That's strange, I've never seen Egyptian or Morrocan people separate themselves from middle eastern Arabs as you did
anyways I'm Iranian so I guess brown.
I think some people from Morroco / Algeria / Tunisia might get offended if called an Arab because they would consider themselves Berber (Amazigh is the term they prefer). Egyptian Christians too don't consider themselves Arabs either.
I think people from peninsular Arabia and North Africa look really similar anyway, and I think they've always looked very similar even before the Arab conquest. Even though the two groups can be distinguished genetically, the way people choose to identify is generally driven by ideology imo.
Also, in a parallel world where the Arab conquest didn't exist, I think Egypt (& North Africa maybe) would be considered 'Mediterranean' countries (mixed race, Hellenistic culture, Christian religion, ex-Roman provinces) and that would be the ethnicity. Even the Coptic language
is only preserved in mostly Greek alphabet. Even without the Christian element, thatwould've eventually been the case
I guess it's sort of controversial because there are like two narratives of history; one where the original inhabitants of these countries were displaced or 'out bread' or whatever (as in Native Americans, or - I hope I'm remembering this right - ethnically Turkish people not being native to modern Turkey), and one narrative where at one point the majority of the inhabitants converted to Islam for whatever reason without mass immigration or displacement.
I think the truth is somewhere in between. I think that's historically true. Even the military commander who invaded Spain was a Berber.
For the Copts, I think it's more complicated. I think the original invasion was relatively smooth and for a few hundred years the rulers really had no interest or motive to convert anyone. They paid taxes, they grew crops, the Arabs were pretty much indistinguishable from the Romans to the farmers.
I think at one point though, the taxes were raised, the farmers revolted, the revolts were put down, and I think it just made sense after that for people to slowly convert to the religion of the ruler to gain a social status boost. And then they intermixed with the immigrant peninsular Arabs and that eventually became the dominant culture and ethnic mix.
Anyway, long story short, I don't like the word Arab, because it's exclusionary, and in some circumstances "Arab culture" just means some version of conservative Islam. I donno, it just feels too Islamocentric to me (if that's a word). I guess it would be weird to refer to Americans as "Anglo saxons" or even "English people". I don't mind using it if it's obvious I mean 'Arabic-speaking people', but generally people don't realize what they mean and get blinded but whatever stereotypes they're thinking of. Why is bigotry against Middle Eastern looking people called Islamophobia? That's just preposterous to me honestly.
I don't like the term Middle-Eastern because it's Eurocentric, and generally very non-specific (no one really knows exactly which countries to include or exclude).
I don't like the term North African either :P , because I don't think this part of the world is really that connected to Africa actually. Also, a lot of the historical (Arab-African) connection was as toxic and one sided as the European one. I think countries like Somalia, Nigeria, Chad, etc are more African countries with Arab/Muslim influences. Sudan is the only country I can think of that I would consider both African and Arab, though I would also give that label to Southern parts of Egypt.
Though modern Egyptians have a lot more sub-saharan DNA than in ancient times. But they don't generally acknowledge that for some reason. They'd rather identify with peninsular Arabs or with ancient Egypt, because it means more to them culturally, or as a matter of prestige, than connecting to 'Africa' (*).
Also, Egypt isn't really that much a part of the North-African "club" in geopolitics. It's more like just Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria that tend to distance themselves from the rest of the 'Arab world'. Also, very few Amazigh people actually. So, not really that much pre-Islamic culture shared.
Not to sound weird or anything, but I think the only two terms I would consider accurate & useful are (the admittedly cumbersome) Arabophone and Islamicate
People often speak of the "Golden age of Islam" or the "Arab Caliphates" and then spend 10 minutes explaining that it's not about religion or ethnicity but language and culture. So why not just use more descriptive terms, lol.
If it's not already apparent, this topic does interest me for some reason. Sorry for the long post, lol.
Also, this channel is really good for getting info about different ethnicities:
I also think the Iranian-Arab history is very interesting, and was a lot more two-sided than the Arab-Egyptian (which was very one sided). I actually think that a lot of 'Islamicate' culture was influenced by Persian culture. You could even argue that the ethnic tensions played a significant role in the end of the only truly Arab caliphate
(*) Interesting side note: Egypt was ruled by many "ex-slaves" (they even had their own dynasty), but they tended to be Turkish / European. Only one I know of was black, and also a eunuch, which I always thought was a cool story for a movie.