Race, ethnicity key roles, and uncertainties today

Essay by pkhalidUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, March 2007

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

What is race and ethnicity? Despite their common usage, or perhaps because of it, the termsrace and ethnicity are hard to define precisely and explicitly. Typically, the term race has a biological orphysical undertone (but is certainly not so strictly limited). While ethnicity refers broadly to culture andcustom. Both terms are used to group people who have similar experiences and backgrounds togetherinto one category. The Census beauru claims : classification of the population by race reflects commonusage rather than an attempt to define biological stock. Race is a population of humans distinguished insome way from other humans. The most widely used racial categories developed on visible traits( especially skin colour and facial features).

Ethnicity is an ethnic group of people who identify with one another, or are so identified byothers, on the basis of boundary that distinguishes them from other groups. The boundaries may take anumber of forms- racial, cultural, linguistic, economic, religious, or political.

Because of this boundary,member of an ethnic group are often presumed to be culturally or biologically similar, although notexactly the case.

Race and ethnicity are important to our identity because it is in relation to how we are seen byindividuals and how we view ourselves, also that race and ethnicity are central to these processes.

Identity is how we see ourselves, and how others see us. Because of this it's quite apparent Race andethnicity are very important in defining our identities.

If we take for example a women walking down the street wearing a salwaar kameez and headPagescarf, what might one presume about her. A few things that come to mind are she is Pakistani, Muslim,and Asian. With the presumptions that I just stated dealt with ethnical and racial factors, and you canclearly see how it played a major role in me defining who I...