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Paper Topic:

What are the similarities and differences between a racial group and an ethnic group?


Racial and Ethnic Groups

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Racial groups and ethnic groups are oftentimes confused with one another or are treated as interchangeable terms . Contrary to what others may believe , racial and ethnic groups vary in many ways , one of which can be seen in terms of the concepts of race ' and ethnicity ' from which these terms are coined after . Race ' in particular refers to the division of individuals into groups or populations based on characteristics which include biological descent and the

more visible traits such as facial features and skin color (Winant , 2000 ,

. 173 Ethnicity ' on the other hand entails several shared behavioral cultural , religious and linguistic traits among a group of people (Jacobs Labov , 2002 ,

. 634 . Racial groups , therefore , are groups of people who share similar biological characteristics and genealogy whereas ethnic groups are groups of people who share the same culture behaviors , religion and language to name a few . Nevertheless , it can be said that both racial and ethnic groups can share within their respective group the aspect of kinship or family lineages to a certain extent

Members of racial groups often identify themselves in terms of shared physiological features such as skin color and notable facial features that are distinct or separate them from other groups of individuals . For example , some African slaves during the years before the twentieth century were labeled as black slaves ' whose race is primarily seen as the black race ' or the African race (Blakey , 2001 ,

. 389 . The same can also be said about a number of Asians living in other parts of the world they are often perceived as Asians in a foreign setting by virtue of their yellowish skin color and smaller eyes although within Asia there are still quite a number of physical distinctions among the people . In any case , it can be said that belonging to a specific racial group primarily implies belonging to a set of people having the same identifiable biological characteristics which , oftentimes , become associated with historical and cultural events through time

On the other hand , members of ethnic groups identify themselves in terms of linguistic features that are known only to them or , at the least , linguistic devices that they use on a daily and regular basis For instance , the members of the Igorot ethnic group in the Philippines make use of their own dialect and several other linguistic devices in the form of chants and hymns usually used during ceremonial events and other rituals (Antolin Scott , 1990 ,

. 201 . Moreover , members of ethnic groups also share the same set of patterned behaviors that are customary to their identity . For example , some of the few remaining tribes in Africa still practice animal sacrifices as an integral part of their beliefs in the purification of their well-being . Such practice is not exactly observed in several other parts of the world such as the urban areas of Europe and America , which makes it reasonable to...

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