The Likely Persistence of a White Majority
January 19, 2016 7:52 PM   Subscribe

In The American Prospect, Sociologist Richard Alba discusses two reasons why the Census-projected relative demographic decline of White Americans may prove illusory.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth (45 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 


Fear mongering.
posted by zarq at 8:46 PM on January 19, 2016


Really?
posted by clavdivs at 8:59 PM on January 19, 2016


Sorry dude.

I stand corrected.
posted by clavdivs at 9:09 PM on January 19, 2016


race is not biological
posted by eustatic at 9:17 PM on January 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


mixed Asian and white families have the highest incomes of all

USA! USA! USA!

My daughter is 1/2 Ashkenazi, 1/8 Vietnamese, 1/8 French, and 1/4 Chinese. We raised her with Mandarin as her primary language but we're also all Jewish (since my wife converted). I hope she gives demographers headaches for many decades to come.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:18 PM on January 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


A plurality is a type of minority.

This was interesting, thank you. I would love to see an estimate of what proportion of the US is currently white by historical definitions -- that is, defining as non-white anyone descended from Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants and similarly include white hispanics as white (Wikipedia says they weren't non-white until the 1980s). Maybe also middle-eastern people and south-asians (I kind of think of both as white, but I'm not sure what the history of whiteness with regards to those groups is). I think that would make the point in a pretty interesting way.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:20 PM on January 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sociologist Richard Alba

Eponysterical?
posted by explosion at 9:25 PM on January 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


This piece reminds me a lot of this recent NYT op-ed, with this unforgettable opening:

I never realized how little I understood race until I tried to explain it to my 5-year-old son. Our family story doesn’t seem too complicated: I’m Chinese-American and my husband is white, an American of English-Dutch-Irish descent; we have two children. My 5-year-old knows my parents were born in China, and that I speak Cantonese sometimes. He has been to Hong Kong and Guangzhou to visit his gung-gung, my father. But when I asked him the other day if he was Chinese, he said no.

“You’re Chinese, but I’m not,” he told me, with certainty. “But I eat Chinese food.”

posted by crazy with stars at 9:33 PM on January 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


race is not biological

Neither are class, religion, or nationality. And yet here we are.
posted by 3urypteris at 9:52 PM on January 19, 2016 [9 favorites]




I kind of think of both as white, but I'm not sure what the history of whiteness with regards to those groups is

There's race according to the Census and other administrative categories, which changes periodically and sometimes quite abruptly. And then there's race according to your neighbors and coworkers, which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the Census definitions. Sometimes it seems like people are thinking using the categories of a century ago, and sometimes it is like they are way ahead, but it will almost always surprise you.

And then there are people's self-categorizations, which can sometimes be nonsensical but it makes them happy, so more power to them.

My personal guess is that "whiteness" as a conceptual category will expand again, as it has before, to magically stay above 50 percent, which is basically what the article is arguing. The categories are fluid, and a lot of people can self-identify into any of several categories already.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:56 AM on January 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


My personal guess is that "whiteness" as a conceptual category will expand again, as it has before, to magically stay above 50 percent, which is basically what the article is arguing. The categories are fluid, and a lot of people can self-identify into any of several categories already.

Yeah, this is my guess too. I mean, it's already a made-up, highly flexible category. I think that Vox article, actually, pinpointed the next likely shift: Hispanic voters with more education (and presumably the increased earning power that tends to come with it) are already moving towards whites politically. Look at folks like Cruz and Rubio: both Hispanic (and doing a dandy job of proving why that's a useless classifier), both able to pass as white pretty easily, both happy to use the threat of those "other" Hispanics to stoke ressentiment in a base that is primarily white. It's not a huge job to see some groups moving into "whiteness" (Cubans are already close, I would argue) to keep the tent sufficiently large. This would all be interesting if it didn't have such depressing real-world implications.
posted by protocoach at 6:30 AM on January 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


that is, defining as non-white anyone descended from Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants and similarly include white hispanics as white (Wikipedia says they weren't non-white until the 1980s).

My mother is descended from Italian immigrants. My father is a white Cuban Jew. How do you count me?
posted by madcaptenor at 6:31 AM on January 20, 2016


something will run things, and it will be a minority. some structure under that will support it, even if it doesn't seem to be particularly in their best interest - through fear, ignorance, whatever. maybe some or all of that will be called "white". maybe it will be called something else. "white" isn't a monolith even now. currently it's a useful term for various minorities to rally around. focussing on the future of the current label confuses signifier and signified. both are fluid. the former an ad-hoc, opportunist label; the latter adopting to survive and exploit. you might think it more useful and permanent to say "powerful and powerless", but then how do you identify the other in the street?
posted by andrewcooke at 6:31 AM on January 20, 2016


There's race according to the Census and other administrative categories, which changes periodically and sometimes quite abruptly ... And then there are people's self-categorizations

AFAIK, for current populations the Census only ever deals with self identification and doesn't impose racial classifications. These are assumptions about how small children and yet-unborn people will self-identify in 2050.

similarly include white hispanics as white (Wikipedia says they weren't non-white until the 1980s)

White hispanics or latinos are counted as white. And as hispanic or latino. What they aren't counted as is "white alone."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:22 AM on January 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Was reminded of a joke by Louis CK:

I read something in the paper that really confused me the other day. It said that 80 percent of the people in New York are minorities… Shouldn’t you not call them minorities when they get to be 80 percent of the population? That’s a very white attitude, don’t you think? I mean, you could take a white guy to Africa and he’d be like, “Look at all the minorities around here! I’m the only majority.”
posted by sapagan at 7:32 AM on January 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


My daughter is 1/2 Ashkenazi, 1/8 Vietnamese, 1/8 French, and 1/4 Chinese. We raised her with Mandarin as her primary language but we're also all Jewish (since my wife converted). I hope she gives demographers headaches for many decades to come.

Unfortunately, as much as I would like to think some bureaucrat somewhere weeps when I furiously ignore the "Two or More Races" and "Asian" boxes to mark "White" on a survey designed to measure diversity, it's usually the demographers who give us headaches.

This was an interesting, if depressing, read. My pet hobbyhorse has always been this: "Two or More Races" is a bullshit option that just serves to slot you into an undefined "minority" label (and since by definition anyone checking that box has the option of checking another box instead, probably one they identify with more, it's unlikely to ever get a large enough percentage of people checking it that the people collecting the data think "Hmm, maybe we should actually break this out"). Just let people check as many boxes as they want, and then do the data like this: In an 8-person department, 8 are white and 2 are Asian. But that adds up to more than 8 omgwtfbbq??!?!?!?! Yeah, so what? Reflecting your data accurately is more important than being able to make a fucking pie chart. You could also say that in an 8-person department, 8 are white and 7 are women, but no one freaks out because we don't assume that those two categories are mutually exclusive. Neither are "white" and "Asian" (or any other racial categories), and we obscure potentially important information in our need to fudge it to make it look like it adds up to exactly 100 percent, as seen here.

So yeah, binary white/nonwhite is stupid. In fact, nonwhite is a stupid word to begin with anyway, and when you're literally calling thousands of people who are white and identify as white "nonwhite," maybe you need to think about getting a better word.

rageahol
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:37 AM on January 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


That said, I'm glad someone has tackled the "multiracial people will lead us into a brighter postracial future!1!1!!!!!" meme. I, too, wish I had a powerful anti-racism forcefield by virtue of my heritage, but, well, I don't, so you're still gonna have to do some work to get where you want to be, America. Sorry.
posted by sunset in snow country at 7:42 AM on January 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


My mother is descended from Italian immigrants. My father is a white Cuban Jew. How do you count me?

Me? I'm the person you quoted, so think so. I would call you white because those are all groups I think of as white. However, by the "what people use to call white" metric I was thinking would be interesting to examine, you would be non-white based on the one-drop rule of non-whiteness and the former non-white classification of italians and jews.

White hispanics or latinos are counted as white. And as hispanic or latino. What they aren't counted as is "white alone."

Yes, it's a separate census question, but A) In lots of other data collection projects, it is not a separate question (including things like EEOC) and B) When reporting based on data where it is a separate question the separate questions are often used to create derived variables where white means "non-hispanic white" black means "non-hispanic black" and hispanic whites and blacks and others are coded as hispanic which is used as its own value within the same variable. So while the data is collected with hispanics counted as white, it's often not analyzed or viewed that way. Also, of course, there's the separate question what person-on-the-street views as a persons race, where many Americans do not classify hispanics as white (though weirdly, I think do think of black hispanics as black).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:52 AM on January 20, 2016


So I misremembered how Census uses race and ethnicity -- someone who identifies as white and latino, and that's it, is counted as "white alone" and as latino. What they aren't counted as is "white alone and not hispanic or latino."

This was an interesting, if depressing, read. My pet hobbyhorse has always been this: "Two or More Races" is a bullshit option that just serves to slot you into an undefined "minority" label (and since by definition anyone checking that box has the option of checking another box instead, probably one they identify with more, it's unlikely to ever get a large enough percentage of people checking it that the people collecting the data think "Hmm, maybe we should actually break this out").

The Census doesn't give "Two or more races" as an option. That's just how people who actually selected two or more races are presented in summaries.

Just let people check as many boxes as they want

That's what the Census has done since 2000.

When reporting based on data where it is a separate question the separate questions are often used to create derived variables where white means "non-hispanic white" black means "non-hispanic black" and hispanic whites and blacks and others are coded as hispanic which is used as its own value within the same variable.

I've only used Census 2000 in any depth but can't remember any tables that did that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:45 AM on January 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is an interesting article, and I think accurately reflects how what is shown on the Census may not align with what demographics individuals actually identify themselves with.

For example, I am Hispanic. In my eyes my daughter, even though she had a white father, is Hispanic, partially through heritage, and partially through the culture I tried to raise her in. On demographic forms the school sends home, I always put her down as Hispanic. But there aren't a lot of other children in her school, and for a variety of reasons, she identifies herself now as white. So there's this enormous gap between what she believes and what I believe and about her ethnicity. And how we perceive the world as a result. I have worked very hard to make sure that she goes to school and lives in a safe neighborhood. As a result, she thinks the police are her friends, even though both myself and my husband have been roughly handled and mistreated by cops. I was once mistaken for her nanny.

I think we are now seeing a time where rather then whites being outnumbered, whites are just expanding their definition of whiteness to embrace people like my daughter.
posted by corb at 8:57 AM on January 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


My mother is descended from Italian immigrants. My father is a white Cuban Jew. How do you count me?

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure I'd try to get invited to your house for dinner.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:16 AM on January 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


The Census doesn't give "Two or more races" as an option. That's just how people who actually selected two or more races are presented in summaries.

Well, I know that - it was actually a very momentous event in my not-usually-very-racially-conscious household when they first let you check more than one box in 2000, and my parents let us kids fill out our own boxes because they knew it was a big deal to us. But if that's how they present the data, it's kind of the same thing, albeit slightly better because at least the correct data exists out there in the world somewhere. But if it's not accurately represented, and that leads to it being used to reach incorrect conclusions, are we really better off?

But most other ethnicity surveys do use "Two or more races," including EEOC, and that's what I was talking about. I should have clarified.
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:30 AM on January 20, 2016


Me? I'm the person you quoted, so think so.

Yes, and I meant how would you classify me in your retroactive classification. I'm white now but I appreciate that I'm descended from people that may not have been considered part of the majority when they got to the US.

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure I'd try to get invited to your house for dinner.

We have a very large dining room table!
posted by madcaptenor at 9:58 AM on January 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, wow. Thank you for posting this. This is very relevant to my interests:
The household incomes of many mixed families indicate that they are closer socioeconomically to mainstream white families than to disadvantaged minority ones… Mixed Asian and white families have the highest incomes of all… Many of the mixed white and minority children are growing up in neighborhoods where many whites also reside, and outside of areas of minority concentration. These ethno-racially mixed children will have peers from white families and likely learn to get on with them from an early age.
That’s me! My father is white and my mother is Japanese-American. I grew up well-off, in an almost all-white Seattle neighborhood, going to an almost all-white school. My friends were about 95% white…
For individuals who are partly white and partly minority, the likelihood of choosing a white spouse is much higher than it is for those with the same minority ancestry only.
…and my spouse is white.
For those who are white and Asian, the affinities with the white group are strong. By a two-to-one margin, they say that they have more in common with whites than with Asians.
I’m not sure how I’d answer this question. While I grew up embedded in white American society, I also have a strong affinity with my Japanese background, and I do consider myself Asian-American. My connection to Japanese culture is at a far remove, but it’s still important to me. I can feel like I “belong” about equally comfortably in groups of white Americans or groups of Asian-Americans.

As the article says, the complexities of multiracial identity are so often ignored. It’s great to see it as a focus rather than a footnote. People like me (or like Barack Obama, for that matter) are not a rare exception anymore, and you can’t get the full demographic picture if you gloss over us.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:09 AM on January 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


I’m also amused that the author’s last name, Alba, is Latin for “white.”
posted by mbrubeck at 11:29 AM on January 20, 2016


My personal guess is that "whiteness" as a conceptual category will expand again

I have my doubts about this, or at least my doubts as to how far it can plausibly expand. Incorporating white Latinos is something that has been happening for a long time and will no doubt increase. But that's because white Hispanics occupy the same sort of dominant socio-economic position in Latin America as whites do in United States. They only get marked as the Other due to ideas about Latinos not sharing the same WASPy foundation as Real AmericansTM.

The American concept of race is pretty broken when it comes to dealing with anything other than a White/Black dichotomy (with a nod towards East Asians and/or Native Americans). The American racial framework is particularly broken when it comes to Latinos though, since the entire notion is filtered through the idea that Latino = Mexican. The US census started asking if someone was of "Spanish/Hispanic origin" in 1980, but before that you have to go back to the 1930 Census which included "Mexican" as choice for race.

The problem with dealing with Latin America though, is that while the majority of Mexicans may identify as mestizo, this is absolutely not true for many other Latin American countries. If the US started getting large numbers of immigrants from Argentina, a country that is as demographically white in ancestry as the US, the whole framework would collapse and may the US would adopt something like mestizo/moreno as a racial category rather then layering on "hispanic" as an ethnicity on top of race.

Cubans like Cruz and Rubio get to slide into whiteness pretty easily, because they are of European descent and therefore white. Cuban-Americans also have a particular slant to their population, since it was a particular kind of people who fled Castro's Cuba, whiter, wealthier, and more conservative than those left behind on the island. That is to say, they were more like Real AmericansTM than those brown Mexican Others.

There's a sort of cap on how much whiteness can be expanded by incorporating latinos though, given that many of them are the Other, unlike such exotic Hispanic-Americans as Louis C. K. or Cameron Díaz. I think the much more interesting demographic question facing the US is how to integrate the rapidly growing number of South Asians into the racial framework. South Asians are basically invisible in the current US concept of race, being lumped with East Asians. That innovative 1930 Census did also have "Hindu" as an option for race, but it was never used again. I think it will be interesting to see if South Asian Americans, who are generally more educated and wealthier than the US median, will be incorporated into whiteness.
posted by Panjandrum at 1:25 PM on January 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


qcubed: "Well, except in Alabama, where they're assumed to be black"

I'm not finding that in the article.
posted by Bugbread at 3:22 PM on January 20, 2016


Not sure how far the concept of Whiteness will stretch in the next century simply because, as posters have noted above, the phenotypic differences are of a greater magnitude when comparing people whose ancestors came from different continents as opposed to different sectors of Europe.

On the other hand, my own educational/professional experience provides me with plenty of anectodal evidence that 2nd and 3rd generation people of Asian extraction who have access to college and graduate school are assimilating rapidly. Subjectively, one does not find oneself thinking about race when around them in the same way one does with an African American person whose family has been here hundreds of years longer. The phenotypic differences may be equally great, but the level of (upper middle-class) cultural assimilation provides almost as much opportunity for un-awareness of race to occur as being with "White" people.

That experience tells me that whatever ends up happening to the concept of Whiteness as it relates to people of admixed versus non-admixed ancestry, upper middle-class culture is going to keep accepting people that "fit". It's ok to look different but don't make me think about race/class too much when we're around "our kind". I think even many progressive people long for spaces where the effort of thinking about race and class and injustice can be put aside for awhile.
posted by fraxil at 5:19 PM on January 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


and everywhere else, where they're assumed to be Terrorist.
Oh yes, the “Arab” racial category, which in some white minds now includes everyone from Punjabis to Somalis to Kyrgyzstanis. Just like all East Asians got called “japs” during World War II.

For Arab-Americans and those who are mistaken as Arab, “whiteness” is contracting rather than expanding, and inclusion probably seems further away now than it did twenty years ago. (But Jesus and Cleopatra still get to be white, of course.)
posted by mbrubeck at 6:22 PM on January 20, 2016


qcubed: "Maybe not in that article, but it's not like it's hard to find, bugbread."

I assumed that when you linked to an article you were trying to direct people's attention to something in that article, not just putting up a random link for shits and giggles and then hoping people would Google the topic to decipher what you were talking about.

After all, it's not like it's hard to find a link that actually does mention about what you were talking about.
posted by Bugbread at 6:57 PM on January 20, 2016


I've only used Census 2000 in any depth but can't remember any tables that did that.

Here. And of course the first finding does the opposite, just to show me up! I wasn't referring to census tables but to analysis/research based on census data. I haven't worked with US census tables so I'm prepared to hear that I'm wrong, but I *think* they're typically just frequencies/summaries/crosstabs/descriptives not really analyses.

Not sure how far the concept of Whiteness will stretch in the next century simply because, as posters have noted above, the phenotypic differences are of a greater magnitude when comparing people whose ancestors came from different continents as opposed to different sectors of Europe.

Well there are two problems with this: Hispanic people display pretty much the full range of human phenotypes (it's a category essentially defined by language, not phenotype, so of course it includes lots of different phenotypes). People who have been hispanic and from spanish-speaking countries for many generations include people with ancestry (hundreds of years ago) on every continent. So it seems like it shouldn't be that unusual for their to exist a racial classification schema that divides hispanic people along the same phenotypes already used for everyone else and classifies them as white/black/asian/aboriginal etc. That's how the racial cassification schema of every other country in the world classifies hispanic people, so there's nothing inherent to phenotypes displayed by hispanic people that dictates the US schema.

Second, (and I guess I've kind of expanded the reasoning on the first to cover this), there's nothing natural about the aspects of phenotypes that we use to classify people or the places where we draw boundaries between phenotypes. I would say white irish people are as easy to pick out of a random-white-people-crowd as white hispanic people. People have just started being attentive to different markers. We're not attentive to freckles anymore. There's no reason schemas can't change to be less attentive to whatever are being used as the markers for being hispanic, especially since (much like freckles) there aren't really any that are unique to hispanic people.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:04 PM on January 20, 2016


There's no reason schemas can't change to be less attentive to whatever are being used as the markers for being hispanic, especially since (much like freckles) there aren't really any that are unique to hispanic people.


I'm with you on this and hope I live long enough to learn the answer to which phenotypic features that we now think of as being "racial" will lose their salience in the future. But I think it will likely be influenced by which groups assimilate to the dominant culture the most readily - whatever that culture ends up being.

I can't forget the experience of being in the gym with a guy of obviously southern Indian extraction (judging by his features and very dark skin tone) but experiencing him first as a jock (he was really built and talking in a jock-like manner with other jocks), and then only a couple seconds later registering his skin tone, before mentally filing him under "jock" as the most salient aspect of what I was seeing. I was surprised how long I spent thinking about the experience afterwards and how differently my mind categorized him versus any number of African American athletes who were around at the same time.
posted by fraxil at 7:20 PM on January 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


New grandson is of Chinese, Japanese, Ashkenazi Jewish, Polish, and Irish ancestry. Where does he fit in racial classifications? Mostly, he is beautiful.
posted by mermayd at 3:46 AM on January 21, 2016


I read something in the paper that really confused me the other day. It said that 80 percent of the people in New York are minorities… Shouldn’t you not call them minorities when they get to be 80 percent of the population? That’s a very white attitude, don’t you think? I mean, you could take a white guy to Africa and he’d be like, “Look at all the minorities around here! I’m the only majority.”

I like Louis CK. But sometimes, he speaks for the typical white person.

And in this situation its a "white and nonwhite" world. He is basically saying "white people are 20% of NYC, everyone else isn't european...can't they shut the fuck up about not being the majority because they are now!!!"

So yeah, 20% europeans, and 80% 'others'. I mean we don't have to break those groups down...they just "aren't white".

Fuck that shit.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:08 AM on January 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


But Jesus and Cleopatra still get to be white, of course

Argh, this is a pet peeve of mine: Cleopatra was white. She was from a dynasty of Macedonians who made a point not to intermarry with the Egyptians or even (apart from Cleopatra herself, and then only out of political necessity) learn their language.

The rest of your point still stands, though.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:21 AM on January 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


>Argh, this is a pet peeve of mine: Cleopatra was white.

Maybe in the sense of her skin color, hell if I know, but it's funny to post about in this thread when we are talking about how some elements of whiteness are more cultural than biological and the definitions are changing even in the space of decades. Cleopatra may have had no concept of whiteness as a thing at all in the sense a US census would recognize.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:40 AM on January 21, 2016


Well, part of the issue is that the Ptolemaics considered themselves separate from and superior to the Egyptians, which is very relevant to the concept of whiteness in the US. If anything there's been quite a bit of regression on this front in recent years, and even if it's coming from a shrinking minority, this concept of whiteness is very much held by those who wield much of the political power in the country.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:15 AM on January 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


I mean, that's part of the real question, yes: are we invested in the concept of whiteness as such, or is it really a problem of who is considered a valuable member of society and who isn't, which doesn't always map nicely onto skin color? I remember reading an article once about the comparatively good treatment of African immigrants directly from Africa compared to how African-Americans whose families have been here for generations are treated. And I know that there's a lot less prejudice against people from South America - regardless of the color of their skin - than there is against "Mexicans".
posted by corb at 2:13 PM on January 21, 2016


Really, who the heck even knows what Cleopatra looked like other then some coins. She most likley would have identified with her people, religion then the Empire. Such supposition is really the problem here.

Cleopatra was "white"for petes sake, what a convoluted thing to say and boarders on ignorance.
posted by clavdivs at 2:46 AM on January 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Her name is Greek, her family tree is Greek (a tree largely withered by inbreeding, no less), her native language was Greek, she worshiped Greek gods. She mainly identified with "her people" after she was chased away from the throne and needed an alternate power base, so it was for propaganda rather than defining her cultural identity.

We don't know what she looked like, but we do know that it involved Europeans that we would consider white today. This isn't convoluted or ignorant, it's based both on contemporaneous accounts and historical evidence.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:38 AM on January 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well that's the great thing about conquest, you can import your own culture like the Assyrians and Persians, did they speak Egyptian?

"do know that it involved Eur..."

Could you cite that with circa 350 B.C
Meaning of whiteness. I get the power/ conquest aspect but what of the 25th dynasty which sought to restore customs such as Gods, trade and culture. Are they to be considered "Black" solely based on skin color. Why try and make trade with "Europe". Are the Assyrians considered the white interloper after that or the Persians?
Now the British...

"What we consider" is that we as in historians as in you have citations?
posted by clavdivs at 1:13 PM on January 23, 2016


Well that's the great thing about conquest, you can import your own culture like the Assyrians and Persians, did they speak Egyptian?

Cleopatra was the first out of ~15 generations to speak Egyptian. She also spoke the languages of "Ethiopians, Troglodytes [from the western coast of the Red Sea], Hebrews, Arabians, Syrians [presumably Phoenicians], Medes or Parthians [both Iranians]" with the same fluency, according to Plutarch.

Could you cite that with circa 350 B.C
Meaning of whiteness.


The Egyptians were certainly considered a different race by their standards, if that's what you mean.

"What we consider" is that we as in historians as in you have citations?

There's the aforementioned Plutarch from the 1st century AD, and the information on the Ptolemaics comes from a variety of historical sources. Ptolemy I, the dynasty's founder, was one of Alexander the Great's generals.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:55 PM on January 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ptolemy the first was Macedonian, or is that not Greek. I don't really care what she spoke or if she looked like Liz Taylor, really, who cares. I want to address your assertion about whiteness of western civ or whatever your purporting to carry on with Plutarch, what are you trying to prove that Cleopatra was Macedonian?
"The Egyptians were certainly considered a different race by their standards, if that's what you mean."

Certainly not, should I have a standard understanding of privledge and those who can extend it?
posted by clavdivs at 7:41 AM on January 24, 2016


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