***This post is commentary to a blog http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/01/how-many-minorities-are-there-in-the-usa/comment-page-1/#comment-117588 and some references may be lost otherwise.

This point that I'd like to make is that the word white now is total bullshit, and that it is really just a P.C. place holder for the privileged class. Think about it like this: it could be used to group those with light skin; people whose genetic ancestry comes from Europe; people practicing a European derived cultural form; those engaged in European religious practices. I'd say in that level of obviousness, cause c'mon it is a shorthand styling. I feel like the last two sort of go along for the ride.

Most people we identify as white belong to all categories. But for those that don't all you are saying is if you walked down the street in blue jeans and t-shirt (basically no overt ethnic styling, wearing of hair, etc.) you would blend in and people would intuitively include you in the majority privileged class. It's more or less not being subject to negative profiling. It seems like what we are saying in this thread is if one looks like everyone else (I am not sure how much wiggle room we are giving in terms of shade but there surely is some mutual cut off) and is Christian they are white (as if they found out you are of unacceptable religion they might persecute you), regardless of where their genetics come from or the culture they practice. But then there are those who fit the other the categories but fall short at the look.

I have two female friends who meet all the cultural categories but whose skin is in no way assumable "white"; the one is closer to razib than myself . One from like Nicaragua or Guatemala who when I first met her thought she was from Pakistan, as her Native American heritage shows up not so much in facial shape but features (I am not the only one: others have referred to her as "that middle eastern girl"). She is likely mestizo and would not have full European genetics, but is totally American and grew up here (to my measure traditionally Christian but likely weakly/irreligious)

The other is from Greece: from an island in the Aegean. She has probability of being nearly of all European genetics, and the culture and religion (she's orthodox, duh), but she looks even more "Pakistani" than the first girl, and her's is the darker complexion! And take my word this is no tan. She definitely - and I wouldn't see reason not to - thinks of herself as white, but she's missing the most obvious part - and it's obvious to anybody with eyes. And the first girl, many here, going off the Kim K stuff, would likely think she was white, at least at first glance. Yet the second girl in all likelihood more thoroughly meets the measures other than the skin tone. I would be surprised if the first thing most people here thought upon seeing girl two would be something other than "some Middle Eastern/West Asian".

And yet that guy staring at me in some magazine jean/designer ads, who is that perfect model macho, that looks like he belongs in that exotic Euro-posh "he's from Spain - no Italy - no, Croatia.." is Iranian. He looks the part but with different ancestry make-up, and he would likely feel out of place here and is likely a Muslim, but in that ad he's 100% the white that you want.

Then there is my Libyan friend who has striking europoid (whatever, hate the c-word) features; if he shaved his head - as his hair is mega curly fro land - some I could see dubbing him white; heck in the winter in school he could get significantly lighter to an olive-ish tone; there are some pictures where his dad "looks more Italian" than mine! Yet he is a Muslim and a Canadian to boot; I wonder if they have the same political demographics? He even got harrassed a little on the street after 9-11. Yet he presents his religion in no outward way, and we are so culturally alike that I would often have to remind myself out with him not to slip and lump him in with all of "our" traditions or talking about "us people". It happened once in the beginning and he looked at me strange and I had my foot in my mouth.
His mother is Palestinian and I joke with him that she could be one of the "Sea People" and that his father is a Roman, or even he's two ways Greek and that he's secretly mostly European (or a humus Oreo). Regardless his heritage is of the Mediterranean Ecumen, culturally the core of Western Civilization, and the Christian Fathers and his family likely has many Christian ancestors, but I'm not sure he's even aware of these things as it's no longer expressed in their culture (they even have an analogous construct in their culture with word Arab, though it's a little stronger I'd say). But even if he were not Muslim I have a hard time buying his family, who is proud of all their large diverse middle eastern cousins and relatives, would see themselves as white. Do Copts see themselves as white?

Do we demarcate someone who is Jewish like we used to from whiteness despite these censuses? By and large, no. Have a bunch of Orthodox Jew friends that I'd say consider themselves white, as they are likely unaware of all this politics.

We could relegate the word to people with light skin? - but that would include other eurasians of type and not every European of heritage; we could use it for people who have that decidedly europoid phenotype? - but that's not everyone of Euro heritage, and those not; to be of a general West Asian culture demarcated by religion is a pretty pale category to be dubbed white. That's like putting some African-Americans, Jamaicans, Tribal South Indians, Negritos and Africans in a line up and calling them all black and trying to say you are adding mutual commentary to anything other than their skin tone and most basic structure. (don't bust my balls on this, we could be nitty-gritty bell-curve, sports, rhythm, racism...but you should know what I'm getting at)

I tried making the point last time this topic came up that if I'd say grow a beard and wear some overalls with no shirt I don't think the average P-class member would see me with the same white-tinted glasses...I'd be something of an ethnic for lack of a better word.

I won't even go off on my trip to Finnic-Russia seeing innumerable people of unique to Western standard phenotypes of whiteness but after seeing it first hand feel no need to simplify it with Asiatics.

I realize many here are not condoning the politics behind this stuff but merely discussing the memes but I shall no longer be referring to myself as white, or using "white people", in preference for European, in anything other than intended slang or as a joke - or if vernacular for describing skin tone. That includes censuses/apps. which I stopped doing a while ago realizing the profiling was bs.

Truth be told the first thing that comes to mind for me when I think white people is a general Northern Europeans and always thought we did a disjustice to many Southern Europeans by lumping them in to a word that puts them in an inferior position on the totem pole, at least at first intuition. The word is a color for crying out loud; it's not even that subjective like "light" or fair. I think we as a society can be less sloppy than this.
I prefer to use Native-Americans, African-Americans, and I don't disagree with the sentiment behind using "Americans", but favoring white as the colloquial rather than European-Americans reeks of wanting to disassociate our European origins, to not remind ourselves we took this land from others, which I think we should never just get comfortable with and sweep under the rug. But I may have no ground to cry foul from the privileged class.
Shared publicly