Amongst Americans, either of the left-wing variety or right-wing variety, who categorise people as being "white" or "persons of color", which category do they put Sayfullo Saipov in, and what rationale do they use for their categorisation?

Does being Muslim affect which category he's put in?

  • 6
    Who is Sayfullo Saipov? Perhaps you could add a link to some article about him.
    – chirlu
    Nov 3 '17 at 14:47
  • 3
    I VTC as off topic, because I don't think there is any policy linked to what category people put him in.
    – user9389
    Nov 3 '17 at 18:51
  • @chirlu Wikipedia link added, though he doesn’t have his own biography. Nov 3 '17 at 20:38
  • I think in reality there are only two categories: "Like us" and "not like us". I suspect that white people, black people, non-muslims and the huge majority of muslims who don't phantisize about killing people, all categorise him as "not like us".
    – gnasher729
    Nov 4 '17 at 12:48

I won't try to guess what American people as a whole would do (there's about 300 million Americans and each one is an individual). Instead, I'll point you to the offical categories for ethnic origin, used by the US census, which are derived from the OMB standards on Race and Ethnicity.

White – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.


Asian – A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Uzbekistan, along with Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan is generally considered to be part of the Middle East, and hence white.

Religion is not part of the official categories, and the census allows for self-identification, and for an "other" category, with write-in.

I'll also note that there is a plan to add a category for Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) in the 2020 census.

  • 2
    I am astonished to see an official gouvernemental source refer to such a thing as "the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa". How can you define what the "original" peoples are supposed to be when the History of those areas (the same applies for Asia) is full of migrations ? What era is supposed to be the "original" one ? Btw, if I understand well, Indonesians and Siberians are not considered Asian ? Well, I suppose my point is that this whole racial classification is meaningless. Not a huge discovery I'm afraid.
    – Evargalo
    Nov 3 '17 at 14:48
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    Uzbekistan is generally not considered to be in the middle east. Historically the term was used for a larger area, but today it is uncommon.
    – ugoren
    Nov 3 '17 at 14:49
  • 1
    @Evargalo Your astonishment is justified! However these are the categories that the OMB and the census use. I've no idea what "Orginal" means here - but as you note the whole race thing is fairly meaningless to start with.
    – James K
    Nov 3 '17 at 17:06
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    @user5751924 I think you are correct. Most people from South America would be counted as White, Black or Asian by these categories. There might be a separate question about "Hispanic", which is orthoganal to race. However these are the categories used by the census and the OMB. I agree they seem pretty stupid when listed out like that - but this is mostly because the whole exercise in assigning "race" is a bit meaningless to begin with.
    – James K
    Nov 3 '17 at 17:12
  • 1
    @JamesK Hispanic used to be one of the racial categories. A few censuses ago it was redefined as a cultural designation that is orthogonal to race.
    – phoog
    Nov 4 '17 at 21:05

The modern Uzbek population represents varying degrees of diversity derived from the high traffic invasion routes through Central Asia. Once populated by Iranian tribes and other Indo-European people, Central Asia experienced numerous invasions emanating out of Mongolia that would drastically affect the region. According to recent genetic genealogy testing from a University of Oxford study, the genetic admixture of the Uzbeks clusters somewhere between the Iranian peoples and the Mongols. (Wikipedia)

Mongols are considered Asian; Iranians are technically speaking "white" (it's complicated, but the ethnic Persians mostly self-identify as white, both in Iran and for most part in USA. Let's not forget that Persians are the original Aryans :).

As such, any ethnic Uzbek could be considered either white or asian.

  • 1
    "Persians are the original Aryans". Shows what an idiot Hitler was. On the other hand, I think WTF everytime I hear someone being called "Caucasian" on a US TV show.
    – gnasher729
    Nov 4 '17 at 12:43

White and non-white in the United States is usually based on ethnicity instead of skin color from a public perspective, though of course this varies some from person to person. I can't find any surveys on this in particular, but I would wager that the average person who would have this sort of discussion would say a greek national is white and a turk non-white, though their skin tones and geographic origin may be quite similar.

That said, pretty much no one in the United States knows central asia exists. The graph below shows how often united states individuals searched for a particular country's name enter image description here source

Notice that central asia is the least searched besides a handful of african countries. I'd personally wager the only reason Kazakhstan is colored at all is because of the commercial success of Borat. It would seem that americans consider slavic peoples white, but would not consider the middle east to be white, nor would they consider asia to be white. Given a photo of Saipov and the background knowledge that he is pledged to ISIS most americans would probably place him as non-white, but perhaps the more pertinent question is asking whether americans consider central asian nationals (uzbeks, tajiks, etc.) white. The answer is: most likely not.

  • 3
    I agree that there's a grey area on who's considered white or not in the region between Europe, Asia and the Middle East but the whole section about searching for countries names seems like a huge leap in logic to me. There are 4 or 5 counties in central Asia that are rarely searched and that's a basis for people not knowing they exist or what ethnicity they are? Most of Africa is rarely searched but I bet most Americans wouldn't think twice about considering them not white.
    – JonK
    Nov 3 '17 at 14:25
  • 1
    I think there's a fundamental flaw in using frequency of search to claim that most people don't know those countries exist. It bypasses the the whole question of importance to the searcher. By analogy, I would imagine that searches on say automakers show a lot more searching for Ford & Toyota than for Lotus & Morgan.
    – jamesqf
    Nov 3 '17 at 18:37

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