Short Notes on Race and ethnicity and Examples

Race and ethnicity have been used interchangeably in the past, however the need to define the two has been recognized, in doing so, race has been recognized as the biological segregation of people, based on their skin color and ethnicity has been recognized more in terms of their culture. Ethnicity as a concept is separate from race, however we often talk about ethnicity and race together, the ethnicity theory holds that while race is a social category that leads to the formation of groups with a similar culture or a shared history, however, it is one of the many criteria based on which ethnicity is distinguished. The race is a controversial topic when it comes to the relation between race and ethnicity.

Ethnicity refers to a shared background by a group of people based on the language, the history, the nation that they belong to, the culture that they share. To a very large extent, it depends on the society to which we belong. it is usually with the people of this society that we will share a common history with, or dress in a similar manner, or speak similar languages. However there is always a possibility that we may be born in some other ethnicity, but by adopting the practices and culture of another society, we may become a part of that ethnicity, we may learn the language, change the way we dress, belong to a particular nation.

Often ethnicity will be related to nationality, this will especially be the case in a situation of transnational migration. Here your ethnicity is recognized based on the nation to which you belong. People migrate for a variety of reasons, it may be due to a job, or maybe getting married to someone who lives in another country. E.g. if someone from India gets a job in the United States, then their ethnicity will be recognized as Indian and not American. Moreover, with relation to ethnicity, there has also been the creation of multi-ethnic states, as the name suggests, such a state includes more than one type of ethnicity, here the ethnicity may be in majority/ minority form. This creation may take place when people from different ethnicities may migrate to form a minority.

The groups that have to migrate may often be subject to prejudicial treatment, this is due to the fact that as a part of a particular culture we are always likely to have some notions about another culture, this may lead to what can be called ethnonational conflicts. However, it is believed that these conflicts must be resolved.

The 19th century has observed the development of ethnic-nationalism, which is when the nation is directly related to one’s ethnicity. This development has helped solve this conflict as here the nation-states are required to look at the various ethnic groups and find ways that take care of their needs, all this needs to happen within the boundaries of the nation. Thus ethnicity is more complex than just merely one’s culture, even when we remove the aspect of a shared history, we have to look at the fact that people do not always remain in the same society, they migrate, thus sometimes ethnicity may be more to do with which nation we belong to than where we live currently.


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Sabnam, pursuing Sociology from Miranda House, Delhi University hails from the land of red River, Assam. 1500 dollar loans online. She is a pure non-realist, because, as she puts it, "reality hurts and pain is not what I endure but what I pour into paper!".