White people  

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This reproduction of a 1900 minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co., shows the transformation from white to "black".
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This reproduction of a 1900 minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co., shows the transformation from white to "black".
James Whistler's painting Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl (1862) caused controversy when exhibited in London and, later, at the Salon des Refusés in Paris. The painting epitomizes his theory that art should essentially be concerned with the beautiful arrangement of colors in harmony, not with the accurate portrayal of the natural world.
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James Whistler's painting Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl (1862) caused controversy when exhibited in London and, later, at the Salon des Refusés in Paris. The painting epitomizes his theory that art should essentially be concerned with the beautiful arrangement of colors in harmony, not with the accurate portrayal of the natural world.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

White people is a racial classification specifier, used for people of Europid ancestry, with the exact implications dependent on context. The contemporary usage of "white people" or a "white race" as a large group of (mainly European) populations contrasting with "black", American Indian, "colored" or non-white originated in the 17th century.

It is today particularly used as a racial classifier in multiracial societies. Various social constructions of whiteness have been significant to national identity, public policy, religion, population statistics, racial segregation, affirmative action, white privilege, eugenics, racial marginalization and racial quotas.

The term "white race" or "white people" entered the major European languages in the later 17th century, in the context of racialized slavery and unequal status in European colonies. Description of populations as "white" in reference to their skin color predates this notion and is found in Greco-Roman ethnography and other ancient sources. Scholarship on race generally distinguishes the modern concept from pre-modern descriptions of collective difference.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "White people" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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