Race categories in a scenario where East Asia rather than Europe colonized the world

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Jun 2013
6,394
USA
#11
What were their thoughts about them after they became coming into contact with them at a high level, though?
Well, due to imperialism, they weren't exactly fond. "White devils" was a common phrase as well as considering them "ghosts" due to their light skin.
For darker skinned people, there were small amounts of "black" slaves in China, mostly from southeast Asia and very rarely from Africa (nowhere near as common as from Central Asia), and well....they were slaves. So also not treated well.
 
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Jul 2015
87
Australia
#12
I think the people in China have a range of skin tones quite similar to Europeans. Ranging from light skin 'pinkish' tones to more swarthy 'darker' tones. Were the 'white devils' really much lighter in skin tone than the Chinese?

The only tern I can find is 'Gweilo' which literally means 'ghost man' so I am not sure if it has anything to do with lighter skin tones? It could just be a derogatory word for all foreigners.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,936
SoCal
#13
I think the people in China have a range of skin tones quite similar to Europeans. Ranging from light skin 'pinkish' tones to more swarthy 'darker' tones. Were the 'white devils' really much lighter in skin tone than the Chinese?

The only tern I can find is 'Gweilo' which literally means 'ghost man' so I am not sure if it has anything to do with lighter skin tones? It could just be a derogatory word for all foreigners.
Some Chinese have light skin while other Chinese have more yellowish/golden skin:





Of course, if one wants to be fair, some Whites have darker skin as well--specifically some of the Mediterranean Whites.
 
Oct 2011
275
Croatia
#16
What would race categories have looked like in a scenario where East Asia rather than Europe would have colonized much of the rest of the world?

For the record, this requires much stronger support for seafaring and naval exploration in East Asia as well as having East Asia industrialize before Europe. I chose East Asia here because it appears to be the most likely competitor to Europe as the world's top dog due to East Asia being relatively advanced even in the Middle Ages (in comparison to Europe, et cetera).
Quite probably the same or at least similar, as they are based on actual physical differences. Question is whether they would have focused more on race, more on culture, or on both. Chinese IIRC had similar attitude to Romans, "everyone but us are barbarians" (except they went more like "everyone but us and Romans are barbarians" IIRC).
 
Dec 2011
2,291
#17
Some Chinese have light skin while other Chinese have more yellowish/golden skin:





Of course, if one wants to be fair, some Whites have darker skin as well--specifically some of the Mediterranean Whites.
I'm not sure that the woman in the top picture, who is wearing cosmetics, is showing her true skin colour.
 
Dec 2011
2,291
#18
Quite probably the same or at least similar, as they are based on actual physical differences. Question is whether they would have focused more on race, more on culture, or on both. Chinese IIRC had similar attitude to Romans, "everyone but us are barbarians" (except they went more like "everyone but us and Romans are barbarians" IIRC).
Romans never said "everyone but us are barbarians"; they didn't regard the Greeks as barbarians. There isn't any indication that they regarded black people as inferior.

The "actual physical differences" you mention do exist but they are arbitrarily chosen differences. For example, you could categorise people by hair colour or eye colour, instead of skin colour (and you would probably find some genetic markers for these things) but the question is: why would you want to do that?

Having said that, biologists will readily divide certain species into subspecies (synonomous with race), even though there are relatively minor differences in appearance between them, but the reason that is done is because those subspecies, though they could theoretically breed with each other, don't do so, generally because they live in separate areas, or perhaps behavioural reasons eg different feeding preferences has led to different genetic groups. Anyway, biologists (even during the 19th century when race was held to be so significant) have never divided the human species into separate subspecies.

Note that the native black-skinned people of the Far East (eg in New Guinea and Australia) are of Asian ancestry, different to the black African population group.
 
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Oct 2011
275
Croatia
#19
Romans never said "everyone but us are barbarians"; they didn't regard the Greeks as barbarians.

The "actual physical differences" you mention do exist but they are arbitrarily chosen differences. For example, you could categorise people by hair colour or eye colour, instead of skin colour (and you would probably find some genetic markers for these things) but the question is: why would you want to do that?

Note that the native black-skinned people of the Far East (eg in New Guinea and Australia) are of Asian ancestry, different to the black African population group.
They didn't regard Greeks as such because Romans more or less stole Greek culture.

Physical differences I was talking about are neither hair or eye colour nor skin colour, but rather physical structure, such as skull (nose and nasal cavity in particular are important for adapting to climate conditions).

Also, differences are not arbitrary, nor can you categorize people by hair or eye colour rather than skin colour. You can, to an extent, use those differences for categorization in addition to skin colour. Different skin colours developed due to different populations receiving different levels of sun/UV exposure. However, different levels of sunlight also means different climate conditions, which means that adaptations go much deeper than just skin colour. Even if you paint all of them pitch black, you are rather unlikely to confuse an Inuit for a European, or European for Subsaharan African.

Hair or eye colour are more random. Much like lighter skin, lighter eye and hair colour are a result of beneficial mutations experienced by peoples who moved into areas with less sunlight. However, hair is not as important as skin in adapting to sunlight and climate conditions, so hair colour varies more within any given population (even so, blondes are exceedingly rare in Africa, and rather common in Northern Europe - again, sunlight). Hair structure, on the other hand, does play a role, so negroids are much more likely to have curly hair as it helps in hot climate.
 
Sep 2012
3,843
Bulgaria
#20
One should take into account also the social class. Through history pale skin was preferred because it was a sign of wealth / meaning only nobles who didnt go out into the sun to labor could have such skin colour and women with fair skin were considered the height of feminine beauty. It was like that from Europe via India to China till the XXth century.
 
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