Race & Ethnicity Essay

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SY32M Race, Ethnicity and National Identities in the Caribbean Definition of Race One of the groups of populations regarded as constituting humanity. The differences that have historically determined the classification into races are mainly physical aspects of appearance that are generally hereditary. Genetically, a race may be defined as a group with gene frequencies differing from those of the other groups in the human species but the genes responsible for the hereditary differences between the traditional races are extremely few when compared with the vast number of genes common to all human beings regardless of the race to which they belong. Many physical anthropologists now believe that, because there are many genetic differences among the members of any given race as there is between the groups identified as different races, the perception of race is unscientific and unsound and racial categories are arbitrary designations. The term race is not appropriate when applied to national, religious, geographic, linguistic, or ethnic groups, nor can the physical appearances associated with race be equated with mental characteristics, such as intelligence, personality, or character. Definition of Ethnicity It refers to shared cultural practices, perspectives, and distinctions that set apart one group of people from another. That is, ethnicity is a shared cultural heritage. The most common characteristics distinguishing various ethnic groups are ancestry, a sense of history, language, religion, and forms of dress. Ethnic differences are not inherited; they are learned. The recent meaning emerged in the mid 19th century and expresses the notion of "a people" or "a nation". The term ethnicity is of 20th century coinage, confirmed from the 1950s. The term nationality depending on context may either be used synonymously with ethnicity, or synonymously with

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