The Importance Of Ethnic Identity

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In the wide sense, the term of ethnic identity refers to the individual’s subjective feelings of belonging to a certain ethnic group. These feelings are strongly interrelated with personal well-being. According to Phinney, ethnic identity consists of several elements like ethnic self-identification, sense of belonging, knowledge of history and traditions, positive or negative attitude towards one’s ethnic group, etc. The ethnic identity can be achieved by the active process of exploration (a process of collecting information, investigation and learning about one’s ethnic background), evaluation (dealing with received information by providing reflection), and commitment (developing a sense of ethnic membership and building positive attitude towards it). Here, it is important to mention that the ethnic identity plays a central role for those people who belong to ethnic minority groups. As it was stated by Tajfel and Turner, the significance of ethnic identity among minority groups is connected to the experience of differentiation and intolerance. Under the conditions of marginalization, a stable ethnic identity strengthen positive attitude towards one’s own ethnic group and helps to decrease influence of the negative beliefs of a host society. In other words, feeling of belonging to an ethnic group may provide an individual with a buffer for overcoming existing stress to personal well-being caused by inferior position in relation to the dominant group. A great number

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