Caucasian???


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Ok, just because this is something I do not understand. "Caucasian" is used in America instead of "white". Why caucasian, though? Is there some major group of immigrants to the US from Caucasus that I am not aware of? Does this have anything to do with Georgia, which admittedly exists in both the US and in Caucasus?

Scarab Sages

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I think it has to with assigning an actual racial name rather than a color. Everyone else gets a regional name for ancestory. Caucasian has just been designated the regional term for people otherwise designated white or "of European descent". Why they didn't just chose european probably has to do with american patriotism and ignorance. Youre american not european, but no one knows Caucasus exists.

Additionally, the Term Whites does have strong racist connotations. Im not talking about "reverse racism" here. Throughout Black segregation and amongst racist groups today, the complement to the "No Blacks" was "Whites only". Just as the upper class tries to distance itself from those times by saying African or African-american, so to do we use a term that isn't "White".


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I think it goes back to some BS race theory from the 19th century.


So caucasian was chosen specifically because there are very few if any americans who could be claimed to be caucasians?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Georgia apparently according to Wikipedia. That is where they found the remains of the "perfect" original white man

The term was used quite some time ago when they divided Humankind in Caucasoid (aka Caucasian = White), Mongoloid (aka Asian = Yellow) and Negroid (aka African = Black) races

It sounds like a pseudo-scientific (ie non-religious) modernisation of the biblical divide between the three races of Semites, Annamites and Chamites that you find in the Noah story as well as that of the Three Kings


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Ahhhh, the joys of b@@&*~!! "science". Among the most hilarious parts of racial biology was the third reich's focus of the sovereignty of the Aryans, which are a group of people in northern India, IIRC. Blue eyes and blonde hair are not usually on the menu...


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Why Are White People Called Caucasian?


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An excellent follow-up question would be: why are white people called "white"?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
An excellent follow-up question would be: why are white people called "white"?

There was something like this in the excellent Cry Freedom movie

Why do you call yourself black ? You look more brown than black
Why do you call yourself white ? You look more pink than white

RIP Steve Biko


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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
An excellent follow-up question would be: why are white people called "white"?

Shouldn't that be "Why are pinkskins called 'white'?"


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
An excellent follow-up question would be: why are white people called "white"?
Shouldn't that be "Why are pinkskins called 'white'?"

Because we're trying not to appropriate Andorian culture.


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Sissyl wrote:
So caucasian was chosen specifically because there are very few if any americans who could be claimed to be caucasians?

More seriously, it was set up a long time ago, isn't particularly American usage, especially then, but even now, wasn't defined with any reference to Americans.

It's certainly not used in the US instead of "white". "White" is far more common. "Caucasian" tends to be used when someone wants to sound scientific - big word very impressive.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Why are white people called "Caucasian?"

Racist 19th-century pseudoscience.

A better term would be "European," which is what I try to use now.

Liberty's Edge

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thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
So caucasian was chosen specifically because there are very few if any americans who could be claimed to be caucasians?

More seriously, it was set up a long time ago, isn't particularly American usage, especially then, but even now, wasn't defined with any reference to Americans.

It's certainly not used in the US instead of "white". "White" is far more common. "Caucasian" tends to be used when someone wants to sound scientific - big word very impressive.

It is used in US census and surveys I believe

I have almost never heard it used in France though it exists and with the same meaning

BTW statistics based on race or ethnic group are illegal in France

I think both are a reaction against the racial paradigm used by Nazis when they occupied France


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The Raven Black wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
So caucasian was chosen specifically because there are very few if any americans who could be claimed to be caucasians?

More seriously, it was set up a long time ago, isn't particularly American usage, especially then, but even now, wasn't defined with any reference to Americans.

It's certainly not used in the US instead of "white". "White" is far more common. "Caucasian" tends to be used when someone wants to sound scientific - big word very impressive.

It is used in US census and surveys I believe

I have almost never heard it used in France though it exists and with the same meaning

BTW statistics based on race or ethnic group are illegal in France

I think both are a reaction against the racial paradigm used by Nazis when they occupied France

Might be used in some surveys. May have been more common in the past, though I don't know.

Not in the Census.
Choices for Race are
White
Black, African Am., or Negro
American Indian or Alaska Native

And then bunch of more specific ones for Asians & Pacific Islanders. Not entirely clear to me why this gets more breakdown, though I could make some guesses.
Also, Hispanic is a separate question and you answer both.


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Haladir wrote:

Why are white people called "Caucasian?"

Racist 19th-century pseudoscience.

A better term would be "European," which is what I try to use now.

That makes about as much sense as calling a black man from the UK "African American".

Scarab Sages

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In the American Southwest, the most-often used term on official forms is "Anglo," which certainly annoys the bejeezus out of me - I'm probably at least as much "Mongoloid" as I am "Anglo" (Hungarian/Ukrainian genes and the legacy of the Khans of which more than a bit of evidence could be observed around my great-grandmother's eyes).

Sundakan wrote:

That makes about as much sense as calling a black man from the UK "African American".

George Carlin observed that under our present rubric, if a white racist from South Africa were to move to the US, he'd be an "African-American."


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Sundakan wrote:
Haladir wrote:

Why are white people called "Caucasian?"

Racist 19th-century pseudoscience.

A better term would be "European," which is what I try to use now.

That makes about as much sense as calling a black man from the UK "African American".

Wouldn't it make as much sense to call a white American European as to call a black man from the UK African?

I've certainly seen European-American (or more commonly variants for a particular country, usually for 1st or 2nd generation immigrants).
European makes as much sense for whites of European descent where ever they live as African does for blacks of African descent where ever they live.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
That makes about as much sense as calling a black man from the UK "African American".
George Carlin observed that under our present rubric, if a white racist from South Africa were to move to the US, he'd be an "African-American."

Except they really wouldn't be. It's a term for black Americans.

Just being from Africa isn't how it works, regardless of what the term looks like.

Scarab Sages

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thejeff wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
That makes about as much sense as calling a black man from the UK "African American".
George Carlin observed that under our present rubric, if a white racist from South Africa were to move to the US, he'd be an "African-American."

Except they really wouldn't be. It's a term for black Americans.

Just being from Africa isn't how it works, regardless of what the term looks like.

That may be how the the term is used, but he was pointing out how it doesn't really make sense.


I tend to prefer "American" for those who come from anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, with continent- or country-of-origin as a clarifications of origin, if necessary, and country-of-residence as greater clarification. If we're talking about ancestry, then I might suggest other continents or countries, but that's a basic suggestion, and, with the numbers filed off for anywhere you come from/originate.

Buuuuut, that's not exaggerating the OP: for me, it's just the way I've heard it "forever" - I never even thought of it, because it never came up. Great question, though!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Haladir wrote:

Why are white people called "Caucasian?"

Racist 19th-century pseudoscience.

A better term would be "European," which is what I try to use now.

Well the term "European" is certainly insulting to majority of Brits, so no dice.


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Caucasians are too anime.

Scarab Sages

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Tacticslion wrote:


Buuuuut, that's not exaggerating the OP: for me, it's just the way I've heard it "forever" - I never even thought of it, because it never came up. Great question, though!

I first heard the term in The Naked Gun 2-1/2.

"What can you tell us about the man you saw last night?"
"He was Caucasian..."
"Caucasian?"
"Yeah. You know, a white guy - with a mustache, about 6'3''...."
"That's an awfully big mustache...."


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Sundakan wrote:
That makes about as much sense as calling a black man from the UK "African American".
George Carlin observed that under our present rubric, if a white racist from South Africa were to move to the US, he'd be an "African-American."

Except they really wouldn't be. It's a term for black Americans.

Just being from Africa isn't how it works, regardless of what the term looks like.
That may be how the the term is used, but he was pointing out how it doesn't really make sense.

I'm not sure why it doesn't make sense. It's a term with a definition, not the sum of its parts. That's how language works.

For that matter, it's not like "black" or "white" make sense either. Most black people are various shades of brown and most white people shade from pinkish into brown, in some cases darker than the lighter shades of black people.

But that's language for you. Words have meanings that aren't just their roots.


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It'd be cool if the census was just:
American
Visitor

and that's it.


Kryzbyn wrote:

It'd be cool if the census was just:

American
Visitor

and that's it.

Cool, but less useful. Maybe someday we can get to the point where it won't matter.


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I really, really hope so.


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Kryzbyn wrote:

It'd be cool if the census was just:

American
Visitor

and that's it.

How can you be so short-sighted Kryz?

Earthling/Non-citizen of Anywhen and Everywhere and...that's it.


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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:

It'd be cool if the census was just:

American
Visitor

and that's it.

How can you be so short-sighted Kryz?

Earthling/Non-citizen of Anywhen and Everywhere and...that's it.

Oh sure, play the universalist card. We all know it should be:

Humans.
Trump.

Scarab Sages

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LandSwordBear wrote:

Oh sure, play the universalist card. We all know it should be:

Humans.
Trump.

As a non-human, I take offense!!!

Liberty's Edge

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LandSwordBear wrote:

Oh sure, play the universalist card. We all know it should be:

Humans.
Trump.

*PootPoot!WHOHOHOHORRRRHHHHRPPP!!!*


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thejeff wrote:
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
An excellent follow-up question would be: why are white people called "white"?
Shouldn't that be "Why are pinkskins called 'white'?"

I realized that I had missed an excellent opportunity to stay in character as I drove off to work. :(


Why don't we use European for whites?

Because not all of the white races are native to Europe.

"White" is used because, at the time it entered popular usage, the upper class tended to avoid sunlight, believing it unhealthy. As such, a "healthy" white person could easily have skin close in shade to snow.

"Black" was coined for a similar reason; recent arrivals from Africa who spent all of their time in the sunlight tended to be pretty dark skinned. You can see this crop up in a few places in modern Africa. I think I read something about the longer-term African American lineages in North America suffering pigmentation loss due to generational adaptation. In a few hundred generations, it's entirely possible that the "white" and "black" races will have the same skin color in North America.

This skin pigmentation loss is also expected to happen to any humans who live in space for long enough, due to the lack of natural sunlight. As such, any movie today who depicts someone with a modern African American skin tone that has lived in space for generations is actually scientifically inaccurate; in this case, "white washing" or use of skin color-changing make-up is actually necessary for scientific accuracy. This is why, for the most part, any hard science far future scifi movie will probably have an almost-entirely white cast. Because evolution doesn't care about modern racial sensibilities.

Asians are "yellow" and Native Americans "red" because "black" and "white" were already taken and people were thinking of color scheme names for the racial groups, so they chose what they thought were the next-closest colors.


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In my eyes, it is a racial term. I always decline to answer racial questions, or if given the option to put "Other, and fill in, I will fill in 'Human'.


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Kazuka wrote:

Why don't we use European for whites?

Because not all of the white races are native to Europe.

"White" is used because, at the time it was coined, the upper class tended to avoid sunlight, believing it unhealthy. As such, a "healthy" white person could easily have skin close in shade to snow.

"Black" was coined for a similar reason; recent arrivals from Africa who spent all of their time in the sunlight tended to be pretty dark skinned. You can see this crop up in a few places in modern Africa. I think I read something about the longer-term African American lineages in North America suffering pigmentation loss due to generational adaptation. In a few hundred generations, it's entirely possible that the "white" and "black" races will have the same skin color in North America.

This skin pigmentation loss is also expected to happen to any humans who live in space for long enough, due to the lack of natural sunlight. As such, any movie today who depicts someone with a modern African American skin tone that has lived in space for generations is actually scientifically inaccurate; in this case, "white washing" or use of skin color-changing make-up is actually necessary for scientific accuracy. This is why, for the most part, any hard science far future scifi movie will probably have an almost-entirely white cast. Because evolution doesn't care about modern racial sensibilities.

There may be such effects, but from what I understand they're completely swamped in the modern US by interbreeding. Much from rape in the slave era.

There's some truth in that theory, but I think it works on a much longer time scale than you're suggesting. The few hundred years of Africans in America would have minimal effect, especially since much of that time was spent doing hard labor in the sun. Or consider Africans who lived in the jungle areas, not in open savanna. Nor does it really explain the differences between races outside of white and black. Even pre-modern era populations don't line up neatly by skin shade based on sun in the home areas.


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You Must Learn!
"So Johann F. Blumenbach, a German
Came out of nowhere and started confirming
White supremacy and men of colors
Before this time, all men were brothers
It was Johann, who went on to say
There are five different colors in the world today
That's caucasian, malayan, and mongolian
American-Indian, and ethiopian"
- KRS1 Boogie Down Productions

Although based on the article Comrade Anklebiter posted, "...Blumenbach rejected racial hierarchy and emphasized the unity of mankind.”"


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Kazuka wrote:

Why don't we use European for whites?

Because not all of the white races are native to Europe.

"White" is used because, at the time it entered popular usage, the upper class tended to avoid sunlight, believing it unhealthy. As such, a "healthy" white person could easily have skin close in shade to snow.

"Black" was coined for a similar reason; recent arrivals from Africa who sp1ent all of their time in the sunlight tended to be pretty dark skinned. You can see this crop up in a few places in modern Africa. I think I read something about the longer-term African American lineages in North America suffering pigmentation loss due to generational adaptation. In a few hundred generations, it's entirely possible that the "white" and "black" races will have the same skin color in North America.

This skin pigmentation loss is also expected to happen to any humans who live in space for long enough, due to the lack of natural sunlight. As such, any movie today who depicts someone with a modern African American skin tone that has lived in space for generations is actually scientifically inaccurate; in this case, "white washing" or use of skin color-changing make-up is actually necessary for scientific accuracy. This is why, for the most part, any hard science far future scifi movie will probably have an almost-entirely white cast. Because evolution doesn't care about modern racial sensibilities.

Asians are "yellow" and Native Americans "red" because "black" and "white" were already taken and people we're thinking of color scheme names for the racial groups, so they chose what they thought were the next-closest colors.

IMPOSSIBLE!

gets naked, absorbs more sunlight to ensure this will never happen


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thejeff wrote:
Kazuka wrote:

Why don't we use European for whites?

Because not all of the white races are native to Europe.

"White" is used because, at the time it was coined, the upper class tended to avoid sunlight, believing it unhealthy. As such, a "healthy" white person could easily have skin close in shade to snow.

"Black" was coined for a similar reason; recent arrivals from Africa who spent all of their time in the sunlight tended to be pretty dark skinned. You can see this crop up in a few places in modern Africa. I think I read something about the longer-term African American lineages in North America suffering pigmentation loss due to generational adaptation. In a few hundred generations, it's entirely possible that the "white" and "black" races will have the same skin color in North America.

This skin pigmentation loss is also expected to happen to any humans who live in space for long enough, due to the lack of natural sunlight. As such, any movie today who depicts someone with a modern African American skin tone that has lived in space for generations is actually scientifically inaccurate; in this case, "white washing" or use of skin color-changing make-up is actually necessary for scientific accuracy. This is why, for the most part, any hard science far future scifi movie will probably have an almost-entirely white cast. Because evolution doesn't care about modern racial sensibilities.

There may be such effects, but from what I understand they're completely swamped in the modern US by interbreeding. Much from rape in the slave era.

There's some truth in that theory, but I think it works on a much longer time scale than you're suggesting. The few hundred years of Africans in America would have minimal effect, especially since much of that time was spent doing hard labor in the sun. Or consider Africans who lived in the jungle areas, not in open savanna. Nor does it really explain the differences between races outside of white and black. Even pre-modern era populations don't line up...

I thought I had a paper for this, but it turned out to be a news article that was full of crap. My apologies.

However, melanin adaptation involves more factors than just sunlight.


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Freehold DM wrote:

IMPOSSIBLE!

gets naked, absorbs more sunlight to ensure this will never happen

Remember, Freehold DM:

The Power is YOURS! *Omnichromatic laser strobe*


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Obsidian Star wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

IMPOSSIBLE!

gets naked, absorbs more sunlight to ensure this will never happen

Remember, Freehold DM:

The Power is YOURS! *Omnichromatic laser strobe*

aims naked body at strobe light to get even darker

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

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Caucasian


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[Popping moves to the BDP]

Fergie wrote:
Although based on the article Comrade Anklebiter posted, "...Blumenbach rejected racial hierarchy and emphasized the unity of mankind.”"

He doesn't come off looking quite so good the MTV video directly above. She also mentions someone named, I think, Christoph Meiers (sp?).

[Starts breakdancing]

Liberty's Edge

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Freehold DM wrote:
Obsidian Star wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:

IMPOSSIBLE!

gets naked, absorbs more sunlight to ensure this will never happen

Remember, Freehold DM:

The Power is YOURS! *Omnichromatic laser strobe*

aims naked body at strobe light to get even darker

Stop scaring the horses.


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Of course this makes it rather interesting for those from a mixed background.

If you take a father from Europe and a mother from SouthWest Asia (many call it the Middle East)., in Europe many would consider you Asian.

However, in the US, on some surveys, they actually consider it white?

BUUUT...when you deal with people, as your skin tone is definitely NOT white...they will ask you where you are from (even if you are completely a US citizen these days).

Because, of course, you are NOT a white person, nor a European, but Asian.

However, then you consider, if one is actually originally from Georgia...even though they look Asian (well, not like the Europeans at least, you have some who look VERY white...and those who look more like what is common in that region)...with a father who is European, and a mother from Asia...what does that make you?

Ironically, you'd be Asian in some contexts...white in others...and perhaps more Caucasian than anyone else in the US.

The US and Europe both can be crazy places in regards to racial groupings.

In an ideal world, at least for me, no such things would exist and no racial groupings would occur...but until we rid ourselves of racism I suppose that will not happen.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

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When I was taking courses in world culture for my degree, when we got to America there was an entire timeline of when each group became accepted as white.

Once a group became accepted as white their level of oppression decreased drastically. Irish, Eastern European, Turks, the list goes on. It was truly fascinating.


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My favorite African-American actress is Charlize Theron.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16

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She's just African, not American.

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