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Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:13 PM

Why is the concept of race and ethnicity so messed up in America?

This really has been bugging me lately. I'm annoyed at how so many Americans seem to have trouble differentiating between race and ethnicity. Ethnicity is defined as the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition, while race is a biological and anthropological phenomenon. Occasionally I hear people saying something such as "that lady looks Jewish" or "he looks like he might be Italian or Canadian". How can a person look like they follow a certain religion or be from a certain country? And many months ago on DU when I first joined, I posted a question about whether Hispanic/Latino is a race, and everybody told me "no", and that a person from any race can be Hispanic or Latino. This honestly came as a huge shock to me, since my family and most people I know think that it is a race, and how the media seems to treat it as such (like when they discuss demographic trends).

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Reply Why is the concept of race and ethnicity so messed up in America? (Original post)
Jamaal510 Jan 2013 OP
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #1
WinkyDink Jan 2013 #2
CheapShotArtist Jan 2013 #7
cali Jan 2013 #3
LeftInTX Jan 2013 #4
One_Life_To_Give Jan 2013 #5
Iggo Jan 2013 #6

Response to Jamaal510 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:15 PM

1. Did you miss the vast history of building wealth of exploited, marginalized minorities?

 

Everyone is messed up in the head when it comes to these issues.

BTW, other countries don't exist. You are either an American, or a foreigner. You are either white, or not-white (with not-whiteness described by some people in derogatory terms).

There is blindness and hate caused from Americas history.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:16 PM

2. You don['t know how a person can look Italian (like me)? How about Chinese?

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 09:30 PM

7. What I got from the OP is

that 2 people who happen to be Italians, Chinese, Jewish, etc. could look slightly different. Like for example, there are darker-skinned Italians, and there are lighter-skinned Italians. And there are Jewish people who are red-heads, and Jewish people who are brunettes. I might be wrong, but that's just my $0.02, anyway.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:23 PM

3. This is hardly solely an American trait

and btw, your definition of ethnicity is not entirely correct.

Ethnicity or ethnic group is a socially defined category based on common culture or nationality. Ethnicity can, but does not have to, include common ancestry, appearance, cuisine, dressing style, heritage, history, language or dialect, religion, symbols, traditions, or other cultural factor. Ethnic identity is constantly reinforced through common characteristics which set the group apart from other groups.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnicity



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Response to Jamaal510 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:32 PM

4. When you fill out the Census etc. they ask about race, not ethnicity

The exception is Hispanic. It's kind of confusing, but Hispanics have history of being discriminated against and are included within the Voting Rights Act.

It wouldn't be practical for the government to keep records of everyone's ethnicity, Italian versus German etc.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:46 PM

5. Not as homogenous as the rest of the world

Unlike most of the world you can find quite a variety of people within even a single block in the US. Most of the world is highly isolated so most everyone in the village is French or Polish etc.

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Response to Jamaal510 (Original post)

Mon Jan 28, 2013, 02:49 PM

6. Pride and Prejudice.

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