What Does 'Caucasian' Really Mean? - FactzPedia


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What Does 'Caucasian' Really Mean?

What Does 'Caucasian' Really Mean?
Every once in a while, on one of those head-numbingly formulaic police procedurals on TV, you'll hear a description of a suspect that seems pulled right from the 1950s.

"The suspect is a 6-foot, 180-pound Caucasian male, white T-shirt, jeans ..."

Caucasian? Really? What does that even mean anymore? What did it ever mean?

run from the Black Sea (to the west) to the Caspian Sea (on the East) in an area that is considered by many as the crossroads between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The ranges — two of them, the Greater and Lesser — are due east of Italy (across the Mediterranean, much of Eastern Europe and the Black Sea), due north of Iraq (through a few countries) and due west of India (through a few countries and across the Caspian). The southern tip of Russia lies to the north of the Caucasus Mountains. To the immediate south is Georgia, a former Soviet Republic. This is where Caucasians — true Caucasians — call home. People from Georgia, Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia hail from the area.

In 1795, in the third edition of his book titled "De generis humani varietate nativa" (or, "On the natural varieties of mankind"), Blumenbach, building on work by Swedish scientist Carolus Linnaeus and others, used the word "Caucasian" to describe one of his five races of man. He determined each through scientific methods like the measuring of skulls, and tied each to distinct geographic regions. Caucasians were, as Blumenbach presented them, the "white" race and included people not only from the Caucasus region, but also those from Europe, northern India and parts of Northern Africa.

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