Ethnicity, Race, and Nationality

Topics: Soviet Union, Russia, Nation Pages: 4 (1126 words) Published: October 8, 2011
Ethnicity & race are distinct from nationality, another term commonly used to describe a group of people with shared traits. Nationality is identity with a group of people who share legal attachment & personal allegiance to a particular country.

A nation or nationality is a group of people tied together to a particular place through legal status & cultural tradition. In principle, the cultural values shared with others of the same ethnicity derive from religion, language, & material culture, whereas those shared with others of the same nationality derive from voting, obtaining a passport, & performing civic duties. In the United States, the term nationality is generally kept reasonably distinct from ethnicity & race in common usage. Ethnicity identifies groups with distinct ancestry & cultural traditions, such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Chinese Americans, or Polish Americans. Race distinguishes blacks & other persons of color from whites. Outside North America, distinctions between ethnicity & nationality are even muddier. We have already seen that confusion between ethnicity & race can lead to discrimination & segregation. Confusion between ethnicity & nationality can lead to violent conflicts.

Ethnic groups have been transformed into nationalities because desire for self-rule is a very important shared attitude for many of them. To preserve & enhance distinctive cultural characteristics, ethnicities seek to govern themselves without interference. The concept that ethnicities have the right to govern themselves is known as self-determination.

During the nineteenth & twentieth centuries, political leaders have generally supported the right of self-determination for many ethnicities & have attempted to organize Earth's surface into a collection of nation-states. A nation-state is a state whose territory corresponds to that occupied by a particular ethnicity that has been transformed into a...
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