Differences between Racial and Ethnic Identity

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Every single person has our own unique familial background, which includes where we come from, our ancestral birth places, and who we identify with based on our common heritage. Although we each have these backgrounds, society classifies all of us and splits us up into different groups based on our race. The concept of race is socially constructed, meaning it doesn’t exist outside of the eyes of the people. Ethnicity is our true background, our values, beliefs, heritage, place of origin, and other cultural factors, but race is what other people assume about us by physical characteristics like the color of our skin.

My racial identity is Indian, but I also fall into the category of Asian as well. These classifications about who I am are different from my ethnic identity, since I consider myself an American because I take part in an American lifestyle and currently have little connection to my actual Indian ethnic heritage. Examples of this include my beliefs, customs, and traditions. Although I occasionally attend temple services, I plan on rarely, if at all, doing the same in the future.

I am not invested in one of the most popular indian sports, cricket, while everyone else in my family is heavily influenced by the sport. I choose to focus in on American sports such as basketball and football. Additionally, Indian traditions include performing pujas, local ceremonies held in households at least once every year. My family does do this, but again, in the future I plan on not continuing the tradition due to my standing as an American rather than an Indian. This is just who I choose to identify as.

One thing that I love about my racial identity is that people of my race are extremely friendly to others that are classified as Indian as well. We treat everyone like us as family even if we just met for the first time in our lives. I love this strong sense of community in this racial group because no matter what happens, we always have family wherever we go. This aspect of my race is very positive, but on the other hand, one aspect I dislike about it counters one aspect of my ethnic identity – physical health.

An important custom of my race is to eat all the food that somebody serves you, otherwise it is very disrespectful. Indian food also has lots of calories compared to the diet I’m used to eating, so it goes against my goal of maintaining good nutrition and fitness. I am essentially being forced to eat lots of high calorie food, but this aspect is not all that bad because I am proud to be associated with Indians and share a cultural background.

One experience with racial bias I have had has occurred all throughout my years in middle school and high school. A common stereotype of Indians (and Asians as a whole) is that we’re always the top students and know everything related to math and science. A struggle that I’ve had with this is that I wasn’t always the smartest kid in math class, so it would annoy me when people would randomly ask me to help them understand problems that I didn’t understand in the first place, especially if they didn’t personally know me. This stereotype held high expectations for me, since it made others expect me to excel in the maths and sciences.

To eradicate racial bigotry, I implement the use of “calling-out”, a practice mentioned in this week’s powerpoint. I use it so other people also know that they are acting in a racist manner and this is unacceptable. I never let these types of racist comments or actions go by without the person knowing that whatever it is that they did is wrong. Although we each have our own ethnic or personal background that defines us based on our heritage, our physical features place us into different social categories in which people make general assumptions about who we are.

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Differences between Racial and Ethnic Identity. (2021, Jul 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/differences-between-racial-and-ethnic-identity/



What is meant by ethnic identity?
An ethnic identity is a group of people who share a common culture, language, religion, and history. This group of people is often bound together by a shared sense of identity and common ancestry.
What is the difference between ethnic identity and cultural identity?
Cultural identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to a group. It is the idea of being part of a culture. Ethnic identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to an ethnic group.
What is the difference between race and ethnicity examples?
There are many differences between race and ethnicity examples. Race is defined as a group of people with common ancestry, while ethnicity is defined as a group of people with common cultural traditions.
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