Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Ethnicity and Race

Ethnicity and race are terms often used to differentiate and describe groups of people based on shared characteristics.

Ethnicity includes a common cultural heritage, including language, religion, customs, and traditions, and is associated with a shared ancestry or geographical origin. 

In contrast, race mainly focuses on physical features, such as skin color and facial features, and has been used as a social construct to classify people based on observed physical differences. 

While ethnicity is more fluid and connected to cultural factors, race is often identified as more rigid and externally imposed, with social and historical implications. 

Both concepts, however, carry social impact, influencing how individuals are perceived, treated, and included or excluded in various societal contexts. 

So mainly, ethnicity is a classification of people based on cultural features and ancestral history. Race is a classification of people that is based on physical appearance.

What is Ethnicity?


A person’s ethnicity is based on their cultural characteristics and ancestral history rather than physical appearances.


Some examples of cultural classifications and different ethnicities include Jewish, Irish, and African. 

Ethnicity and disease:

There are certain diseases that only occur in certain ethnic groups, or in some cases, are simply more common or have worse outcomes. This is because people in particular groups may share specific genetic traits, making them more vulnerable to certain illnesses. Africans tend to have higher death rates due to malignant cancer than any other group. Hispanics have higher mortality rates from liver diseases and diabetes. 

What is Race?


A person’s race is a biological classification made on the basis of certain physical attributes that they have.


Examples of racial classifications include Asian, White (Caucasian), American Indian, Native Hawaiian (or Pacific Islander) and Black (African American).

Race and disease:

White people are at a greater risk of getting skin cancer than other races of people. This is because of the lack of melanin in the skin. Since whites have much less melanin in their skin, it means that the UV rays from the sun can more easily cause damage leading to cancer. American Indians have higher incidences of diabetes mellitus.

Difference between Ethnicity and Race?


Ethnicity is a grouping of people based on culture and ancestry. Race is a grouping of people based on physical appearance.

Based on skin color

Ethnicity is not based on skin color. Race is often based (at least partly) on skin color.

Based on shared ancestry

A person may belong to an ethnic group due to shared ancestry. This is not necessarily the case with race.


Examples of ethnic groups include Irish and Jewish. Examples of race groups include black, white, and Asian.

Diseases specific to certain groups

There are diseases found in specific ethnic groups; for instance, Ashkenazi Jewish people suffer more than other groups from the conditions of cystic fibrosis, Fanconi anemia C, and maple syrup urine disease. There are diseases more common in certain races; for instance, white people have more skin cancer, American Indians have more type 2 diabetes, and only black people have sickle-cell anemia.

Table comparing Ethnicity and Race

Summary of Ethnicity Vs. Race

  • It is easy to confuse ethnicity and race but remember ethnicity is based on ancestry and culture 
  • Race is based on physical appearance.
  • There are certain illnesses that, due to genetics, are more common in a particular race or ethnic group.


What is race and ethnicity examples?

Examples of race include white or black. Examples of ethnicity include Jewish or Irish.

Is Canadian an ethnicity or nationality?

Canadian is a nationality not an ethnicity.

Is Mexican a race or ethnicity?

Mexican is a nationality and is neither a race nor an ethnicity.

What is my ethnic origin if I am white?

White is not an ethnic category, but the ancestors of whites are usually from Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.

What are 5 examples of ethnicity?

Five examples of ethnic groups include: Jewish, Irish, Caribbean, Roma, and Arab.

How to know my ethnicity?

Today many people do DNA tests to see if they can establish their ancestry, and hence, ethnicity.

Is Caucasian a race or ethnicity?

Caucasian is an old term that was used to describe people of white race.

What is the largest ethnic group in the world?

The Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group in the world, making up slightly over 60% of the world’s population.

What race is Latino?

Latino is not a race, but rather it refers to individuals whose ancestors are from Central or South America or Mexico.

Are Filipinos considered Latino?

Based on the US census bureau, Filipinos are classified as Asian not Latino.

Are Filipino people Hispanic?

No, Filipino people are categorized as Asian; they are not classified as Hispanic people.

What race are Brazilians?

There is no single race making up Brazilians. Instead, Brazilians are multi-racial people and the population also includes individuals who are white, black, and Asian.

What is the least populated race in the world?

The smallest race in terms of numbers of people is the Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander race.

What city has the largest black population?

In the US, Jackson, Mississippi has the greatest proportion of black people. 

What is the largest ethnic group without a country?

The Kurds are the largest ethnic group that don’t have a country. Instead, they are scattered across a number of countries.

Is Canada more diverse than the US?

Yes, Canada is one of the top countries in the world for diversity and is more diverse than the U.S.

Which race has the lowest poverty rate?

Whites and Asians have the lowest poverty rates.

Which ethnic community is the smallest in Canada?

Of the ethnic groups that are present in Canada, Japanese is the smallest making up 0.3% of the population.

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  1. Thanks for this! It really helped me when I was typing up a report on the differences between ethnicity and race. I agree with your thoughts… except I would encourage some more background research and resource links to show your conclusion… otherwise, anyone could make all this up, but I do know that you probably spent quite some time thinking up a great way to explain this– it turned out pretty good, but next time make it great!

    • I disagree with this article. Genetics can be altered based on the region in which one lives. Climat and diet play a major factor as to how one looks, skin tone, size, shape etc. To me the term race is a pejoritive word, meant to divide, and often demean people of different backgrounds and from different regions. Case in point, has anyone ever really seen a “white” person? Has anyone seen a “black” person. While there may be a few individuals who may be very close to that color spectrum, on average, skin tones very so widely, categorizing them as either “black” or “white” makes no sense. There are some indians (from India) who are far darker in skin tone than African “black” people, but in features, look completely different. As stated before, there are people of different backgrounds, different regions, different family lineages, or perhaps different ethnicities, but there are no races except for racists!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • And I disagree with what you replied. The author made very good points. You however, misunderstood everything. Race exists for all. Genetics can be altered among people in the same region, however, the genes won’t be entirely different but similar. People in India will share genes that are more similar to each other as compared to people from Africa.

        • You misunderstood my point. When one thinks of Race, the terminology, “black”, “white”, “red”, “brown”, etc., comes to mind. However, these terms do not adequately describe the genetic makeup of an individual, nor one’s ethnic background; for you can have many individuals who are the same color, but are of different ethnic backgrounds and genetic lineages. The problem with categorizing Peoples by Race is that the term Race heavily relies upon one’s color, which has been used historically in a pejorative sense, to generalize, stereotype, and/or demean people of different backgrounds, culture, regions, etc.. Nevertheless, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Thanks for being civil.

          • I have to respectfully disagree here. I am actually taking an Ethics class right now titled Cultural Diversity, and it is not about separating anyone, it is about learning more about people so we can understand and accept them. I actually referenced this article in my last assignment “Racial and Ethnic Groups.” I think that people fear what they do no understand, and by learning more about people and what makes them different, we can be more accepting of them

          • you do understand race is not a color right? race only refers to what you are genetically not your skin tone… knowing ones race does not separate anyone.. put an arab, a native american, an indian, a samoan and a Moroccan together.. they are all genetically different and of different races but when you use terms like like white and black it throws all in them together just as much as it throws a british, turkish and russian together even though they are vastly different

          • Race is nothing more than a poorly constructed social construct. One person stated that Race is about Genetics. I’m sorry I have to disagree.
            First what is Race? According to dictionary.com, “An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies.” (1). Humans do not fit this definition. There are definitions given that separate us by physical characteristics, however this is strictly based on culture and not supported by science. According so science 99.9% of our genetic makeup is the same. The Majority of the differences are between men and women and unique personal traits (2). Race is truly nothing more than humans separating themselves by skin color and other minor features.

            (1) Science Dictionary “Race” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/race

            (2) O’Neil, Dennis “Ethnicity: Overview” http://anthro.palomar.edu/ethnicity/ethnic_1.htm

          • @ Michelle Lynn. Once you said you disagree because “you are taking a class” you showed that you are being mind-controlled and don’t have a real opinion yet. You’re basing your opinion on what you were “taught” to believe which means it’s not necessarily what you “really” believe. You have no idea what “you” really believe. Step out of your books and teachings (brainwashing) and use your brain for the first time (kind of like Morpheus handing you the red and blue pill). There’s a reason why most humans use less than 10% of their brain (or is it even less than that). The reason is because we are programmed to think a certain way and to believe certain things through education. So what am I saying? Down with education? Absolutely not. See education is a good thing when it’s true and real. However, our education is just a Trojan Horse. It’s not what you think it is so don’t take everything you hear in college as the “golden truth”. Question everything. Don’t be a puppet.

        • Anyone’s argument in favor of racial categories falls apart upon closer review:

          If a so called black person and a so called white person, allegedly two different races, have a baby, what race is that baby? Black? That makes no sense, as it has an equally white parent. White? Doesn’t make sense either. So is the baby some new race- ‘other’ perhaps? And what if that baby grows up and has a child with a so called Asian? What race is that baby? And how can a child be a different ‘race’ than its parent anyway?

          The idea of ‘race’ is obviously a relic of the past that will be seen as ridiculous in the future.

          • theres only 2 races. the kentucky derby and the human race. a little humor needed here.

          • Totally agree. When I have to fill out forms that request my race, I am usually stomped. My mother is mixed (Chinese, Portugese) and my father is mixed (French- creole and Amerindian). I am in my mid thirties, exactly 5 feet tall, light skin in complexion, brown eyes and wavy hair. What’s my race? I usually either tick mixed or other or when asked orally, I tell the person asking to decide. Maybe race is already a thing of the past, because my three children all look like Indians as thier father is Trinidadian Indian. Can someone tell me what their race is? I really just wanted to identify a difference between race and ethnicity so that I could appropriately plan for diversity in the education system, however, I just realized that the issue of diversity is even in my home. Now more than before, I am confused.

          • In my opinion a person who has a baby by a black man and she is white that baby is biracial ( mixed). How can the baby be one race when she or he has both race blood line. If that child does something wrong and they leave DNA behind that DNA will come back that the person is
            Two different race. The next thing to find out is which two race is this persons DNA … I can’t explain in anyother way but the fact that doctors would need to know that you are both race. There are some diseases black people get and white people also have certain diseases they get also there’s different diseases that come in each race some are the same where as others are different. A doctor would need to know your back ground and other serious situations this person winds up in. So it’s silly to say your one race but document both. Children are winding up with personality disorders due to their parents telling them their one race then seen them to school at 3&4 to get teased all the way to high school it’s unfair and I agree that’s silly to say she or he is black or just white. When she or he is biracial( mixed). I don’t know if it’s appropriate to say mixed or biracial because I just love people and I’m sorry if that offends someone.

          • The issue should really be are we one species or are we many species the answer is symbol we are one species that through isolation have become many groups but at the end of the day we still are all part of the human species, race ethnicity should never cloud the issues we all seek the same things love prosperity good health and the ability to grow and complete the journey we call life I agree with some other bloggers life is to short make the best of it. THANK YOU.

          • Indians are the ancestors of the white race. That is why in europe indians are called Indo-europeans and most of the languages expect Hungaryan, Finish, are part of the Indian language three. And the language and culture moved with the people , that is why we know India is the homeland of the white race . Its just a skin tone that …are more adopted for Europe, cos for thusands of years europe was very cold.

            Racialy in US a Indian is “White” Even if he is totally black. cos geneticaly they are more close to White peopel than other races shuch as East asians and Africans…If you mix Indian with white man = you cant see the children is half race, they will look netural, ether light skinend or dark..but have the indian face structure which also europeans have.

          • Anyone claiming that the Indian peoples of Asia are ancestors of “White” people are simply refusing to accept the fact that all races come out of Africa and so too do the Indian people. In fact, if you do not believe me, take a look at Boa Sr, that last ancestor of the Great Andamanese people brought to extinction by colonial Whites. These great people lived on the Andaman islands for tens of thousands of millenia until they were completely destroyed by colonialism. Take a look at this 85 yr old woman whose family I have seen surrounding her and looking like the Indian peoples you see today. You see these great people traveled from Africa to these islands more than 100,000yrs ago. If any of them look “lightened” it is because of the admixture from the Europeans that conquered their great lands some years ago. I can assure this woman, and the Indian peoples are NOT “White” or “Caucasians”. I also think it is interesting how the African peoples are eliminated from the ancestral history in order to make some people feel better. FYI the Andaman islands are right off the coast of India.




          • I agree with what you said! The term race is simply something in the Past and in Present time now the only race I would agree with is the human race we are all alike. “races” are technically like calling a yellow Labrador a different race than a chocolate Labrador.

          • Race is not in the past. Racism is still alive so race is still here. When people stop being racist the race might go away.

          • I agree completely. I also want to pose this; can we be of different races but of the same ethnicity? By the definitions provided, this should be a logical possibility but it feels quite awkward even thinking it. This only goes to prove how baseless the concept of Race actually is. Ethnicity and its relative fluidity and malleability is a welcome description of the “human race”.

        • Sorry, but this has been proven to not be true. A person of the “Indian race” can have waaaay more in common with a person of the “Australian race”, than any other so-called “Indian”.

          Race doesn’t exist. I’m sorry if this makes your world seem little more chaotic. But this is just the truth.

      • I agree. Race is a construct created to divide and create a caste system during the construction of America (for evidence see “Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of South African and the United States” by Anthony W. Marx).

        • I think that everyone is so afraid of sounding racist that they are being overly defensive on these boards. Everyone judges people based on their outward appearance, now your judgements may not be dislike or contempt, but this is a part of our nature. It does not make anyone racist or judgemental, different groups of people exist on this planet, we are all still people, so there is no point trying to deny that by attempting to act morally superior

          • After attending diversity training for my career (a public school teacher), I learned that it is naive to say it’s about ethnicity and not race. It doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is. People will treat and judge you based on what they perceive your race to be. Race is an extrinsic philosophy and is based on perception. Therefore, if you appear black, you will be treated black. You will live a “black experience.” It doesn’t matter if your mom/dad is white or other. This being said, it is sad that this is true, but the reality is–a person’s race will determine his experiences, not necessarily ethnicity.

        • Race is anything but a construct. Racial differences are self-evident. Call it your genetic makeup if you like, or the outward expression of your DNA – the words are a construct, the fact of diverse human forms is just that – a fact. Of course if you mix different people of different races you get just that: People of mixed races; and the more mix the better for a healthy DNA.
          Nothing worse than inbreeding. Perhaps in 1,000 years there will be such a mix-up that there are no more visible differences and our offspring will look at a human from a single race as a curiosity; just as we look today at newborns with two different eye colors.

          • It appears you are an Australian. This country is not part of Europe and is populated by a very racist ‘white’ people. The root of racism is not morality and truth – it is the preservation of wealth divisions.

          • @Junis – Here’s a little secret, just between the two of us: most of the world is not Europe. Last I checked Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and many of the other big shot racists and genocidal mass murderers were in fact not Australians. And while you’re at learning new stuff, here’s another gem: Australia is populated by black people, white people, yellow people, brown people and everything in between. Australia is one of the ethnically most diverse nations on the planet. Go google and worth writing down; might not out yourself as a silly little twat with bogan bully comments. Calling people racist one has never met in one’s life indicates an IQ barely above room temperature.

          • I agree Australia is very ethnically diverse and many may think it not a diverse country.

      • I agree, even a the blackest indian have an aryan face cute.
        This is an Sri Lankan (sinhalese), which is part of Indo-aryan enthic group
        Cricket player Angelo Mathews. He is not mixed or anything, just look at his black skin tone but face structure is racialy you see if we was white he would fit very well into any european country.

        Its not about the skin color , its the face structure, that is why not a white japanese and a white man is same race….its totally different race.

        But indian race mix with white = you can never see where the mother or father is from…that is truth.

        But if east asian or african mix with white = you can exactly see that one parent is white and other is african black or east asian

        • Actually, skin hues/tones are neither black, nor white. Those archaic skin color labeling came from some symbolic meaning to separate people for derogatory means. This is especially true for the way the ancient Europeans and Britain used them out of religious beliefs that symbolically white meant clean, pure, superior, holy, enlightened, but black symbolic for impure, darkness, sinister, evil, inferior, or hidden. “They” have spread such uses with loss of understanding by, probably, most people around the world which were conditionento such labelings via the western world.

      • There is but one God. Likewise, there is but one race of Man; it’s called the ‘human race.’

        I agree, that only a racist sees more than one race.

        Today’s DNA science proves that all humans are derived from the same original DNA code. But, this is also easy to prove by logic and empirical evidence as well.

        If there were more than one race, then one would reasonably expect to find the “official list of races” somewhere on the Web. Try looking and you won’t find one, because any list would be artificially made, based on racist ideas rather than on factual evidence.

        In fact, when one searches for “official list of races” he will likely find lots of lists… of horse races, ski races, auto races, bike races…

        So, this should be easy to prove with a little effort and common sense. Racism would end if racists would allow it to end. But they won’t.

    • I don’t understand how you would think he could make this up? -_- This makes lots of sense and it is very true. Especially when he said we can’t change our race, because its very true we can’t we are born how we are. Also like when he said we may have been born into a cultural, but we can change that. Otherwise I do agree with you.

    • This belief system that America needs to uphold a difference in race and ethnicity is to keep blacks on top of the benefit scale and all other races below them. Blacks are the only race that social programs adhere to everyone else is an ethnicity from whichever nation their parents or themselves originated from. The sociological mindset is in itself is a racist political machine against all non-black minorities.

    • This article while informative and valid on some aspects is flawed in others. Race is not just based on “biology” it is a social construct not a scientific one. In fact genetically speaking there are more commonalities among different races than there are in the same race. Race was created in an attempts to classify people and lump them together…but as we have seen and will continue to see…it is so flawed that it skews statistics…oversimplifies the identity of most, and builds stereotypes.

  2. I think this was a good article. The point of this was only to help people understand the meaning of the words and there differences. Race only sounds offensive if it is used offensively. Saying that race is about a person’s physical features should not be offensive. If you are proud of your heritage, which we all should be, then this article should just be taken as informational. Getting upset about anything that may or may not be offensive only encourages the bigots that make the comments to continue.

    • I agree.. When I think of the word race I think background not color it doesn’t bother me when people use that word. It’s silly to get mad it’s just everyone’s opinion. Everyone has a right to state their on opinion.

      • I think this article was just for information on the differences between ethnicity and race. I don’t think they meant for it to be offensive to anybody.

    • thank you! People are over-reacting to the word race and far over-thinking it. This article was simply to help in identifying the differences between race and ethnicity…nothing more.

      • The article had the intent of explaining the difference between race and ethnicity, however, the problem is that there is no such thing as “race” to begin with. The explanation was good for those who choose to believe everything we are told. However, for those who choose to open their own eyes and think for themselves we realize the truth and that is why there are a lot of negative replies to this article. Spread more truth and less of this brainwashing-mind control nonsense.

        The truth is that we are all of one “race”, but we all have different cultural backgrounds. The way the term “race” is used currently, creates separation based purely on skin color and is really of no value. For example, what if a black baby was raised from birth by a white family and another by a black family? They both will have black skin, but more likely have different cultural backgrounds. If they both were born and raised in America, neither of them will have any cultural ties to Africa. So what are their race and ethnicity? Does it even really matter? Just refer to them by their names. If you don’t know their names start a conversation.

        The idea that we need a reference to a person’s appearance as a general descriptive factor is something that has been brainwashed into us. Sure, it’s fine to reference a person’s skin tone, but categorizing them is what’s wrong. Saying two completely different people share some cultural or genetic traits because of skin color is absolutely false. The two black kids I described as an analogy would most likely share no cultural traits. As far as genetics, don’t believe everything you’re told.

        Question everything. You study at Harvard and learned, but who taught the professors? Who taught the people who taught the professors? And so on and on and on. Absolute mind control. Create a curriculum to keep everyone “blind” by disguising it in plain sight and mixing it with some truth. Sure, go to college and study, I did, but don’t take everything in as fact or absolution or you’re merely a puppet. Who creates knowledge? Think about it. Who wrote that book? Who conducted that study? Are you sure? How do you know? Question, question and question everything. Step out of the dark people.

  3. I think you are correct in your description of race.
    I disagree with your description of ethnicity as to some extent it is always intricately linked to ancestry. It can be a subset within a racial category. For example Indians have many different ethnicities within the one country. An English person who was born and brought up in India may “belong” there, but they will never be ethnically Indian, no matter how much they wish to change this.
    An Indian living in the UK is still an ethnic Indian and nothing can change that. You could say they are “English” in terms of their loyalty and nationality as per citizenship, but they can never be ethnically English and no amount of feelgood PC indoctrination is going to change that. I don’t care if anyone agrees with me or not, but I am right on this one. You need to learn in totality what ethnicity is and not fall for the Post modernist corruption of the term. I am old enough not to go along with an alteration of a concept that was clear cut before. Peace.

  4. My definition of race is simple: white, black. Calling someone “African American” because they appear so who is of West Indian background, say Hatian for example, would be considered incorrect by their standards. They are so far removed from African culture that it is impossible to call them “African American”, they have established their own culture, and that is Hatian. That is like calling a German “Asian”, because the Aryan race originated in the Middle East. One might call a Hatian black or “Islander”, but they aren’t African American. You simply cannot judge someone who appears African American to be African American. But they are black, no question about it. To call a white person “Caucasian” is politically incorrect, too. This term originated from the Cacause Mountains near Russia. Most people labeled “Cacasian” are from Western Europe, where population is more dense, and hundreds of miles west of the Caucases. There are, in fact, white. As you can see, people are white or black and calling them Cacasian or African Americann is sometimes wrong, don’t make any assumations, you may be wrong.
    If you are Hispanic, that is your ethnicity. I am Hispanic and white. I have white skin, though half Mexican. Many people associate Mexicans with dark skin and a stocky build. My father has a darker skin complexion than I and has black curly hair, and is of average build. He looks Latino and has that subtle Spanish tone. He is considered white (definition by the U.S. government census bereau 2010) but he is Latino. Hispanics are so mixed between white and Natives that it is easier to call them Hispanic, some are more white, some Native. The correct term when describing a Latino is metizo. Latino means from Latin America but some Hispanics are elsewhere. The Equitorial Guniea, in central Africa, is a Hispanic country, and used to be controlled by Spain. It has a strong Spanish influence, many people are mixed and speak Spanish. They are black and Hispanic. Many Cubans are black, too, and Hispanic.
    I hope this clarifies the HUGE differences between race and ethnicity. You can be black and Hispanic or white and Hispanic. You can be white and Latino or black and Latino. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge a person by his color. Get it?! Got it?! Good!(Apologies for the looong explanation, I’m part Irish on my mum’s side.)

    • If there are only two races- white and black, what are Japanese people? I think you should revisit your hypothesis and you’ll conclude there’s actually just one race- with a wide spectrum of different shades which don’t have a specific starting or ending point.

    • You are incorrect to call latino a race…we are not! In Cuba where I was born you are either caucasian (white), black or mulato (bi-racial). We have a strong euro influence from Spain, but not all of are biracial, or blacks. Pre Castro the majority was white and of Spanish, Jewish, Italian and French origin about 89% of the population, they are now living in Florida, New Jersey or Chicago. Cubans white population stands right now at around 60%. I am tall, have fine euro futures, now nose, and light tan skin and brown hair.

      Latin american is a diverse society of many races and many cultures but we are not all mixed…the Hispanic are either white or european or Spanish descent. (mextizo)…armeridian or indigenous…or Black, or Asian such as the Filipinos,,,and Dominicans which blacks or mulatos…or Argentinian which are for the most part Italians and Spanish, and but you are right the majority in Mejico is of mixed race, but you can’t treat all hispanics as Mexican because they are not as homogenous groups, but as diverse as Americans as this country is like.

      • Allow me to correct you Mary. “Mixed” Black people are *not* all necessarily “mulatto” which is a term that came about through slavery and is only applied to those of only White and Black descent. No other race. So a Black person mixed with Hispanic is actually Creole in any Caribbean country. That is a fact. I am a Belizean and I agree 100% with the original poster. I am not African American and I do not like the idea of the term being applied to me because it implies that I myself, have American lineage which I do not. I am first generation in my family who is entirely from Belize and before that Europe. The notion is completely false and is disrespectful of my entire background and culture and identity.

        I also wanted to note, since I came upon this page by a complete accident, while looking for information on blood type, the fact that that is the true biological definition of “race” although it is completely ignored. My blood type happens to be an extremely rare B Negative. It is a blood type that is rarely if ever found in Africa and even more so, the RH negative is almost non-existent in Africa. On the surface you can see that there is some African gene in my body, however, there are many other distinctions that would discern me as well, the most important being my blood type which is almost exclusively considered European. I am of mixed Mayan, European (British and Spanish) East Indian and African background, yet I am refused EVERY identity except for the African because I am a little tan and my hair is dark. Jet Black hair is not a common African trait yet it is mistaken for one, although it is more commonly found in East Indian, and Asian people as well, which is where some of my bloodline comes from. I am tired of being expected to identify as “African American” because the ignorance of race is what makes most people comfortable. I have not a single drop of African American blood in my veins so there is absolutely no way that I am African American.

        • You are mistaken….
          Creole is a french world…and used to described the mixed black, native and white race of those born in Louisiana of those people born in the New World of French descent.
          No such thing in the Hispanic culture because that would mean the Spaniard would be not white (caucasian) and European, and they are, just as white as any Nothern European, and I’ve been to Europe and I know if we go by skin color, some europeans, specially in Germany, Berlin wouldn’t considered white in North American because of their dark hair and eyes and tan complexion
          Mulatos is used commonly used by Hispanics, and Cubans have a large mulatto population. Cuban had a stratified society and the White Cubans are just as white as any Europe, we had a large migration at the turn of the last century from Europe, and even bigger migration from North of Spain from Galicia that populated the island. “Criollo” is term used in Latin America to described a European born in the New World, or sons or daughters of Spaniards. Native or indegenous and european are known as “mextizo”. Cuban doesn’t have a large mextizo population like most of Latin American because Cuba was a small island, and the Tainos, native Indian killed themselves in numbers or died at hands of the Conquistadores by the turn of the 16th Century.

          • Absolutely INCORRECT MARY. Creole IS NOT only for mixed Black Americans from Louisiana.. IN FACT. The term “Creole” was used FIRST by people in the Caribbean of mixed SPANISH, AFRICAN AND WHITE (what ever nationality) background centuries before the Americans adopted the term. It was LATER ADOPTED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO describe Mixed Black and White people from the Louisiana perhaps centuries later.

            I suggest you do some research and learn this information. This is not an unknown NOR is it an uncommon fact. Belizean people have NO ASSOCIATION with the French and we have NOTHING TO DO WITH AMERICA. I assure you this fact.

            The term “Creole” is also hardly an exclusive term. I do wonder why Americans always think they have the jump on everything. America is a VERY YOUNG NATION and WE as in US TRUE CREOLES here in Belize have been around much longer than your nationality has even existed. I challenge you to find that this is an error. The term being used in the U.S. is POST CIVIL WAR, and the peoples of the Caribbean have been calling themselves Creoles MUCH LONGER THAN THAT.

            Even Cape Verdeans are Creoles (as in AFRICANS). I have had many friends from there and they have NOTHING TO DO WITH FRANCE EITHER. They are actually descended from Portugal (another nation closely associated with Spain.

            I know what Spanish people are. I am part Spanish myself and the term “Criollo” or whatever term you used carries the same meaning and is likely what the term Creole is derived from. The term Hispanic means “OF SPAIN”, you must remember that Spain and England nor any other European nation NEVER considered themselves as one, and as far as any Spanish person looking “lilly white”. I don’t know about that. Spaniards tend to be olive toned with very dark hair. That is not a common trait in Anglo-Saxon anything. So I have no idea why you think they are the same. Spanish people also ethnically speak Spanish and have an entirely dominant culture. NOT English, nor Russian, nor French and their culture is distinctly different.

            And just so you know, the term DOES DESCRIBE Louisiana Creoles as possibly of Spanish descent as well. This is all fact. Remember, Spain CAME TO AMERICA FIRST. (i.e, Queen Isabella’s Christopher Columbus)

        • wow. you REALLY get offended when someone “mistakes” you for being (gasp,shock,ewwwww!) African American. Thank God you have your Asian, European, and everything else under the sun EXCEPT African blood coursing through your veins! BTW, ALL of you are wrong we are more similar than not. There is only ONE race the HUMAN race. Peace!

          • Yes, I do. No one asked, they just assumed. No one does this to any other race. Ethnicity is always considered. Japanese people don’t like being called Chinese, so what is the difference? Because I’m Black, it should be different for me? Why is this? When Caribbean people and African people are mocked by African Americans, I don’t see your panties in a bunch over that? Don’t think it happens? Of course you don’t.

      • Wrong.. you respectfuly just threw a monkey wrench into the whole debate. All of what you describe is under one umbrella call Latinos. I being a Mexican American am considered a latino for classification purposes. An Italian is considered white really? Italians should fall under the same umbrella as a latino. We all can go back and forth all day long but it is the winers and the sensitive who prolong this debate coupled with some racisism. Did I just make any sense? Sorry next tome I’ll better know the cool aids flavor

  5. When attempting to describe biological “race” we need to include the concepts of phenotype, cline and our vast family tree roots.

    phenotype: the set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.

    cline: a gradation in one or more characteristics within a species or other taxon, especially between different populations.

    family tree roots: We each have over a million ancestors counting back only 20 generations. As the roots expand they cover a larger geographic area.

    • Actually, scientists have dismissed the use of phenotype when determining race. This is a well known fact among the scientific community.

  6. I am HISPANIC. I am blood class type A RH positive,with no blood and platelets. I am origin of Guatemala. With pride, I am Hispanic. Hooray, Live long the Hispanic race! Hispanic means, descendants of Spain or sons of the Spain. Someone who is mixed with other races or more. It can be just a creole.

    • If Hispanic (sons of Spain) is a race, then American is a race. And English. And Russian. And Japanese.

      And Guatemalan, as Spain is a country just as Guatemala is.

      You make no sense, senor.

    • Thank you Melvin. You make perfect sense. I am Belizean and I understand you completely! I am Kriol or Creole, but I have a few grand parents that are Spanish. Their parents were directly from Spain so I guess the Kriol cover it all!

  7. There is no race! There may be people that you call white because of the color of their skin. But there are also those people you call white that have blond hair and those that have black hair. Now, eventhough your parents both have black hair, you can have blond hair since one of your grandparents has blond hair because the gens for blond hair can be recessive and thus supressed in the parents generation.
    It is proved that this can also happen with the degree of pigmentation of someones skin (leading to doubts about the mothers faithfulness regarding her husband;) . Since there is no sense in categorizing one human feature and leave another out, I would be very careful to talk of races…

    • I am inclined to agree with you on this too. Here is where I wonder about. There are some of us that carry the RH Negative bloodline and it has yet to identified with an origin. What do you make of that?

  8. I took a sociology class called Cultural Diversity as well as an Anthropology class and in both classes race was examined.

    This article summarizes the Anthropological view of race:

    “Most anthropologists recognize that race is a social concept, not a biological one. That is, it stigmatizes some individuals as different and reinforces the privileges of others. There is no evidence that there are large groups of biologically distinct human beings (i.e. subspecies) that correspond to what people refer to when they talk about “race.” Furthermore, to base any kind of biological category on a single physical characteristic, such as skin color (which, in itself is incredibly varied and determined by multiple genes), is clearly nonsense. Yet the concept of race persists in our popular culture, and is occasionally given legitimacy by researchers from fields as varied as psychology and political science. (Check out the American Anthropological Association Statement on Race and the statement on “Race” and Intelligence).”

    It is important to note that race is not a universally used cultural label or determinant, but that it is perpetuated in particular societies depending upon the history of that society and that area itself. For example, race is prominent culturally in America because of America’s history of slavery, and it is also recognizable in European parts of the world for a similar historical reason. It is a non-factor in many other countries that do not have such a history.

  9. The difference between ethnicity and race is that one is a biological fantasy and the other is a sociocultural cultural reality. The biggest problem is that people still use races as categories at all. They are inaccurate generic attempts at categorizing humanity. Ethnicity, on the other hand, is based on one’s sociocultural upbringing. There are ethnicities that have been formed from prior racism that have taken on the names of racial categories, and even loose associations that have been formed based on past discrimination and categorization based on so called racial categories. But these are arbitrary, man-made categories, not biological certainties.

    • I completely agree with your point! We have to focus on the reality of what we have here and delude ourselves with other information about fake cultures. Race and ethnicity are two very different very separate things and you can’t always see one or the other.

  10. I understand the whole “race vs. ethnicity” thing. Your skin color does not necessarily equate to your cultural background. And I agree! But here’s my question: Why does the race category go “American Indian/Alaskan, Caucasian/White, Black/African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Other”, and for ethnicity, the only options are “Hispanic/Latino, Non-Hispanic/Latino”.

    Am I to understand, even if I’m white, and my wife is white, and we move to Central/South America and have a child, and raise that child in the cultures in which we live, that our child would be Hispanic/Latino? What about those living in Ireland/England/Wales/Scotland? Wouldn’t their ethnicity be “British”, since they live in the British Isles and have a different ethnicity than an American?

    Maybe I just don’t understand why the “Hispanic/Latino” culture gets their own ethnicity option on American forms, and no one else does. And besides, since this question appears on paperwork such as job applications, what does someone’s culture have to do with doing a job? Race at least has to do with demographics, ethnicity doesn’t really deal with much of anything, except maybe the food you eat for dinner.

    • Latino/Hispanic gets its own category because of size and congregation patterns. The Census is not trying to classify people by race or ethnicity as much as they are trying to categorize major grouping patterns and what types of lifestyles these macrogroups have. Self identity plays a major role but so does identification by others. The vast majority of people of European decent in this country categorize and congregate as White. Same goes for those of Black descent. Asians tend to congregate as well, many people who would not congregate within their own countries, form blocks here. Same goes for Hispanic/Latinos. Asian isn’t really an ethnicity or race. It is a geographic block. One that finds themselves sufficiently at odds with the European style culture that they tend to congregate here. So people recognize them as a group. Hispanics/Latinos don’t congregate by look, but by language and heritage. The Guyanese, Jamaicans, etc, do not congregate with them so it isn’t just geographic. The cultural heritage plays a major role. That is why they have their own ethnic category. The Black and White groups are much more accepting of people of other ethnic groups so long as they fit their racial paradigms. Those groups were built through a history of racial perception segregation. Native Americans are separated as a block of ethnic groups that are local. But English speaking ones do not congregate with the Spanish speaking ones who identify with Latinos. etc, etc.

  11. When the print media uses colour to describe individuals it is usually to negatively denote difference. Many people with fair complexions want to be tanned and many darker / olive complexioned individuals want to be fair. Of course these examples are related to fashion. Being careful not to generalise is wise isn’t it? I knew an African male who was studying in China. The police chased him away from Chinese females who he socialised with off campus. I was told they did this because the child of a couple from different backgrounds wouldn’t be accepted by either society. I am of fair European background, and I have two children of Eurasian background now. We were taught to know the difference between colours when choosing pencils to colour a rainbow etc., Skin colour or complexion of individuals tells very little about an individual’s character or personality. Within a socio-cultural or ethnic group there is great diversity among individuals. We need to look past superficial differences and be colour inclusive as well. Life is so short and I must get rid of prejudices and constantly develop into a mature person. Live life to the fullest! Long live the great unity and diversity of the peoples of the world!!!!!!

  12. How are Hispanics/Latinos not a separate race? I understand how ethnicity and race are separate, but what I don’t understand is how some races are lumped into others. The list normally goes like this:

    1. White/Caucasian
    2.Black/African American
    3.Native American/Alaskan
    5.Pacific Islander

    Don’t we all know of human beings who do not fit in any of these categories? I can tell you for sure that people from India are most certainly a separate race. I mean they are Asian, but only because of location, not race. Indians obviously do not fit in with any of these other races and should be given there own.

    Other good examples are Hispanics/Latinos and people from the Middle East. I certainly do not think these two groups of people should be grouped up with another race. I mean, what Hispanic or Arabian person is gonna tell you they are white?

    As far as the three basic races (Caucasian, Negro, and Asian), I believe they were early groupings which should now be dismissed.

    • But those are just your personal opinions, why should they be raised up to be some kind of biological fact? I agree that it is hard to determine from looks alone which “bracket” to put Indians in, but many of them have a clearly Caucasian appearance. White people come in all colours actually. The same goes with Arabs, especially those from the Levant, they are not only closer to the Caucasus than most European countries, they also self identify as white most of them when asked about race in the US Census, which I believe many of you are basing your arguments on. But culture plays in too, and the fact is that because of history and imperialism, many people who feel/have felt subjugated, don’t wanna identify as white, because they feel “different”. But it’s only really in their perception of the world around them that they are not genetically “white”.

      • Some people select white cause there race isn’t an option. Of course anyone can put there race in the space for “some other race”, but doesn’t the US Census bunch Arab and White together? I mean, it bunches Asian and Indian together.

        • US Census considers Arabs and North Africans as White/Caucasian, yes.

        • justinisaiah.rodgers@yahoo.com, I am responding to your comment that Asians are bunched with Indians for census related purposes. The continent of asia enconpases India, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka and even Islands like Japan .To say that an East Indian (assuming that’s the Indian you are describing) is not an Asian is like saying an Egyptian is not an African (yet Egypt is on the African continent). I agree with most of your post but that last one about the census is factual and is based on Geography and Race. There are east Indians with oriental features and vice versa .

      • Well, if “White people come in different colors” then why call them WHITE at all? No one calls me “White” although my blood type says that I am. So what is your point? I give you an example of an Indian who looks anything but the color “White”. The famous golfer Vijay Singh, looks anything but White. He is a very darkskinned man, I mean very dark, but you’d call me Black first, but not him? He is much darker than me by many shades. I’d say that Black people come in different colors and not the other way around. The Black race is the only race capable of producing a very pale, colorless child without any hint of any other race in them. This happened just this year to a 100% African family. Not “African American” but AFRICAN purely African family and the child was not albino. My point is that you can not pick and choose. It is either all or none. I assure that Northern Africans are not White at all. That is where the folly occurs, that you can identify a race of someone by how they look. It is unscientifically sound says many reports on blood type.

    • hey man you iz forgetting the jamaicans cho!

  13. please i need some words used exclusively by the black americans at the level of lexic

    • You will never find this because the black american experience is extremely diverse in this country. What you find may be attributed to a particular socio-economic group of black americans. Do you believe the black professor at Yale speaks the same as the black barber on MLK blvd?

  14. Here is the difference between race and ethnicity.

    Race: Cannot be changed
    Ethnicity: Can be changed

    Things such as genetic make up are what distinguish race, while things such as the location in which you were born and your culture are what distinguish ethnicity.

    • Race can be changed, there are many instances in American History where certain groups of people were excluded and included to a race such as White. At one point Irish people were not considered white and some were slaves in America. But off course it is easy to include them as white because the have fair skin straight hair and so on. There even was a point where Mexicans were checking white or classified as white in America. A lot of people like to ignore the history of these countries which created these terms. And more recently adding Arabs or north Africans to the white Category. As mentioned before it is used to divide people, or separate people into classes. Everyone Knows that “blacks” are in the lowest class, and that whites are most likely in a high class or are the most superior intellectually. What is interesting is that no one has asked the question why are some people labeled as a color and others are labeled as A location. People who look Negroid are labeled black and Some who are Chinese are labeled as an Asian Race. Last time I checked there was no Nation or land called black or white. But there is a Continent called Asia or Africa………. there are lots of ” Races and or Ethnic Groups” in Asia and Africa. So what is A race of An offspring of a white and black person? Biracial is not a race. Can we actually pinpoint how many races a person is mixed with. It cannot be just based on phenotypes or looks. I am a citizen of a certain Nation so therefore I should be labeled as such. Scientist or doctors should be the only one concerned with such matters of race. But since America is a society that is based on giving special benefits to certain people they need to divide people in such categories. All Races in America benefit from segregation or race segregation. people need to start being real about this subject and stop excluding historical facts….The Race subject is more complex than what people always try to simplify it to be. It is so sad that we live in a society where men who want to be women are honored and respected, but the subject about race is still not tolerated.

      • “Everyone knows that blacks are the lowest class…and whites are the most intellectually superior?”. When this this thread become about degrading black people? You have no supporting information for either statement except that which is evident in your poor writing skills.

        My very fair skinned, gray-eyed, African-American grandmother taught me that class had nothing to do with race or where you lived, but the mindset. She worked for many white families that although may have been wealthier, were definitely, class-less.

      • “Everyone Knows that “blacks” are in the lowest class, and that whites are most likely in a high class or are the most superior intellectually.” —
        Whoa! Some strong accusations without any data to back it up.. but I’ve got some data for you. Did you know that the highest level of education achieved in this country (the United States) are by those who are AFRICAN immigrants? Yes, they hold the MOST PhD’s in America, more than any other race in the nation. This includes Asians and all others alike. You can sip on that and then talk about what “everyone” knows.

  15. I have a question for those of u who say there is only one race. Is there more than one breed of dog?

    • If you think someone from Denmark and someone from Mexico are as different as a Great Dane and a chihuahua you need professional help. A better correlation is a black lab and a brown lab. Both the same ‘race’, just different colors.

      • Why would I need help when there are clearly to different racial backgrounds being a Latino and having a Swedish mom I clearly see a difference between us !!!!!!!

        • No, you misunderstand his point. A Brown lab and a Black lab are the SAME thing with different colours much as “black” person and a “white” person are BOTH Homosapiens.. A Chihuahua and a Great Dane would be in comparison to a homosapien and a homo neanderthal — do you get it now?

  16. Gonna take a test and i was confused… and now i’m not.. tenx.. 😀

  17. No I’m saying that although Dogs appear to have vast differences, they are all Dogs. Dogs is the species, while the different breeds of Dogs are races.

    Human is not a “race” its a species.

    I also hope that all u ppl understand that nationality has nothing to do with race, cuz some ppl get those things confused.

    • What i know all humans is of same race. that is why we can make children. We are just only different Ethnicity with different genetics .

      And obviouse the mayor races is the Mongloid (chinese and east asians) and Indian (cacausian/aryan) and Negroid .

      Its just look at the numbers …

      Native americans´and native south americans is of Mongolid gentics.
      That is why many hispanics have wide eyes.

  18. Race is not and has never been genetically proven. People from India do not share a more genetic make up with their fellow Indians as they do with those ethnically British. Whoever wrote this definition is very wrong in his description. Race is an idea, thats it. Race does not exist. Please, by all means feel free to check genetic and sociological research on what I have written-if you need any references to genetic reports, please feel free to reply and I will highlight some. Race needs to be abolished, it is separating us as a society and is reductively denting our human moral outlook. I do hope people will realise this.

    • Okay yes, race is an idea. All humans had the same common ancestors, we all know that. However, many things in our world are just ideas of humans. I believe I said this somewhere before, but breed of dog is very similar to race. Same common ancestor, same species, but they have distinct groups (dalmation, labrador, etc).

      • If you think someone from Denmark and someone from Mexico are as different as a Great Dane and a chihuahua you need professional help. A better correlation is a black lab and a brown lab. Both the same ‘race’, just different colors.

  19. Your ethnicity cannot be changed.
    It is pre-determined by your parents ethnicity,you could change the ethnicity of your own offspring by choice of partner, but your own ethnicity has already been determined.

  20. I am confused by this article. Could someone explain it to me?

    • I think you should research why races and ethnicities were created. What purpose was it truly meant to serve. Who did it benefit. Then You’ll find your answer.

      america created a Hispanic ethnicity to separate themselves from white Hispanics from south of our border. Find out why this was done. Who would benefit from this. Why wouldn’t they want to be associated with Spanish speaking folks.

      As a mixed Hispanic person myself, I can see why some wouldnt want to be associated with hispanics. Especially after watching dumb Spanish tv. If you watched that stuff you would think Hispanics (women in this case) care about partying and dressing like whores and sex, particularly with older rich spanish men with deep voices, who they happen to work for. Lol. Oh and they are bad actors. You would think that they haven’t evolved. And that’s not the case at all.

  21. absouletly disgusted. I don’t even know what racism is!!!

  22. I would love to know a few articles that dive into the sociological idea that race is a social construction… if you don’t mind

  23. “Hmmmm, race ?, ethnics ? nice writing and thoughts. Each on earth are human, we breathe the same and bleed the same. You like this, I like that. I understand you. I love you. Have a fun journey my brother and sister and may it filled with love and peace always. if on your journey you meet one who hungers, feed him. And if he thirsts, give him water. But love him. thank you.

  24. I have to disagree with this article as well as some comments made here. Ethnicity canNOT change. Ethnicity points to a SPECIFIC cultures/heritage. Each country has their own unique culture, sometimes even more when that country is broken down to find other smaller cultures that are isolated. Race is a group of cultures that share some common feature and or development. This can be genetic, geographic, linguistic, traditional, and/or combination there of. Asian IS a race as focusing on primarily geography but also cultural exchange or parallel development. Each individual country has its own specific traditions, music, art, music, language/dialect of language, is a reflection of their own UNIQUE culture and heritage that makes each country having their ethnicity. Thus Asian is a race while Chinese is an ethnicity within that race. Latino is NOT an ethnicity but in fact a Race. It is short for Latino Americano. The true historical definition of that term refered to ANY country of the Americas (North, South, Central and the Caribbean) that languages derived from Spanish, French, Portuguese. To think that Lainos have a common culture is actually uninformed, inaccurate and misleading. The 30 approximate countries that comprise Latin America have a common connection parallel development. This being a the MIXTURE of Hispanic (French, Spanish, or Portuguese) Native American, and some African. The mixture is DIFFERENT and UNIQUE TO EACH INDIVIDUAL COUNTRY. The fact is culture, history, lanaguage, history and yes…even genetics is different in each country. We have roughly 5% in common with eachother. I am Puerto Rican. How is it that my island is NOT an ethnicity but Irish is? My culture is unique to my island. Customs, music, clothing, traditions etc… Mexico is its own country. They have their pown culture. True we both have Hispanic bloof but theirs is from the Kingdom of Castill while ours if from Andalusia. This already is drastically different for the base of our Spanish. Mexican native american blood is Aztec, Olmec, Mayan, and Toltec. You can see many of their words absorbed into their Spanish over a course of 500 years. This makes their dialect unique thus..the Mexican dialect of Spanish. The food, spanish, history of Mexico is not related to Puerto Rico whatsoever. Mexican is an ethnicity. Puerto Rico has Taino as our native American blood as well as Congonese as our African blood. Our Spanish reflects this making it the Puerto Rican dialect of Spanish, our foods reflects this, customs traditions and history. Latinos in fact share very little in common. Each country has its own culture. Is this not true of Caucasians? Europe as over 30 countries but no one would be stupid enough to say European is an ethnicity but a race. What does the German, Spaniard, and Irishman have in common? Not much at all as each has their own culture. Same true with Latin American countries. I can barely understand Mexican Spanish and I don’t like Mexican food at all. Nothing like Puerto Rican food.I have tried it. Its not of my culture nor is El Salvador or Peru and so on. We share hardly anything in common. We are as different between each other as the European countries are between themselves.
    Now a person can take in and learn different languages and music and traditions…or even be raised as an Italian even if parents are Korean. This is taking on more of a Nationality. Her ethnicity will not change, as she IS Korean, Whether or not she learns about her culture or not does not change that. Her race will still be Asian. However anyone can change their nationality after all, like you said..she would still be looked upon as Asian regardless of where she goes.
    Ethnicity and Race do NOT change. Race is a group of ethnicities that share a common development.

    • We started out on the question what differentiates race from ethnicity, and we now add countries and cultures. Why complicate the issue? It is bad enough as it is with too many people being ignorant about common words and their meaning, but in turn highly emotive about being ‘right’ and judgemental. Rather annoying. Take for example Islam: No doubt a construct of the mind like Christianity, Communism or Fascism, no DNA involved. You can be a Lutheran today, a Muslim tomorrow and a Buddhist next year. But when you question, criticise and even mock Islam, many who now fill up our so-called intellectual circles will instantly cry foul and call you a racist, or worse. Do the same with Christianity or Fascism, and they may even give you a price. How does that work? What turns Islam into a race? Is it just fear of more rage and bombings?

  25. Great I’ve really enjoyed this thread. I love to try and simplify and distill contentious subject matters. I find it is the only way I can get to the root of things and perhaps brush away all the layers of manipulaiton and plain jibba jabba such concepts have undergone over the aeons. After reading much of this I have come to the personal conclusion that the initial defintion of “ethnicity” holds water and is in its nature flexible and unlimited. However the the notion of ‘race’ is really very abstract and has come into exisitence by the human instict, desire and need to group and categorize very complicated aspects of our lives so we can function. It means different things to different people and appears to be very maleable as a definition. My thoughts on it are that “race” can only refer to “my” personal race, my unique genepool. For example my surname and also every maiden name on my family tree since time began. My “race” is my people. My family, tribe or clan. The term “White European” says nothing at all about me physically. All it can possibly mean is “PERHAPS the last X no of generations of my family history originates from Western Europe and that my skin colour, when I was born, was lighter than some other people in the world”. It doesnt really have a leg to stand on as a description of me. It just gives everyone a headache. My current surname is the only thing that exists that makes a loose reference to this infinate genetic history. It is both impossible and inexcusably lazy or divisive that western society describes me as white european when gathering demographical information. It is true that I resemble lots of pale skinned people who live or have emigrated from Salisia, Scotland, Russia, France, Austria and also people who’s ethnicity is Jewish. My friend refers to himself as mulato/mixed race. I do not see how he, or I for that matter, can be mixed “race”. We are simply mixed “up”- in more ways than one lol!- If I was not mixed up then I would simply not be here. I would still be an amoeba or a protien. I cannot be anything else but mixed. My “race” is my blood line, it’s incredibly diverse complex genetic history since time began and extends far beyond europe and pale skinned people, other than that “race” is nothing but a word that only has meaning in a sentence like “an egg an spoon race, a horse race etc”. Does my genetic history a bearing on my skin colour. Yes indeed. At the moment my skin tone is about PANTONE
    Rose Tan 16-1511 TCX . Later this year it may be
    Indian Tan 17-1328 TPX . I do not have a fixed skin colour, I have a range of possibilities that is impossible to quanitfy. I don’t think i will ever be
    Slate Black 19-0814 TCX but maybe if I lived on the equator for ten years and worked outside a lot, who knows- depends on my genes?. If i keep drinking too much I may end up having liver failure and will become perhaps PANTONE
    Yolk Yellow 14-0846 TPX . Perhaps this sounds silly but I’m just trying to make a point. All i suggest is if we are not willing to describe the colour of someones skin accurately and honestly then we should ban all generalised reference to skin colour and race forever and just damn well learn to get by. Impossible you may say ? Maybe not. Perhaps a compromise is an answer for future generations. The following is a clumsy idea but seeing as we are more than able as children to learn 26 letters of the alphabet then why not teach 30 Skin tones/ colours or so. One day …. “Hey you see that girl over there>.. which one … that one?,..No no the “brown patina” one…oh yea i know who you mean, the one talking to the Mellow Yellow guy. Yes thats her!” Sounds wrong, ridiculous un-PC,. ? Maybe. For me its just about being honest and truthful. To make it simple. If you don’t know where I am from then don’t assume. If you cannot truthfully describe the colour of my skin today then say nothing and accept it.
    We have to start to think of solutions to “race” and rid the world of the gross generalisations that are perpetuated by the corners of society that wish to keep it that way for finanical and politcal gain or as a reaction to these forces. We cannot carry on like this forever.

    • Skin color can change if your in the son, it says it all. 🙂 LOL.
      South italians are mostly very dark complex, looks more like arabic people. Even afgans looks more “white” than them. You know…. the white people have lived in US for around 400 years or so . Same in Australia. Give it another 1000 years. the evolution will adjust to the warm climate…and the “white europeans” will be born and look more like arabs or Indians than White.

      trust me its that simple.

    • I absolutely LOVE your comment! I won’t rehash everything that I’ve said in other comments. If you’re interested, it should be relatively easy to find in the thread. I know exactly what you’re talking about because my skin tones changes quite rapidly as well. I get incredibly pale when in colder climates or out of the sun for an extended period of time and I get a very dark red color, like the East Indians when I am in warmer climates or back in the country my parents originates from. My own mother and grandmother mistook me for a Caucasian woman in an airport that we traveled to from separate locations. I had to get right up to them for them to notice her own daughter. The first thing they both said was “Oh shoot, I mistook you for a white lady.” I laughed because I wondered why as I approached them they paid no attention to me. I got my answer immediately. Anyway, your comment is intriguing and I intend too look up these tonal classifications. Maybe I’ll find mine and tell you what it is.

  26. I agree with almost everything you’ve said in this article. There is one point I’d like to make, although you may disagree. Ethnicity is quantifiable based on the country, culture, or social heritage that one is either born to or can choose to associate with later in life. Race, however, is unquantifiable; it is an outdated social construct attempting to use physical descriptions simplify the complex enigma that is the human genome. 300 years ago, people may have adequately used simple colors to describe people of common physical characteristics, however modern biology shows us the incredible amount of diversity even within one race. The Asian continent for example is supposedly home to those of the Asian race, however there are Asian people that range from extremely dark skin to pale skin. Even more confusing, there can be examples of individuals belonging to a race that can share more genetic similarities to those of other races than to their own. To put it in another way, racial genetic classification is too simplistic and inaccurate for the modern world. Each of us are individuals belonging to the greater human species, and we should each be individually judged.

    • Here, here!

    • You are absolutely correct and this is exactly what I’ve tried to explain to other people when discussing this. Instead, what I get told is “I should be grateful and take it as a compliment that people identify me as African American because {they} are the reason why I have freedom in this country.” This in turns allows them to tell me what type of music I should like. What color my friends should mostly look like and what the person I am dating should look like as well. As it turns out, blood type according to scientists is a much more accurate classification of any “race” if there is such a thing… Well if that’s true, my blood type isn’t even found on the continent of Africa! In fact, I actually need to wear a blood type bracelet so that if anything were to happen to me, if I need blood, they don’t actually kill me. Here’s where identifying someone by looking at them can become a real problem for me. You look at me and think I’m “African American” but my blood type is actually really only found in Eurasia – the majority of it in the Basque people of Spain (where my grandmother and her people originate). It is one of rarest blood types in the world but they’re going to dump a toxic blood type in my veins and kill me faster because they think I “look African American,” in an emergency situation because they’ve ASSUMED. In order for me to have this blood type, it has to be found in BOTH of my parents. Yes, I have Spanish DNA on both sides, perhaps in greater quantities than people think by looking at me. The science community knows that you cannot look at someone and distinguish this, yet it happens in doctors offices all of the time. I was having work done due to anemia and when I saw my oncologist, the first thing he told me was African Americans are susceptible to sickle cell disease… Really? Well thanks for sharing, but that doesn’t really apply here, does it?

  27. I keep telling the people at google that to be jewish is not a race but, an ethnisicity

  28. Childrens ethnic and racial status will have significant impact on their lives, social relationships, and identities. Therefore, it seems crucial for children to develop an understanding of such a critical

  29. Well, I’m here looking for what is the differences between race and ethnicity and I really need the most correct answer. I think it’s okay about this article and also those comments. However, I really need a suitable answer. To the writer of the article, how did you write this – your opinion or referred by other sources? To those people who leave comments whoever agree or disagree, what made you said so? Your own opinion or you typed here according to reliable sources? Thanks.

  30. I am of the human race and no other.

    • We are all part of the human race and that should be it.

      • I like your comment, who cares what race or ethnicity a person is. We are all equal, and should get along, and learn from each other.

        • I wish Zimmerman had understood this.

          • November@” I wish Zimmerman had understood this”.
            If you only knew what really happen there, you would wish for Travon never try to suffocate Zimmerman. He would be alive today, if he would not try to kill Zimmerman first. At his tender age, Travon was not so innocent. Also he was much bigger and taller than Zimmerman. People was saying he was on drugs.

  31. If you can have kids and these kids can have kids of their own, you’re the same race. And that’s about it, biologically. Basically, all humanity is the same race, with (surprisingly) extremely minor genetic differences.

    “I have a question for those of u who say there is only one race. Is there more than one breed of dog?”

    All domestic dogs are the same race, even a Great Dane & a Mexican Chihuahua. The differences between the two are Phenotype differences that we selected. You can call the Phenotype the composite of an organism’s observable traits – size, color etc. In nature, the differences in phenotype are determined by environmental & developmental conditions; while for domestic dogs, we ourselves selected and reinforced different “observable traits” until we settled with the “dog breeds/races” we have today.

    If you can work out a way for the Great Dane & the Mexican Chihuahua to have a romantic evening, there’ll be little viable creatures coming out of this union. Hence, they are the same race. We put them into different “breeds” for categorization and separation reasons, not biologically descriptive reasons.

    Same with the “races” for humans.

  32. Actually, race refers to the 12 tribes of judah who were broken up and scattered about the world. each tribe took on physical characteristics to survive in what part of the world they live in. Technically we are all jews, and all of the ‘races’ that we perceive today are descendents of these people

    • You are correct. But not everyone reads the bible or subscribes to this idea. Even if this is the case, even in the bible, they were not united. The 12 tribes disbursed, yet it was only the lineage that bore Jesus that was deemed the “chosen people”. Even the Jews made distinctions and encouraged separatism which included not mating with nor marrying one from another tribe…even though they were family.

  33. people often use race as an excuse as for why people dont like them i.e. “you dont like me because im (insert race here). when in reality what they hate is your culture, beliefs, and customs, which isnt necessarily wrong. National pride is often mistaken as “ethnocentrism”

    • I wish I could agree with this, but I can not. The way that I look is a problem for many. There are Indian people who can see that I have the blood within in, and they do not like me because of it. In America, I am despised immediately for being a person of color. In order for your comment to be true, it would imply that everyone that I come across in these circumstances are aware of my ethnicity and clearly they are not.

    • Clearly you have not been fully enveloped in a ethnically diverse area. Just because you don’t like a certain belief or culture should not be the reason that you would or shouldn’t talk to someone. People only ever use that phrase to try to guilt you.

  34. Greetings:

    You are invited to read a fresh, fascinating and timely contribution to the current topical issue of inter-racial families.

    Johnny Williams, a debonair likeable young graduate student, raised by a loving adoptive elderly couple started his life journey as an abandoned one day-old, in a basket left at a Westchester church-front. His birth mother was a teenage blond blue-eyed student who returned to her university in California; unable to find peace, even later as a professional magazine editor. Due to Johnny’s hair being peculiarly tangled from birth, he’s forced to permanently keep his hair in braids and to adopt the name DADA because he firmly believes his birth mother must have been from West Africa. His university degree course in Social Anthropology may have been subconsciously driven by his burning desire to find the mother that abandoned him at birth. His fascination with the Yoruba culture leads him on some adventurous travels with many twists and turns while he is also privileged to meet and make friends with some elderly intellectuals along the way.
    JOURNEY OF HOPE OR DESTINY adopts Yoruba philosophical worldview to narrate a story that reflects the global influence of race and social construct on different cultures.

    The insightful new eBook title is published by Amazon Kindle eBook. Please visit:

    You may also borrow to read from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de and Amazon.fr.
    It is an ideal eBook title as supplementary reading in Social Anthropology, Sociology and Humanities.

    Best Regards
    Raymond Ladebo

  35. Race and ethnicity are different but it shouldn’t be what you base of a person like your only friends are the people who have the same race and ethnicity as them

  36. I sort of agree with this, but race could mean you ethnicity but you never really know for sure. It depends on the person and how they feel about their “race/ethnicity”.

  37. This is an act o r judgmental act that many have looked at and I feel like something such as ethnicity is very much taken advantage of and used as something to try and copy or mock. People will take say a black persons ethnicity or what they get from it and take it to a whole different place. This is a huge issue and I highly support anything to prove what ethnicity truly is.

  38. I also agree this article did a great job of stating the differences. I also liked how the article supported each word with evidence.

  39. This article makes sense. It’s important to understand the difference between the two terms. I thought it was interesting to think how there are so many races, but also subcategories of ethnicities within them. I wonder about the statement that race cannot be altered because the way many people from certain countries look can change over time but then are still considered the same race as before.

  40. I do not really care about race people are

  41. I never thought much about ethnicity and race until now. How would a white boy feel growing up in Africa with Africans, they would look totally different, but he might be excepted because he lives the way other people in the community live. Tarzan is a good example, he was a human living with apes, and I don’t think he was rejected by the other animals because he lived like the other apes.

    • First of all, Africa is a continent, not a country, so depending on which country and which “Africans”, the white boy will have hundreds of outcomes.

      But white boys have been raised in Africa, aren’t you familiar with South Africa? Many white children were raised there and they were raised to be extremely racist…oh I digress.

      I know of two white Americans who were raised in Africa and they had wonderful experiences. They also attributed it to being raised by wonderful parents who taught them to be inclusive and accepting of others.


  42. I agree with article and I think that everyone has a race and ethnicity but it doesn’t always mean that the the two are always are going to pair, as most people stereotypically think so.

  43. I agree with Jazinae because it is possible to change your culture because sometimes it’s others go off of what there parents believe in. Like if a Mexican get adopted to a black person.(not sure if it makes since but…)

  44. in reply to Giovanni Calabrese
    [quote] Indians are the ancestors of the white race. That is why in Europe Indians are called Indo-Europeans[/quote].

    Indians are NOT the ancestors of anybody, there are they own subspecies (there is no such thing as a “Race” except the human race). We are all 1 species or race broken down into subspecies. Language wise, a lot of the European language originated from Indo-European BUT that was because of the Aryans (Land of the Aryans, Persia or Iran which literally means that). The original Indians are what we know today as the Australian Aboriginals. The Aryans (Persians), Conquered North and Central India and intermixed with them thousands of years ago If you ever go to southern Indian, some of them do not have “Aryan” features at all, much darker skin, full lips and flattish nose.
    Why do you think Hitler’s Germany mentioned the Aryans people instead of the Indian people being descended from Europe? He was referring to Persians.

    • The Aryans were always Indians.. They’ve never been anything else… they came out of Africa too…. They are part of the darker skinned hues of the world and you will just have to accept that fact..

  45. I am a female. I am tall. My skin is dark. My hair is fabulously kinky/curly (depending on what I do to it). My eyes are brown. My lips are full. My nose is not refined. My ancestors are Jamaican, Blackfoot Indian, Caucasian and African-American. I define myself as belonging to the Human Race. Yet, because I was born in the U.S., where we have the one drop rule (1 drop black/African blood = African-American), I am a black woman…and proud to be one, I might add. 🙂

    I remember being a child and looking at an anthropology book, and seeing three heads with captions that identified them as Mongoloid, Negroid, and Caucasoid. Since then, I have found race and it’s categorizations interesting.

    When considering race, we first must ask ourselves, WHO created the idea of race? and WHY? HOW did the notion of race change over the years? No one in Africa was identifying themselves as a race. They were identifying themselves according to their tribe. Most groups were. The idea of race introduced categorization/separatism/racisim.

    According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_classification) “…among humans, race has no taxonomic significance: all living humans belong to the same species, Homo sapiens and subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens.”

    There is a very interesting book, From Coal to Cream by Eugene Robinson, in which he goes to Brazil and is amazed by their classifications (the total opposite of the US – 1 drop of white = anything but black). Where he encounters a beautiful woman with deep black skin who swears she is not black.

    This article should be embraced to aid our understanding of the world and to become more understanding and appreciative to the beauty and differences we all bring to the world.

    And to Remee, it is very unfortunate that you are easily offended that folks assume you are African-American. Just chalk it up to a compliment and continue enjoying the sacrifices and contributions that black folks have made in this country so you can enjoy your life as an immigrant in American and all the benefits that includes.


    • @ First of all, I am NOT an immigrant. Secondly, if I had a choice, I would never have come here. My parents were forced by their parents to move to the United States and they did NOT want to live here either. My father, in fact, did GO HOME after only 5 years here, and died in his own country.

      What I am offended by is the notion that you know what ALL people of color are. No one just assumes that white person or an Asian is of another ethnicity. They always ASK.. How absurd would it be to simply assume that a German is Italian before you asked them? OR British instead of Australian just because you don’t understand the difference in the accents? I don’t need a lecture from people like you. You don’t live with that sort of discrimination, I DO. And moreover, I am not just ONE race. I have a myriad of ancestral lineages. One of them does happen to be European and well as East Indians. More and more East Indians are assuming that I am at least PART of their race, but Americans, because of your lack of exposure and closed mindedness, you have labeled people categories they do not belong.
      To assume that I am African American is assuming a whole lot! You are assuming my culture, my background, my lineage – everything. You walk up to me and look at me like I know what the hell you are talking about. I don’t know anymore about African American culture more than the next white person in this country – but it is always assumed. No my grandmother doesn’t have any stories about the Civil Rights Movement to share because she never lived through that, and she was also white herself. Neither do either of my parents, nor any other person my family. That is the problem. You have completely dismissed my TRUE background and lineage and have tried to “baptize” me as something else. It is like cutting a part of me out of my life. You associate me to the African American person standing next to me. but you dismiss my own flesh and blood because she has White skin.. My cousins with white skin are family members, African Americans are not. So I don’t think I should take anything as a compliment.
      I also find it interesting what people thought my being offended was about and you forgot to look at yourselves in the process.

  46. I think the term “African-American” should be thrown out the window. I am black, and have lived in America all my life. But I have friends who are 1st or second generation from Africa. I would consider those friends to be African American. But I myself would just be American, because I am not really connected with Africa at all. If the term African American is to stay, then we might as well use terms such as European American and Latin American. We also need to realize that calling all blacks “African American” ignores the fact that some of them may be from Jamaica, Haiti, or even Australia.

    • Thank you Justin. This is what Ive tried explaining to people in this thread. I am a Belizean American – case closed.

      • Renee and Justin,

        I agree to a degree with both of you, particiularly Justin’s analogy about the whole “African-American” assignation or category. To Renee, while I understand that your are proud of who you are and where you come, and even why you feel insulted (though you come off angry and if being black is somehow horrible). Nevertheless, you never know how others will respond to you and certainly can’t control their reactions to you. While it may seem presumptuous to you when people assume your nationality, and I don’t believe generally are being purposefully ignorant or trying to insult you. Right or wrong – people make assumptions. How may times have you looked at someone’s appearance and make assumptions. It’s human nature, people assume. I understand that you are proud of who you are, where you come from, and that it was not desire to even be here. Nevertheless, somehow you will have to learn to deal with this – or somehow ask people not to categorize yo (though I am loathe to know how you will do such a thing when first meeting people).

  47. I MUST AGREE WITH THE SUBJECT THAT WE …ALL PEOPLE ARE FROM THE SAME RACE …the categorizing of people into sub-species is a old by product of 1880s eugenics and we for some reason have still embraced these ideas… and we still teach are children that we are diferent forms of humans ..it is wrong and you would think that by now some one would educate people to that fact …and if they don’t believe you …then why can all humans have children with other humans ….

  48. It is amazing to me that in this day and age people are still debating the issue of “race.” In reading the initial article above, I kept waiting for the know “facts” on “race” to be brought forth, but they did not ever appear. Additionally, anyone who refers to “whites” as “fair skinned” has obviously bought into the false lexicon of superiority. There is nothing inherently “fair” about any complexion, and most certainly not that of white skin.

    As a PhD. in both Ethnic Studies, and Medical Sociology, I KNOW, proof positive, that “race” is as much a social construct as are “gender roles.” Neither exist independent of the manner and reason for which they were/are constructed. A construction usually rooted in dominance.

    The “races” were created, quite literally, in an attempt to show the superiority of the Europeans to the Peoples around the world who the Europeans were enslaving and killing off. It is far easier to enslave, conquer, kill, and steal the lands of those who are considered inferior, particularly when this inferiority is embraced, condoned, and encouraged, by the ruling classes and the dominant religious orders.

    It never ceases to amaze me how we humans will debate about matters that we either know little about and /or continue to perpetuate misconceptions based on word of mouth histories that have no basis in what really happen historically.

    Before we argue in favor of some items or other which may be demeaning, damaging, and or not factual, we should at lease try to discover the levels of factual information that have been discovered though scholarly research. There are volumes of scientific evidence that show proof positive that race is a social construct that is not “real” in ANY genetic many.

    “Race” is only real in it impact and its misuse. As W. I. Thomas wrote, “something is real if it is real in its consequences.” And this is the ONLY manner in which race is real, in the manner it has been used to oppress and divide.

  49. @ Azul – if race isn’t real, perhaps explain why most people from Africa on average have dark skin, curly hair and can run much faster for longer.
    And if gender roles aren’t real, explain why I can’t give birth and breast feed our baby.

    Races existed long before someone called Europe Europe, nature has the gender roles down for good reason and the biggest racist, supremacists and slavers are actually our darling friends in Arabia. Me thinks either you have a PhD in BS, or you graduated in LalaLand. And cut your own pontificating and racist attitude while at it.

  50. what is the difference between tribalism and racism

  51. I can only read Raoul Machal’s comment, because it is displayed under the article. Access to the other 124 comments are not hyperlinked, and thus not available. Total bummer. If this gets fixed, please email me at email provided. Thank you!!

  52. Being Jewish is not a race, Judaism is a religion & if you do not believe in that religion then you are not Jewish, regardless of your lineage. The idea of Judaism being a separate race is just a construct of the religion designed to separate themselves from people of other religions. This is a fact regardless of what any Jew might claim. There is only one race as we all originated in Africa, but there are many variations of that race as shown in the diversity of us all.

  53. if we continue tracing ourselves back we will eventually come to Adam and Eve…via Noah and his wife,3 sons and daughter in laws,so who cares?

  54. I agree with this article 100%.

  55. This is a good article differentiating people from their behavior. However, behavior (ethnicity) depends on people (races) and not the other way around, unless you have not done your DNA analysis and thus do not know what race you belong to.


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References :

[0]Anderson, Norman B., et al. "Genetic Factors in Ethnic Disparities in Health." Critical Perspectives on Racial and Ethnic Differences in Health in Late Life. National Academies Press (US), 2004.

[1]Karampinis, Emmanouil, et al. "Race-Specific and Skin of Color Dermatoscopic Characteristics of Skin Cancer: A Literature Review." Dermatology Practical & Conceptual (2023): e2023311S-e2023311S.

[2]McQueen, Janie. “How race can matter in type 2 diabetes”. WebMD, 2023, https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-two-diabetes-race

[3]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MAEE2I8L9mw-multi-ethnic-group/

[4]Image credit: https://www.canva.com/photos/MADA5qWjCD0-friendship-and-understanding-between-people-of-different-races/

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