Race And Ethnicity Analysis

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Contrary to the expectations of many individuals in the United States, race and ethnicity are not the same. Although both race and ethnicity are connected in the fact that both are socially constructed in modern times, race and ethnicity did not originate under similar circumstances. Race is more concrete and not dynamic, ultimately causing one’s race to be solidified in an individual’s early stages of development in society. Race was originally created in order to oppress certain individual’s in society and allow one group of individuals to be seen as superior and other groups as inferior, thereby proliferating oppression and establishment of distinctions between the in-group and the out-group. Race was not created as a way to understand the…show more content…
Unlike race, ethnicity is a way for us to comprehend individuals in the out-group. Ethnicity is more specified in order to understand the differences between groups, thereby increasing our group comprehension of other’s differences. There are many facets to ethnicity that is included and discussed in Joane Nagel’s Constructing Ethnicity: Creating and Recreating Ethnic Identity and Culture. In this piece, Nagel discusses the concept of ethnicity, stating “ethnicity is constructed out of the material of language, religion, culture, appearance, ancestry, or regionality” (152-153). This exemplifies Nagel’s overarching idea: ethnicity is fluid; it is able to change among different circumstances for the individual and for the group, usually in order for the individual or group to benefit in those specific situations. This is due to the fact that, despite ethnicities origin, it is still possible to discriminate against an individual through their ethnicity. Therefore, through its fluidity, individuals of the out-group may utilize the changing ethnic borders and boundaries in order to become the in-group and not be discriminated against. Thus, ethnicity is able to present social issues depending on the structure of society and group formation. Ethnicity is a double-ended sword: it is fluid and allows individuals to choose their…show more content…
In group and out-group distinctions are made through ethnic boundaries, which Nagel describes as a mechanism to “determine who is a member and who is not” (154). Nagel writes further how there are a number of studies that show that, despite the fluidity in ethnic boundaries, there is a maintenance or increase in ethnic identification, specifically among whites (154). This is contrary to the expectations of many individuals in society, since many believe that increasing fluidity will decrease and break many ethnic boundaries, thereby decreasing in-group identification and establishing a practice of non-group formation. This dichotomy of ignoring ethnic boundaries while identifying to an in-group is rooted through the mechanism in which we form fluidity in our ethnic identity. Nagel also writes on how our ethnic identity is formed through our own perceptions of ourselves and the perception others have on us, thereby showing that our identities “depend on partly where and with whom the interaction occurs” (155), usually to avoid negative outcomes. For instance, the DACA act allows individuals who are born in the US and whose family came illegally to defer deportation and get work permits in order to stay in the US. Unfortunately, there is a stigma against these individuals in education and in the workplace, causing many of these individuals to conform to the standards of the US due to
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