What Is The Term For A Group Of People Who Share A Common Language, Culture, Or History

Ethnic Groups

An ethnic group is a collection of individuals who share a common ancestry, culture, and/or language; in the United States, ethnicity is typically used to refer to racial identity.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain why ethnic and racial groups tend to bleed into one another in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • Because of the historical and present relevance of racial distinctions that bundle together what may otherwise have been regarded as ethnic groups in the United Statesof America, the term “ethnic” has a different meaning in the United Statesof America than in some other nations. As a result, ethnicity in the United States is typically used to refer to groups of people who are linked to one another based on physical appearance, notably skin color, rather than political borders. Racism has been institutionalized in legislation and social stratification systems in the United States, and it has become a core social identity function.

Key Terms

  • Group of individuals who identify with one another on the basis of racial, cultural, or religious reasons
  • Ethnic group A society’s social stratification may be defined as the hierarchical structure of social classes, or castes, inside it.

Full Text

When a group of individuals identify with one another via a common background, which often comprises of a common culture and shared language or dialect, they are said to be ethnically grouping together. The ethos or philosophy of a group may also emphasize the community’s shared heritage, religion, or race. There is a distinct difference between how people use the term “ethnic” in the United States of America and how people use it in other nations. A significant reason for this is the historical and continuing relevance of racial characteristics, which have been used to bring together what would otherwise have been considered ethnic groupings.

Despite the fact that a sense of ethnic identity can coexist with the sense of racial identity (Chinese Americans among Asians or Irish Americans among European or White, for example), the long history of the United States as a settler, conqueror, and slave society, as well as the formal and informal inscription of racialized groupings into law and social stratification schemes, has endowed race with a fundamental social identification role in the United States.

Examples of Overlapping Racial and Ethnic Categories in the U.S.

As a result, ethnicity in the United States is typically used to refer to groups of people who are linked to one another based on physical appearance, notably skin color, rather than political borders. For this reason, the term “nationality” is more generally used than “race” (e.g. Italian, Mexican, French, Russian, Japanese). Latin American derived populations are most commonly classified as belonging to the ” Hispanic ” or “Latino” ethnicity in the United States. The several ethnic groups that were formerly classed as “Oriental” are now grouped as the “Asian” racial category for the purposes of the census.

  • In the late 1980s, the term “African American” sprang to prominence as the most suitable and politically correct race categorization for people of African descent.
  • However, it has largely become a simple replacement for the terms “Black,” “Colored,” “Negro,” and similar terms, referring to any individual of dark skin color regardless of geographical descent.
  • It can refer to any or all of these groups.
  • According to the United States Census Bureau’s classification system, all of the individuals listed above are considered to be members of the “White” racial category.
  • Boundless is the source of this information.

Groups of people belonging to a particular ethnicity. Cochise College offers a sociology degree. August 8, 2016 – Boundless, Inc. Obtainable on February 24, 2017 from the source “Census-2000-Data-Top-US-Ancestry.” Wikipedia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.


Generally speaking, a “people group” is an ethnolinguistic group that has a shared sense of self-identity that is shared by all of its members. That term is divided into two parts: ethnolinguistic and linguistic. In a people group, language is the most important and prominent distinguishing characteristic. However, there are a variety of additional elements that influence or are related with ethnicity. Individuals who identify with a group usually have a similar self-name and a sense of shared identity with the rest of the group.

  • What they refer to themselves as may differ at different levels of identity or among distinct sub-groups of people.
  • There are a number of them in the China-Nepal-India region.
  • Another example is the Beja, which may be found in Eritrea, Sudan, and Egypt.
  • Tigre is the language spoken by the majority of the Beja people.

Language Groups with a Multi-Ethnic Makeup Different peoples who speak the same language but who are distinct from one another may exist at the same time due to differences in their histories, other factors that cause enmity, an endogamous marriage pattern, differing political alliances, or a separate self-name or loyalty to a different common ancestor or leader of a common source people group in historical times.

  1. In the East African region, one example of this is the large number of peoples who speak mutually intelligible variations of the Swahili language, such as the Arabs and the Shirazi, who are all related to one another (Afro-Asians).
  2. Arabs, on the other hand, have kept their sense of self as Arabs, both in terms of name and culture, and have maintained relationships with Arabs from other Arab nations like as Oman and Yemen, with some even studying Arabic as a second language.
  3. In any case, they clearly differentiate themselves from one another.
  4. Enemies that are only able to communicate in one language Some ethnic groups find their toughest adversaries among other ethnic groups who share the same mother tongue as they do.
  5. Three ancient adversaries in that region, the Serbs, the Croats, and the Muslims, are all fluent in Serbo-Croatian language.
  6. Similar to this, the Tutsi and Hutu residents of East Central Africa today share a single language and culture, despite the fact that they have maintained different social identities for almost 2000 years.
  7. Gospel-Oriented Strategy A crucial element in gospel strategy is to develop a plan for the biggest ethnolinguistic segment or affinity group within which the gospel may spread through “natural” social networks.
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The effective border of the ethno-linguistic segment, or people group, has been established when hurdles to the future spread of the gospel have been discovered that would restrict or prevent the further spread of the gospel.

In other circumstances, the individual people group’s self-identification may be sufficiently fluid that they are willing to openly trade cultural information across their other ethnic elements, allowing the gospel to spread from one group to another.

Despite this, it is typically more beneficial to undertake gospel outreach in the tribe’s own tongue when possible.

Once again, leadership training for Christians may be beneficial when conducted in a common language since you are dealing with the extension of the accepted Christian worldview that they have already committed to sharing with others.

Ethnicity and Nationality As a result, ethnic identity is highly dependent on a people’s sense of self-identification.

Furthermore, language is a critical component of this group’s sense of self.

Because of the cultural thought-forms of the western world, we adopt a “systems” approach that is abstract in nature.

The results of an investigation on people group identities in the Horn of Africa were reported by an access worker who was providing some preliminary findings.

believe they are,” he wrote in his response.

This presupposes that they are individuals with a specific name, allowing us to refer to them as members of a designated group of individuals.

It begins with the actual ties and natural social groupings that exist between individuals, families, and larger groups of people in a community.

It is vital to inquire as to how people or smaller communities generally identify themselves (by observation, study, and direct asking if feasible).

Find out what the members of the group refer to themselves as at each degree of relationship.

The strategic access person will use this examination of related groups as a starting point for determining the people group.

Additionally, it is vital to determine whether or whether smaller groups of people who speak the same language have any presumption of having a global identity.

This is a simplified example of a very frequent and quite complicated pattern of human social ethnolinguistic identity that is seen throughout the world today. Orville Boyd Jenkins, Ed.D., Ph.D., is a professor of education.


  • In anthropology, ethnicity, minority groups, and individual identity are all investigated. “Ethnicity” refers to the identification of a group based on a perceived cultural distinction that transforms the group into a “people,” according to the dictionary. Language, music, morals, art, styles, literature, family life, religion, ritual, food, and other aspects of one’s identity are said to be manifestations of this individuality. More information may be found here.

ethnic conflict

  • Inethnic conflict is characterized by differences in ethnic identity, ethnicity, and ethnic group. When it comes to intangible aspects, such as what individuals think or are led to believe in order to foster a sense of unity among members of a specific ethnic group and to exclude those who are not, ethnicity is just as important as it is physical. Find out more about ethnic conflict and ethnic identity theories by reading this article. … Nationality as a stable property of individuals and groups is explained by the primordialist viewpoint, which follows the same logic. According to primordialists, ethnicity is rooted on inherited biological characteristics, a lengthy history of cultural differences practiced, or a combination of the two. When it comes to intensity and durability, ethnic identification is seen as a distinguishing characteristic and as an existential aspect characterizing a person. Find out more about ethnic conflict and ethnic identity theories by reading this article. … in opposition to others who say that ethnicity, in contrast to political connections, cannot be freely chosen by individuals but must be entrenched in and managed by the whole society Another school of thought, known as social constructivism, focuses on the social aspect of ethnic identity, according to its proponents. In… Find out more about ethnic conflict and ethnic identity theories by reading this article. According to the setting, the tangible expression of ethnicity, as well as its proclivity to lead to violence and battle, differ. Unexpected dangers and opportunities can cause ethnic identities to be reshaped and activated, allowing them to thrive. Unless there is an underlying core of memories, experiences, or meaning that motivates individuals to take collective action, ethnicity cannot be politicized. … More information may be found here.

Hannibal ethnicity and appearance issues

  • Native American Ethnic and Political Diversity: Native American ethnic and political diversity When it comes to ethnicity, it’s most often associated with some component of language, although social and political organization can exist on a variety of scales at the same time. A collection of individuals can be described as an ethnic group if they speak the same dialect or speak the same language, for example. More information may be found here.


  • The distinction between racism and ethnocentrism may be seen in the word “inrace.” Ethnicity, which is defined by characteristics that are culturally dependent, distinguishes all human groupings. It refers to a sense of belonging and identification in a community that has a common language, cultural qualities (values, beliefs, religion, culinary habits, customs, and so on), and a sense of a shared past, among other characteristics. All of us are humans. More information may be found here.


  • In sports, race, ethnicity, and sports are all taken into consideration. In sports, like in other aspects of life, there is a propensity to explain discrepancies in performance by pointing to purported physical distinctions between races that are not there. When Austrians do well in skiing and when Swedes perform well in tennis, cultural reasons have been sought via the lens of. More information may be found here.

ethnic group

An ethnic group, a social group, or a category of the population that is distinguished from and held together by shared connections of race, language, nationality, or culture within a wider community. Diversity of ethnic origins is a type of social complexity that may be found in almost all modern countries. Historiquement, it is the legacy of conquests that brought diverse peoples under the rule of a dominant group; rulers who imported peoples for their labor or technical and business skills in order to further their own interests; the advent of industrialization, which accelerated the age-old pattern of migration for economic reasons; or political and religious persecutions that drove people from their native lands.

  • More Information on This Subject may be found here.
  • Although the term ethnic is commonly used to refer to the offspring of the most recent immigrants, it has a broader definition that encompasses a wide range of people.
  • Their historical significance has been and continues to be their relationship with the nation-state, whose fundamental purpose is political unity, which is sometimes confused with social unity in popular culture.
  • Assimilation and acculturation, whether forced, induced, or voluntary, have been the most often used solutions.
  • Similar tactics were used by their French counterparts when they expanded their conquests into the Langue d’Oc area of southern Europe.
  • In the United States, a form of this process has been achieved by more or less voluntary assimilation, which has been referred to as “Americanization” by some.
  • However, both governmental policy and public opinion had a role in the integration of the United States.
  • In Switzerland, where the three largest ethnic groups are concentrated in different cantons, each enjoys a high degree of local sovereignty within a democratic federation, one of the most significant long-term solutions has been the cantonalization of the three major ethnic groups.
  • As a result of the expansion of concepts of freedom, self-determination, and democracy throughout the world, the political role of ethnicity is more significant today than it has ever been in human history.
  • With the resurgence of democraticaspirations among colonial peoples in Asia and Africa following World War II, empires founded by European invaders were dismantled without respect for ethnic concerns, sometimes in places of immense ethnic diversity.
  • However, although the majority of new nations in Asia were largely homogenous, the majority of new countries in sub-Saharan Africa were made up of a large number of minor ethnic groupings whose inhabitants spoke a variety of distinct languages.

Elizabeth Prine Pauls has altered and modified this essay several times since it was first published.

What Is Culture?

The image is courtesy of Getty Images/Saha Entertainment. Culture is defined as the features and knowledge of a certain group of people, and it includes language, religion, food, social behaviors, music, and the arts, among other things. Cultural patterns, interactions, cognitive constructs, and comprehension are defined by theCenter for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition as common patterns of behavior and interaction that are learnt via socialization, according to the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition As a result, culture may be defined as the development of a group identity that is influenced by social patterns that are exclusive to the group.

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In her interview with Live Science, Cristina De Rossi, an anthropologist at Barnet and Southgate College in London explained that “culture encompasses everything from religion to food to clothing to language to marriage to music to beliefs about what is right and wrong.” “Culture encompasses everything from religion to food to clothing to language to marriage to music to beliefs about what is right and wrong,” she added.

Many nations, such as France, Italy, Germany, the United States, India, Russia, and China, are known for their diverse cultures, with their customs, traditions, music, art, and cuisine serving as a constant pull for tourists to these countries and others.

As De Rossi explained, “it shares its origin with a number of other terms that are associated with actively supporting development.”

Western culture

The fall of the Roman Empire had a significant impact on Western civilization. The image is courtesy of Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images/Getty Images. ) In recent years, according to Khan University, the phrase “Western culture” has come to refer to the cultures of European nations as well as those countries that have been extensively impacted by European immigration, such as the United States. Western culture may be traced back to the Classical Period of the Greco-Roman era (the fourth and fifth centuries B.C.) and the development of Christianity in the fourteenth century as its origins.

  1. Throughout the past 2,500 years, a slew of historical events have contributed to the development of Western culture.
  2. 476, paved the way for the development of a succession of often-warring nations in Europe, each with its own culture, after which the Middle Ages began.
  3. According to Ohio State University historian John L.
  4. As a result of elites being compelled to pay more for scarce labor, survivors in the working class have gained more influence.

Today, Western culture can be found in practically every country on the planet, and its influences may be traced back to its origins.

Eastern culture

Buddhism is a big part of some Eastern cultures. Here is the Buddhist temple Seigantoji at Nachi Falls, Japan. The image is courtesy of Getty Images/Saha Entertainment. Eastern culture generally refers to the societal norms of countries in Far East Asia (includingChina, Japan, Vietnam, North Korea and South Korea) and theIndiansubcontinent. Like the West, Eastern culture was heavily influenced by religion during its early development, but it was also heavily influenced by the growth and harvesting ofrice, according to a research article published in the journal Rice in 2012.

  • However, this umbrella covers an enormous range of traditions and histories.
  • As a result, Hinduism became a major driver of culture in India, while Buddhism continued to exert influence in China and Japan.
  • For example, according to Jiahe Liu and Dongfang Shao , Chinese Buddhism borrowed from the philosophy of Taoism, which emphasizes compassion, frugality and humility.
  • Japan, for example, controlled or occupied Korea in some form between 1876 and 1945.

Latin culture

Da de los Muertos costumes for children in traditional attire (Image courtesy of Getty/Sollina Images.). The geographical territory that encompasses “Latin culture” is large and diverse. For the sake of this definition, Latin America is comprised of the regions of Central America, South America and Mexico where Spanish or Portuguese is the main language. Beginning in the 1400s, Spain and Portugal colonized or influenced a number of locations across the world, including those listed above. Some historians, such as Michael Gobat, author of “The Invention of Latin America: A Transnational History of Anti-Imperialism, Democracy, and Race” (American Historical Review, Vol.

  1. Others, however, disagree.
  2. According to the African American Registery, many of these civilizations were also affected by African cultures as a result of enslaved Africans being carried to the Americas beginning in the 1600s.
  3. Latino culture is still evolving and spreading around the world.
  4. The celebration of the Day of the Dead stretches back to before Christopher Columbus arrived in North America, but it was transferred to its current date by Spanish conquerors, who blended it with the Catholic festival of All Saints Day.

In recent years, the holiday has gained widespread recognition in the United States.

Middle Eastern culture

A family from the Middle East sits down to supper together. Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images/Image courtesy of Getty Images The Middle East is roughly defined as the area including the Arabian peninsula as well as the eastern Mediterranean region. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the North African countries of Libya, Egypt, and Sudan are also occasionally mentioned. The word “Middle Eastern culture” is another umbrella term that incorporates a wide range of cultural customs, religious beliefs, and everyday routines from all around the Middle East and North Africa.

  • Despite the fact that there is tremendous religious variety in the Middle East, Islam is the religion with the greatest number of adherents, and Islam has played a key part in the cultural development of the region.
  • According to the Metropoliton Museum, the death of the religion’s founder, Muhammad, in 632, was a watershed event in the development of Middle Eastern culture and civilization.
  • Consequently, a split developed between Shia Muslims, who held the value of bloodline in high regard, and Sunni Muslims, who held that leadership should not be passed down through the familial lineage.
  • Their rites and customs differ somewhat from one another, and the divisions that exist between the two groups frequently lead to conflict.
  • Areas that were formerly a part of the Ottoman Empire are noted for their distinctive architecture, which is influenced by Persian and Islamic styles of architecture.
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African culture

In Kenya, Africa, an African woman from the Maasai tribe sits with her infant near to her home, where she lives. (Photo courtesy of hadynyah/Getty Images.) ) Africa has the longest history of human habitation of any continent: it has been inhabited since the beginning of time. According to the Natural History Museum in London, humans started there approximately 400,000 years ago and began to spread to other parts of the world around the same time period. Tom White, the museum’s senior curator of non-insect invertebrates, and his colleagues were able to find this by examining Africa’s ancient lakes and the species that lived in them.

  • As of the publication of this article, this research provides the earliest evidence for the existence of hominin species on the Arabian peninsula.
  • One of the most distinguishing characteristics of this culture is the enormous number of ethnic groups spread over the continent’s 54 countries.
  • Africa has been importing and exporting its culture for millennia; according to The Field Museum, East African commercial ports served as a vital link between the East and the West as early as the seventh century.
  • With a single description, it would be hard to capture the entirety of African cultural diversity.
  • Traditions from traditional Sub-Saharan African civilizations include those of the Maasai people of Tanzania and Kenya, the Zulu people of South Africa, and the Batwa people of Central Africa, to name a few.

The Batwa, for example, are a tribe of indigenous people that typically live a forager’s lifestyle in the jungle, and they are one such group. Maasai herders, on the other hand, herd their sheep and goats on broad pastures and rangelands.

What is cultural appropriation?

Cultural appropriation, according to the Oxford Reference dictionary, is defined as “the taking over of creative or artistic forms, motifs, or practices by one cultural group from another.” A non-Native American wearing a Native American headdress as a fashion item would be one example of this practice. The fashion house Victoria’s Secret was highly condemned in 2012 after a model was dressed in a headdress that looked like a Lakota war bonnet, according to the newspaper USA Today. According to the Khan Academy, these headdresses are filled with important significance, and wearing one was a luxury gained by chieftains or warriors by deeds of courage and valor.

Recent history shows that Gucci encountered a similar reaction in 2019 after selling a product known as “the indy complete turban,” which sparked widespread outrage among the Sikh community, according to Esquire magazine.

Turbans have been worn as ‘hats’ by your models, although practicing Sikhs knot their turbans properly fold-by-fold.

Constant change

It is defined as follows by Oxford Reference: “A phrase used to indicate the adoption of creative or artistic forms, motifs, and practices by one cultural group from another” (cultural appropriation). A non-Native American wearing a Native American headdress as a fashion item would be one example of this phenomenon. For example, according to USA Today, Victoria’s Secret was roundly attacked in 2012 after dressing a model in a headdress that looked like a Lakota battle bonnet. According to the Khan Academy, these headdresses are filled with important significance, and wearing one was a luxury obtained by chieftains or warriors via acts of courage in battle.

Gucci also suffered a similar reaction for selling an item known as “the indy complete turban,” which sparked widespread outrage within the Sikh community, according to Esquire, which was then discontinued.

He stated: “In the eyes of practicing Sikhs, the Sikh Turban is not just a trendy new accessory for white models, but rather a religious element of faith.

However, practicing Sikhs tie their Turbans carefully fold-by-fold, as opposed to your models who wore them as “hats” In the same way that selling counterfeit Gucci merchandise is bad, using phony Sikh turbans is far worse.”

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