Do White Americans Still Want to be Called Caucasians after Boston Bombing?
In the United States, the term “Caucasian” is generally accepted as a synonym for people who are white, although it can include people who are Hispanic or Middle Eastern. Historically, white Americans have been satisfied with being called Caucasians. However, when it was discovered that the Tsarnaev brothers accused of planting the Boston Marathon bombs came from the region of the Caucasus Mountains and were therefore real Caucasians, some white Americans have been wondering if “Caucasian” is now a bad word.
Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are of Chechen descent, although neither of the accused ever lived in Chechnya, the war-torn Russian republic located in the North Caucasus region.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was born in Russia and lived in the U.S. for 10 years before he died, while Dzokhar Tsarnaev was born in Kyrgyzstan, moved to the U.S. when he was nine, and became an American citizen in 2012.
And yet network television crews and other media outlets have poured into Dagestan, which borders on Chechnya and is also a part of the North Caucasus region, to talk to the Tsarnaev brothers’ parents and family friends.
The coverage has focused on whether the two men were linked to Chechen radicals or Muslim fanatics from the Caucasus. But in doing so, the media has painted an unflattering image of what it means to be of Caucasian descent.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Why Are White People Called Caucasian? (by Matt Soniak, Mental Floss)
The Wrong Kind of Caucasian (by Sarah Kendzior, Al Jazeera)
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