Monday, March 3, 2014

What is the difference between ethnicity, race, and nationality? How are these concepts understood in the United States?

          Terms such as ethnicity, race, and nationality are often used interchangeably but there is a difference between these terms. Ethnicity commonly refers to the cultural heritage of individuals or racial ancestry; as well as those individuals shared experiences in relation to traditions, language, religion, and geographic territory. Race refers to groups of individuals with similar physical characteristics, which are genetically transmitted (Shiraev & Levy, 2010). Nationality refers to where an individual was born or naturalization. In the United States, numerous individual shares the same nationality because of being born in the United States but some individuals do not because of being born elsewhere. However, nationality may be different from one individual to another but they can share the same ethnicity or race. Therefore, the distention between an Italian male and an Italian-American male is that the first was born in Italy and the second was born in America but both share the same ethnicity.

Shiraev, E., & Levy, D. (2010). Cross-cultural psychology: Critical thinking and contemporary applications (4th ed). Boston: Pearson/Allyn Bacon.

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