Why I Am Not a ‘Caucasian’

The term “Caucasian” for so-called white people, in reality people of Old World ancestry who are not Negroid or East Asian in appearance, comes from bizarre 19th century racial theories.  It in fact was coined by the German Christoph Meiners in 1785 [for comparison to “white people” see Wiki “White people” and Wiki “Non-Hispanic whites“].  There are people who should very properly be called Caucasian; among them the Armenians, Georgians, Azeris, Chechens, Adygey, Ossetians, Dagestanis, and the Abkhazians, among others.  [The Arabs used to call the Caucasus the “mountain of languages” because there were so many languages of different origins and relationships.]  None of my ancestry, to my knowledge, traces to that region; therefore, I am not a Caucasian.

The rather clumsy “non-Hispanic white” is my ethnic group, and this makes me a minority in California, because Latinos outnumber us now.  The convoluted title comes because though those Latinos who are “brown” [the vast majority] get it from Indian blood, they come from different cultures than the Native Americans of the United States and often don’t identify as “Indian,” but “mestizo” or, formerly in the U.S., white.  As for me, a simpler title is “Anglo” or “gavacho” but given the fact that “Anglos” come from all over Europe, a better title is “Euro-American” or just “Euro”.  Everyone knows that that’s really what we mean by “white” or “gavacho” anyhow.  As for Iranians, Middle Easterners, and North Africans, the are in a funny position; they are classified as “white” but they are definitely not “Euro”.

My racial identity should not be a thing of loyalty; at least, it should fall well behind my loyalties to God, family, country, and my region.  However it is a fact about myself that I can’t deny.  I even, in some situations, have “white privilege”, and in a few, “white disprivilege”.  I have decided that I have enough sins without bearing covenantal guilt for “white privilege”.  Insofar as “white privilege” exists, it is an asset of which I am to be a steward of for the benefit of all, white and otherwise.

Here are a few other links against calling people who do not come from the Caucasus “Caucasians”:

Why Are White People Called Caucasian?” by Matt Soniak at Mental Floss.

Stop using the word “Caucasian” to mean white” by Razib Kahn at Discover Magazine.


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