Distinguishing Ethnicity & Culture

Ethnicity vs Culture

The classification of humans based on skin color and facial features has been a long-standing practice, despite advancements in society. Discrimination based on skin color is common in all parts of the world, and sociologists have always been interested in racial, cultural, and ethnic differences among people. The terms ethnicity and culture are often used interchangeably and can cause confusion. This article will clarify the distinctions between ethnicity and culture.


Our place of birth is one aspect of our identity, but the race of our parents determines our ethnicity. For example, a person born to Hispanic parents in the US will have US citizenship, but their ethnicity remains Hispanic, with roots in Latin American countries like Spain or Mexico. The word “ethnic” comes from the Greek “ethnos,” which means foreign people. In modern times, ethnicity refers to a person’s racial affinities and is not necessarily derogatory.


Within each ethnic group, there are shared beliefs, values, norms, and practices. Thinking, decision-making, and actions within a particular ethnic group often follow a pattern. These beliefs, values, and customs are passed down from one generation to another, preserving the culture. Shared practices and values provide a sense of identity and belonging for the members of the group, which helps keep a culture alive. The culture of a race or ethnic group is reflected in its common heritage, including art, language, clothing, and eating habits.

Key Takeaways

  • Ethnicity is related to a person’s racial affinities, while culture is a shared set of beliefs, morals, and values that reflect a way of life.
  • Words like Caucasian, Mediterranean, Hispanic, Asian, and Black are used to refer to a person’s ethnicity, regardless of their country of birth.
  • Culture is passed down through generations and serves as a sense of identification, reflected in the art and customs of a particular group of people.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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