ESSAY, Sociology, University of Liverpool, UK: Ethnic and Race Differences

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines “ethnicity” as one’s “ethnic character, background or affiliation.” The dictionary defines the root word of ethnicity—“ethnic”—as a “sizable group of people sharing a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic or cultural heritage.” The word “race,” on the other hand, means “a local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.” So ethnicity is more of a sociological description of culture, while race is largely thought to be rooted in science. However, American Heritage points out that the concept of race is problematic “from a scientific point of view.” The dictionary notes: “The biological basis for race is described today not in observable physical features but in the study of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomes, and the groupings outlined by earlier physical anthropologists seldom coincide with findings at the genetic level.” In other words, it’s difficult to make biological distinctions between members of white, black, and Asian “races.” Scientists widely view race as a social construct. But some sociologists view ethnicity as a social construct, too. Sociologist Robert Wonser says, “Sociologists see race and ethnicity as social constructions because they are not rooted in biological differences, they change over time, and they never have firm boundaries.” The idea of whiteness in the United States has expanded, for example. Italians, Irish, and Eastern European immigrants were not always thought of as white. In the early 21st century, these groups are categorized as belonging to the white “race.” The idea of an ethnic group can also be broadened or narrowed. While Italian-Americans are thought of as an ethnic group in the United States, some Italians identify more with their regional origins than their national ones. Rather than view themselves as Italians, they consider themselves Sicilian, for example. “African-American” is another problematic ethnic category. The term is often applied to any black person in the U.S., and many assume it refers to the descendants of former slaves who partake in cultural traditions of this group. But a black immigrant to the U.S. from Nigeria may practice completely different customs from these African-Americans and believe the term doesn’t define him. “Ethnicity can be displayed or hidden, depending on individual preferences, while racial identities are always on display,” he says. An Indian-American woman may display her ethnicity by wearing a sari, bindi, and henna hand art or conceal it by wearing Western dress. The same woman can do little to conceal the physical characteristics that point out she’s of South Asian ancestry. Typically, only multiracial people have traits that mute their ancestral origins. Like some Italians, many Nigerians don’t identify with their nationality but with their group in Nigeria—Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, etc. While race and ethnicity may be social constructs, Wonser argues that they differ in distinct ways. 英国论文代写

Sign in or Sign up Leave Comment