yes
    Americans – ???

  15. 15
    Rachel S. says:

    Sailorman,
    There is no trick here. Think about the numerical majority of the population and then answer. I think Gary’s answers are really good–with the little commentaries.

    There is no right or wrong; just give your opinion.

  16. 16
    Dianne says:

    How about “it depends”? I’ve met Cameroonians of purely European descent, Turkish-African descended Germans, lots of English whose ancestors came from Pakistan or India, etc. And I challenge the statement that the US is the only working multiracial democracy. There are plenty of minorities in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, and France, to name a few. Some of these countries have more problems with prejudice than the US, some fewer, but all of them are reasonably functional democracies. For that matter, so is South Africa these days and it is unquestionably multiracial.

  17. 17
    Emily says:

    Well, I’m Puerto Rican, and when I moved to the US and went to get a drivers license, the guy automatically filled in the ‘race’ box with “Caucasian”. I had to correct him and say “no no, I’m Latina — from Puerto Rico”. He did a double-take and then corrected himself.

    Puerto Ricans (from Puerto Rico, not Nuyoricans — I have no clue about their color spectrum) come in every color of the spectrum, btw. I’m on the paler side. My grandfather was on the darker side. And I know people there of all colors in-between, as well as paler than me and darker than my grandfather.

  18. 18
    Sara says:

    1. Chileans – yes
    2. Irish – yes
    3. English – yes
    4. Iranians – no
    5. Cameroonians – no
    6. Israelis – yes
    7. Italians – yes
    8. Nigerians – no
    9. Chinese – yes
    10. Mexicans – no
    11. Portuguese – yes
    12. Russians – yes
    13. Puerto Ricans – yes
    14. Saudis – no
    15. Egyptians – no
    16. Germans – yes
    17. Canadians – yes
    18. Americans – yes

    It’s funny doing this because I was one of those people who grew up in a mostly white community, and though I had some nonwhite friends and interaction with people who weren’t white (none of African descent that I recall), I still thought of racism in terms of black and white (anyone who’s not black being white or close enough) until junior high or so. Having had that experience, I’ve learned to mistrust my knee-jerk perceptions about race and how it works for others, but here are your knee-jerk answers.

  19. 19
    Robert says:

    Oh heck, I’ll play by the rules.

    1. Chileans – Nonwhite but borderline
    2. Irish – White
    3. English – White
    4. Iranians – White (By DEFINITION, people!)
    5. Cameroonians – Nonwhite
    6. Israelis – White
    7. Italians – White
    8. Nigerians – Nonwhite
    9. Chinese – Nonwhite
    10. Mexicans – Nonwhite but borderline
    11. Portuguese – White
    12. Russians – White
    13. Puerto Ricans – Nonwhite but borderline
    14. Saudis – Nonwhite
    15. Egyptians – Nonwhite
    16. Germans – White
    17. Canadians – White
    18. Americans – White

    All the Hispanic groups I classified as nonwhite but borderline since those groups all have substantial European ancestry. I apply a reverse one-drop rule. :P

  20. 20
    Tuomas says:

    (What’s the trick about ethnicity vs. race, BTW?)

    It depends, of course, and is vague (multiracial countries, or should it be multiethnic), but let’s play (by rules, even, just yes and no, no “borderline” cheating, gut feeling perceptions based on my own lying eyes)

    1. Chileans – no
    2. Irish – yes
    3. English – yes
    4. Iranians -no
    5. Cameroonians -no
    6. Israelis -yes
    7. Italians -yes
    8. Nigerians -no
    9. Chinese -no
    10. Mexicans -no
    11. Portuguese -yes
    12. Russians -yes
    13. Puerto Ricans -no
    14. Saudis -no
    15. Egyptians -no
    16. Germans -yes
    17. Canadians -yes
    18. Americans -yes

    One may note that I have classified all latin Americans as nonwhite, basically because it is my perception that in these countries the majority (but not those in power) are more or less nonwhite, and it is my understanding that in these countries whiteness and race in general is more scalar than “rigid” as it is in the US (White-American, Hispanic, African-American, Asian-American, Native-American as [semi?] official classifications in the US, vs. more white = “better” in Latin America).

    I also classified Iranians, Saudis and Egyptians as not white, but Israelis as white. This was a tricky one for me, but ultimately I went with the fact many Israelis came there from Europe, thus I put them as white (and by eye-assessment), whereas I was conflicted between these other Middle Eastern groups, esp. Iranians, but ultimately went with no. Altough Caucasian applies to all these groups, IIRC.

    The issue with Europe and race is the Eastern vs. Western aspect, and the Southern vs. Northern aspect, with the Southern vs. Northern containing a white vs. not white historical aspect, and West vs. East does not, but is still racialized.

    Often in borderline countries/ethnicities, the pressure is to fit in with Western and Northern (whichever applies).

    Because I like to blather about Finland, I will note that historically (esp. between WW2 and somewhat after it) the desire to racially fit with Western Scandinavians has been strong, with correspondingly Finns more fitting in the Karelian/Eastern Finnish mold being “too Slavic” looking (there is one hilarious video I have seen from an old Miss Finland competition, with the announcer proudly exclaiming about the Blonde, Blue-Eyed, Western -looking winner something along the lines of “I think this proves that we Finns aren’t quite the slanty-eyed mongoloids some think we are!”). And the issue, with Sami, who have been considered inferior. (I’m more Eastern, btw, and not ashamed by that the slightest).

  21. 21
    Ed says:

    Ok, really hate to be touchy on such a friendly thread but this…

    “16. Germans – when your people are going to go down in history as having wombed the greatest racists and mass murderers ever, you are pretty much white”

    …says to me that there is a perception that ONLY whites can be racist.
    (and sorta that all mass murderers are white too)

    Talk to a Korean mother about her son marrying a white girl….

    I do understand the sentiment though..the whole aryan thing. There were plenty of german americans fighting AGAINST the Nazi’s though too. Remember that Nazi facism was a political movement, not genetic. Does anyone know what % of madern Nazis are of German heritage? That is a legitimate question, I have no idea.

    Don’t hate me…I just had a German grandfather on the “goodguys” side in WWII

  22. 22
    debbie says:

    I think it’s very interesting that Israelis are perceived as white. While there are some Israelis of Ashkenazi (Eastern European origin), they are a minority. Sephardic Jews (descendents of the Jewish communities of Spain, Portugal, and North Africa) are sometimes considered white. Many of the Sephardic Jews that I have met would not consider themselves to be white in a North American or European context, or would see themselves as “off white.” The Mizrahim are Jews from the Middle East, mostly Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Syria. There are also a significant number of Jews from Africa (mostly Ethiopia), as well as a community of African-American Jews. There are also of course, many Palestinians who have Israeli citizenship.
    These ethnic and racial distinctions are super-important in terms of political and economic inequality.
    So, on the whole, I would say that it is incorrect to characterize Israel as white by the standards of North America. However, I think this is complicated in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the way ethnic/racial power dynamics play out.

  23. 23
    Tuomas says:

    Oh yes, and Stalin and Mao both have higher death counts than Hitler, btw.

    Altough, of course, these are sort of Satan vs. Beelsebub comparisons anyway, and Hitler’s stuff was significantly more of racial, “White Aryan Supremacist” -kind.

  24. 24
    Dianne says:

    Remember that Nazi facism was a political movement, not genetic

    And facism was/is by no means limited to Germans. Franco, anyone? Or Pinochet? Nor was/is eugenics. England was heavily into eugenics in the 1920s-30s–and being anti-facist at that time was considered a sign that you were a Communist and strongly frowned upon (the term I’ve heard is “premature anti-facist”). The US wasn’t exactly without such tendencies either. Iowa had a “state eugenics board” at least through the 1950s. I don’t know when it was disbanded or if it was. They could still have one for all I know.

  25. 25
    Tuomas says:

    The problem with both fascism and anti-fascism are that they are very hard to classify.

  26. 26
    Tuomas says:

    “Moors dropped the ball here so: White!”, btw?

    WTF!

  27. 27
    SmartBlkWoman says:

    Chileans-No
    Irish-YES
    English-YES
    Iranians-NO
    Cameroonians-NO
    Israelis-NO
    Italians-NO
    Nigerians-NO
    Chinese-NO
    Mexicans-NO
    Portuguese-NO
    Russians-YES
    Puerto Ricans-YES
    Saudis-NO
    Egyptians-NO
    Germans-YES
    Canadians-NO
    Americans-NO

    Those are my immediate reactions. As has already been said, a black person can be born in Germany and technically speaking that would make him a black German, but from a historical standpoint and a racial standpoint German=white people.

    Italians were a bit tricky. Every Italiano that I know has swarthy skin and a family with extensive racial mixing but if push comes to shove they have usually been categorized as white people.

  28. 28
    inge says:

    Blue, I am pretty sure (but haven’t the book in question present to check) that the line about black (whatevers) overrunning white anglo-saxon Pennsylvania is a Benjamin Franklin quote. Whatever he meant with “black”, except “not like us”, I cannot guess.

    Tuomas: What’s the trick about ethnicity vs. race, BTW?

    Ethnicity kind of exists?

  29. 29
    Steve says:

    For the following groups, please answer whether or not each group is white: YES or NO

    Adding percieved order of precedence, I am assigning precendence based upon where I think the groups fall today in the American Internal social pecking order. Exceptions are of course always valid. Feel free to challenge or discuss.

    3. English——Yes (First) Original source of WASP Pecking order. Doubly true for proven lineage. American Aristocracy is the old money among these and the Irish who have bleached their ethnicity to English.

    18. Americans—–Yes, but multiple personalty. Africans think even African-American are white. (second)

    16. Germans——Yes (Third)

    17. Canadians—–Yes but trying to reject it (Fourth)

    2. Irish———Yes (Fifth)

    7. Italians——–Yes (Sixth)….Hard to assign Fifth & Sixth

    12. Russians——–Yes (seventh)

    6. Israelis——–Yes (Eighth)

    *****************************************************************
    END of WHITE List
    *****************************************************************

    13. Puerto Ricans—No (Ninth)

    11. Portuguese—-No (Tenth)

    9. Chinese———No (Eleventh) But can skip to the third or fourth for perfectly assimilated successful second or third generation.

    10. Mexicans——No (Twelfth)

    1. Chileans—No ( Thirteenth)

    8. Nigerians——No (Fourteenth)

    5. Cameroonians——-No (Fifteenth)

    4. Iranians——No, But internally and historicaly the whitest (Sixteenth)

    The last two are hard to place. But will not be seen higher than Thirteenth
    14. Saudis———-No
    15. Egyptians—–No

  30. 30
    Aaron V. says:

    1. Chileans – White Hispanic.
    2. Irish – 150 years ago, no. Now, yes.
    3. English – depends on their original nationality.
    4. Iranians – Don’t know.
    5. Cameroonians – Yes.
    6. Israelis – Ashkenazi and Sephardim, yes. Ethiopian Jews – no. Israeli Arabs – don’t know.
    7. Italians – 100 years ago, they were going to pollute the white race with their criminality and stupidity. Now, they’re white.
    8. Nigerians – I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT SANI ABACHA’S FORTUNE WHICH YOU NEED ME TO CONCEAL FROM CUSTOMS!
    9. Chinese – No.
    10. Mexicans – Uh-oh….they’re in the same place Italians were 100 years ago. People don’t consider them white, but they will be once they get money and status.
    11. Portuguese – See “Mexicans”.
    12. Russians – See “Italians”.
    13. Puerto Ricans – Don’t know…
    14. Saudis – I don’t know if Arabs are white or black.
    15. Egyptians – See above.
    16. Germans – Yes, except for the Turks.
    17. Canadians – Most, but there were a lot of Chinese people in Vancouver when I went there.
    18. Americans – very diverse. I’d say no.

  31. 31
    Tuomas says:

    Ethnicity kind of exists?

    Thx. I probably should be speaking about ethnicity when I talk about race from now on.

  32. 32
    Tuomas says:

    Ethnicity kind of exists?

    Am I conclude from this that when speaking of “race” Americans (esp. anti-racists) are talking of the pecking order developed with various laws, such as “one-drop rule”, whereas when talking of ethnicity, we are talking about various groups — (original) European, (original) African, (original) Asian, and various subgroups within them, for example?

    Besides, the “race doesn’t exist” is not some obvious fact or scientific consensus — the ball is outt on the yard about the issue.

  33. 33
    Olive says:

    If you’d asked me when I was 6, I would have said “All white, except for Americans (too heterogeneous to generalize, they taught us that on TV), Cameroonians, and Nigerians.” (Not Egyptians, because ancient Egyptian art doesn’t leave a white 6-year-old with a strong impression of non-whiteness.)

    If you’d asked me when I was 8, I would have said “All white, except for Americans, Cameroonians, Egyptians, Nigerians, and Chinese.”

    If you’d asked me when I was 12, I would have said “Irish, English, Israeli, Italian, Russian, Canadian, German, Iranian, Portuguese, and Saudi are white.” (Probably around here is where Asian Indian would have crystallized as a race for me, too.)

    If you’d asked me when I was 16, I would have said “Irish, English, Israeli, Italian, Russian, Canadian, German, Portuguese and maybe Iranian.”

    All this is because, at 6, they talked about not judging people for “the color of their skin,” so I only perceived race as black and white, and later I heard it noted that the one Asian boy in our school system was Asian, so then I added that to my mental lexicon. It was much later that I heard of Native American (including Native South/Central American) considered as a separate race, and later still that non-white, non-black, Old World peoples got categorized. (Why yes, yes I did grow up in a suburb of the northern US.) I didn’t really see race as an origins thing so much as a “would this person be discriminated against on the basis of their looks alone and prejudice against a particular race.”

    I’m 22 now and I don’t really think about it the same way anymore.

  34. 34
    JG says:

    The only thing that bothers me is that this was a “classroom exercise”. I’m not sure I’m going to “learn” a whole lot, even with the big announcement that I’m sure is coming at the end.

    Anyway, to save space, here are my categories:

    European-based: White
    African-based: Black
    Asian-based: Asian

    First Nation, Indian, Native, whatever term you want to use in the New World: Probably most likely related to Asian (over the Alaska land bridge).

    Mexican: Combination of Spanish/First Nation. To greater or lesser degrees.

    ————

    Before the Big Announcement at the end, which will presumably tie all this together, I’m seeing a preoccupation with race that is hard to reconcile with a left-wing website. Kind of.

  35. 35
    inge says:

    Tuomas: Am I conclude from this that when speaking of “race” Americans (esp. anti-racists) are talking of the pecking order developed with various laws, such as “one-drop rule”, whereas when talking of ethnicity, we are talking about various groups — (original) European, (original) African, (original) Asian, and various subgroups within them, for example?

    I have no idea, as I am not American.

    I went through a time where I was really enthusiastic about patterns and sorting and naming anything and everything, and even then I noticed (and this little exercise has reminded me) how little sense “race” actually makes, and how inconsistent it has been constructed throughout history.

    Ethnicity, I read as “where does your family come from”, and “what is, in your opinon, your native culture”. Which is a question one might feel able to answer. Race, however, is usually treated as an inherited trait. My dachshound comes from many generations of dachshounds. Had there been, say, a Pekinese among his ancestors, he wouldn’t be a dachshound but some “mostly dachshound” mutt. So, race exists, no doubt about it.

    But as soon as we try to apply the same concept to humans, who lack breeders keeping careful records for generations, who kick mutts out of the breeding lines, determine what traits are acceptable for that specific race and what aren’t (“it’s supposed to hunt badgers! it needs a strong will, not long legs!”), and have a vastly longer lifespan then their creation, the whole thing becomes hopelessly muddled. (Not to mention the rather small genetic variance of humans.)

    Under natural conditions, the human phaenotype seems to adapt to environment rather fast, because there are strong selection mechanisms in place to keep people at the optimal colouring for the sunlight they get. Distinctive phaenotypes mix, and their grandchildren could be any human colour.

    If I got a quarter for every American who tells me, “I’m blond and blue eyed/redheaded/pale and freckeled, but half native american/black/jewish”, that would keep me in coffee forever. My best guess about my own ancestry during the last 2 millenia gives me about ten of the “races” whose names I futilely memorized as a teen. What “race” are Mexicans, when the Spanish contribution alone encompasses four major ethnic groups?

    The whole “race” thing among humans is fractal, the closer you look at it, the more there is, and it never gets you anywhere. Its very vagueness makes it the perfect tool for “us vs. them” because you can always construct differences and attribute some meaning to them. And if it wasn’t used that way, we could all save a lot of time and bother and go breeding dachshounds instead.

  36. 36
    Tuomas says:

    Inge:

    Thank you for the very thoughtful answer.

    Ethnicity, I read as “where does your family come from”, and “what is, in your opinon, your native culture”. Which is a question one might feel able to answer. Race, however, is usually treated as an inherited trait. My dachshound comes from many generations of dachshounds. Had there been, say, a Pekinese among his ancestors, he wouldn’t be a dachshound but some “mostly dachshound” mutt. So, race exists, no doubt about it.

    Yes…

    If I got a quarter for every American who tells me, “I’m blond and blue eyed/redheaded/pale and freckeled, but half native american/black/jewish”, that would keep me in coffee forever. My best guess about my own ancestry during the last 2 millenia gives me about ten of the “races” whose names I futilely memorized as a teen. What “race” are Mexicans, when the Spanish contribution alone encompasses four major ethnic groups?

    I think you’re really saying that Mexicans encompass four major races, in this case.

    It appears that you are saying that race doesn’t exist because no one is of the “pure” race!

    The whole “race” thing among humans is fractal, the closer you look at it, the more there is, and it never gets you anywhere. Its very vagueness makes it the perfect tool for “us vs. them” because you can always construct differences and attribute some meaning to them. And if it wasn’t used that way, we could all save a lot of time and bother and go breeding dachshounds instead.

    I agree that it is largely meaningless in everyday situations, and has been used to construct differences between people. I’m fairly interested in the possible cross-scientific understanding between population genetics (no, I don’t think wholesale rejection of biological analysis of race is in order because of the sad history of scientific racism) and social science (no, I don’t think it should be scrapped either completely just because it uses, for example, Marxist analysis because of the sad history there) aspect of race.

    I also find the concept of racial “purity” (and need to maintain it) repugnant, and reject racial supremacism.

  37. 37
    Tuomas says:

    (screwed the link)

  38. 38
    Original Lee says:

    OK, I’ll play. Although I’d like to point out that many countries have more than one racial group due to multinational corporations expanding operations and other effects of the changes in the global economy.

    Chileans – Qualified No.
    Irish – Yes.
    English – Qualified Yes.
    Iranians – Qualified No.
    Cameroonians – Qualified No.
    Israelis – Qualified No. (Because I don’t automatically assume someone from Israel is descended from East European Jews. See debbie’s comment #20.)
    Italians – Yes.
    Nigerians – No.
    Chinese – No.
    Mexicans – No.
    Portuguese – Yes.
    Russians – Yes.
    Puerto Ricans – Qualified No.
    Saudis – No.
    Egyptians – No.
    Germans – Yes.
    Canadians – Qualified Yes.
    Americans – Qualified Yes.

    I put all of those Qualifieds in because that’s the only way I could think of to indicate that I know there is a significant portion of the population that is racially mixed and/or is a difference race than the majority.

  39. 39
    Deep Thought says:

    Wow. I am amazed at some of the answers here. As someone with strong ties to the Iranian community, I can say – White. The blue eyes and fair hair cinches it for me. Same with the Saudis. The Israelis are as multi-ethnic as America (maybe more), so it can’t be answered. Egyptians, yes. Puerto Ricans, yes. Mexicans, Brazilians, Chileans, all yes.

    I guess I come down as yes to everything but Chinese, Nigerians, and Cameroonians.

    And how the heck do you every classify Irish as anything but White?

  40. 40
    mandolin says:

    answers assuming that the nationality belongs to people historically and socially associated with the country — i.e. that irish are possibly red-headed people whose ancestors were celts, and not that irish are people who are immigrants from nigeria. i know this minimizes immigrants and ethnic diversity within nation’s populations, but…

    for countries where the indigenous population is no longer seen as the dominant historical or socially accepted group (like canada and america), i’ve tried to vary my answers appropriately. alas, i’m sure i have not done so as much as would be needed to accomodate the historical and social particulars of each country.

    Chileans – of what ethnic origin? spanish, yes. indigenous populations, no. intermixing, no but people may be able to pass.

    Irish – yes

    English – yes

    Iranians – yes. unless something is calling to attention that they’re iranians (dress, foreign language), then no.

    Cameroonians – no.

    Israelis – yes.

    Italians – yes.

    Nigerians – no.

    Chinese – no.

    Mexicans – same deal as Chileans.

    Portuguese – yes.

    Russians – yes.

    Puerto Ricans – ditto mexico, chile

    Saudis – ditto iranian

    Egyptians – no.

    Germans – yes.

    Canadians – of what ethnicity? indigenous populations, no. european immigrants, yes. immigrants from elsewhere, probably no. mixed populations, probably no.

    Americans – ditto canada.

  41. 41
    Barbara says:

    I’ll play since the spirit of the exercise is in reasonably good fun. All of my answers are based on my highly personal experience, and where I don’t have a lot, by the traditional notion of “caucasian” versus asian or negro.

    1. Chileans — Yes, but see Mexico. My understanding is that Chile is more or less similar.
    2. Irish — Yes
    3. English — Yes (English roommate had the blondest hair of any human being I have ever known, including my Germanic relatives)
    4. Iranians — This really depends on whether you see white as a racial or a cultural construct. So yes and no.
    5. Cameroonians — No. If the Italians are some of God’s hottest white creations, then the Cameroonians I have known are some of God’s hottest non-white creations.
    6. Israelis — I think that both culturally and racially, Israelis have to be classified as white.
    7. Italians — Yes.
    8. Nigerians — No
    9. Chinese — Not yet.
    10. Mexicans — It depends on whether you are in the middle class or above. Mexican immigrants to the U.S. are decidedly not as white as the college educated and professional classes who constitute the dominant socio-economic forces of Mexican society (as well as the majority of au pairs coming to the U.S. from Mexico, of which I’ve known about a dozen).
    11. Portuguese — Yes
    12. Russians — Mostly
    13. Puerto Ricans — See Mexico.
    14. Saudis — See Iran.
    15. Egyptians — See Iran, however, Egypt is more diverse than Iran or S.A., so see Mexico as well.
    16. Germans — Come on. Sure, it’s more diverse than it used to be, but every time my mom sees a blondie toddler or infant she exclaims “Oh he looks just like a ____ baby,” with blank being her very common German maiden name. She is pure German.
    17. Canadians — Now this is impossible to answer, and varies alot by region. Clue: if you are a short female and feel stymied by American clothes makers, you will find your sartorial dreams coming true when you go to Toronto and shop in those many Asian designer boutiques.
    18. Americans — I no longer have an image of a typical American. Obviously, there are lots of white people, but answering this question requires me to make a normative leap about who should be considered the “most” American that I am unwilling to undertake.

  42. 42
    Sailorman says:

    With all the various and hopefully-not-necessary-to-contsantly-repeat caveats listed above:

    1. Chileans: dunno
    2. Irish white
    3. English white
    4. Iranians nonwhite
    5. Cameroonians white
    6. Israelis white
    7. Italians white
    8. Nigerians nonwhite
    9. Chinese nonwhite
    10. Mexicans nonwhite
    11. Portuguese white
    12. Russians white
    13. Puerto Ricans dunno
    14. Saudis nonwhite
    15. Egyptians nonwhite
    16. Germans white
    17. Canadians white
    18. Americans dunno

  43. 43
    Bill says:

    With the caveats that this is totally inaccurate and based on stereotypes, I’ll rank the items in order of my perception of decreasing whiteness in the United States as a whole:

    White
    3. English
    2. Irish
    16. Germans
    17. Canadians
    18. Americans
    12. Russians
    7. Italians
    11. Portuguese
    6. Israelis
    1. Chileans
    4. Iranians
    10. Mexicans
    13. Puerto Ricans
    15. Egyptians
    14. Saudis

    Not white
    9. Chinese
    5. Cameroonians
    8. Nigerians

    My perceptions based on who would pass for in my own community would probably cut off at Portuguese or Israelis. The Ashkenazic population of Israel would pass but the Mizrahic or Sephardic population would be less likely to.

  44. 44
    Rex Little says:

    Chileans – Don’t know. The only one I ever met was white.
    Irish – yes.
    English – yes (mostly, but with a substantial nonwhite minority).
    Iranians – yes
    Cameroonians – no, I think (my geography’s hazy–Cameroon’s in Africa, isn’t it?)
    Israelis – yes
    Italians – yes
    Nigerians – no
    Chinese – no
    Mexicans -no, but very close. Most have a mixed ancestry of white European and nonwhite native. No group listed here is 100% white or 100% non-white, but Mexicans are probably the closest to 50% each.
    Portuguese – yes (unless Brazilians are included in the group, in which case see Mexican, above).
    Russians – yes.
    Puerto Ricans – see Mexicans.
    Saudis – yes (I consider Arabs and other Semitic peoples to be white).
    Egyptians – yes.
    Germans – yes.
    Canadians – yes (see English comment).
    Americans – yes (see English).

  45. 45
    Sailorman says:

    UPDATE: Part 2 of the project.

    Now let’s look at the ones that we disagree on………Israelis, Chileans, are there any others? Why do you think we disagree about these particular groups?

    I don’t think anyone has reached the issue of “disagreement” since pretty much everyone agrees that these are multiracial and multi-ethnic countries. I think our different statuses are merely a fact of what we happened to have noticed about the country (news, media, etc) and our ‘best guesses’ as to its composition.

    I mean, if I say Israelis are white, and someone else says they’re not, I simply assume we’re talking about different Israelis. Because obviously, some are white, and some are not. There’s no “disagreement”, really.

  46. 46
    Rachel S. says:

    I mean, if I say Israelis are white, and someone else says they’re not, I simply assume we’re talking about different Israelis. Because obviously, some are white, and some are not. There’s no “disagreement”, really

    I disagree. Because in some cases we are talking about the same people, but we are coming to different conclusions.

  47. 47
    mandolin says:

    With Israelis, I would think it was just an extension of the problematic relationship between Jewishness and whitness. Jews fall into a sort of in-between category, white for some purposes, non-white for others. This doesn’t really surprise me. (But then again, I’m already in the “whiteness is socially constructed” camp.)

  48. 48
    Robert says:

    Well, we disagree about Iranians mostly because folks aren’t aware that Iranians are the original Caucasians, and aren’t Arab at all. All us white people have a lot of proto-Iranian in us.

    As Sailorman says, disparities in the others are caused mostly by it being a question of what proportion of the population being white makes a population white. There’s very little disagreement about individual people, and most of that centers around how to classify someone like Tiger Woods or RonF or my wife.

    Everyone is, of course, a ethnic admixture just like them – but many people don’t know their ethnic ancestries and so assume that whatever their morphology most reflects is 100% of their background. I find this personally amusing; my daughter is a golden-haired Anglo cherub who looks like a poster child for a Nazi breeding experiment. But ethnically, she has significant genetic contributors of Italian (~35%), Sicilian (~15%), Basque (~5%), Cherokee (~5%) and God knows what else. Looks aren’t all that informative.

    As for what this all says about the construction of whiteness, I’ll throw out a guess: that “race” is a bunch of hooey. There really are cultures, and there really are ethnicities; there are no “races” outside our own imaginations. We can stop playing that game any time we decide to.

  49. 49
    inge says:

    DeepThought: And how the heck do you every classify Irish as anything but White?

    If I remember the myth correctly, it has been believed (in England, mostly) that the “Black Irish” were descendants of survivors of the Spanish Armada. So, you classify Spaniards as “not-white” (easy, as they are on average darker than English, farther south, and of a different religion), do a variant of “one drop”, and when the stage magigian lifts the cloth and the trumpets play the fanfare, ta-ta, you have non-white Irish.

    Robert, Well, we disagree about Iranians mostly because folks aren’t aware that Iranians are the original Caucasians,

    Just yesterday I happened upon a Tolkien quote, where he, when asked in 1938 by his wannabe German publisher if he was “aryan”, answered that he wasn’t, as, to the best of his knowledge, there were no Persians, North Indians or Gypsies among his ancestors.

    As I already said in length in replies to Tuomas, IMO the whole concept of “race” is FUBAR.

  50. 50
    Miss Robyn says:

    Something I found kind of interesting- I’m half Italian/half Irish, both of which I always figured placed me in the “white” category, and which did, when I was living on the east coast. Since I’ve moved to Chicago, people seem to have a different take on it. One guy I met, who was from another part of the midwest, informed me that I was the first “ethnic white” he had ever met- which is a term I had honestly never heard before (nor could I imagine one going their entire life without meeting an Italian person, but whatever). Another, was when I was working at H&M, I was told by one of my co-workers (who was black) that you could tell a funeral for a black person apart from the funeral of a white person apart by the fact that with black people there’s a much larger number of people there, and with whites it’s more just the immediate family and some close friends (or something to that effect). A bizarre statement indeed, and one which could not possibly be true. I responded “Are you kidding me? Funerals in my family are huge! They practically live for death! Or at least the mourning part” and she says “Yeah, but you’re not white, you’re Italian!”

    However, the way that I figure it is this. I’m half Irish, half Italian. On the Irish side, I’m what they call “black Irish”- which means Irish people who have dark hair because of the Spanish Armada or something. So somewhere in there, I’m part Spanish or Iberian or whatever. Then, on the Italian side, I’m a quarter Napolitano and a quarter Sicilian- so it’s quite probable that somewhere down the line I’ve got black ancestors.

    What does that mean? It means that I’m not really anything, and neither are most people, because once you break it down, race isn’t anything. In New York I’m just white, according to people from Indiana, I’m an “ethnic white” and according to the girl at the store, I’m not white at all. Now, ethnicity is one thing- something that has to do with culture, but race is a social construction- race in the United states is different from race in other countries, race is different in different parts of the US, even- as I think I’ve demonstrated. It’s all BS anyway, the important thing is just to realize that and get over it.

  51. 51
    inge says:

    Tuomas,

    I think you’re really saying that Mexicans encompass four major races, in this case.

    Nope, I’m talking solely about the ethnicities that had made up the population of Spain by 1500.

    Which is, off the top of my head: Iberians, Romans, Vandals and Arabs. (I just checked and found I missed three major groups). Now, what “race” were e.g. the Roman legions?

    So, there are four (actually seven) major ethnicities in the Spaniards that went to Mexico. Fortunately, if we consider ethnicities cultural and not heritable, we can say that by 1500 they had beomce “Spanish” (as the Legions had become “Roman”, long before). Unless you allow for “race” to be similary constructed, unlinking it from ancestry, you will find as many races as you want to find.

    I do not know enough about the native pre-columbian population of Mexico to make anything resembling a guess.

    It appears that you are saying that race doesn’t exist because no one is of the “pure” race!

    “Race” exists in the same that Odin existed. You could search the whole earth and the heavens above and never find him. Yet people got hanged in his honor. It’s a mental construct that might be fun to play around with for a while, if you can keep yourself from sacrificing people to it (that’s the hard part), but it doesn’t get you anywhere, really. It needs to be studied, just like ancient people’s habit to hang folks in trees for their god should be studied, but only to understand it, not to use it as base for any action or decision.

    If the concept of human races were as insignificant as I wished it to be, we wouldn’t have this discussion. Unfortunately, as experiments have shown, people will always categorize, differentiate, and rank. (As shown in Junior High politics, where the bag you tote your books in can determine your place in the pecking order.)

    I’m fairly interested in the possible cross-scientific understanding between population genetics

    I agree that human evolution is deep inside “interesting and useful” territory. But IMO concepts like “race” hinder its study, because they can lead to work from false assumptions. You wouldn’t (e.g.) want your doctor not to treat your illness because s/he believes that a person which your skin colour won’t get that illness!

  52. 52
    Rex Little says:

    You wouldn’t (e.g.) want your doctor not to treat your illness because s/he believes that a person which your skin colour won’t get that illness!

    No, but I would my doctor to know if the drug s/he is thinking of prescribing is more likely to have a bad side effect on someone of my skin color–and I’m pretty sure such cases do exist.

  53. 53
    Tuomas says:

    agree that human evolution is deep inside “interesting and useful” territory. But IMO concepts like “race” hinder its study, because they can lead to work from false assumptions. You wouldn’t (e.g.) want your doctor not to treat your illness because s/he believes that a person which your skin colour won’t get that illness!

    If you don’t like the word race, use (biological) ethnicity. It’s not like sickle cell anemia is widespread among, er, “whites”.

    In fact, medicine is one of the areas which would benefit, and has benefitted, greatly from understanding genetic variation between, er, ancestral ethnic groups. It helps greatly in assessing probabilities, so I don’t think you really know what you’re talking about here.

    I’m going to repeat: There is no scientific consensus that the concept of race is FUBAR (I don’t know, personally), and using “it will lead to us vs. them” is not a logical argument against the existence of race. Like you yourself admitted, people will categorize about everything. We might just as well claim, “there are no different religions, because admitting there are would lead to us vs. them”.

    In fact, you’re using a combination of hard to classify (of course true) and moral arguments to prove why race doesn’t exist.

    Do you disbelieve in evolution?

  54. 54
    frumious b says:

    Isrealis? Isn’t that a little like asking if Americans are white?

  55. 55
    frumious b says:

    oh, duh. somehow I missed #18.

    still, the point stands. how can you classify a nation made primarily of immigrants as a single race?

  56. 56
    debbie says:

    I think perceptions of Israelis are skewed for a few reasons:
    - the political and cultural elite of Israel is overwhelmingly Ashkenazi
    - the relationship between Israel and the United States
    - the power relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. If we’re thinking of whiteness in terms of access to power and privilege, I think it would be possible to consider Israelis white.
    - the generally complicated, and sometimes precarious, relationship between Jews and whiteness

  57. 57
    inge says:

    Tuomas: In fact, you’re using a combination of hard to classify (of course true) and moral arguments to prove why race doesn’t exist.

    Utilitarian, mostly.

    Using race for medical diagnosis has IMO roughly the same advantages and disadvantages as using demonic posession as a model for mental illness. It’s better than utter cluelessness, and leads to the occasional correct deduction, yet carries with it a load of useless and contrafactual assumptions that will lead to false deduction and diagnosis. Plus, it has unfortunate social side effects, that are more bother than they are worth.

    And while it might be, overall, more efficient to exclude unlikely medical diagnosises completely, from a strictly utilitarian POV (like not checking any blond for sickle cell anemia, as they are highly unlikely to have it), there is such a load of mythological baggage clinging to concepts of race that the thought of a medical doctor actually adhering to it is rather disquieting to me.

  58. 58
    Tuomas says:

    Inge:

    *Sigh*

    Well, I suppose at this point I will just say never mind.

  59. 59
    Barbara says:

    Inge, there are a lot of diseases that are closely related to specific genetic heritage, for instance, certain types of anemia that are appear almost exclusively in southern European populations, and sickle cell anemia, which appears exclusively (to my knowledge) in people with African heritage. To the extent that there are genetically based variations in specific diseases, I expect a doctor to be aware of them, and to screen for them at least in part by discerning someone’s genetic heritage in a neutral and non-inflammatory manner. It now appears, for instance, that women with African heritage have a greater death rate from breast cancer at least in part because of the type of cancer (rather than the level of care received). If I were an African American woman, I would want doctors to try to figure out how to treat that variation rather than to assume that my cancer is likely to be the same as that of a woman with European heritage. With any luck, doctors will develop screening tools to identify specific variants, but until then, they have to use the tools that exist.

  60. 60
    Original Lee says:

    My answers above were based on my perception of skin color of people I have met from the countries listed. I have yet to meet someone from Iran who did not look Arab, which is why I answered “no” above. I was actually pretty uncomfortable doing the exercise of passing my acquaintance under review, because I did have the information I needed to make the judgment (i.e., I know the country of origin/ethnicity and skin color), but I don’t usually carry this information in such an explicit package. It’s more like, yeah, this is my friend Anita, and I deal with her based on shared history and knowledge of personality, and I don’t usually think about her religion, skin color, country of origin, likely ethnic background, family history, marital status, etc., unless it’s immediately relevant. I’m more likely to think to myself something like, “Don’t tell Anita there was a spider in the bathroom yesterday, because she’ll freak,” than “Don’t tell Anita there was a spider in the bathroom yesterday, because those crazy Brazilians think it means someone’s going to die.” (Not true, AFAIK, just as a fer-instance.) Maybe it’s because I’m doing the additional processing subconciously?

    Which I suppose is really really privileged of me.

  61. 61
    inge says:

    Barbara, if there is solid statistical data that a certain illness is more likely to occur in a some group of people (such as a village near to where I grew up where Leukemia occured about ten times more often than expected from the national average), that’s good and useful. Especially because (ideally), empircal data won’t concern itself too much with preconceived theories (like “oh, just assume that everyone is a white male [because I'm too lazy to consider other possibilities]“, or “well, we all know that blacks do not feel pain as much as whites” [I have heard the latter. From a doctor. Who was 80-something and in his cups, in case that's a relief.]).

    If we could re-define “race” as “a group of people sharing a significant amount of genetic traits at one point in time” I wouldn’t have any beef with the concept. But what I see is ancestors this and ancestors that, and tracing a person’s familiy tree back five generations or more in the attempt to get to some definite conclusion about who that person is. But as the historical game is, by its nature, open-ended, definite conclusion can only be reached by being selective with your data. And as everyone selects according to their own preferences, one could just let people self-identify themselves — the data is just as valid, far more likely to please, and it saves a lot of digging in old church records.

  62. 62
    lucia says:

    Robyn,
    Yes, in Chicago area, “ethnics” was often the word for whites who weren’t Protestants, particularly those who live in neighborhood dominated by immigrants from similar regions. The Polish neighborhoods, Ukranian neighborhoods, Irish neighborhoods etc. were all “ethnic”. Recently arrived Hispanics are now ethnic. Now, one thing to remember is: all “ethnics” are also something else– like Irish, Hispanic, Serbian, Croatian etc.

    It gets a bit fuzzy because when the same people move into a non-ethnic neighborhoods in the suburbs the people themselves sometimes cease to be “ethnic”. So, if you move to a neighborhood with German/Irish/Ukranian/Italian/Swedish neighbors, you will probably no longer be “ethnic”.

    I’m a little surprised any one in Chicago would both recognize the existence of white-ethnics and say you are the first one they met. By the Chicago definition of ethnic, a large fraction of white Chicagoans are ethnic! (I’m also surpise the black guy thought Italian wasn’t white. But I guess in his mind, his stereotype of white is what people in other places call “WASP”. )

  63. 63
    ebog/gary says:

    A few late responses.

    Ed writes:

    16 Germans [...] …says to me that there is a perception that ONLY whites can be racist. (and sorta that all mass murderers are white too)

    Point taken. My great-grandfather was a german jewish merchant with a yen for dusky locals (this was in Haiti) so I know better than to argue that there’s a fixed genetic tendency at work here. I do think, though, that there is something unique about German mass murder as it relates to the question of racial categorization.

    On the question of whiteness and mass murdering, again, I’m not arguing a fixed genetic predisposition, but I don’t think it’s controversial to point out that genocide as we understand it is (from a timeline standpoint) largely a Euro-American innovation. I attribute this to a lucky historic break mostly, in that europeans/white folks were best positioned civilizationally (in terms of tech, infrastructure, national formation) to do the really ground-breaking work in the field. Spin a few factors this way or that and there’s no reason to expect that it wouldn’t have been some completely batshit Arabs, Africans, Asians, what have you, who ended up setting the gold standard.

    Tuomas wrote:

    “Moors dropped the ball here so: White!”, btw?

    WTF!

    I’m not a history prof, but it strikes me that had the Moors not lost what is now southern Portugal in 1240something, commentors would likely be in better agreement that the Portugese are on the all off-white to non-white side of the spectrum, as opposed to their current white to barely off-white positioning

    Since I have a horse in this particular, uh, race, I view the above fork in the road as a ball dropping.

    Deep Thought wrote:

    Wow. I am amazed at some of the answers here. As someone with strong ties to the Iranian community, I can say – White. The blue eyes and fair hair cinches it for me. Same with the Saudis

    also:

    Robert wrote

    Well, we disagree about Iranians mostly because folks aren’t aware that Iranians are the original Caucasians, and aren’t Arab at all. All us white people have a lot of proto-Iranian in us.

    Except for a kid I knew in grammar school named Paymen (Payman?) I have no ties to the Iranian community whatsoever, but I’ll respectfully disagree just the same. Iranians and Saudi’s currently function/scan as non-white, and will likely scan whiter or non-whiter depending on what happens in the Middle East over the next few decades.

    That kid Paymen had light eyes and seemed to have assumed he was as “caucasian” as the Irish kids until he started getting his ass beat on a semi-monthly basis during the hostage crisis. Which is to say his race wasn’t a fixed thing to be determined by reference to history but was instead a live, flux-prone relationship/series of relationships.

    I’d also ask folks whether these white Iranians were encountered in the US or in Iran. There is a curious process whereby some people of color become “whiter” when they become transnational. (Transnationalism strikes me a being different from immigration in that it’s multipolar and diasporic.)

    Or put a completely another way: Cubans in Miami function largely as white folks, whereas Cubans in Cuba scan as mixed to black.

    inge wrote:

    If the concept of human races were as insignificant as I wished it to be, we wouldn’t have this discussion. Unfortunately, as experiments have shown, people will always categorize, differentiate, and rank. (As shown in Junior High politics, where the bag you tote your books in can determine your place in the pecking order.)

    Equating race to a tote bag is, as they say, mighty white of you.

    The kneejerk impulse to view all forms of difference – racial, cultural, ethnic – as a negative form of class is a classic misunderstanding of how race functions for the non-white. Because white folks don’t view themselves as having race (they have “ethnicity”), and because they often view themselves as being, well, better than other people (“historically mis-privileged” is how some folks might put it), being raced (i.e., non-white) is immediately viewed as unfortunate. Racists want to eliminate unfortunateness for hygenic reasons, anti-racists think they’d be doing all of us a favor if unfortunateness was eliminated, but it’s basically same diff from my point.

    The desire to disappear troubling forms difference (“if you boys can’t get along I’m putting the XBOX away!”) is an understandable and even laudable impulse, but it practically ends up reinforcing whiteness. Rendering race “insignificant” invariably means making non-white people more white, which I guess is an improvement over, like, killing us, but which still strikes me as a less than ideal.

  64. 64
    Tuomas says:

    I’m not a history prof, but it strikes me that had the Moors not lost what is now southern Portugal in 1240something, commentors would likely be in better agreement that the Portugese are on the all off-white to non-white side of the spectrum, as opposed to their current white to barely off-white positioning

    Yeah, that’s probably true.

    Since I have a horse in this particular, uh, race, I view the above fork in the road as a ball dropping.

    I dunno about the race factor there (honestly it’s more about religion there for me), but I kind of think that driving of the Moorish invaders was historically justified.

    YMMV.

    I agree with your point on genocide, largely, but as modern technology is spreading so is the bad habit of committing genocide (to put mildly).

  65. 65
    sailorman says:

    ebog/gary Writes:
    November 17th, 2006 at 2:58 am
    …On the question of whiteness and mass murdering, again, I’m not arguing a fixed genetic predisposition, but I don’t think it’s controversial to point out that genocide as we understand it is (from a timeline standpoint) largely a Euro-American innovation.

    This seems inaccurate. Or maybe it just depends on your definition of genocide and/or mass murdering. If you haven’t been following the “blogging the Bible” series at Slate, you might consider reading it. The concept of “slaughter your enemies en masse” has been around for a long, long, long, time.

    Of course, back then they also tended to take them as slaves instead of just killing them. So there were fewer “genocides” as such. But killing someone, and their family, was the best way back then to be sure their kids wouldn’t come after you.

  66. 66
    BPD says:

    1. Chileans: No
    2. Irish: Yes
    3. English: Yes
    4. Iranians: No
    5. Cameroonians: No
    6. Israelis: No
    7. Italians: Yes
    8. Nigerians: No
    9. Chinese: No
    10. Mexicans: No
    11. Portuguese: Yes
    12. Russians: Yes
    13. Puerto Ricans: No
    14. Saudis: No
    15. Egyptians: No
    16. Germans: Yes
    17. Canadians: Yes
    18. Americans: No

  67. Chileans – probably skin tone there will vary a lot
    Irish – white
    English – white except for the immigrant communities
    Iranians – they are pretty pale mostly…. but I think European whites might consider them POC
    Cameroonians – black obviously except for the few white people who live there
    Israelis – they are all over the map (like the rest of the Middle East)
    Italians – Again, a lot of variance in skin tone so…? How to define?
    Nigerians – See Cameroonians
    Chinese – It’s stupid to class East asians as either white or black but in an American context they are definitely POC
    Mexicans – Skin tone varies a lot, but seen in the US as POC
    Portuguese – Pretty light skinned from what little I know about them…
    Russians – Yeah, I will say white here although I am sure the country is not 100% white
    Puerto Ricans – Now I knew some white PR’ans and some black PR’ans in college and there was a lot of racial / class oriented debate beteen them so don’t want to touch this one
    Saudis – Oh well – they act so privileged that we can probably consider them honorary whites if we are talking about privilege
    Egyptians – Another country where skin tone varies widely. My Egyptian kids consider themselves to be POC though they “look white”.
    Germans – Well, duh…
    Canadians – Immigrant countries are pointless to categorize, obviously like the US they have a white majority and lots of non-white communities
    Americans – See Canada

    What is the point though? Are we defining white as the people who benefit from privilege whether or not their skin is actually really really pale? If so then I would probably have different answers. And as for black, some people in South Africa e.g. define as black though in America they’d be some other minority (East Indian e.g.) because they see “black” as a political term that they embrace meaning “the people who are fighting the privileged”

    I didn’t read the comments before posting so that I would not prejudice my answers, will go and read them now.

  68. OK I read it through. Funny that everyone sees Egyptians as non-white. This must be why an American woman (who was black) told me I had a “mixed marriage” when I had never considered that before (me being white and he being egyptian). I was clear on it being a cross-cultural marriage but not a “mixed race” one. I guess this shows that privileged people can be fairly blind about stuff like this becuase it does not affect us and we need POC to point it out.

    I think most people answered this in terms of privilege level rather than actual skin tone. in that case the list would be quite different.

    Many people brought up the fact taht in a lot of societies (Actually Egypt is one of them) the upper classes tend to be lighter of skin tone so within the country you have “white” and “nonwhite”. I think most Latin American countries are like this. For sure like I said before Egypt is. So that would problematize a response to those nationalities (yes if you are rich/aristocratic/elite, no if you are working class).

    I am with the group that thinks race is a social construct. Yes genetic diseases are scientific fact. But that is not about “race” but about who your relatives were and what diseases they had.

  69. 69
    bcgirl247 says:

    Interestingly, while sickle cell anemia is common among SOME African-descended populations (its prevalence is actually much, much higher in West Africa than here) there are sufferers from other areas, mostly Southern Europe and the Middle/South East. In fact, this disease has been used to show how problematic a strict linking of genetic disease and racial identity can be.
    Check it out:
    http://www.sicklecelldisease.org/about_scd/affected1.phtml
    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/319/7224/1582/a

    (regarding the exercise, my responses tracked with gary’s, but less cleverly, I’m afraid. I am surprised at the responses regarding the Israelis, and think debbie #54 is right on the money as to the causes.)

  70. 70
    ebog/gary says:

    anna in portland wrote:

    Many people brought up the fact taht in a lot of societies (Actually Egypt is one of them) the upper classes tend to be lighter of skin tone so within the country you have “white” and “nonwhite”. I think most Latin American countries are like this. For sure like I said before Egypt is. So that would problematize a response to those nationalities (yes if you are rich/aristocratic/elite, no if you are working class).

    I need to find the specific reference for this, but I remember reading some or another anthropologist that there is no “post-contact” society (and I think that was defined as any inter-civilizational contact, not just with Europeans) where lighter skinn is not fundamentally associated with power, beauty and privilege.

    This is just a pet peeve, but in light of that (likely) fact about color, the wishing above for the end of race strikes me as self-interested and obscurantist. The racial dynamics within populations don’t strike me as “problematizing” the notion of race as reaffirming the global and pervasive nature of white supremacy.

  71. 71
    ebog/gary says:

    anna wrote:

    I think most people answered this in terms of privilege level rather than actual skin tone. in that case the list would be quite different.

    I think one the benefits of the privilege notion is that (when deployed properly) it treats race a a kind of emergent metaproperty that grows out of other categories like ethnicity, visual phenotype, genetics, national identity, class, economics, culture, history and so on. An emergent property or field effect is profoundly different than a “dangerous myth,” tote bag, or high school infight in that no gets freaked out by how powerfully real and context contingent/dependent the property/effect is at the same time.

    The notion of an emergent property also allows for certain forms of transformation and play as well, so that it becomes possible to have notions of racial identity and racial difference that aren’t immediately the running buddies/handmaidens of white supremacy, nationalism, essentialism and so on. It allows one to be clever, basically, therein providing a way out of the particular pickle all you white folks are in, which is (to wit) that you need a way to propose unique value for your whiteness that isn’t synonymous with white supremacy. Otherwise you are going to spend all of history not so much feeling bad as literally being it. I’m kind baffled personally about how you guys are going to swing that, but fortunately that is not among my numerous socially mandated or imposed problems.

  72. ebog/gary: Yes, that is kind of what I meant. I was trying to say that giving us such a list and insisting on an either/or answer to countries like Chile or Egypt would be problematic because of the fact that within their own societies the same sort of lighter=privilege concept is at work as it is in the US. You explained this better than I did.

  73. 73
    Eva says:

    Jews run the entire spectrum of skin tone. From the very fair skinned redheads to the very dark skinned “afro” haired. I say Jews, not just Israelis, because that makes it clear who we’re talking about; everybody. That is, even though, statistically speaking, there aren’t that many Jews populating the planet, somehow Jews live in just about every country in the world and look like the people who are the majority AND usually the minority, too, of that country’s population. And, since every Jew has the right of return, every Jew can (theoretically) claim Israeli citizenship, so that makes Israelis citizens of the world, and vice-versa.

    I’m a Jew, and I’m pink-skinned, with freckles, blond curly hair gone brown, and green eyes. I take after my dad’s side of the family. My grandmom (dad’s mom) is (weirdly, to me) proud of being light-skinned and blue eyed.

    My late mother was olive skinned, with thick dark brown hair and light brown eyes. She liked to say her grandmother had an affair with a handsome Greek passing through Lodz, Poland during the WWI. (Although it’s probably just that that part of the family never “lost” it’s semetic skin-tone). My mother, when she was feeling mean, would sneer at my grandmom’s light-skin-pride, theorizing that any Jew as light-skinned as my grandmom had some rapacious ancestry somewhere in the past. This was always a bit hard to hear… I think my mom kind of “forgot” in these moments she was talking to not just to her daughter, but her mother-in-laws’ granddaughter.

    There you go. My very subjective take on white/not-white. I really think every single country listed in the question could be answered as “yes”, that is, both white, non-white, everything in between these two misbegotten categories.

  74. 74
    Gina says:

    England was heavily into eugenics in the 1920s-30s . . . The US wasn’t exactly without such tendencies either.

    You’ve got that right. Anyone ever hear of Vermont’s eugenics program in the 20′s and 30′s? God knows how many Abenaki Indians had their children taken away, were put in mental institutions, were sterilized (either against their will or without their knowledge), or were put in jail to rot. All in the name of “breeding better Vermonters”.

  75. 75
    SarahS says:

    Why the hell not…. this is really hard…

    1. Chileans – no
    2. Irish – yes
    3. English – yes
    4. Iranians – no
    5. Cameroonians – no
    6. Israelis – yes
    7. Italians – yes
    8. Nigerians – no
    9. Chinese – no
    10. Mexicans – no
    11. Portuguese – yes
    12. Russians – yes
    13. Puerto Ricans – no
    14. Saudis – no
    15. Egyptians – no
    16. Germans – yes
    17. Canadians – yes
    18. Americans – yes

  76. 76
    Kija says:

    Chileans – depends, it’s a multi-racial society
    Irish – yes
    English – yes
    Iranians – yes
    Cameroonians – no
    Israelis – yes
    Italians – yes
    Nigerians – no
    Chinese -no
    Mexicans – multi-racial
    Portuguese – yes
    Russians – yes
    Puerto Ricans – multi-racial
    Saudis – yes
    Egyptians – yes
    Germans – yes
    Canadians – multi-racial
    Americans – multi-racial

  77. 77
    Kija says:

    Of course, this idea of white is fluid. There is a Supreme Court case that classified Chinese as white. Irish were not white until the Civil War. Scandinavians “became” white in the 1890′s. Italians, Slavs and other Eastern Europeans were not considered white. Also, most Latin American countries are multi-racial, a mix of whites, blacks and indigenous people. As for Arabs, again there are white and non-white Arabs in most of those countries. As for Iranians, they consider themselves white and will point out that they are the real Aryans. And then what about the Circassians in Syria? Nationality and ethnicity are not the same.

    Besides, race is an artificial construct, hence it’s fluidity.

  78. 78
    Eva says:

    In countries where people’s skin color ranges widely and where the majority skin color isn’t more than 70%, I feel very uncomfortable saying that country is representationally “white” or “non-white”.

    Also, I live in an area where most of the population (at least 85%) is considered white. When I hear on the radio, as an example, that I live in one of the whitest places in the nation, I cringe.

    So I guess I’m uncomfortable with the construction of whiteness in general, whether it’s an over generalization (Israelis are non-white) or a factual statistic (85%+) about where I live.

    I don’t want to pigeon-hole entire populations, and I don’t want a whole bunch of people pigeon-holing my experience of where I live, either.

    But, since the question is being asked, I felt compelled to put in my 2 & 1/2 cents.

    Rachel, I am looking forward to finding out the agenda behind the list of yes’s and no’s.

  79. 79
    Deborah says:

    Chileans NO
    Irish YES
    English YES (obviously, you can be black and English or Hispanic and English just as you can be black and American, but I’m assuming Anglo-Saxon heritage for this answer)
    Iranians NO
    Cameroonians –not sure
    Israelis YES (This one I had to look up. I was answering an EEO report on the racial makeup of my small Israeli-owned company for an RFP and I had to call the govnerment and ask how Israelis were categorized because I couldn’t decide)
    Italians YES
    Nigerians NO
    Chinese NO
    Mexicans NO
    Portuguese YES
    Russians YES (And again, I checked this one on the EEO)
    Puerto Ricans NO
    Saudis NO
    Egyptians NO
    Germans YES
    Canadians YES (Same caveat as English)
    Americans –can’t be answered, too many different kinds of Americans

  80. 80
    Dei says:

    Barbara:

    A couple of things about using race as medical information. Sickle cell anemia isn’t exclusively an ‘African’ problem — you’ll also find it in people of Yemeni origin and in some Mediterrenean populations. It’s rarer, but it’s known. Of course let’s not add any issues of people who LOOK white but have considerable African ancestry (which I further have to qualify by noting that the sickle cell anemia mutation isn’t distributed evenly at all!). Assuming that a white person who has collapsed after exertion and who is retaining fluid at a frightening rate despite having overall good cardiac function *cannot* possibly be suffering from a sickle cell crisis simply because they’re white is a good way to end up with a dead person. You do have to do a work up from first principles and go with where they lead you, not where you think they ought to go. That’s good medicine.

    Wheras in the US, African-American women are noted for having breast cancer rates (despite having large European infusions), over here in the UK where the black population is much ‘blacker’ it’s women from the Indian subcontinent who are statistically much more at risk.

    At the very very best, race or apparent race may be *a* clue, but that’s all it can possibly be. Using it as the basis to discount the need to work fairly from first principles taking *all* evidence and differential diagnoses into account is medical malpractice.

  81. 81
    Moebius Stripper says:

    As a second-generation Canadian and ethnically-ambiguious mutt with ancestral ties to good dozen countries, I’m always perplexed by discussions like this. Do the people who’ve given simple “yes” and “no” answers have prototypical Canadians/Americans/Israelis/etc in mind when they answered?

    How about these:

    (19) Half-Indian, half-Dutch
    (20) Jew of Israeli, Polish, German, Latvian, Ukrainian, Russian, and Romanian descent, and plenty I’m leaving out.

    From the comments here, it seems that (19) would be classified as non-white, and (20) as white. (20) describes me, and (19) describes a good friend of mine. He and I are regulars at a certain local concert series, and one evening I arrived without him. The woman who sells tickets asked me where “my brother” was that night. He and I have roughly the same skin tone, and look similar enough as to be mistaken for siblings, but a simple enumeration of countries of origin has us of being of different races.

    There’s a whole lot of ambiguity within individuals, not just within nationalities – something I don’t see discussed very often even in the most nuanced of conversations on race (cf “I don’t consider Israelis to be white, because some are Ethiopian…” as opposed to “I don’t consider even specific Israelis to be white because they’re much darker than Swedes and much lighter than Nigerians.”).

  82. 82
    Matt says:

    Chileans – YES, there is a significant white population in Chile
    Irish – YES, all REAL Irish people are descended of Celts, Norse and Romans.
    English – YES, all REAL English people are descended of Celts, Norse and Romans
    Iranians – YES, they are part of the Medittaranian sub-branch of the Caucasian race.
    Cameroonians, NO – African.
    Israelis, *YES, Israeli Jews are Caucasians, with the exception of recent Ethiopian arrivals from Africa.
    Italians – YES, Italians and Sicilians are part of the Med. sub-branch of Caucasians
    Nigerians – NO, African
    Chinese – NO, Mongoloid
    Mexicans – *YES, there are white populations in Mexico, but its mainly Mestizo
    Portuguese – YES, Medittaranian sub-branch of Caucasians
    Russians – YES, though Russians usually have a mix of Caucasian and Asian genes
    Puerto Ricans – NO, generally speaking, PR is a mullatoe nation
    Saudis – YES, True Arabs are part of the Meditarranian sub-race
    Egyptians – *YES, only in Medit. North Egypt, S. Egypt trends more negro.
    Germans – YES
    Canadians – YES, if they are of European stock
    Americans – YES, if they are of European stock

  83. Pingback: Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Who’s White: Debriefing

  84. 83
    Guy F. says:

    1. Chileans – Yes ,numerically a plural majority are white
    2. Irish – Yes, although they’ve never had the dominace aspect of sociological whiteness, they just soo LOOK it! Too bad though, if any whites have earned the right of victimhood politics it’s them.
    3. English – Yes, but soon no ;)
    4. Iranians -Yes (according to population genetics, these people are the ones who colonized an empty europe originally, they ARE the originals like it or not)
    5. Cameroonians – No
    6. Israelis – Yes, such extreme dominance, but by the usual metrics as well. Some Israelis like to play both sides, white to the people who value that, and non-white to avoid the target sphere, can’t do that crakka!
    7. Italians – Yes, what kind of anglo-centric redefinition can erase the romans? Or alternately, the “trendy” Italians who want out of the white-bashing target sphere are out of luck ;)
    8. Nigerians – No
    9. Chinese – No, although they are there sociologically, it would be silly genetically.
    10. Mexicans -* Only one I cannot define, they are soo close to 50/50 by the genetics. If forced I’d say YES, just to spite them for so successfully playing both decks.
    11. Portuguese – Yes, they were the biggest slave traders don’t forget, even though I have strangely seen some calling themselves non-white for much the same reasons Italians sometimes try, you are crakkas too!
    12. Russians -Yes
    13. Puerto Ricans -Yes, but complicated, the genetic pool is majority white, but the assimilation was so heavy that ‘purity’ is rare, but still by my holistic definition of whiteness YES.
    14. Saudis -Yes, ask some muslims, they are the dominant and the elitist caucasians of the region. The “dark ones” are Yemenis, a separate country right below saudi that was the slave trading center of the arab world, most non-yemeni saudis are on the dark side of Mediterranean skinned.
    15. Egyptians -Yes, dark skin doesn’t mean non-white, especially with history of strong dominance. Strong nubian minority conceeded, they are majority white, of similar ethnic group to other north african caucasians.
    16. Germans -Yes, but soon no ;) . German women hate reproducing, while the guests are happy to oblige them that right. Hitler can never happen again, unless it’s a turk version.
    17. Canadians -Yes, but Canada isn’t a very race minded place, it’s like denmark with huge percentage of immigrants, but without a sickening nihilistic cause for it, just plenty of free space and friendly people. Canada will eventually be non-white, but not from weakness.
    18. Americans -Yes. Plural majority. Even many AA’s look white to my eye that is used to seeing black west africans.

    My conception of race, which I assign no valuations upon btw, is based upon a holistic view of what I know about sociological race blended with what I know of population genetics, and poured into a glass of my own reason. Race is only useful from genetic angles, and from issues of how others react to race, like ethnocentrism or discrimination. I question agendas that may be ethnocentric in origin, or criticism and attacks that may be discrimination bias. All types of people perform ethnocentric and discriminatory practices btw, some cynically for self-benefit, others out of ideology.

  85. 84
    Michael says:

    Ok Im only commenting on two races. Puerto Rican is not white but some of us have white blood. but there is more african and taino(native of the carribean islands in us) about 60% of puerto ricans are strictly taino and african. and italian can be either way. because darker italians with black hair and dark eyes tend to be descendents of northern african people.

  86. 85
    Ive says:

    Everyone in this world more or less had a mix in their generation. I am Puertorican. My mother is Russian Jew and my father is also jews. I was born in Puerto Rico. Here I’m condider ” Hispanic”. In reality my genetic makeup is ” white” , but this color thing is just crap. I think people should’nt lable anyone. You don’t know their personal history. Puerto Rico just like the USA, have many people from different races and contries. There are Chinese, blacks, Jewish, Native american( tainos) and anglos saxons, Spaniards and others people from different countries just like here. Do they speak spanish of course they do, are they puertoricans, yes they were born in the island.

  87. 86
    A. Loyalist says:

    In deconstructing race, one classic fallacy/example is: but the Irish were not
    considered white, as new immigrants in America … Ergo, the “white race” and
    “race” in general are not valid concepts. But of course, such example only
    invalidates that particular absurd social construction of race. The social
    construction is used to define race along ridiculous terms, and the resultant
    ludicrous distinctions are used to dis-credit the proper biological definition.
    (The concept of the “social construct of race” I would agree is valid and
    worthy of study — but only after it’s distinguished from the biological.)

    The biological definition, on the other hand, is often criticized for not being
    comprised of clearly distinct categories. But this too is a weak argument, as
    it could be applied to the color wheel to conclude that blue and yellow do not
    exist, as there are so many different greens.

    To repeat — lots of interesting comments, but please anything but the term “people of color” … talk about a judgment-laden term … it’s usually the case that those who use this term would also contend that “race doesn’t exist” …

  88. 87
    Robert says:

    Bloom County:

    Mom: That’s the most adorable little colored girl playing outside.
    Steve: “Colored”? You’re saying “colored people” in 1988? You know better, Ma.
    Mom: Then why the “National Association for Colored People? I don’t think Negroes mind at all.
    Steve: Don’t say “Negroes,” Ma! You can’t say “Negroes”!
    Mom: Can I say “United Negro College Fund”?
    Steve: You are baiting me, Ma!
    Dad: That’s it. We’re leaving.
    Mom: Stay put, Reginald. “Mister Socially Sensitive”isn’t finished shaming his parents into enlightenment.
    Steve: Everybody just calm down. Let’s agree to use the the New-Age term “People of Color.”
    Mom: People of Color.
    Steve: People of Color.
    Mom: Colored people.
    Steve: NO!!
    Dad: We’re leaving.

  89. 88
    Ampersand says:

    That’s funny, Robert.

    But although it’s a good gag, I don’t have to explain why it’s not a smart critique of the term “people of color,” do I?

  90. 89
    Robert says:

    No, I would rather you put your energy into an explanation of your bizarre tortoise penis fetish.

    Ooh, betcha this one’s gonna haunt you in Google for some time to come.

  91. 91
    adam says:

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say everything listed is White EXCEPT American. My Grandfather(although biologically Speaking is White) Is Brown(Castillian, Scandanavian, Belgian, Middle Eastern) My Grandmother, is also Brown(First American, Jew, Arab) I’m actually one of the Albinos in my family. Oh yeah, my dad was First American(Creek, BlackFoot, Sioux), Swedish, and German amongst other things. He was pale, but not extremely pale.

  92. 92
    sylphhead says:

    That people think Iran is non-white just shows what a phooey concept whiteness really is. Yes, so and so Iranian you knew looked Arab. So and so American I knew looked Black. Ethnic Iranians come from a different stock from semitic Arabs and are not to be lumped together, majority Muslim and differing-from-a-bona-fide-Arab nation by one letter though they may be. Even geography is tainted by popular conceptions. Iran, for instance, is part of central Asia, not the Arabian peninsula.

    I don’t want to copy and paste my own writing, but I touched upon a similar topic on another thread. Looks like concerted racialists have abandoned this discussion, so I won’t bother now, except to respond to the following.

    “Ergo, the “white race” and
    “race” in general are not valid concepts.”

    And here we have a racist right here. Who else can insist there is something called a ‘white race’? White describes your skin, and nothing else. May as well classify people based on attached/detached earlobes, or the relative length of ring finger with respect to the index.

    But to counter the obvious, here’s a hint: “European” ain’t a race, either.

    “(The concept of the “social construct of race” I would agree is valid and
    worthy of study — but only after it’s distinguished from the biological.)”

    We already distinguish between the two quite well. One’s a SOCIAL science, and the other is a CRANK science.

    “The biological definition, on the other hand, is often criticized for not being
    comprised of clearly distinct categories.”

    No, the biological definition is often critizied for being comprised of clearly POLITICAL categories. “White” is not a race. “Black” is a not a race. “East Asian” is not a race. The human race may well be divided – who can say with certainty – but its fundamental dividing lines aren’t the options listed next to boxes on the Census.

    “But this too is a weak argument, as
    it could be applied to the color wheel to conclude that blue and yellow do not
    exist, as there are so many different greens.”

    So long as blueness or yellowness aren’t used as premises for shaky hypotheses with drastic implications, we’ll let ambiguity slide. But I tell ya what’s not gonna happen – a weak, watered-down, flimsy premise that ‘people are different’, and not expecting you guys to hunker down further, and meanwhile, here’s how we can specifically apply that generality to this pet political issue X. Sorry. First, you propose the terms and categories clearly. Then, science debates that and gives its word. Popper’s a bitch, ain’t he?

  93. 93
    Danny says:

    Chileans most are white with a little amerindian
    Irish white
    English white
    Iranians white
    Cameroonians black
    Israelis white
    Italians white
    Nigerians black
    Chinese non white mongols
    Mexicans many are white with some amerindian and many are mostly amerindian
    Portuguese white
    Russians white
    Puerto Ricans most of them are white(85%) and some white with some black.
    Saudis mostly white looking
    Egyptians most of them are white looking. The ones I know think they are.
    Germans white
    Canadians 90% white. 7 percent asian and 2 percent amerindian and 1 percent other non whites
    Americans about 82 percent are white and white latinos. 12 percent black and black latinos. 3 percent are asian. 3 percent are native american or mostly native american looking latinos.

  94. 94
    Mechanical_Engineer says:

    But you forgot about the Mongols, who aren’t Oriental or Pig White, or Dravidian or Persian, but Central Asian / Southern Russian right on the border of Southern Russia. After exterminating millions of Chinese (Hmongs’) they moved on to other targets world-wide. These conquerors, all tall and strong, warlike and migratory are the ancestors of the leading warfarists in India, Pakistan, Iran, Eastern Europe, Russia, Germany and Turkey. That isn’t to say they are anything more than 10% of those regions population. Germans are NOT history’s “greatest racists and mass murderers”, not by a long-shot! That would be none other than the MIGHTY MONGOLS! The Pre-Germans were conquered by the Mongols, raped and f_cked by them. The Pre-German men bar-b-qued and slaughtered into gore by the Mongol Siege Engines. The Pre-German women of course de-breasted, raped and burned alive, many others kept around as concubines also. After some years the Mongols just decided to leave since Pre-German women weren’t getting them off anymore. The Post-German hybrid mixed-raced Germans which came from Mongol rape, of course rubbed off on them, making them Europe’s greatest racists and mass-murderers. But in terms of the world, the Mongols are the greatest racists and mass-murderers NOT the Germans. Mongols conquered 32 million square miles of land and laid to waste 39 million people in less than 40 years of rule. The Germans inherited the Mongol genetics and ways of life, this is what gave them their edge! Not just Germans, but more the purer, tougher and smarter Mongols are found among Afghans, India/Pakistan’s Warrior Castes and Iran’s Warrior Castes, etc. etc., all descend from Mongols, White Huns and other Central Asians. This is why the Pig White Germans in West Germany hate everyone else in the rest of Germany and call them “bastards”. West Germans would rather ally with the Dutch and British than the other Germans. I don’t care who thinks who is White or not. Whites got all of their science and technology from non-Europeans anyway. Basically from copying non-Europeans during their “Renaissance” and the rest by non-Europeans invading Europeans and brutalizing them with their more advanced weapons such as firearms and explosives/bombs. Still today, Whites are good at Business/Robbery/Money-Whoring not Technology. They need Eastern /Asian Engineers and Scientists to help them create anything worthwhile in the West. Who cares who thinks who is White or not, it’s pointless. What matters is if you are an Engineer, Licensed Technician, Machinist, Licensed Mechanic, Builder, Scientist, Inventor, Mathematician, Physicist, Chemist, Bio-Chemist, Medical Doctor or Pilot. All the other fields are just full of fraudulent losers who are only good at playing games and robbing people. I guess you people can get us Scientist & Engineers the resources and materials so we can design and build our toys. Also excellent Free Enterprise and Money-Making Profit Margins. So I guess you people are ok after all. :)

  95. 95
    John (USA) says:

    1.Chileans – not white
    2.Irish – white 100%
    3.English – white 100%
    4.Iranians – not white
    5.Cameroonians
    6.Israelis – white, but not all
    7.Italians – white, but not all
    8.Nigerians – not white
    9.Chinese – not white
    10.Mexicans – not white
    11.Portuguese – white, but not all
    12.Russians – white 100% (Slavs purest white people)
    13.Puerto Ricans – not white
    14.Saudis – not white
    15.Egyptians – not white
    16.Germans – white 100%
    17.Canadians – white Canadians – white people
    18.Americans – white Americans