Culture Race & Ethnicity

Culture Race & Ethnicity

The words Culture, Race and Ethnicity are different aspects in the subject of Sociology. The above concepts might seem similar to a layman but, for a Sociologist the three terms mean differently.

Culture: The word Culture is derived from a Latin word “Cultura” meaning to cultivate. Over 17th, 18th, and 19th century, the word was used differently, but in the early 20th century, the word was used to mean “the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols and act imaginatively and creatively”. The emergence of the above definition of culture emerged because of the increased interest in the study of anthropology. This concept became central to the subject of anthropology.

It has been observed that culture has a very important role to play in human society. The need to learn behavior and use it in a creative manner is the key factor that separates us from many animals and primates. In fact, there is a debate among the primatologists. Some argue that primates have a culture and others argue that they do not. Culture is the behavior, trait, education and perception that people learn from their childhood.

Race: Race is the classification of humans into groups based on various factors such as culture, language, social practice or heritable characteristics. Even, race can be defined biologically. It denotes a genetically divergent population that can be marked by common observable traits.
Broadly, human population is divided into many races like Caucasian, Hispanic, European, Asian, Australian Aborigines, etc. There are many sub races which can be identified based on the country that the people live in.

Ethnicity: The concept of ethnicity is very similar to that of race but there are subtle differences between them. Ethnicity refers to people who identify themselves with sharing a common heritage, often a common language, common culture and common religion. The word ethnic and ethnicity are derived from the Greek word, “ethnos” translated as nation. The modern meaning for the word ethnic evolved in the 19th and 20th century. One of the important traits of ethnicity is that an ethnic group does not want to forgo its cultural identity, the distinctiveness.

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