How White People Became White!
Sounds a Lil Crazy
The title of this hub may sound strange or crazy to you especially if you're white because you've always been white...you're white by birth...you didn't become white by some process or course you took...why that's crazy!
That may be so, but everything and everyone has an origin including the idea or concept of whiteness or being white. As we study the history of how the concept of being white originated we will at the same time discover how the concept of being black came to be.
Another word used to identify white people is "Caucasian." Caucasian didn't come into existence until 1795, coined by the German philosopher Christoph Meiners in his book The Outline of History of Mankind. German anthropologist, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (living around the same time) thought that white people originated in the Caucasus mountain region. Overtime the intelligentsia of Europe applied this term to all people identified as white. Caucasian means you live in the Caucasus mountain region or are from the Caucasus mountain region. How many "white people" can say that?
Caucasian is a made up word and didn't exist in ancient times, neither did the concept of race. It was recognized that there were different types of people but they weren't seen as being of different races/species. If there were different races/species of humans we wouldn't be able to produce offspring together which as we all know, we can. There is only one race the human race.
The Concept of Race
The concept of race was created around the 1500s in tandem with the North Atlantic African Slave Trade.
The slave trade was a capitalist endeavor.
It was big business and big money.
Most of the countries participating in the slave markets were Christian. Enslaving one's fellow man went against Christian values. So the capitalists and intellectual elite of those countries had to come up with a strategy to offset this problem.
They used the concept of superior and inferior races to justify enslaving and making money off of those they enslaved.
They reasoned that the earliest races, like the black Africans, were the most primitive and the later races, like the white Europeans, were the most advanced and therefore the most human ( the assumption being that the earliest races were closer to apes than to humans).
That black Africans weren't really human, they were subhuman. They weren't really enslaving and selling humans, but subhumans. So there was no reason for Christians to feel guilt or disgust that they were selling and buying humans because they weren't.
Adam and Eve were believed to be the mother and father of all people. At some point they were considered to be white. To account for how black people got in the picture, the curse on the descendants of Ham was created. Ham was supposedly cursed with blackness by God and was made to be the ancestor of all the peoples of Africa and they were tainted because of this supposed curse.
If you read my hub "Are Blacks The Cursed Descendants Of Ham?" You can draw your own conclusion about whether this story is true or not. There a link to it at the end of this hub.
The only people who were considered white in the United States, until the height of the slave trade were, WASPs, White Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
Italians, the Irish, and Jews etc. weren't considered white (probably because they were Catholics and the Jews were Jesus' killers), but as the slave population increased and became greater than the white population, a re-evaluation of who was white was undertaken in an effort to increase the white population, because the fear of slave revolts was a constant threat and danger.
So the Irish and Italians were allowed to become white.
Many southern Europeans weren't considered to be pure white because of their intermingling with Africans in ancient and later times, but eventually all of these peoples' racial status was updated to Caucasian or white.
Racial Purity and Tainted Blood
The idea of racial purity picked up steam during the 1800s because of a widespread fear, especially among the upper classes and royalty, about being born with tainted blood that made you less intelligent, mentally retarded or morally inferior in some way that could be passed on to your kids and their kids and so on and so on.
There was a phobia about being tainted and an obsession with being pure and untainted.
Blacks were considered inferior to Caucasians (or as Hitler called them Aryans) because they were considered to be more "primitive" and tainted because of the Ham curse. So you could see how these ideas and fears could make them a "little bit" obsessed with maintaining the purity of the white race by coming up with standards and methods to determine who was pure/white/superior in intelligence and moral character or who was black/impure/inferior in intelligence and moral character.
It wasn't legal to enslave whites, so the "one drop rule"was created to help keep a clear and legal dividing line between blacks and whites. If you had any black ancestor no matter how far back in time they lived. You were considered tainted with black "blood" and you were considered black, no matter how white you looked.
If you were half black, you were a mulatto. If you were one fourth black you were a quadroon. If you were one eighth black, you were a octoroon. If it could be proven or suspected that you had any "black blood" even "one drop". You were black.
This was great for the slave owners because if they fathered children with black slave women (which many did), those offspring would automatically be their slaves. Buying slaves was expensive and this saved them the expense of buying new slaves. They had a built in renewable slave farm.
White western culture claims the ancient Romans and Greeks as their cultural ancestors and claims to be the inheritors of their cultural legacy. Ironically, the ancient Romans and Greeks never refer to themselves as white people or as Europeans. The Romans considered themselves Romans and the Greeks considered themselves Greeks. They didn't have color prejudice.
The Holy Roman Empire took most of their slaves from the Slavs who lived in what is now known as Eastern Europe. The Slavs became so identified with bondage that the word "slave" is derived from Slav.
This racial sh*t originated in the so-called modern era starting around the 1500's with the creation of North Atlantic Slave Trade and spread to the what would become the United States of America with the "founding" of the so-called "New World".
In a very condensed way, this is how white people became white.
Origin of The Word "Slave"
From Middle English sclave, from Anglo-French or Medieval Latin; Anglo-French esclave, from Medieval Latin sclavus, from Sclavus Slavic; from the frequent enslavement of Slavs in central Europe during the early Middle Ages.
First Known Use: 14th century, Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary,
And Now a Word About Skin Color
"Melanin: a dark brown or black substance that is a natural part of people's skin, hair, and eyes". (Merriam-Webster's Leaner's Dictionary).
"Melanin: any of a group of black or dark brown pigments present in the hair, skin, and eyes of man and animals: produced in excess in certain skin diseases and in melanomas"
(Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition)
Without melanin you wouldn't have eye color, hair color, skin color or any color at all.
Melanin is a natural sunblock, nature's way of protecting the skin from sunburn and sun radiation poisoning. That's why people who don't have sufficient levels of melanin in their skin burn with prolonged exposure to sunlight, but those with sufficient levels get darker or tan
The darker the skin, the more melanin it contains. The lighter the skin the less melanin it contains. The melanin content of the skin accounts for the difference in skin color between blacks, whites, and those in between.
Those people and their descendants who survived in hot areas where the sun was the most intense, had more melanin in their skin and this was passed on to their descendants. Those with the most melanin survived, those without enough eventually died out because if their skin was too light, it absorbed too much sun to stay healthy (Those who survived are the black or darker-skin people).
The reverse of this is true for the people who survived in cold areas where the sun was least intense. They had less melanin in their skins and this was passed on to their descendants. Those with the least melanin survived those with most eventually died out because if their skin was too dark it couldn't absorb enough sun to stay healthy (those who survived are the white or lighter-skin people).
Skin color was noticed in ancient times, but wasn't associated with race or intelligence. It was just an observation like noting the difference in color of various flowers or plants.
DNA Studies Show That All Modern Humans Originated in Africa.
"If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it's solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive, then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges." Richard Leaky, Paleoanthropologist. For a more detailed, historical, fact-based look at the subject, that backs up what Mr Leaky is stating. Click this link http://www.realhistoryww.com/world_history/ancient
Also see the video below that explains "Why Europeans Are White" and why Eskimos who live in an area were there is little exposure to sun are brown!
If you enjoyed the hub, vote it up, share with friends, family, and on social media
The Invention of the White Race
Why are Europeans White and Eskimos Brown?
The Cursed Descendants Of Ham?
© 2012 vveasey
More by this Author
Did U every wonder how racism got started or who started it? Well let's have a little fun speculating about it
For many years Black historians and Afrocentrists have said that the first inhabitants of China were black Africans. Now they been proven to be correct!
Black Outlaws and Cowboys of the old west you might be saying with wonderment and head scratching! “Why that’s an oxymoron! I’ve never heard of such a thing!”. Well Read On And Enlighten...