White people

racial classification and skin color specifier

White people is a racial classification specifier, used mostly and often exclusively for people of European descent; depending on context, nationality, and point of view.

Swedish family, 2015
German Warrior with Helmet, Osmar Schlinder, 1902


  • There is yet one more version of the culture hypothesis: perhaps it is not English versus non-English that matters but, rather, European versus non-European. Could it be that Europeans are superior somehow because of their work ethic, outlook on life, Judeo-Christian values, or Roman heritage? It is true that Western Europe and North America, filled primarily by people of European descent, are the most prosperous parts of the world. Perhaps it is the superior European cultural legacy that is at the root of prosperity—and the last refuge of the culture hypothesis. Alas, this version of the culture hypothesis has as little explanatory potential as the others. A greater proportion of the population of Argentina and Uruguay, compared with the population of Canada and the United States, is of European descent, but Argentina’s and Uruguay’s economic performance leaves much to be desired. Japan and Singapore never had more than a sprinkling of inhabitants of European descent, yet they are as prosperous as many parts of Western Europe.
    • Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Roots of Power, Poverty, and Prosperity (2012)
  • Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.
  • I do not know many Negroes who are eager to be "accepted" by white people, still less to be loved by them; they, the blacks, simply don't wish to be beaten over the head by the whites every instant of our brief passage on this planet. White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this — which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never — the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.
    • James Baldwin "Letter from a Region of My Mind" in The New Yorker (17 November 1962); republished as "Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind" in The Fire Next Time (1963)
  • The deputy sheriffs, the governors get paid
    And the marshals and cops get the same
    But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
    He’s taught in his school
    From the start by the rule
    That the laws are with him
    To protect his white skin
    To keep up his hate
    So he never thinks straight
    'Bout the shape that he’s in
    But it ain't him to blame
    He’s only a pawn in their game
  • Non Angli, sed angeli.
  • They are not Angles, but angels.
    • Aphorism, summarising words reported to have been spoken by Pope Gregory I when he first encountered pale-skinned English boys at a slave market, sparking his dispatch of St. Augustine of Canterbury to England to convert the English, according to Bede. He said: "Well named, for they have angelic faces and ought to be co-heirs with the angels in heaven." Discovering that their province was Deira, he went on to add that they would be rescued de ira, "from the wrath", and that their king was named Aella, Alleluia, he said.
      • William Hunt; Reginald Lane Poole, The Political History of England, Vol. 2 (Longmans, Green & Co., 1905), p. 115
  • The idea of liberty is originally a Western idea, created by white Western males, and although it has lost some strength there, it is still most prominent and widespread in the West. That does not mean that it is restricted to the West or only accessible to Western minds, however.
  • Take up the White Man’s burden—
      Send forth the best ye breed—
    Go bind your sons to exile
      To serve your captives’ need;
    To wait in heavy harness,
      On fluttered folk and wild—
    Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
      Half-devil and half-child.
  • Let me have normal American faces in the streets to give the aspect of home and a white man's country, and I ask no more of featherless bipeds.
    • H. P. Lovecraft, Letter to Lillian D. Clark (29 March 1926), quoted in S. T. Joshi, ed., Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters (2000), p. 186
  • They are really sincere when they say that they are freedom-loving people. Above all, the White man the world over wants to be free to rule and dominate the aboriginal people.
  • Women of color are mirrors in which white women are supposed to see themselves but, instead, see themselves as no other mirror can show them—as selves that are plural and who instead of being righteous, moral beings, are also participants and perpetuators of a racist system.
    • Mariana Ortega, "Being Lovingly, Knowingly Ignorant: White Feminism and Women of Color" Hypatia, vol. 21, no. 3 (Summer 2006)
  • In all of the sanctimony about protecting the rights of minorities, let us understand fully that the bill is aimed at what has become the most despised and mistreated minority in the country—namely, the white people of the Southern States. The approach is more subtle and hypocritical in this bill, but its purposes are identical with those that prompted Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens, and Ben Wade in the reconstruction legislation of the 1860's. Mr. President, the people of the South are citizens of this Republic. They are entitled to some consideration. It seems to me that fair men should recognize that the people of the South, too, have some rights which should be respected. And though, Mr. President, we have failed in this fight to protect them from a burgeoning bureaucracy that is already planning and organizing invasion after invasion of the South, preceded by thousands of young people who have been recruited in the greatest crusade since the Children's Crusade of the Middle Ages, our failure cannot be ascribed to lack of effort. Our ranks were too thin, our resources too scanty, but we did our best. I say to my comrades in arms in this long fight that there will never come a time when it will be necessary for any one of us to apologize for his conduct or his courage.
    • Richard B. Russell Jr., as quoted in Stathis, S. W. 2009. Civil Rights Act of 1964 ∗ 1964 ∗. In: 2009. Landmark Debates in Congress: From the Declaration of Independence to the War in Iraq, Washington, DC: CQ Press. pp. 377-386
  • Some people see the advocates of Black Power as concerned with ridding the civil rights struggle of white people. This has been untrue from the beginning. There is a definite, much-needed role whites can play. This role can best be examined on three different, yet interrelated, levels: educative, organizational, supportive. Given the pervasive nature of racism in the society and the extent to which attitudes of white superiority and black inferiority have become embedded, it is very necessary that white people begin to disabuse themselves of such notions. Black people, as we stated earlier, will lead the challenge to old values and norms, but whites who recognize the need must also work in this sphere. Whites have access to groups in the society never reached by black people. They must get within those groups and help perform this essential educative function.
  • It is hoped that eventually there will be a coalition of poor blacks and poor whites. This is the only coalition which seems acceptable to us, and we see such a coalition as the major internal instrument of change in the American society. It is purely academic today to talk about bringing poor blacks and poor whites together, but the task of creating a poor-white power block dedicated to the goals of a free, open society—not one based on racism and subordination—must be attempted. The main responsibility for this task falls upon whites. Black and white can work together in the white community where possible. [...] Only whites can mobilize and organize those communities along the lines necessary and possible for effective alliances with the black communities. This job cannot be left to the existing institutions and agencies, because those structures, for the most part, are reflections of institutional racism. If the job is to be done, there must be new forms created. Thus, the political modernization process must involve the white community as well as the black.
  • Be nice to the whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.
  • The whites have always been an unjust, jealous, unmerciful, avaricious and blood-thirsty set of beings, always seeking after power and authority.
    • David Walker (abolitionist), Walker’s Appeal, in Four Articles; Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1830)
  • I may here express my opinion in passing that the white colour of the skin is not natural to man, but that by nature he has a black or brown skin, like our forefathers the Hindus ; that consequently a white man has never originally sprung from the womb of nature, and that thus there is no such thing as a white race, much as this is talked of, but every white man is a faded or bleached one. Forced into the strange world, where he only exists like an exotic plant, and like this requires in winter the hothouse, in the course of thousands of years man became white. The gipsies, an Indian race which immigrated only about four centuries ago, show the transition from the complexion of the Hindu to our own.

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