As a foreigner that moved to the us a couple years ago and has been dating a chicana for the past year... I've noticed Americans seem to have a sort of idea about race and culture that to them is all-encompassing across the world. To Americans there are only a handful of "races" and everyone falls inside that category in one way or another.
To me I'd say its this:
White = anglo-germanic / European
Latino = a mestizo from Mexico or Puerto Rico
Brown/Middle eastern = Greeks, arabs, Persians, central
Asians, and even INDIANS fall under this category it seems
Black = anyone who has any African blood (even just a tiny bit)
Asian = any east Asian (Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Korea)
To me (in my experience) most Americans don't really seem to understand that the world is much more complicated than that outside of the us and if someone doesn't easily fall into one of those categories they'll be all confused and ask why you're not the stereotypical example of that category??