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Brown (racial classification) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brown (racial classification)

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(Redirected from Brown people)

Brown or Brown people is a racial and ethnic
classification. Like black people and white people, it is a
metaphor for race based on human skin color. In racialist
anthropology, the color brown and the term brown
people was used to describe a series of hypothesized
racial groups that included various populations from
North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Western Asia, South
Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Latin America and
South America. In Brazil, brown people is a cognate
term for pardo. In North America, both Latinos and
South Asians sometimes self-identify or are described as
brown people.

Global racial map by eugenicist Lothrop Stoddard in

The Rising Tide of Color Against White WorldSupremacy

1 A category used by racialist scientists
1.1 Subdivisions
2 Ethnic and racial identifier
2.1 Coloureds in South Africa
2.2 Pardos in Brazil
2.3 Hispanics in the United States
2.4 South Asian populations
3 See also
4 References
5 Further reading

A category used by racialist scientists

In the 18th and 19th century, racialist written works proposed geographically based "scientific" differences
among "the races." Many of these racial models assigned colors to the groups described, and some included
a "brown race" as in the following:
Early German anthropologist Johann Blumenbach extended Linnaeus' four-color race model by adding
the brown race, "Malay race", which included both the Malay division of Austronesian (Thailand,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Pattani, Sumatra Madagascar, Formosans, etc.)
and Polynesians and Melanesians of Pacific Islands, as well as Papuans and Aborigines of Australia.

In 1775, "John Hunter of Edinburg included under the label light brown, Southern Europeans,

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Sicilians, Abyssinians, the Spanish, Persians, Turks and Laplanders, and under the label brown,
Tartars, Africans on the Mediterranean and the Chinese."[3] These races formed two elements of a
seven-race schema.
Jean Baptiste Julien d'Omalius d'Halloy's five-race scheme differed from Blumenbach's by including
Ethiopians in the brown race, as well as Oceanic peoples. Louis Figuier adopted and adapted
d'Omalius d'Halloy's classification and also included Egyptians in the brown race.[4]
In 1915, Donald Mackenzie conceived a "Mediterranean or Brown race, the eastern branch of which
reaches to India and the western to the British Isles and Ireland... [and includes] predynastic
Egyptians... [and some populations of] Neolithic man".[5]
Eugenicist Lothrop Stoddard in his The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy (1920)
mapped a "brown race" as native to North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Near East, Middle East,
Central Asia, Southern Asia and Austronesia. Stoddard's "brown" is one of five "primary races",
contrasting with "white", "black", "yellow" and "Amerindian".
Due to what he considered the relatively close physical relationship between many populations "from
the Red Sea as far as India, including Semites as well as Hamites", Grafton Elliot Smith conceived the
Brown Race as a natural extension of Giuseppe Sergi's earlier Mediterranean race concept. In this
popular conception, the Brown Race consisted of a joint "Mediterranean-Hamite-Semite" grouping of
ancestrally related peoples, into which Elliot Smith included the Proto-Egyptians.[6]
Carleton Coon adopted six and thirty human divisions before returning to Blumenbach's five in his
1962 The Origin of Human Races. Coon proposed that different "races" crossed from being Homo
erectus to Homo sapiens at different moments in history, with Europeans in the lead.
These and other racialist theories have been dismissed scientifically. As a 2012 human biology textbook
observes, "These claims of race-based taxonomy, including Coon's claims for homo-sapienation, have been
discredited by paleontological and genomic research showing the antiquity of modern human origins, as well
as the essential genomic African nature of all living human beings."[7]

In the 19th century, the notion of a single "brown people" was sometimes superseded by multiple "brown
peoples." Cust mentions Grammar in 1852 denying that there was one single "brown race", but in fact
several races speaking distinct languages.[8] The 1858 Cyclopaedia of India and of eastern and southern
Asia[9] notes that Keane was dividing the "brown people" into quaternion: a western branch that he termed
the Malay, a north-western group that he termed the Micronesian, and the peoples of the eastern
archipelagos that he termed the Maori and the Polynesian.

Ethnic and racial identifier

The appellation "brown people" has been applied in the 20th and 21st centuries to several groups. Edward
Telles, a sociologist of race and ethnicity, and Jack Forbes[10] both argue that this classification is

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biologically invalid. However, as Telles notes, it is still of sociological significance. Irrespective of the actual
biological differences amongst humans, and of the actual complexities of human skin coloration, people
nonetheless self-identify as "brown" and identify other groups of people as "brown", using characteristics
that include skin color, hair strength, language, and culture, in order to classify them. Forbes remarks upon a
process of "lumping", whereby characteristics other than skin color, such as hair color or curliness, act as
"triggers" for color categories "even when it may not be appropriate."[10][11]

Coloureds in South Africa

In 1950s (and later) South Africa the "brown people" were the Coloureds, referring to those born of
black-white sexual unions out of wedlock. The Afrikaans terms, which incorporate many subtleties of
heritage, political agenda, and identity, are "bruin" ("brown"), "bruines" ("browns"), and "bruinmense"
("brown people"). Some South Africans prefer the appellation "bruinmense" to "Coloured".[12][13]
The South African pencil test was one example of a characteristic other than skin color being used as a
determiner. The pencil test, which distinguished either "black" from "Coloured" or "Coloured" from "white",
relied upon curliness and strength of hair (i.e. whether it was capable of retaining a pencil under its own
strength) rather than upon any color factor at all. The pencil test could "trump skin colour".[14][15]
Stephen Biko, in his trial in 1976, rejected the appellation "brown people" when it was put to him incorrectly
by Judge Boshoff:[16]
Boshoff: But now why do you refer to you people as blacks? Why not brown people? I mean you
people are more brown than black.
Biko: In the same way as I think white people are more pink and yellow and pale than white.
Boshoff: Quite ... but now why do you not use the word brown then?
Biko: No, I think really, historically, we have been defined as black people, and when we reject the
term non-white and take upon ourselves the right to call ourselves what we think we are, we have got
available in front of us a whole number of alternatives ... and we choose this one precisely because we
feel it is most accommodating.
Penelope Oakes[16] characterizes Biko's argument as picking "black" over "brown" because for Biko it is
"the most valid, meaningful and appropriate representation, even though in an individualistic
decontextualized sense it might appear wrong" (Oakes' emphasis).
This contrasts with Piet Uithalder, fictional protagonist of the satirical column "Straatpraatjes" (whose actual
author was never revealed but who is believed to have been Abdullah Abdurahman) that appeared in the
Dutch-Afrikaans section of the newspaper APO between May 1909 and February 1922. Uithalder would
self-identify as a Coloured person, with the column targeted at a Coloured readership, introducing himself as
"een van de ras" ("a member of the race") and characterizing himself as a "bruine mens".[12]

Pardos in Brazil
In Brazil, the "brown people" are the pardos, one of the skin color categories (branco, pardo, preto,
amarelo, and indgena being Portuguese for "white", "(grey) brown", "black", "yellow", and "indigenous",
respectively) that have been used by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics since 1940. It is a
broad classification that encompasses mestizos (caboclos), mulattoes (mulatos), zambos (cafuzos), etc. in
short, multiracial Brazilians and assimilated, westernized Amerindians.
Pardo is a color which can be translated from Portuguese as brown (properly called marrom [maw]),
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grayish brown, beige (properly called bege [bi]), of the color of the manila (called in Brazil papel pardo).
In Hispanic America, pardo is a racial casta for people with European, Amerindian and Black African
ancestries, possibly added with any others, which can not be called mestizos, blancos, zambos, mulatos or
any other category because of their unique multiracial phenotype created by generations of intermarriage
among the three main groups.
In popular use, Brazilians also use a category of moreno m. [moenu], morena f. [moen], lit. 'swarthy',
from mouro, Portuguese for 'Moor', which were perceived as people with darker phenotypes than Indigenous
Europeans, so a moreno or morena is a person with a "Moorish" phenotype), which is extremely ambiguous,
as it can mean "dark-haired people", but is also used as a euphemism for pardo, and even "Black". In a 1995
survey, 32% of the population self-identified as moreno, with a further 6% self-identifying as moreno claro
("light moreno"). 7% self-identified as "pardo".[11]
Note that despite moreno being commonly used by some persons as a racial classification (mainly in Brazil),
moreno is, in fact, the Portuguese equivalent to the English word "brunet(te)". It is used to describe a brown,
dark brown or black-haired person as opposed to a blond (loiro/loira/louro/loura) one. In Portugal, it is also
used to refer to skin color; it is used usually referring to a heavily tanned white person. It is often preceded
by the adjectives more or less, and is used to compare one person's color to another.
Pardo is not intended to classify neither only multiracial people nor all persons of mixed origins. Most of
self-described White and Black Brazilians, according to genetic research, have considerable degree of
ancestry of all three main groups present in Latin America. Although historically both Colonial and Imperial
Brazil had institutionalized discrimination against citizens which were deemed as people of color, contrary to
the common sense in its population, it never had a casta classification like that of Hispanic America. White
Brazilian people in the social status equivalent to the Hispanic criollo could have less than 80% of European
(overwhelmingly Portuguese, seldom Spanish and much rarely other European ethnicities) ancestry. Aside
some Amerindian and Black African descent which is knowly widespread among White populations in Brazil
among all social classes in its five geographic regions since historically early times (c. 16th to 17th centuries).
It does not mean that social prestige of "fully non-whites" (people of color which are not mulattoes,
mestizos, zambos, pardos, etc. in short, multiracial Brazilians, with Caucasian features i.e. Black Africans,
Amerindians, their direct descendants and "westernized" Brazilians with wholly or almost fully
non-Caucasian phenotypes, which also would be >70% European in their ancestry, since genes that form
racial phenotypes are distributed random among the descendants of intermixing couples) and people with
knowable non-European ancestry was equal, comparable or even acceptable among Brazilians elites, but
that in Portuguese America, people were less concerned with ancestry and Limpeza de Sangue than its
Hispanic neighbors.
A comprehensive study presented by the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research found that on
average, 'white' Brazilians have >70% European genomic ancestry, whereas 'black' Brazilians have 37.1%
European genomic ancestry. It concluded that "The high ancestral variability observed in Whites and Blacks
suggests that each Brazilian has a singular and quite individual proportion of European, African and
Amerindian ancestry in his/her mosaic genomes. Thus, the only possible basis to deal with genetic variation
in Brazilians is not by considering them as members of color groups, but on a person-by-person basis, as 190
million human beings,with singular genome and life histories".[17]

Hispanics in the United States

In the United States, some Hispanic Americans, mainly mestizos, are referred to by some as "brown people",
even though the traditional term for mestizos have used for themselves, dating from the 1920s, is the bronze
race. There is a strong division over this, however. At opposite ends of the spectrum are those that take
pride in calling themselves "brown", and those who assert that there is no such scientific classification and
totally reject the idea. In the middle are those that assert that the combination of Amerindian and European

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heritage has led to a group of people who are, informally, "brown". Judith Ortiz Cofer notes that appellation
varies according to geographical location, observing that in Puerto Rico she is considered to be a white
person, but in the United States she is considered to be a "brown person."[18]
The 1960s in the United States saw the creation of "brown pride" movements such as the Chicano
Movement and La Raza. However, currently most Hispanic Americans do not refer to themselves as "brown
people", but as hyphenated Americans of a certain national origin.

South Asian populations

The term 'Brown' was also used by British Empire as a derogatory term for natives of the Indian
subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia. Later, the term 'Brown' began to be used as descriptor for British
people of South Asian origin.
Some South Asian Americans will identify themselves as brown. Even though many Hispanics may also
identify themselves as "Brown", many South Asians may not necessarily consider themselves of the same
race as them.[19]

See also
Bronze race
Olive skin
South Asia

1. ^ Jane Desmond (2001). Staging Tourism: Bodies

Haddon (2011). Man: Past and Present.

on Display from Waikiki to Sea World. University

Cambridge University Press. p. 478.

of Chicago Press. p. 54. ISBN 0-226-14376-7.

ISBN 0521234107.

2. ^ John G. Jackson (1938). Ethiopia and the Origin

7. ^ Cameron, Noel; Barry Bogin (2012-06-08).

of Civilization: A Critical Review of the Evidence

Human Growth and Development. Academic

of Archaeology,... New York, N.Y.: The Blyden

Press. ISBN 9780123838827.

3. ^ Bernasconi, Robert. Race Blackwell Publishing:
Boston, 2001. ISBN 0-631-20783-X
4. ^ Joseph-Antnor Firmin and Antenor Firmin

8. ^ Robert Needham Cust (1878). A Sketch of the

Modern Languages of the East Indies. Trbner &
co. p. 13.
9. ^ Edward Balfour (1976). The Encyclopaedia

(2002). The Equality of the Human Races. Asselin

Asiatica, Comprising Indian Subcontinent, Eastern

Charles (translator) and Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban

and Southern Asia. Cosmo Publications. p. 315.

(contributor). University of Illinois Press. p. 17.

ISBN 0-252-07102-6.
5. ^ Mackenzie, Donald A. Myths of Babylonia and
Assyria Montana:Kessinger Publishing, 2004.
ISBN 1-4179-7643-8
6. ^ A. H. Keane, A. Hingston Quiggin, A. C.

10. ^ a b Africans and Native Americans: The

Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black
Peoples (
11. ^ a b Edward Eric Telles (2004). "Racial
Classification". Race in Another America: the

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Brown (racial classification) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

significance of skin color in Brazil. Princeton

Process: Cognition and the Group in the Social

University Press. pp. 8184. ISBN 0-691-11866-3.

Psychology of Stereotyping". In W. P. (William

12. ^

a b

Mohamed Adhikari (2005). Not White

Peter) Robinson and Henri Tajfel. Social Groups

Enough, Not Black Enough: Racial Identity in the

and Identities: developing the legacy of Henri

South African Coloured Community. Ohio

Tajfe. Routledge. ISBN 0-7506-3083-3.

University Press. pp. 26,163169.

ISBN 0-89680-244-2.
13. ^ Gerald L. Stone (2002). "The lexicon and

17. ^ "Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological

Research - DNA tests probe the genomic ancestry
of Brazilians" (

sociolinguistic codes of the working-class


Afrikaans-speaking Cape Peninsula coloured

script=sci_arttext#Abstract). Retrieved

community". In Rajend Mesthrie. Language in


South Africa. Cambridge University Press. p. 394.

ISBN 0-521-53383-X.
14. ^ David Houze (2006). Twilight People: From

18. ^ Pauline T. Newton (2005). "An Interview with

Judith Ortiz Cofer". Transcultural Women Of
Late-Twentieth-Century U.S. American Literature.

Mississippi to South Africa and Back. University

Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 161.

of California Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-520-24398-6.

ISBN 0-7546-5212-2.

15. ^ Birgit Brander Rasmussen (2001). The Making

19. ^ Morning, Ann. Journal of Ethnic and Migration

and Unmaking of Whiteness. Duke University

Studies. "The Racial Self-Identification of South

Press. p. 133. ISBN 0-8223-2740-6.

Asians in the United States." 2001. July 21, 2007.

16. ^ a b Penelope Oakes (1996). "The Categorization

[1] (

Further reading
Alexander Winchell (1890). "XX. Genealogy of the Brown Races". Preadamites: Or, A
Demonstration of the Existence of Men Before Adam. S. C. Griggs and company. xvii et seq.
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