These non-English terms for "race-mixing" are not considered as offensive as "miscegenation", although they have historically been tied to the caste system (Casta) that was established during the colonial era in Spanish-speaking Latin America.Some groups in South America, however, consider the use of the word mestizo offensive because it was used during the times of the colony to refer specifically to the mixing between the conquistadores and the indigenous people.
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Intermarriage occurred significantly from the very first settlements, with their descendants achieving high rank in government and society.
To this day, there are controversies if Brazilian class system would be drawn mostly around socio-economic lines, not racial ones (in a manner similar to other former Portuguese colonies).
Conversely, people classified in censuses as black, brown ("pardo") or indigenous have disadvantaged social indicators in comparison to the white population.
The concept of miscegenation is tied to concepts of racial difference.
As the different connotations and etymologies of miscegenation and mestizaje suggest, definitions of race, "race mixing" and multiraciality have diverged globally as well as historically, depending on changing social circumstances and cultural perceptions.
Mestizo are people of mixed white and indigenous, usually Amerindian ancestry, who do not self-identify as indigenous peoples or Native Americans.
In Canada, however, the Métis, who also have partly Amerindian and partly white, often French-Canadian, ancestry, have identified as an ethnic group and are a constitutionally recognized aboriginal people.
The differences between related terms and words which encompass aspects of racial admixture show the impact of different historical and cultural factors leading to changing social interpretations of race and ethnicity.
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Because of the term's historical use in contexts that typically implied disapproval, more unambiguously neutral terms such as interracial, interethnic or cross-cultural are more common in contemporary usage.
The term miscegenation has been used since the 19th century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations, The Latin term entered historical records during European colonialism and the Age of Discovery, but societies such as China and Japan also had restrictions on marrying with people whom they considered to be of a different race.