On Tue, Dec 18, 2012 at 6:42 AM, Leonardo Castro <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> > and a Mexico with no obvious mestizos or
> > American Indians.
> Mexican soap operas are popular in Brazil. Most famous actors there
> are very white-looking compared to most of Mexican people. BTW, here's
> an interesting street interview video about Mexican people racial
> self-identification:

Whites are often considered more attractive than other races, probably more
for reasons of social prestige than anything else.  People in other parts
of the world do things to look more white -- not just using skin whitening
-- many people in Asia have surgery done on their eyelids for this reason.

As for the video, it is interesting in that IIRC (and I should remember
this, since I worked for the Census in 2010) the US Census doesn't have an
option for "mestizo", which many of those people appear to be.  You can, of
course, write in anything you want, or mark multiple races.

> >  The US itself has had a lot of different classifications in the past.
> >  I've heard that at one point Irish and Italians were not considered
> > "white".  There also used to be a rule on the books that one drop of
> black
> > blood made you black -- which leads to a situation where there are quite
> a
> > few people who look totally Caucasian but still self identify as black.
> >  And I believe some American Indian tribal governments may still require
> > people to prove they are at least 1/4 American Indian.
> I have once said in a anglophone forum that I would found a white
> pride movement because I'm at least 1/4 white, just to see the
> reactions... I should add that this fraction is mainly Portuguese,
> which some Nordic people don't consider as white.

That would be rather awkward, since "white pride" is often synonymous with
"white supremacist".  Of course, there have been prominent KKK members who
later found out that they had a small amount of black ancestry.

> BTW, it seems that there is some chromatic relativism in this kind of
> definition. In an interview of the National Geographic magazine, a
> Khoisan man referred to Bantu people as "black" in opposition to their
> own skin color. He said something like this: "First we were dominated
> by the black people, then by the white people...".
> The black-white contrast might have been applied to Egyptian-Greek,
> Bantu-Khoisan, Thai-Chinese, etc. Arabic people is special because
> they are considered as obviously white by some people and as obviously
> non-white by others.
> In Brazil, the "Mediterranean race" (either from South and from North)
> is usually considered white, and the "Nordic race" is sometimes
> distinguished from them with the expression "galego" (lit.
> "Galician"). But what are "branco" and "galego" to some people are
> "moreno" and "branco" to others. I myself always thought that
> Nordic-like people looks more pink than white, while Japanese people
> skin looks much more chromatically white to my eyes.

Well, that's just the thing, we use color terms as shorthand for racial
groups, but we really use a variety of traits to identify race.  In English
at least, we have opposing words that can somewhat differentiate whether we
are talking about race rather than actual skin tone -- white vs
fair-skinned, brown or yellow vs tanned.  Chinese doesn't have that, using
白 bai2 "white" for Caucasians and for fair skin, and 黄 huang2 for East/SE
Asians (those traditionally categorized as "Mongoloid") and for tanned skin
(which is seen as unattractive).

But really, racial terms are quite often innacurate.  How many times have
you heard that Asians have "slanted eyes", when in reality what they have
is a different configuration of the eyelid that doesn't really make the
eyes "slanted" at all, and only occasionally makes the opening
significantly narrower.  Besides that, some Amerindians and mestizos
actually have the same trait, but I have never in my life heard anyone
describe one that way.