|Genetics and differences|
The definition of "white person" differs according to geographical and historical context. Various social constructions of whiteness have had implications in terms of national identity, consanguinity, public policy, religion, population statistics, racial segregation, affirmative action, eugenics, racial marginalization and racial quotas. The concept has been applied with varying degrees of formality and internal consistency in disciplines including sociology, politics, genetics, biology, medicine, biomedicine, language, culture and law.
History of the term
The notion of "white people" or a "white race" as a large group of populations contrasting with non-white or "colored" originates in the 17th century. Pragmatic description of populations as "white" in reference to their skin color predates this notion and is found in Greco-Roman ethnography and other ancient sources.
Antiquity and Middle Ages: Occasional physical description
The Sumerians referred to themselves as ùĝ saĝ gíg-ga, meaning "the black-headed people", although as they were not anthropologically Negroid this description is usually taken as relating to hair colour or a darker skin tone than the Semitic Akkadians (Assyrians-Babylonians) who coexisted with them in Mesopotamia. The Ancient Egyptian (New Kingdom) funerary text known as the Book of Gates distinguishes "four races of men". These are the Egyptians, the Levantine/Canaanite peoples or "Asiatics", the "Nubians" and the "fair-skinned Libyans". The Egyptians are depicted as a light reddish brown, the Nubians (modern Sudan) as black skinned, the Semites from the Levant (modern Syria) and Canaan (modern Lebanon, Israel and Jordan) as light skinned, and the Berbers of ancient Libya as similarly fair.
Xenophon describes the Ethiopians as black, and the Persian troops as white compared to the sun-tanned skin of Greek troops. Herodotus similarly used Melanchroes "dark-skinned" for the Egyptians and he compared them to the Aithiopsi "burned-faced" for the Ethiopians. Herodotus also describes the Scythian Budini as having deep blue eyes and bright red hair.
These color adjectives are typically found in contrast to the "standard" set by the own group, not as a self-description. Classicist James Dee found that, "the Greeks do not describe themselves as "white people"—or as anything else because they had no regular word in their color vocabulary for themselves—and we can see that the concept of a distinct 'white race' was not present in the ancient world."
Assignment of positive and negative connotations of white and black date to the classical period in a number of Indo-European languages, but these differences were not applied to skin color per se. Religious conversion was described figuratively as a change in skin color. Similarly, the Rigveda uses krsna tvac "black skin" as a metaphor for irreligiosity.
The pseudo-Aristotelian Physiognomica (2nd century BC) in keeping with the Aristotelian doctrine of the golden mean postulates that the ideal skin tone was to be found somewhere between very dark and very light:
- "Those who are too black are cowards, like for instance, the Egyptians and Ethiopians. But those who are excessively white are also cowards, as we can see from the example of women, the complexion of courage is between the two."
Similar views were held by a number of Arabic writers during the time of the medieval Caliphate period. Some Arabs at the time viewed their "swarthy" skin as the ideal skin tone, in comparison to the darker Sub-Saharan Africans and the fairer "ruddy people" (which included Levantines, Syriacs/Arameans, Jews, Druze, Samaritans, Mesopotamians/Assyrians Persians, Turks, North Caucasians, South Caucasian, Greeks and Europeans).
"White people" and modern racial hierarchies
The term "white race" or "white people" entered the major European languages in the later 17th century, originating with the racialization of slavery at the time, in the context of the Atlantic slave trade and enslavement of native peoples in the Spanish Empire. While first a social category, it has repeatedly been ascribed to strains of blood, ancestry, and physical traits, and was eventually made into a subject of scientific research, which culminated in scientific racism, before being widely repudiated by the scientific community. According to historian Irene Silverblatt, "Race thinking … made social categories into racial truths." Bruce David Baum, citing the work of Ruth Frankenberg, states, "the history of modern racist domination has been bound up with the history of how European peoples defined themselves (and sometimes some other peoples) as members of a superior 'white race.'" Alastair Bonnett argues that 'white identity', as it is presently conceived, is an American project, reflecting American interpretations of race and history.
According to Gregory Jay, a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee,
Before the age of exploration, group differences were largely based on language, religion, and geography. ... the European had always reacted a bit hysterically to the differences of skin color and facial structure between themselves and the populations encountered in Africa, Asia, and the Americas (see, for example, Shakespeare's dramatization of racial conflict in Othello and The Tempest). Beginning in the 1500s, Europeans began to develop what became known as "scientific racism," the attempt to construct a biological rather than cultural definition of race ... Whiteness, then, emerged as what we now call a "pan-ethnic" category, as a way of merging a variety of European ethnic populations into a single "race" ...
—Gregory Jay, "Who Invented White People?"
A three-part racial schema in color terms was used in seventeenth century Latin America under Spanish rule. Irene Silverblatt traces "race thinking" in South America to the social categories of colonialism and state formation: "White, black, and brown are abridged, abstracted versions of colonizer, slave, and colonized." "The term white came into wide use in the British colonies in America from the 1680s."
White people in the science of race
18th century beginnings
In 1758, Carolus Linnaeus proposed what he considered to be natural taxonomic categories of the human species. He distinguished between Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens europaeus, and he later added four geographical subdivisions of humans: white Europeans, red Americans, yellow Asians and black Africans. Although Linnaeus intended them as objective classifications, he used both taxonomical and cultural data in his subdivision descriptions.
In 1775, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach described the white race as "the white color holds the first place, such as it is that most Europeans. The redness of cheeks in this variety is almost peculiar to it: at all events it is but seldom seen in the rest... Color white, Cheeks rosy". He categorized humans into five races, which largely corresponded with Linnaeus' classifications, except for the addition of Oceanians (whom he called Malay). He characterized the racial classification scheme of Metzger as making "two principal varieties as extremes:(1) the white man native of Europe, of the northern parts of Asia, America and Africa..", and the racial classification scheme of John Hunter as having, "seven varieties:... (6) brownish as the southern Europeans, Turks, Abyssinians, Samoiedes and Lapps; (7) white, as the remaining Europeans, the Mingrelians and Kabardinski". Blumenbach is known for arguing that physical characteristics like skin color, cranial profile, etc., were correlated with group character and aptitude. Craniometry and phrenology would attempt to make physical appearance correspond with racial categories. The fairness and relatively high brows of Caucasians were held to be apt physical expressions of a loftier mentality and a more generous spirit. The epicanthic folds around the eyes of Mongolians and their slightly sallow outer epidermal layer bespoke their supposedly crafty, literal-minded nature.
Later in life, Blumenbach encountered in Switzerland "eine zum Verlieben schöne Négresse" ("a Negress so beautiful to fall in love with"). Further anatomical study led him to the conclusion that 'individual Africans differ as much, or even more, from other individual Africans as Europeans differ from Europeans'. Furthermore he concluded that Africans were not inferior to the rest of mankind 'concerning healthy faculties of understanding, excellent natural talents and mental capacities'. These later ideas were far less influential than his earlier assertions with regard to the perceived relative qualities of the different races, which opened the way to secular and scientific racism.
In a 1775 work, Von den verschiedenen Rassen der Menschen ("Of [About] The Different Races of Humans"), German philosopher Immanuel Kant used the term weiß (white) to refer to "the white one [race] of northern Europe" (p. 267).
19th and 20th century: the "Caucasian race"
The study into race and ethnicity in the 18th and 19th centuries developed into what would later be termed scientific racism. During the period of the mid-19th to mid-20th century, race scientists, including most physical anthropologists classified the world's populations into three, four, or five races, which, depending on the authority consulted, were further divided into various sub-races. During this period the Caucasian race, named after people of the North Caucasus (Caucasus Mountains) but extending to all Europeans, figured as one of these races, and was incorporated as a formal category of both scientific research and, in countries including the United States, social classification.
There was never any scholarly consensus on the delineation between the Caucasian race, including the populations of Europe, and the Mongoloid one, including the populations of East Asia. Thus, Carleton S. Coon (1939) included the populations native to all of Central and Northern Asia under the Caucasian label, while Thomas Henry Huxley (1870) classified the same populations as Mongoloid, and Lothrop Stoddard (1920) excluded the populations of the Middle East and North Africa as well as those of Central Asia, classifying them as "brown", and counted as "white" only the European peoples.
Alastair Bonnett has stated that, a strong "current of scientific research supports the theory that Europeans were but one expression of a wider racial group (termed sometimes Caucasian), a group that included peoples from Asia and North Africa". Bonnett, does, however, note that this is not a commonplace definition: in Europe and North America the inclusion of non-Europeans is a "technicality little favoured outside certain immigration bureaucracies and traditional anthropology."
Raj Bhopal and Liam Donaldson opine that white people are a heterogeneous group, and the term white should therefore be abandoned as a classification for the purposes of epidemiology and health research, and identifications based on geographic origin and migration history be used instead.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Official census statistics identifying "white people". Few countries have census category "white".|
Definitions of white have changed over the years, including the official definitions used in many countries, such as the United States and Brazil. Some defied official regulations through the phenomenon of "passing", many of them becoming white people, either temporarily or permanently. Through the mid-to-late 20th century, numerous countries had formal legal standards or procedures defining racial categories (see cleanliness of blood, apartheid in South Africa, hypodescent). However, as critiques of racism and scientific arguments against the existence of race arose, a trend towards self-identification of racial status arose. Below are some census definitions of white, which may differ from the social definition of white within the same country. The social definition has also been added where possible.
Argentina, along with other areas of new settlement like Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the United States, is considered a country of immigrants where the vast majority originated from Europe. Although no official censuses based on ethnic classification have been carried out in Argentina, some international sources state that White Argentines and other whites (Europeans and Middle-Easterners) in Argentina make up somewhere between 89.7% (around 36.7 million people) and 85.8% (34.4 million) of the total population. White people can be found in all areas of the country, but especially in the central-eastern region (Pampas), the central-western region (Cuyo), the southern region (Patagonia) and the north-eastern region (Litoral).
White Argentines are mainly descendants of immigrants who came from Europe and the Middle East in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After the regimented Spanish colonists, waves of European settlers came to Argentina from the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries. Major contributors included Italy (initially from Piedmont, Veneto and Lombardy, later from Campania, Calabria, and Sicily), and Spain (most are Galicians and Basques, but there are Asturians, Cantabrians, Catalans, and Andalusians). Smaller but significant numbers of immigrants include Germans, primarily Volga Germans from Russia, but also Germans from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria; French which mainly came from the Occitania region of France; Portuguese, which already conformed an important community since colonial times; Slavic groups, most of which were Croats, Bosniaks, Poles, but also Ukrainians, Belarussians, Russians, Bulgarians, Serbs and Montenegrins; Brits, mainly from England and Wales; Irish who left from the Potato famine or British rule; Scandinavians from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway; from the Ottoman Empire came mainly Armenians, and various Semitic peoples such as Syriacs-Assyrians, Maronites and Arabs (from what are now of Lebanon and Syria). Smaller waves of settlers from Australia and South Africa, and the United States can be traced in Argentine immigration records.
The majority of Argentina's Jewish population are Ashkenazi Jews from diaspora communities in Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe, and about 15–20% are Sephardic communities from Syria. Argentina is home to the fifth largest Ashkenazi Jewish community in the world. (See also History of the Jews in Argentina).
By the 1910s, after immigration rates peaked, over 30 percent of the country's population was from outside Argentina, and over half of Buenos Aires' population was foreign-born. However, the 1914 National Census revealed that around 80% of the national population were either European immigrants, their children or grandchildren. Among the remaining 20 percent (those descended from the population residing locally before this immigrant wave took shape in the 1870s), around a third were white. European immigration continued to account for over half the nation's population growth during the 1920s, and was again significant (albeit in a smaller wave) following World War II. It is estimated that Argentina received a total amount of 6.6 million European and Middle-Eastern immigrants during the period 1857–1940.
White Argentines, therefore, likely peaked as a percentage of the national population at over 90% on or shortly after the 1947 census. Since the 1960s, increasing immigration from bordering countries to the north (especially from Bolivia and Paraguay, which have Amerindian and Mestizo majorities) has lessened that majority somewhat.
Criticism of the national census state that data has historically been collected using the category of national origin rather than race in Argentina, leading to undercounting Afro-Argentines and mestizos. Africa Viva (Living Africa) is a black rights group in Buenos Aires with the support of the Organization of American States, financial aid from the World Bank and Argentina's census bureau is working to add an "Afro-descendants" category to the 2010 census. The 1887 national census was the final year where blacks were included as a separate category before it was eliminated by the government.
From 1788, when the first British colony in Australia was founded, until the early 19th century, most immigrants to Australia were English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish convicts. These were augmented by small numbers of free settlers from the British Isles and other European countries. However, until the mid-19th century, there were few restrictions on immigration, although members of ethnic minorities tended to be assimilated into the Anglo-Celtic populations.
People of many nationalities, including many non-white people, emigrated to Australia during the goldrushes of the 1850s. However, the vast majority was still white and the goldrushes inspired the first racist activism and policy, directed mainly at Chinese people.
From the late 19th century, the Colonial/State and later federal governments of Australia restricted all permanent immigration to the country by non-Europeans. These policies became known as the "White Australia policy", which was consolidated and enabled by the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, but was never universally applied. Immigration inspectors were empowered to ask immigrants to take dictation from any European language as a test for admittance, a test used in practice to exclude people from Asia, Africa, and some European and South American countries, depending on the political climate.
Although they were not the prime targets of the policy, it was not until after World War II that large numbers of southern European and eastern European immigrants were admitted for the first time. Following this, the White Australia Policy was relaxed in stages: non-European nationals who could demonstrate European descent were admitted (e.g., descendants of European colonizers and settlers from Latin America or Africa), as were autochthonous inhabitants (such as Maronites, Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians and Syriacs) of various nations from the Middle East, most significantly from Lebanon and to a lesser degree Iraq, Syria and Iran. In 1973, all immigration restrictions based on race and/or geographic origin were officially terminated.
Recent censuses in Brazil are conducted on the basis of self-identification. In the 2000 census, 53.7% of Brazilians (approximately 93 million people in 2000) were White and 39.1% Pardo or multiracial Brazilians; but in 2008 a new National Survey of Household was conducted, and the percentage of Brazilians who self-identified as "Brancos" diminished to 48.4% (92 million people), while the Pardos increased up to 43.8%.
This significant percentage change is considered to be caused by people who used to identify themselves as White and now reappreciated their African and/or Amerindian and/or East Asian ancestry, and so they changed their self-identification to "Pardo" and "Asian".
White in Brazil is applied as a term to people of European descent, and Middle Easterners of all ethnicities and faiths. The census shows a trend of fewer Brazilians of a different descent (most likely mixed) identifying as white people as their social status increases. Nevertheless, light-skinned mulattoes and mestizos with Caucasian features were also historically deemed as more closely related to the branco Middle Easterner and European descendants' group than the pardo "grayish-skinned"  multiracial one by a sort of unique social constructs, especially among those multiracials with non-Portuguese European ancestry, and such change of identities actually can mean more of a westernization of the concept of race in Brazil (mixed ancestry, as explained below, is not a factor against in historical definitions of whiteness in Brazil) than a change in the self-esteem of "marginalized and unconscious multiracial populations trying to paint themselves as white in a hopeful attempt to deny their unprivileged person of color status", as common sense among some Brazilians and foreigners is used to state.
Aside from Portuguese colonization, there were large waves of immigration from Southern, Western, Northern, Central and Eastern Europe as well Balkans and the Middle East in Brazil, the fourth largest number of the Americas just after United States, Canada and Argentina. But these communities of European and Middle Eastern descent also mostly have members with some Subsaharan African and/or Amerindian ancestry nowadays, since not only the White population of Portuguese origin which absorved most of the descendants of the immigrants via intermarriage carried them, but interracial marriages and relationships in Brazil were common among most ethnic groups, all of them after 2 or 3 generations in the country, with many White Brazilian children being the offspring from Europeans or Middle Easterners and afrodescendant multiracials or persons of Amerindian/East Asian origin. Non-Portuguese ancestry generally is associated to an image of "foreigner", "European", and as such contributed to achieving whiter social perceptions in the colour scale of the Brazilian society, even if the person is noticeably of mixed origins.
In the results of Statistics Canada's 2001 Canadian Census, white is one category in the population groups data variable, derived from data collected in question 19 (the results of this question are also used to derive the visible minority groups variable).
In the 1995 Employment Equity Act, '"members of visible minorities" means persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour'. In the 2001 Census, persons who selected Chinese, South Asian, African, Filipino, Latin American, Southeast Asian, Arab, West Asian, Middle Eastern, Japanese or Korean were included in the visible minority population. A separate census question on "cultural or ethnic origin" (question 17) does not refer to skin color.
During colonial times in the 18th century an important flux of emigrants from Spain populated Chile, mostly Basques, who vitalized the Chilean economy and rose rapidly in the social hierarchy and became the political elite that still dominates the country. An estimated 1.6 million (10%) and 3.2 million (20%) Chileans have a surname (one or both) of Basque origin. The Basques liked Chile because of its great similarity to their native land: similar geography, cool climate, fruits, seafood and wine.
Chile was never an attractive place for European migrants in the 19th and 20th century simply because it was far from Europe, and the difficulty of reaching such a remote place. Chile received a tiny but steady migration of Spanish, Italians, Irish, French, Greeks, Germans, English, Scots, Croats, Jewish, and Palestinian arrivals (as well from other Latin American countries).
The Spaniard was actually the only relevant among European immigration to Chile, since there was never a massive immigration, as happened in neighboring nations such as Argentina or Uruguay. Therefore, neither have whitened the Chilean population to level of overall percentages. Facts about the amount of the flow of immigration do not coincide with certain national chauvinistic discourse, in which Chile, like Argentina or Uruguay, would have been constituted due to immigration in one of the "white" Latin American countries, in contrast to what prevails in the rest of the continent. However, it is undeniable that immigrants have played a role in Chilean society. Between 1851 and 1924 Chile only received the 0.5% of the European immigration flow to Latin America, against 46% of Argentina, 33% of Brazil, 14% of Cuba, and 4% of Uruguay. This was because most of the migration occurred across the Atlantic, not the Pacific, and that this migration occurred mostly before the construction of the Panama Canal. Also, Europeans preferred to stay in countries closer to their homelands instead of taking that long tour across the Straits of Magellan or crossing the Andes. In 1907, European-born reached a top of 2.4% of Chilean population, it down to 1.8% in 1920, and 1.5% in 1930.
After the failed liberal revolution of 1848 in the German states, an noticeable German immigration took place, laying the foundation for the German-Chilean community. Sponsored by the Chilean government for "unbarbarize" and colonize the southern region, these Germans (including German-speaking Swiss, Silesians, Alsatians and Austrians) settled mainly in Valdivia, Chiloé and Los Ángeles. The Chilean Embassy in Germany estimated 150,000 to 200,000 Chileans are of German origin.
It is estimated that nearly 5% of the Chilean population is of Asian descent, chiefly from the Middle East, i.e., Israelis/Jews, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese, totaling around 800,000. Chile is home to a large population of immigrants, mostly Christian, from the Levant. Roughly 500,000 Palestinian descendants are believed to reside in Chile.
Another historically significant immigrant group is Croatian. The number of their descendants today is estimated to be 380,000 persons, the equivalent of 2.4% of the population. Other authors claim, on the other hand, that close to 4.6% of the Chilean population must have some Croatian ancestry. Over 700,000 Chileans may have British (English, Scottish or Welsh) origin. 4.5% of Chile's population. Chileans of Greek descent are estimated 90,000 to 120,000. Most of them live either in the Santiago area or in the Antofagasta area, and Chile is one of the 5 countries with the most descendants of Greeks in the world. The descendants of the Swiss reach 90,000 and it is estimated that about 5% of the Chilean population has some French ancestry. 184,000 are descendants of Italians. Other groups of European descendants have followed, but are found in smaller numbers. They did transform the country culturally, economically and politically.
In 2009, Costa Rica had an estimated population of 4,509,290. White people (includes mestizo) make up 94%, 3% of the remainder are black people, 1% are Amerindians, and 1% are Chinese. White Costa Ricans are mostly of Spanish ancestry, but there are also significant numbers of Costa Ricans descended from British Italian, German, English, Dutch, French, Irish, Portuguese, Lebanese and Polish families, as well a sizable Jewish community.
Contrary to most other Caribbean nations, Cuba became predominantly populated by European immigrants (followed in such regard by Puerto Rico). In 1958, it was estimated that approximately 74% of Cubans were of European ancestry, mainly of Spanish origin, 10% of African ancestry, 15% of both African and European ancestry (mulattos), and a small 1% of the population was Asian, predominantly Chinese. However, after the Cuban revolution, due to a combination of factors, mainly mass exodus to Miami, United States, a drastic decrease in immigration, and interracial reproduction, Cuba's demography has changed. As a result, those of complete European ancestry and those of pure African ancestry have decreased, the mulatto population has increased, and the Asian population has, for all intents and purposes, disappeared.
The 2002 census figures supplied by the Cuban regime claims that 65% of Cubans were white. However, the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami says the present Cuban population is 38% white and 62% black/mulatto. The Minority Rights Group International says that "An objective assessment of the situation of Afro-Cubans remains problematic due to scant records and a paucity of systematic studies both pre- and post-revolution. Estimates of the percentage of people of African descent in the Cuban population vary enormously, ranging from 33.9 per cent to 62 per cent".
According to the 2002 census, Cuba's population was 11,177,743.
|Racial composition (percentages) by
the official Spanish and U.S census.
Contrary to most other Caribbean nations, Puerto Rico gradually became predominantly populated by European immigrants. Puerto Ricans of Spanish and Italian descent comprise the majority. (See: Spanish immigration to Puerto Rico). In 1899, one year after the U.S invaded and took control of the island, 61.8% of people self-identified as White. One hundred years later (2000), the total increased to 80.5% (3,064,862); not because there has been an influx of whites toward the island (or an exodus of non-White people), but a change of race conceptions, mainly because of Puerto Rican elites to portray Puerto Rico's image as the "white island of the Antilles", partly as a response to scientific racism.
Hundreds are from Corsica, France, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, and Portugal, along with large numbers of immigrants from Spain. This was the result of granted land from Spain during the Real Cedula de Gracias de 1815 (Royal Decree of Graces of 1815), which allowed European Catholics to settle in the island with a certain amount of free land.
Between 1960 and 1990, the census questionnaire in Puerto Rico did not ask about race or color. Racial categories therefore disappeared from the dominant discourse on the Puerto Rican nation. However, the 2000 census included a racial self-identification question in Puerto Rico and, for the first time ever, allowed respondents to choose more than one racial category to indicate mixed ancestry. (Only 4.2% chose two or more races.) With few variations, the census of Puerto Rico used the same questionnaire as in the U.S. mainland. According to census reports,[which?] most islanders responded to the new federally mandated categories on race and ethnicity by declaring themselves "white"; few declared themselves to be Black or some other race.[not in citation given]
White South Africans is a term which refers to people from South Africa who identify themselves as white, often as a consequence of the racial classification system under Apartheid. However, not constituting a single ethnic group, whites in South Africa have since long been polarized between two major communities, the Afrikaner and the generally English-speaking Anglo Africans. Afrikaners are predominantly descended from settlers from the Netherlands, Germany and France in rather equal portions, with the rest being mainly from Great Britain and Ireland. Smaller numbers are of various Middle Eastern ethnicities, Belgian and Portuguese descent. The white proportion of the population has been decreasing—from 22% in 1911 to 9% in 2010. Afrikaners have constituted about 60% of whites since the early 20th century, at which time a wave of British migration resulted in widespread discontent resulting in the Boer War. South Africa estimates that there are about 4.3 million white people in South Africa, while CIA estimates their numbers are closer to 5.2 million. However, it is clear that all numbers are down from an all-time high of 5.6 million in 1995, with a wave of emigration commencing in the late 20th century.
Prior to the decolonisation movements of the post-World War II era, white people were represented in every part of Africa. Decolonisation during the 1960s and 1970s often resulted in the mass emigration of European-descended settlers out of Africa—especially from Algeria (1.6 million pieds-noirs in North Africa), Angola (half-million whites), Kenya, Congo, Mozambique and Rhodesia. Nevertheless, White Africans remain an important minority in many African states. The Sub-Saharan African country with the largest White African population is South Africa, with formerly sizable minorities in Rhodesia, Angola and Moçambique nearly extinct due to migration.
Great Britain and Ireland
Historical white identities
Before the Industrial Revolutions in Europe whiteness may have been associated with social status. Aristocrats may have had less exposure to the sun and therefore a pale complexion may have been associated with status and wealth. This may be the origin of "blue blood" as a description of royalty, the skin being so lightly pigmented that the blueness of the veins could be clearly seen. The change in the meaning of white that occurred in the colonies (see above) to distinguish Europeans from non-Europeans did not apply to 'home' countries (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales). Whiteness therefore retained a meaning associated with social status. During the 19th century, when the British Empire was at its peak, many of the bourgeoisie and aristocracy developed extremely chauvinistic attitudes to those of lower social rank. Edward Lhuyd discovered that Welsh, Gaelic, Cornish and Breton are all part of the same language family, which he called "Celtic", and were distinct from the Germanic English; this can be seen in context with 19th-century romantic nationalism. On the other hand the discovery of Anglo-Saxon remains also led to a belief that the English were descended from a distinct Germanic lineage that was fundamentally (and racially) different from that of the Celts. Early British anthropologists such as John Beddoe and Robert Knox emphasised this distinction, and it was common to find texts that claimed that Welsh, Irish and Scottish people are the descendants of the indigenous more "primitive" inhabitants of the islands, while the English, are the descendants of a more advanced and recent "Germanic" migration. Beddoe especially postulated that the Welsh and Irish people are closer to the Cro-Magnon, whom he also considered Africanoid, and it was common to find references to the swarthyness of the skin of peoples from the west of the islands, by comparison to the more pale skinned and blond English residing in the east. For example Thomas Huxley's "On the Geographical Distribution of the Chief Modifications of Mankind" (1870) described Irish, Scots and Welsh peoples as a mixture of "melanochroi" (melano—dark coloured), and "xanthochroi", while the English were "xanthochroi" (xanthro—yellow). Just as race reified whiteness in the colonies, so capitalism without social welfare reified whiteness with regards to social class in 19th century Britain and Ireland; this social distinction of whiteness became, over time, associated with racial difference. For example George Sims in How the poor live (1883) wrote of "...a dark continent that is within easy reach of the General Post Office... the wild races who inhabit it will, I trust, gain public sympathy as easily as [other] savage tribes" and Count Gobineau in The Inequality of Human Races wrote the following:
Every social order is founded upon three social classes, each of which represents a racial variety: the nobility, a more or less accurate reflection of the conquering race; the bourgeoisie composed of mixed stock coming close to the chief race; and the common people who live in servitude or at least in a very depressed position.
Modern and official use
In the UK, the Office for National Statistics uses the term white as an ethnic category. The terms White British, White Irish, White Scottish and White Other are used. These classifications rely on individuals' self-identification, since it is recognised that ethnic identity is not an objective category.
Socially, in the UK white usually refers only to people of native British, Irish and European origin. In 2001 92.2% of the British population identified themselves as white, and 2006 estimates for England only, state the English population as 88.7% white. As of 2007, 22% of primary school children in England were from ethnic minority families.
|U.S Census 1790–2010|
|Year||Population||% of the U.S|
The current U.S. Census definition includes white "a person having origins in any of Europe, the Middle East or North Africa." The U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation describes white people as "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa through racial categories used in the UCR Program adopted from the Statistical Policy Handbook (1978) and published by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce." The "white" category in the UCR includes non-black Hispanics.
The cultural boundaries separating white Americans from other racial or ethnic categories are contested and always changing. According to John Tehranian, among those not considered white at some points in American history have been: the Irish, Germans, Jews, Italians, Spaniards, white Hispanics, Slavs, and Greeks. Studies have found that while current parameters officially encompass Middle Eastern peoples such as Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians, Syriacs, Copts and Iranians as part of the White American racial category, many of the ethnically Arab Americans from places other than the Levant (Syria, Lebanon and also Iraq) feel they are not white and are not perceived as white by American society.
Professor David R. Roediger of the University of Illinois, suggests that the construction of the white race in the United States was an effort to mentally distance slave owners from slaves. By the 18th century, white had become well established as a racial term. The process of officially being defined as white by law often came about in court disputes over pursuit of citizenship. The Immigration Act of 1790 offered naturalization only to "any alien, being a free white person". In at least 52 cases, people denied the status of white by immigration officials sued in court for status as white people. By 1923, courts had vindicated a "common-knowledge" standard, concluding that "scientific evidence" was incoherent. Legal scholar John Tehranian argues that in reality this was a "performance-based" standard, relating to religious practices, education, intermarriage and a community's role in the United States.
In 1923, the Supreme Court decided in United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind that people of India were not "free white men" entitled to citizenship, despite anthropological evidence in "the extreme northwestern districts of India" there is present the "Caucasian or Aryan race" with an "intermixture of blood" from the "dark skinned Dravidian". A report from the Pew Research Center in 2008 projects that by 2050, Non-Hispanic white Americans will make up 47% of the population, down from 67% projected in 2005. White Americans made up nearly 90% of the population in 1950.
One-third of Americans classified as "white" in a study contained between two and twenty percent African genetic admixture, which can be extrapolated to about 74 million whites in America with this admixture.
One drop rule
The one drop rule–that a person with any amount of known African ancestry (however small or invisible) is not white–is a classification that was used in parts of the United States. It is a colloquial term for a set of laws passed by 18 US states between 1910 and 1931, many as a consequence of Plessy v. Ferguson, a Supreme Court decision that upheld the concept of racial segregation by accepting a separate but equal argument. The set of laws was finally declared unconstitutional in 1967, when the Supreme Court ruled on anti-miscegenation laws while hearing Loving v. Virginia, which also found that Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924 was unconstitutional. The one drop rule attempted to create a bifurcated system of either black or white regardless of a person's physical appearance, but sometimes failed as people with African ancestry sometimes passed as "white", as noted above. This contrasts with the more flexible social structures present in Latin America (derived from the Spanish colonial era casta system) where there were less clear-cut divisions between various ethnicities.
As a result of centuries of having children with white people, the majority of African Americans have some European admixture, and many white people also have African ancestry. Robert P. Stuckert, member of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ohio State University said that the majority of the descendants of African slaves are white. Writer and editor Debra Dickerson questions the legitimacy of the one drop rule, stating that "easily one-third of black people have white DNA". She argues that in ignoring their European ancestry, African Americans are denying their fully articulated multi-racial identities. The peculiarity of the one drop rule may be illustrated by the case of singer Mariah Carey, who was publicly called "another white girl trying to sing black", but in an interview with Larry King, responded that—despite her physical appearance and the fact that she was raised primarily by her white mother—due to the one drop rule she did not "feel white".
Uruguayans and Argentines share closely related demographic ties. Different estimates state that Uruguay's population of 3.4 million is composed of 88% to 93% white Uruguayans. Uruguay's population is heavily populated by people of European origin, mainly Spaniards, followed closely by Italians, including numbers of French, Germans, Irish, British, Swiss, Eastern Europeans, Southern Europeans, Dutch, Belgians, Austrians, Scandinavians, Lebanese, and Armenians which migrated to Uruguay in the late 19th century and 20th century. According to the 2006 National Survey of Homes by the Uruguayan National Institute of Statistics: 94.6% self-identified as having a white background, 9.1% chose Afro/Black ancestry, and 4.5% chose a native American ancestry (people surveyed were allowed to choose more than one option).
- Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity, and Confounding in Case-Control Association Studies
- "The first are RETH, the second are AAMU, the third are NEHESU, and the fourth are THEMEHU. The RETH are Egyptians, the AAMU are dwellers in the deserts to the east and north-east of Egypt, the NEHESU are the Cushites, and the THEMEHU are the fair-skinned Libyans" (chapter VI, translated by E. A. Wallis Budge, 1905).
- W. Hallo, W. Simpson (1971). The Ancient Near East. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. p. 28. ISBN 0-15-503819-2.
- "The first are RETH, the second are AAMU, the third axe NEHESU, and the fourth are THEMEHU. The RETH are Egyptians, the AAMU are dwellers in the deserts to the east and north-east of Egypt, the NEHESU are the Cushites, and the THEMEHU are the fair-skinned Libyans" (chapter VI, translated by E. A. Wallis Budge, 1905).
- Xenophanes of Colophon: Fragments, Xenophanes, J. H. Lesher, University of Toronto Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8020-8508-3, p. 90.; Agesilaus[page needed]
- Herodotus 4.108 trans. Rawlinson.
- James H. Dee, "Black Odysseus, White Caesar: When Did 'White People' Become 'White'?" The Classical Journal, Vol. 99, No. 2. (December 2003 – January 2004), pp. 162 ff..
- Michael Witzel, "Rgvedic History" in: The Indo-Aryans of South Asia (1995): "while it would be easy to assume reference to skin colour, this would go against the spirit of the hymns: for Vedic poets, black always signifies evil, and any other meaning would be secondary in these contexts"
- Aristotle, Physiognomica, 6.
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- Baum, Bruce David (2006). The rise and fall of the Caucasian race: A political history of racial identity. NYU Press. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-8147-9892-8.
- Alastair Bonnett, University of Newcastle White Identities: An Historical & International Introduction ISBN 058235627X ISBN 9780582356276; Publisher: Longman; Copyright: 2000; Format: Paper; 176 pp; Published: 4 November 1999;
- Gregory Jay, Who Invented White People?, 1998.
- Silverblatt, Irene (2004). Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the colonial origins of the civilized world. Durham: Duke University Press. pp. 113–16. ISBN 0-8223-8623-2.
- Silverblatt, Irene (2004). Modern Inquisitions: Peru and the colonial origins of the civilized world. Durham: Duke University Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-8223-8623-2.
- Baum (2006), p. 48. Winthrop Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Towards the Negro 1974, p. 52, puts the shift from white from earlier Christian, free, and English to around 1680. Theodore Allen (1994). The Invention of the White Race: Racial Oppression and Social Control. Verso. ISBN 0-86091-660-X. "Another seventeenth-century commentator, Morgan Godwyn, found it necessary to explain to the English at home that, in Barbados, 'white' was "the general name for Europeans."
- Sarah A. Tishkoff and Kenneth K. Kidd (2004) Implications of biography of human populations for 'race' and medicine Nature Genetics
- Painter, Nell Irvin. Yale University. "Why White People are Called Caucasian?" 2003. 27 September 2007. 
- Quoted in Blumenbach, Johann. The Anthropological Treatise of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. London: Longman Green, 1865.
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- Baum (2006), p. 120 gives the range 1840 to 1935.
- Bonnett, Alastair (2000) White Identities. Pearson Education. ISBN 0-582-35627-X
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- Argentina This figure is the sum of 86.4% of White/European and 3.3% Arab.
- The Joshua Project: Ethnic people groups of Argentina  These figures do not show up explicitly, but after doing some mathematics, the results are as follows: Argentinians White -the resulting ethnic group out of the melting pot of immigration in Argentina- sum up 29,031,000 or 72.3% of the population. The other relatively unmixed European/Caucasus ethnic groups sum up 4,258,500 (10.6%), and the Arabs sum 1,173,100 more (2.9%). All together, Whites in Argentina comprise 34,462,600 or 85,8% out of a total population of 40,133,230.
- CIA – The World Factbook – Argentina[dead link]
- Enrique Oteiza y Susana Novick sostienen que «la Argentina desde el siglo XIX, al igual que Australia, Canadá o Estados Unidos, se convierte en un país de inmigración, entendiendo por esto una sociedad que ha sido conformada por un fenómeno inmigratorio masivo, a partir de una población local muy pequeña.» (Oteiza, Enrique; Novick, Susana. Inmigración y derechos humanos. Política y discursos en el tramo final del menemismo. [en línea]. Buenos Aires: Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2000 [Citado FECHA]. (IIGG Documentos de Trabajo, N° 14). Disponible en la World Wide Web:http://www.iigg.fsoc.uba.ar/docs/dt/dt14.pdf); El antropólogo brasileño Darcy Ribeiro incluye a la Argentina dentro de los «pueblos trasplantados» de América, junto con Uruguay, Canadá y Estados Unidos (Ribeiro, Darcy. Las Américas y la Civilización (1985). Buenos Aires:EUDEBA, pp. 449 ss.); El historiador argentino José Luis Romero define a la Argentina como un «país aluvial» (Romero, José Luis. «Indicación sobre la situación de las masas en Argentina (1951)», en La experiencia argentina y otros ensayos, Buenos Aires: Universidad de Belgrano, 1980, p. 64)
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- Gregory Rodriguez, "Brazil Separates Into Black and White," LA Times, 3 September 2006. Note that the figures belie the title.
- Rodriguez, Gregory. (3 September 2006) Brazil Separates Into a World of Black and White | The New America Foundation. Newamerica.net.
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- Fernández, Francisco Lizcano (2007). Composición Étnica de las Tres Áreas Culturales del Continente Americano al Comienzo del Siglo XXI. UAEM. ISBN 978-970-757-052-8.
- "Chile". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2012-09-15. ""...Basque families who migrated to Chile in the 18th century vitalized the economy and joined the old Castilian aristocracy to become the political elite that still dominates the country"."
- De los Vascos, Oñati y los Elorza DE LOS VASCOS, OÑATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza. Page 68
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- (Spanish) La población chilena con ascendencia vasca bordea entre el 15% y el 20% del total, por lo que es uno de los países con mayor presencia de emigrantes venidos de Euskadi.
- De los Vascos, Oñati y los Elorza DE LOS VASCOS, OÑATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza.
- (Spanish) Presencia vasca en Chile.
- De los Vascos, Oñati y los Elorza DE LOS VASCOS, OÑATI Y LOS ELORZA Waldo Ayarza Elorza. Page 59, 65, 66
- Salazar Vergara, Gabriel; Pinto, Julio (1999). "La Presencia Inmigrante". Historia Contemporánea de Chile. Santiago de Chile: LOM Ediciones. pp. 76–81. ISBN 956-282-174-9. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- Censo de Población 1907
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- German Embassy in Chile.[dead link]
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- (Spanish) En Chile viven unas 700.000 personas de origen árabe y de ellas 500.000 son descendientes de emigrantes palestinos que llegaron a comienzos del siglo pasado y que constituyen la comunidad de ese origen más grande fuera del mundo árabe.
- Chile: Palestinian refugees arrive to warm welcome. Adnkronos.com (7 April 2003).
- (Spanish) 500,000 descendientes de primera y segunda generación de palestinos en Chile.
- (Spanish) Santiago de Chile es un modelo de convivencia palestino-judía.[dead link]
- Exiling Palestinians to Chile.[dead link]
- (Spanish) Chile tiene la comunidad palestina más grande fuera del mundo árabe, unos 500.000 descendientes.
- (Spanish) Diaspora Croata..
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: White people|
- Allen, Theodore, The Invention of the White Race, 2 vols. (London: Verso, 1994)
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