According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, race refers to a class or kind of people distinguished by shared interests, habits, or characteristics while ethnicity refers to a group having common national or cultural traditions. The latter definition gives little room for clarification when it comes to delineating between the two concepts, but the former definition poses some questions that might be worth considering. For example, how do we classify someone who falls into more than one racial category? What if one of their racial categories was Latina, but they also identified as Afro-Latina?
When people use white to describe someone’s heritage, they are referring to European ancestry. Although there are several different races in Europe, white Americans generally consider themselves as having a shared cultural identity. This can include everything from language and religion to politics and lifestyles. According to U.S.
Race, Ethnicity, and Identity Are Not Synonymous The two terms are often used interchangeably in everyday language. But there are important differences in how these concepts are defined by sociologists. Race refers to a group of people with certain shared physical characteristics, such as skin color or facial features. Ethnicity describes a group of people who share a common cultural heritage, such as values or beliefs.
The following races are included in an Asian ethnic background: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian (South Asian), Filipino, Japanese, and Laotian. Asian refers to someone who was born in Asia or whose ancestors were born in Asia. Asians are not all of one ethnic group; they come from many different cultures. For example, a Japanese person and a Korean person may have more cultural differences than similarities.
While Hispanic Americans are considered a racial group in some areas, they are more accurately considered an ethnic group or ethnicity. The U.S. Census Bureau refers to people of Hispanic origin as persons who trace their origin or descent to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain, or other Spanish cultures or origins regardless of race (Census). A person who identifies himself as Hispanic might also be white, black, Native American, or Asian—or any combination thereof.
The term mixed-ethnicity refers to someone who has multiple ethnicities in their background. Someone with mixed ethnicity may self-identify as multiracial, biracial, bi-cultural or multi-cultural. For example, I’m half Chinese and half Irish (mixed). I grew up in China until I was four years old before immigrating to Ireland where I lived for most of my childhood.
Why does it matter?
Race and ethnicity are not interchangeable terms. While both are factors used to classify a person, they’re different. Race refers to skin color, hair texture, facial features, etc. Ethnicity defines people by their cultural background: their customs, language, religion, food choices, etc.
How does society view you differently based on your ethnic background?
While these two terms are related, there are differences in how society views people based on their ethnic background. A person’s racial identity is a classification used by the society based on physical characteristics like skin color, hair texture, and facial features. People of different races can share similar heritages, religions, traditions, or languages; however, sometimes it’s obvious that two different ethnicities are connected even if they don’t share any of these connections.
The privileges associated with different ethnicities in America.
Some ethnicities receive more advantages in America than others. White people, for example, are often treated better by businesses, police officers, judges, and healthcare providers. In contrast, African Americans may be treated differently because of their skin color or features such as hair texture. It’s important to note that being a member of an ethnic group doesn’t mean you will automatically experience these privileges—many factors influence how your ethnicity impacts your life.
The challenges associated with being a member of each ethnic group in America?
The experiences of people of different ethnicities vary in their distinctness, but there are some universal challenges that we all share. For example, as a Chinese-American, I have sometimes been denied entry to certain clubs or bars because they weren’t sure how my presence would make other patrons feel. Sometimes when traveling overseas I’ve been subjected to racism and hate simply because of my skin color, even though I was born in America.
What is the difference between race and ethnicity give examples?
Race and ethnicity are terms that many people use interchangeably, but they’re not identical. In general, race refers to a person’s physical traits or skin color, while ethnicity is about a person’s cultural identity. For example, someone might say that someone else has a distinctly Irish look about them, in which case his appearance (eyes, hair color) is being described as part of his ethnic heritage—Irish.
Race refers to divisions among humans based on physical characteristics. Ethnicity, however, refers to cultural identification. And while these two concepts have been used interchangeably in American history, they have distinct meanings. While people’s outward appearances may reveal their ethnic background, no person can be defined by a single racial category.