Reflection on Ethnicity

Topics: Sociology, Culture, Value Pages: 2 (570 words) Published: April 11, 2005
Our increased mobility has given us greater access to the world and the diverse people that inhabit it. With that mobility comes the shared responsibility to negotiate with people who may initially seem unfamiliar and learn to express the experience. The word "ethnicity" is used to describe a specific population's characteristics of fundamental aspects that all humans share. When applied loosely, ethnicity becomes a blanket term to define large populations, undermining the worth and the diversity within that group and emphasizing the differences between cultures. Yet those differences come down to matters of preference and socialization within each culture. The dominant themes that rule human nature persist in every society – wondering where we came from and why we exist, social mores to guide how we relate to people or situations, and primal motivations such as hunger, fear, and a need to be loved and accepted. People communicate with language, have a sense of family structure, practice culinary habits, beliefs, and social values that evolved concurrent with the compounded revisions of a group's public space and collective perception of reality. Over time, ethnic groups have interacted and negotiated public realms similar to the method each separate population underwent to develop into its present framework. We continue to co-mingle cultures, borrowing tastes that suit our own self-definition and determination. The definition of what is "right" and what is valued varies from culture to culture, and from individual to individual. How we value differences affects our ability to embrace or reject entire cultures. When the knowledge that humans belong to one race becomes more widely known and accepted, our interpretation of other ethnic groups may change. The differences between cultures may not be as pronounced as our similarities. America is a recognized melting pot, integrating immigrants and their children, folding generations into a wider network...
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