The Difference between Race and Ethnicity

The difference between race and ethnicity is considerable, but without clear knowledge of their differences, it is hard to understand the meaning of these two phenomena. This is the reason why the racial discrimination sometimes is perceived as ethnic intolerance and vice-versa although the differences are obvious (Spencer, 2006).

The race is biologically engineered features of a person. It includes color and tone of skin, the color of eye and hair as well as a tendency towards certain diseases. On the other hand, ethnicity is based on culture, language, and beliefs, namely on social outward factors (Ratcliffe, 1994). Moreover, ethnicity is much harder to identify than race as it usually does not have some signs on the human body (Lalwani, 2012).

The opportunity to change the ethnicity distinguishes it from the race. Moving to the other country or region, a person can change the ethnicity and embrace the other one by changing the traditions or beliefs. However, the person cannot change or disguise his or her race. Generally speaking, it can be said that race is nature, and ethnicity is nurture (Satalkar, 2010).

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It should be noticed that equality between different representatives of races and ethnicities exists only in documents: international covenants, treaties, constitutions etc. Unfortunately, discrimination and other intolerance still live in hearts of people. For example, in Southern California, the Latinos are considered not only as a working class but as the low-wage working class. The most polluted areas in Southern California are those where the Latinos live (Pulido, 2009). Regarding the people of Brazil, they are considered to be more prone to aggressive behavior, but no one pays attention to the fact that their actions were caused by the racial policy of the United States (Fry, 2012). Some special features of certain minorities were underlined by Shalini Shankar who said that in the sphere of advertising “Asian American executives produce differ from general market advertising in terms of language, culture, media placement, and, sometimes, overall creative approach”. (Shankar, 2012: 579)

To conclude, I would like to emphasize once again that race and ethnicity are two different phenomena which exist in parallel but are closely related to one another.

Everyone follows certain customs and traditions that define his/her ethnic group, as well as the human body, determines the race. However, no matter what race or ethnicity a person belongs or affiliates to, no matter how hard a person tries to become an integral part of the society where he or she lives, the problems that minority population have will more or less persecute such person for a long time.