Yoan (yoan) wrote in racial_typology,

North Africa, Southwest Asia and South Asia and 'White'

North Africa, Southwest Asia and South Asia

Another contemporary difficulty of the term is the difference between any given popular definition versus the parameters used for the official government definition in the same locale. In the United States for example, many may view Anatolian Turks, Arabs, Berbers, Iranians, Mizrahi Jews, Kurds, etc. as non-white. This is despite the fact that for the purposes of statistics, all the aforementioned are always categorised as white by US government agencies and the U.S. census, and even though some of the people in these groups may look very similar to Southern Europeans. Said governmental categorisation does not always lead to a sense of inclusion, as they are often excluded from the general structural concepts of white-American society, and may even experience hostile rejection- particularly Muslims in recent decades.

By contrast in Europe and Australia those same Middle Easterners and North Africans are never regarded or categorised as white. Instead, they are regarded as racial minorities. This latter understanding of the term in Australia has little to do with White supremacist exclusionism, but rather a traditional, narrower, definition of white which has never encompassed Middle Easterners or North Africans, and which, unlike the definition of "White" in the United States, has not undergone continuous alterations to include an increasing number of people. (See also: Wog).

In the American context, where Middle Easterners and North Africans are grouped as white by government agencies, the popular contention of excluding these Caucasoid groups of North Africa and the Middle East from the white label has sometimes been based on the argument that there is a significant Black sub-Saharan component in their populations [10] - a long-spanning presence throughout the history of that largely contiguous region - but moreso on their disparate cultural, religious, linguistic heritage and ancestral origins. While it is undeniable that many Arabs in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, etc) and the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, etc.) have enough black African ancestry or are dark enough—at times being as dark-complexioned as some African Americans—to be considered black by popular US standards, some may also be lighter-complexioned by comparison, comparable to Southern Europeans. And although some Arabs of the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, etc.) may also be as dark as those found in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, here, many more are lighter-complexioned and comparable to Southern Europeans. A tiny percentage throughout the entire region (North Africa, Arabian Peninsula and the Levant) may even resemble Northern Europeans.

Furthermore, while South Asians are also an anthropologically caucasoid people—and recognized as such by the United States Supreme Court—not only are they also excluded from the popular definition of "white", but US government agencies further categorise them as "Asians", be they Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians or Indian Jews. (See also: Race in the US Census). Even outside the American context, this trend of excluding caucasoid South Asians is almost universal, as is the disregarding of a comparable lighter-complexioned phenotypical presence as discussed for North Africa and Southwest Asia.

For an example of legal contradictions in United States Supreme Court rulings of "white" vs "caucasian", please see United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind.
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