What is the difference between race and ethnicity? Many people tend to think of race and ethnicity as if they were the same thing. Words are often used interchangeably. Searching for the definition in a dictionary usually doesn’t make it even clearer. However, these two words have separate meanings. Understanding their distinct meaning is increasingly important, especially as diversity in the world continues to grow.
What is the race?
Simply put, race is the word used to describe a person’s physical characteristics. These features can include anything from skin color to eye color and facial structure to hair color. This term is physiological in nature and refers to distinct populations within the larger species. The breed was once a common scientific field of study. Today, however, most scientists agree that genetic differences between races do not exist.
What is ethnicity?
Ethnicity, on the other hand, is the word used to describe a person’s cultural identity. These identities can include language, religion, nationality, ancestry, clothing and customs. Members of a particular ethnic group tend to identify each other on the basis of these shared cultural traits. This term is considered anthropological because it is based on learned behaviors.
Difference between race and ethnicity
An example of the difference between these two terms is examining people who share the same ethnicity. Two people can identify their ethnicity as American, yet their races can be black and white. Furthermore, a person born of Asian descent who grew up in Germany can identify themselves racially as Asian and ethnically as German.
People who share the same race can also have distinct ethnicities. For example, people who identify themselves as white can have German, Irish or British ethnicity.
Socially constructed differences
Some researchers believe that the idea of race and ethnicity has been socially constructed. This is because their definitions change over time, based on widely accepted public opinion. Once it was believed that the breed was due to genetic differences and biological morphologies. This belief has given way to racism, to the idea of racial superiority and inferiority. For example, when Italian immigrants started arriving in the United States, they were not considered part of the “white race”. The same is true for Irish and Eastern European immigrants.
The widely accepted view that these individuals were not white led to restrictions on immigration policies and the entry of “non-white” immigrants. Indeed, during this period, the people of these areas were considered “alpine” or “Mediterranean” races. Today these categories of races no longer exist. Instead, due to successive political changes, the people of these groups began to be accepted in the wider “white” race.
They are now identified as individual ethnic groups. Which shows that, like the idea of race, the idea of ethnicity also changes over time on the basis of a widespread public opinion. They are now identified as individual ethnic groups. Which shows that, like the idea of race, the idea of ethnicity also changes over time on the basis of a widespread public opinion. They are now identified as individual ethnic groups. Which shows that, like the idea of race, the idea of ethnicity also changes over time on the basis of a widespread public opinion.
It is believed that ethnic identity promotes group cohesion, particularly in immigrant communities. Sharing ethnic identity within groups or communities provides security to people who could otherwise be avoided in their host country. Over time, however, ethnic identity is replaced by racial identity. This replacement occurs when each successive generation begins to assimilate into the culture of the host country, which, consequently, passes from being the host country to the home.