Race and Ethnicity

race and ethnicity

The terms race and ethnicity are somewhat complex. They often are use interchangeably and not given much thought to where their root origin comes from. Race and Ethnicity are related to biological and sociological factors respectively.  Race refers to physical characteristics such as hair, eye, skin color, and bone structure. People are divided into populations based on their “race” or physical attributes. Whereas ethnicity refers to nationality, region culture, cultural background, language, and ancestry. Ethnic populations identify on the basis of common nationality.

An interesting point between race and ethnicity is the ability to self-identify. A person does not have choice of their race.  Ethnicity is self-identified. People can somewhat choose their ethnicity. They can study a language, live within cultural influence, and so choose to adapt.

Let me give an example. Many Caucasians migrated to America.  Although many were white in color, or termed Caucasian, there are many cultural diversities.  French culture and  German cultures, Irish and Scottish.  All “white” but different. Many people indigenous people throughout the African continent come from a variety of different cultures, although we call them african american, or black.

Differences in color, race, culture and religion exist greatly. Yet we all have one thing in common, and that is that we are humans. Differences, when not set out to harm or hurt others, should be respected, regardless of race or ethnicity.  However, many wars have been fought and continue to be fought because of intense cultural, religious and racial beliefs.

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