Assignment: Black or African American
learns French history and culture. This person knows nothing about Korean history and culture, but in the United States she or he would likely be treated racially as Asian. Let’s consider another example. The physical characteristics of Caucasians (a race) are typically light skin and eyes, narrow noses, thin lips, and straight or wavy hair. A person whose appearance matches these characteristics is said to be a Caucasian. However, there are many ethnicities within the Caucasian race such as Dutch, Irish, Greek, German, French, and so on. What differentiates these Caucasian ethnic groups from one another is their country of origin, language, cultural heritage and traditions, beliefs, and rituals.
BOX 1.1 Definition of Race Categories Used in the 2010 Census
“ White” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa. It includes people who indicated their race(s) as “ White” or reported entries such as Irish, German, Italian, Lebanese, Arab, Moroccan, or Caucasian.
“ Black or African American” refers to a person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicated their race(s) as “ Black, African Am., or Negro” or reported entries such as African American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian.
“ American Indian or Alaska Native” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment. This category includes people who indicated their race(s) as “ American Indian or Alaska Native” or reported their enrolled or principal tribe, such as Navajo, Blackfeet, Inupiat, Yup’ik, or Central American Indian groups or South American Indian groups.
So how is ethnicity different from race? Race is primarily based on physical characteristics, whereas ethnicity is based on social and cultural identities. For example, consider these terms in relation to a person born in Korea to Korean parents but adopted by a French family in France as an infant. Ethnically, the person may feel French: she or he eats French food, speaks French, celebrates French holidays, and
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