Here is a good article on The Great Gatsby, the movie.
Here is a fact from it that I did not know: “an ethnic-American man like Gatsby (born Gatz) would not have been considered “white.” Gatsby is German. I knew Norwegians, Swedes and Finns were ambiguously white, almost as ambiguously so as the southern Europeans, but I did not know Germans were nonwhite like the Irish.
This explains why my father is not white. He has some British descent, his grandmother was a Beecher (you know, Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe), but otherwise he is German and Russian with touches of Jewish and French. From what I have been able to gather his parents were not trying to whiten (or did not expect to “pass”).
It also explains why my maternal grandmother, half German and half British and then marrying my all British grandfather, was constantly guarding against any activity that might seem ethnic. And it means I am a saltatrás, a step back, because I am less white in these terms than my mother or my grandmother or her English grandmother for that matter.
I could not publish my article on Gloria Anzaldúa in Signs because they said white people should never criticize anything people of color write, as our criticism would surely stem from unconscious racism or at least appear to do so. They assumed I was white based on my name. This is how I know peer review is not blind.