Первым законом об американском гражданстве был Naturalization act 1790 г. В нем написано, что гражданином Америки может стать "free white person" of "good moral character".
В 1923 году некий сикх по имени Bhagat Singh Thind пытался получить американское гражданство. К этому моменту он успел несколько месяцев повоевать в составе американской армии в 1 мировой войне, сделал PhD.
Thind настаивал на том, что он, будучи уроженцем Пенджаба и представителем высшей касты, вне всяких сомнений является арийцем и Caucasian. Дело дошло до Верховного суда, который в 1923 г. вынес решение, что индиец не может считаться free white person. Приведу ниже несколько выдержек из решения суда .
The eligibility of this applicant for citizenship is based on the sole fact that he is of high-caste Hindu stock, born in Punjab, one of the extreme northwestern districts of India, and classified by certain scientific authorities as of the Caucasian or Aryan race. The Aryan theory, as a racial basis, seems to be discredited by most, if not all, modern writers on the subject of ethnology.
…in Hindustan and Berar, there was such an intermixture of the "Aryan" invader with the dark-skinned Dravidian. In the Punjab and Rajputana, while the invaders seem to have met with more success in the effort to preserve their racial purity, intermarriages did occur producing an intermingling of the two and destroying to a greater or less degree the purity of the "Aryan" blood. The rules of caste, while calculated to prevent this intermixture, seem not to have been entirely successful.
The term "Aryan" has to do with linguistic, and not at all with physical, characteristics, and it would seem reasonably clear that mere resemblance in language, indicating a common linguistic root buried in remotely ancient soil, is altogether inadequate to prove common racial origin. There is, and can be, no assurance that the so-called Aryan language was not spoken by a variety of races living in proximity to one another. Our own history has witnessed the adoption of the English tongue by millions of negroes, whose descendants can never be classified racially with the descendants of white persons, notwithstanding both may speak a common root language.
In the endeavor to ascertain the meaning of the statute, we must not fail to keep in mind that it does not employ the word "Caucasian," but the words "white persons," and these are words of common speech, and not of scientific origin. The word "Caucasian" not only was not employed in the law, but was probably wholly unfamiliar to the original framers of the statute in 1790.
The words of familiar speech, which were used by the original framers of the law, were intended to include only the type of man whom they knew as white. The immigration of that day was almost exclusively from the British Isles and Northwestern Europe, whence they and their forebears had come. When they extended the privilege of American citizenship to "any alien being a free white person," it was these immigrants -- bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh -- and their kind whom they must have had affirmatively in mind. The succeeding years brought immigrants from Eastern, Southern and Middle Europe, among them the Slavs and the dark-eyed, swarthy people of Alpine and Mediterranean stock, and these were received as unquestionably akin to those already here and readily amalgamated with them.
It is a matter of familiar observation and knowledge that the physical group characteristics of the Hindus render them readily distinguishable from the various groups of persons in this country commonly recognized as white. The children of English, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian, and other European parentage quickly merge into the mass of our population and lose the distinctive hallmarks of their European origin. On the other hand, it cannot be doubted that the children born in this country of Hindu parents would retain indefinitely the clear evidence of their ancestry. It is very far from our thought to suggest the slightest question of racial superiority or inferiority. What we suggest is merely racial difference, and it is of such character and extent that the great body of our people instinctively recognize it and reject the thought of assimilation.
Иными словами, по решению суда, белыми по мнению отцов-основателей считались те, кто мог слиться со старожилами в плавильном котле. Удивительно, что в 1900-е годы в Америку пустили евреев: вряд ли отцы основатели считали их белыми, и неготовность слиться тоже очевидна. Интересно, как бы сложилась судьба мира и Америки, если бы их не пускали. Не исключено, что в Израиле нас было бы сегодня на 10 миллионов больше.