Defining Race and Ethnicity

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The use of the terms "race" and "ethnicity" is varied. The two terms are misused as if they are identical. The casual and common appearance of the terms side by side in the public discourse may discourage people from regarding them as distinct terms. Race is based on the premise of biological and physical differences. the concept of 'race' included any essential zing of groups of people which held them to display inherent, heritable, persistent or predictive characteristics, and which thus had a biological or quasi-biological basis. Ethnicity is an embodiment of values, institutions, and patterns of behavior, a composite whole representing a people's historical experience, aspirations, and worldview. Ethnic classification, either externally imposed or intrinsically engendered, often defines people's membership to a group. Aside from social constructs, ethnicity is innately more central to human experience and identity than race. I do not believe that these concepts should be important to society. Racial and ethnic categories are neither fixed across societies nor within a society. Racial and ethnic categories are fluid and changing depending on the socio-political context of a society at any given time. Ethnic and racial differences do not inherently lead to conflict. Instead, these differences can take on a social meaning of hierarchy leading to conflict when divided groups fail to negotiate. In such cases, the imbalance of power, not the racial or ethnic differences per se, is the underlying cause of the conflict. In each of these cases, it is critical that the topic of race and ethnicity receives continual examination. The ideology and myth of racial and ethnic differences cannot be validated to support or legitimate superiority, privilege, or conflict as has often been the case in both historical and global contexts.
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