I think most people in my country recognize some sort of relationship with Southern Europe (especially Greece). But when they go abroad (especially America, less so in western Eruope), both groups see these similarities accentuated by the very alien society around them. I don’t think it’s looks, though; I alwyas used to think I looked distinctly Egyptian until a lot of people in Europe started telling me they don’t know what the hell ‘distinctly Egyptian’ or ‘distinctly Turkish’ is supposed to mean. Anyway, I think it’s more attitude. All Mediterannean people are very sociable, very loud, talk with their hands, have oppressively close-knit families and love to eat.
About racism, please don’t be judgmental. Most people can’t decide their own race in this part of the world, so they are hardly racist, they are just a bit xenophobic. Yes, Hollywood has left a bad impression of blacks and Hispanics (as it is doing to Arabs now), but most people are open. About whites, most people in my country are infused with the notion that most whites are racist and must be approached carefully until you measure how biased they are. Personally, I like to think that this common ‘wisdom’ is worthless.