"The World's" Phillip Martin reports on how recent immigrants to the United States feel about American notions of race and skin color.

Fausto daRocha, the executive director of Brazilian Immigrant Center in Boston could easily be mistaken for Greek or Italian, but he's not considered white, as he discovered last year when he attended a leadership retreat for non-profit directors and found, during an exercise that separated blacks and whites, that he was considered a person of color.

A first-generation immigrant from Iran says she's used whiteness to her advantage to avoid the emotional weight of prejudice: "Becoming white is a sense of searching for your security. There's so much to deal with, you don't want to deal with this ethnicity issue ... cause you don't want to think about it. And I can see that in my little son. He was striving to be white American because it was just more comfortable."

And though the 2000 Census defines immigrants from the Middle East as white, 911 seemed to change how people saw her.

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston. More "The World."

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