Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is Russia Killing White People?

Yes, if you were 18 century "scientist" Johann Friedrich Blumenbach who, in 1795, coined the term "Caucausian" to refer to people of the "white race". He came to his theory of different races through an examination of human skulls and found that skulls from the regions in Georgia, around the Caucus mountains, were "most beautiful". He surmised that this area was the origin of the white race of Europeans. Hence, the birth of word that has now seeped into popular usage.

But as this article points out, the word and its "technical" meaning have not just been a point of curiosity. It was used by the U.S. goverment to make decisions about the rights and privileges of citizenship (in a most confusing way). What the Slate article doesn't mention is that there was a case in 1922, Ozawa v. U.S., in which the court denied citizenship to a Japanese resident because he wasn't descended from Caucausians, meaning people from the region of Georgia. Less than a year later, another man tried to become a citizen and he was a Caucausian in the Blumenbach sense. The court denied him as well, this time saying he was not "white".

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