RACEAND ETHNICITYA race is associated withbiology, whereas ethnicity is associated with culture.
In biology, races are genetically distinctpopulations within the same species; they typically have relatively minormorphological and genetic differences. Though all humans belong to the samespecies (Homo sapiens), and even to the same sub-species (Homo sapienssapiens), there are small genetic variations across the globe that engenderdiverse physical appearances, such as variations in skin color (Staff, 2012). The traditionaldefinition of race and ethnicity is related to biological and sociologicalfactors respectively. Race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, suchas bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color. Ethnicity, however, refers tocultural factors, including nationality, regional culture, ancestry, andlanguage (“Ethnicity vs Race”). An example of race isbrown, white, or black skin (all from various parts of the world), while anexample of ethnicity is German or Spanish ancestry (regardless of race) or HanChinese. your race is determined by how you look while your ethnicity isdetermined based on the social and cultural groups you belong to.
You can havemore than one ethnicities, but we are said to have one race, even if it’s”mixed race”(“Ethnicity vs Race”).Ethnicity is the term forthe culture of people in each geographic region, including their language,heritage, religion, and customs. To be a member of an ethnic group is to conformto some or all those practices. Race and ethnicity can overlap, but they aredistinct. For example, a Japanese-American would probably consider herself amember of the Japanese or East Asian race, but, if she doesn’t engage in any ofthe practices or customs of her ancestors, she might not identify with theethnicity, but might instead consider herself to be American (Staff, 2012). According to an article,I read it stated that there is nothing genetic about the presence or absence oftraditional culture; traditional culture is not the sole province of any oneethnic group.
For example, in ancient Europe, the Celts and Teutons livedtraditional culture. In ancient North America, the Anishinaabe and Lakota livedtraditional culture. In ancient Africa, the Bantu and Yoruba lived traditionalculture. At some point back in history all human beings — regardless of whatcontinent they occupied and which ethnic group they constituted — all lived ina traditional tribal culture (Knick, 2010).Modern culture developedin some areas of the planet as human societies grew larger.
Mass organizationin some form — first the development of large workforces and armies, and laterthe development of mechanized means of production — was an important force inchanging the traditional culture into modern culture. The shift from rural lifeto urban life is at the core of the development of modern culture (Knick, 2010).Any kind of culture canbe a foundation, uplifting, and responsible for nourishing a home and mayproduce rules for understanding ourselves. I strongly believe that if theperson is to deeply be caught up in cultural identity it may limit a personfrom growing and reaching their highest potential.
Although I am a black womanand can identify with the issues regarding black women and women in general, Iam not limited by my culture by any means. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RACE AND ETHNICITYOne example of thedifference between these two terms is by examining people who share the sameethnicity. Two people can identify their ethnicity as American, yet their racesmay be black and white. Additionally, a person born of Asian descent who grewup in Germany may identify racially as Asian and ethnically as German. Peoplewho share the same race may also have distinct ethnicities. For example, peopleidentifying as white may have German, Irish, or British ethnicity (Pariona,2016). SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED DIFFERENCESSome researchers believethat the idea of race and ethnicity has been socially constructed.
This isbecause their definitions change over time, based on widely accepted publicopinion. The race was once believed to be due to genetic differences andbiological morphologies. This belief gave way to racism, the idea of racialsuperiority and inferiority.
For example, when Italian immigrants beganarriving in the United States, they were not considered part of the “whiterace.” The same is true of Irish and Eastern European immigrants (Pariona,2016). The widely accepted view that these individuals were not white led to restrictionsof immigration policies and on the entrance of “non-white”immigrants. In fact, during this time, people from these areas were consideredof the “Alpine” or “Mediterranean” races. Today, these racecategories no longer exist. Instead, due to later policy changes, people fromthese groups began to be accepted into the wider “white” race. Theyare now identified as individual ethnic groups. Which shows that, like the ideaof race, the idea of ethnicity also changes over time-based on widely held publicopinion (Pariona, 2016).
Ethnic identity isbelieved to promote group cohesiveness, particularly in communities ofimmigrants. Sharing ethnic identity within groups or communities providessafety to individuals who might otherwise be shunned within their host country.Over time, however, ethnic identity is replaced with racial identity. Thisreplacement occurs as each successive generation begins to assimilate with theculture of the host country, which, consequently, goes from being the hostcountry to home (Pariona, 2016). MYRACE AND MY ETHNICITYWhile researching I readthat since I am an African American or, identify with being African American, Iam a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
Terms suchas “Haitian” or “Negro” can be used in addition to”Black or African American” (“Race and EthnicityClassifications”). WHATDOES IT MEAN TO BE AN AMERICAN?I am aware of whatAmerica or being an American is supposed to be and that is being free and havingplenty of opportunities. Although I agree that being American has its greatpoints, it has its dark points too. I came across two quotes by AfricanAmericans addressing what it means to them to be American they are thefollowing:BeingBlack in America, often, means being judged before you ever open your mouth. Itmeans knowing that many of the people surrounding you already have thepreconceived idea that you are uneducated, loud and ghetto…It means having tohear others respond to the social injustices that we are facing with words like’All Lives Matter,’ as if others saying that ‘police need to stop killingunarmed Black men’ is offensive and questionable enough for debate.” – Jada H (“WhatDoes It Mean to Be Black in America?”, 2017). “Ihave to work three, four times harder just to prove that I’m just asintelligent or capable as someone with lighter skin than me. We’re constantlysilenced with everyone’s desire for us to be content with the inhumanetreatment that we receive…I have to tell my little black nephew, that I love todeath, that he better not take part in the simple things that could easily gethim senselessly murdered.
It means that I have to constantly remind my littleblack niece that her skin is beautiful, and she is capable of all things sheputs her mind to. It simply means that we, black people, have to continue thefight for equality and justice.” – Makiya W (“What Does It Mean To Be Black InAmerica?”, 2017). MY CULTURAL INFLUENCESAND MY TRADITIONSMy identity is simple Iam a black and I am a woman, I do not agree with the term African Americanbecause I feel it is a form of disrespect to real Africans from Africa. Theirculture is rich and deep, and I feel as though claiming some form of their nameis an insult to them. I am black first and American second and I could arguerather I am American. Although I wish I did have direct ties to my ancestralculture the reality is that I don’t.
My memories only go back to my greatgrandmothers. I have heard stories of how strong these women were and how theywere the true backbone of the family. I was able to witness the greatness ofone great-grandmother. She was feisty smart and way ahead of her time. She hadno problem with speaking her mind; some would say she was tough as nails and atthe same time she displayed her femininity with not only class, also without itbeing an issue.
My great grandmother Beatrice was married to a man 12 years wYounger than her whichwas unusual in her time. I say all this to say that my influences of being awoman who could have it all were never a foreign concept in my householdgrowing up. My grandmother (moms side) was Valedictorian. By the time shegraduated from high school she had 6 children and she later went on to be avery successful woman who was not only a mother but a wife and business women.My beliefs and values are shaped by the strong women in my life. According to my research totruly understand what values we possess and live by, we must deconstruct themuntil we are able to clearly see what exactly it is we value and why we holdthose values (Taylor, 2012).
According to an author, Jim Taylor Ph.D. lookingopenly and honestly at the way we were raised is the first step in identifyingthe values that we were instilled with growing up. What did our parent’svalue and what values did they impress upon us, achievement, wealth, education,religion, status, independence, appearance? (Taylor, 2012).
Growing up both myparents instilled in me the importance of hard work, education, and family.Most of my youth my father worked construction jobs for very little pay. At theage of 38, he decided school was the best option and his path to a betterlifestyle.
What his choice regarding going to school, instilled s that it isnever too late to peruse your dreams. After he graduated I was able to witness firsthandthe benefits of an education, better home, better transportation and simply abetter life. Observing my dad embedded in me, that education was important andvery necessary.
My mother was already a college graduate and well into hercareer when my dad went back to school, but what she instilled was hard workand the importance of family support. All of these were values that werestressed in my upbringing and I emphasized them to my children today.