3 years ago
Admissions Advice

As a Brazilian, how should I answer the race question on the Common App?

I'm an International Student from Brazil, where I'm considered white because of my skin color. The thing is: my family is mostly Mixed (Parda) and Afro Brazilian, so I have some physical traits of that side.

I don't consider (nor do I think White Americans would) myself as white, internationally speaking.

When I check the "White" box, I'm asked: "Which best describes your White background? Europe, Middle East, Other"; as a White Brazilian I am of European descent (because of colonization), but I don't identify as such because I have zero contact with that side of my heritage.

I am Brazilian, that's what I've always been, but that doesn't seem to be an option.

Considering that (if accepted) I'll never be White in the US, how should I answer the Demographics Section? Should I check the Latino box? What about the White one?

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3 years ago[edited]

On the Common App, if I were you, I'd first select Hispanic/Latino/a/x and then select South America on the radial box selections.

Then I would select both the "Black/African American" option and the "White" option on the next section.

I would select AFRICA and best describing your Black/African American background. I would select EUROPEAN as your White background.

This will cover all bases your Hispanic/LatinA/South American (Brazilian), your Afro Black side, and your White European heritage as well.

From a college admissions perspective, those applicants who have both Hispanic/Latino and Black elements to their background get the best Affirmative Action Boost. While many people would disagree that AA is fair and equitable, it is what is it and colleges still use that in the US.

Good luck.

🎤3 years ago

Thank you for your answer, it helped me a lot. But, just to clarify, even though I don't have dark skin, I should check the Black box because of my heritage/mixed family, like following the "one drop rule"?

3 years ago

Yes, you should check the Black box if you have Black heritage.

3 years ago

Yes, of course. It can only help in American college admissions.


3 years ago

Either choose Latino or mix. Also, what did you mean when you said "I'll never be White in the US" and "I don't identify as such?"

🎤3 years ago[edited]

I meant that, even though I'm White here, if I go to the US my name and some physical characteristics will always be more evident than my skin color. In the US there's the "one-drop rule" to define your race, in Brazil it's your skin color. A White/Mixed/Light-skinned Latino will always be Latino, especially if they have any non-white traits.

And the thing about me not identifying as European White is because I'm Brazilian White. My family is mixed, I was born with white skin, but that's where my European heritage ends. It's just weird to me to check the European box because that doesn't describe who I am in full.

3 years ago

Okay! Makes sense.


3 years ago

Just a reality check for you:

If this is true "my family is mostly Mixed (Parda) and Afro Brazilian", then you're not "considered" white. You are just black, or mulato, or "mestiço".

You can't be both pardo/afro AND white. You even acknowledge that "I have some physical traits of that side". So, to begin with, why are you confused about your race?

You fit in black, hispanic, latino, and mixed (only if it includes mixed latinos.

But you'll never fit the "white" description. Even for Brazilian standards.

There are a lot of white people in Brazil without any ancestry from Africa and/or anywhere else than white Europeans. Those are the ones who actually would fit in the "white" description.

But again. Not you.

Just check that latino box and you're good to go.

2 years ago

You couldn't be more wrong. Racial criteria differ enormously from country to country. I have been to Africa and nobody considered me black there, even though I have black ancestry. You seem to think that US racial criteria is universal. What you said about white people having only European blood is also false. Most people in Europe and their descendants have African or Middle Eastern ancestry. The guy's question makes sense because there is no such thing as a "Latino" race, except in the United States. Nobody in Brazil fills out a form and chooses the "Latin" option, because that option doesn't exist there. In Latin America, being "Latino" is a cultural heritage, not a race. I never describe myself as Latino, but as multiracial.


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