Tuesday, July 17, 2007
White Like Me
Dana has an excellent postmortem analysis of Ruth Frankenberg's work. I think her conclusion that race and ethnicity are two distinctly different things is right, but many people classify them as the same thing. While ethnicity is harder to define, it has more to do with culture and upbringing (the invisible factors) than race does. Race is easier to classify on the objective level, so for the purposes of studies, they often classify people by race. I would venture to guess that, for example, many people may identify racially as Hispanic, but ethnically as Latino. But then, I am neither, so it really is just a guess. This is why there's volumes of research to do still on race and ethnic studies. They can both influence your lives to an enormous degree, but in different ways. I've noticed, though, that some people mask talking about race by pretending to talk about ethnicity. They'll make passing observations about about ethnicity based on walking by someone, but really, what they mean is race. There's no way to tell ethnicity by just looking at someone, since I believe it has a lot more to do with experience.