How White People Became White

1036 words 5 pages
How White People Became White
Paula S. Rothenberg
William Paterson University of New Jersey

Abstract Biologically speaking, it’s just as possible for a given white person in Florida to have genetics similar to his neighbor down the street as it would be for the same white person to have genetics similar to a black person in Nigeria. We could just as easily disregard skin color and pay attention to hair and/or eye color. Sociologists make this claim because they argue that the definition of what constitutes a race is something that is arbitrarily decided by society. Additionally, what it means to classify yourself or someone else as a particular race carries social meaning. Sociologist claims that race as a biological concept
…show more content…

Creating a separate ethnic category within the racial category of White seemed to solve the problem of how to count Hispanics without racializing them as non-Whites, as it had done in 1930 (Neil Foley). To identify oneself today as a “Hispanic” is partially to acknowledge one’s ethnic heritage without surrendering one’s whiteness—whiteness with a twist of salsa, enough to make one ethnically flavorful and culturally exotic without, however, compromising one’s racial privilege as a White person. The majority of Mexicans in the United States were therefore recognized by the census, if not the courts, as non-Whites. Although having their whiteness restored did not lessen discrimination, the Mexican government and Mexican Americans fully understood the implications of being officially or legally recognized as a non-White group (Foley). Segregation statues consistently defined all those without African ancestry as “whites.” Chinese and Mexicans in Texas were thus White under state laws governing the segregation of the races (Foley).
After World War II, a French reporter was asked, “If there are any Negro problems?” The author replied, “There isn’t any Negro problem; there is only a white problem.” By inverting the reporter’s question,


  • Watergate Scandal
    2182 words | 9 pages
  • Africans in America: the Terrible Transformation Response/Reflection
    1635 words | 7 pages
  • Hate Crimes
    1416 words | 6 pages
  • Southern Women Before, During & After the Civil War
    2810 words | 12 pages
  • Hip Hop Nationalism
    947 words | 4 pages
  • Wars, Guns, Votes Democracy in Dangerous Places Book Analysis
    1530 words | 7 pages
  • Hum Finals Fall 2014 Individual Finals
    3945 words | 16 pages
  • Devry Humanities N303
    2618 words | 11 pages
  • Could Reconstruction Have Been More Successful
    3561 words | 15 pages
  • Strivings of the Negro People
    1178 words | 5 pages