Why have the Portuguese been misinterpreted in America, by American Anthropologists?
There are two reasons for this misunderstanding, Melungeon pretension and Cape Verdean assimilation. But the first one that should be subject of exposure are the Melungeons.
The Melungeons are perhaps the group of people, and if not in one of the cases, the ones which have initiated this event of bogus pageantry and self promotion.
Anyone who has ever heard of the Melungeons, would instantly label them as the "Portuguese" or Native-Americans of the Appalachia.
Reality however, exhibits something more outlandish.
Because Identity theft became quite common for these people, boasting Portuguese ancestry was a ticket to escape slavery, and with this attribution, it retained certain privileges that came with being white.
Their successors, had therefore involuntarily adopted a "Portuguese" identity, not in ways not to evade discrimination, but because they grew up to believe they were, after their ancestors false allegations.
During the nineteenth century, freed people of color have also participated in this campaign to parade ones ethnicity, to avoid being segregated to slave societies.
Since then, in USA, being Portuguese became associated with being dark, because of treacherous handles.
So, who are the Melungeons?
The Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African males and northern-European females.
Southern Europeans, such as the Portuguese (the people of Portugal), cannot be irresponsibly indicted by these perverse sexual acts, performed by Nordic women and African men in America, that came to boast their ethnicity.
The Cape Verdeans
"At a time when the U.S. government's policies and ideologies sought to incorporate immigrants through "Americanization" and assimilation, foreignness and racial differences were stigmatized. The presence of Cape Verdeans within the Portuguese population caused the Portuguese to be seen as dark-skinned foreigners, increasing racial prejudice. While the majority of Portuguese immigrants continued to hold on to their traditions, their children tended to disguise their Portuguese ancestry and to anglicize their names as a way of avoiding discrimination and attaining social mobility. Some became proponents of the ongoing Americanization and naturalization campaigns that used the slogan "If you want to be a good Portuguese, become American." Many married into other ethnic groups (e.g., Irish, Italian, English, French Canadian), and their lives became restricted to the United States."
"During Portugal's colonial era, however, immigrants from Cape Verde were also included among the Portuguese. Speaking the same language and subjected to Portugal's colonial rule, they were identified and tended to identify themselves as Portuguese. Since most Cape Verdeans are of mixed African and Portuguese descent, earlier Portuguese contingents earned the derogatory label of "Black Portugee" and were subjected to racial discrimination. With Cape Verde's political emancipation in 1975, Cape Verdeans mobilized themselves as a distinct ethnic group in the United States. However, ethnic boundaries between the two groups remain blurred in as much as there are still some Cape Verdean immigrants who continue to self-identify as Portuguese."