Difference Between Ethnicity and Race


Main Difference

Ethnicity is the social group in which people are classified by their language, culture, tradition, and nationality, Whereas Race is the social group in which people are classified on the basis of their physical traits, genetic, ancestry, and relations. Ethnicity and Race are two different kinds of social groups in which humans are classified by various traits, characters, and standards. Ethnicity refers to the grouping of people regarding their culture, language, and nationality. All these are the social traits, whereas Race refers to the phenotypical classification of people. It refers to their physical traits and genes, such as color, etc.

Comparison Chart

Ethnicity is the categorization of people by their culture, language, tradition and nationality. The classification due to the social differences among the people is referred as Ethnicity.The race is the grouping of people by their ancestry, physical traits, and genetic formation. Phenotypically categorizing people regarding their color, formation, shape and various other genetically characteristics falls in ethnicity.
Social and Cultural. Most of the times based on location, the area of living and nationality, etc.Physical appearance, genetic build-up, phenotype, shape, skin color, etc.
Grouping Base
Common examples include identifying a person by nation i.e. he is Polish, he is African, she is Chinese, and she is Indian, etc.Common examples include identifying someone like: He is black, she is white, They are brown, she is tall, etc.

What is Ethnicity?

Categorization of people on the origin of their social background such as culture, language, tradition, nationality, etc. is known as Ethnicity. It is in basic the classification of humans living in different parts of the world by their sociological differences. These sociological difference usually increase when the geological difference increase. The word Ethnic is derived from the Greek word ethnos and Latin word ethnicus which means nation. The concept of Ethnicity is of ancient times. A famous Greek author and historian Herodotus introduced the concept of ethnography and later on it was used by most of the literate men for grouping and classifying. Ethnography involves the grouping and classification of people as per their location and area in which they are living, and their ancestors lived once. Grouping as per culture and religion also falls in the ethnicity. Two persons having the same religion and same culture or tradition living in the same area said to belong from same common ethnicity.


What is Race?

Grouping of people by their physical traits such as shape, formation and skin color is known as Race. It is quite different from Ethnicity. In such classification, the humans are classified regarding phenotype differences. Phenotypically differences among the people are due to their genetic formation and ancestry. The most common and general type of classification in ‘Race’ is on the basis of skin color. A person is said to have different or similar Race on behalf of his or her color, such as black, white, brown, etc. According to various scientific researchers, it is clear that classification by race, which includes physical traits is totally useless and is not at all authentic in any terms. Although it is easy to distinguish between people by their skin color and another physical look that surely is stereotyping. The skin color and other body formation keep on changing with the passage of time as according to the adaptations in the habitat and living environment. This grouping does not justify that two black persons or two white are part of the same group or their ancestors were common.

Ethnicity vs. Race

  • Ethnicity is the grouping or classification of humans on the basis of their sociological background i.e. language, culture, religion, nation, tradition,
  • The race is the differentiation or classification of peoples on their physical appearance i.e. skin color, face formation, looks, height,
  • Ethnicity involves nationality and culture.
  • The race involves ancestry, phenotype, and physical standards.
  • Ethnicity is supported with evidence and is accepted worldwide as authentic classification.
  • The race is not supported scientifically and lacks acceptance.
  • It is easy to distinguish a person by race than ethnicity
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss