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Letters: Race and ethnicity are not the same

A Richmond News reader and retired educator wants people to recognize the difference between race and ethnicity
The video shows this man telling the filmer to "go back to China." (via YouTube screenshot)

Dear Editor,

Re: “Don’t applaud Trump,” Letters, April 15.  

Once again, as a former post-secondary educator who was concerned with the way language is used, I need to point out the terms “race” and “ethnicity” continue to be inappropriately conflated, as with Douglas Ng’s letter.

Our “race” refers to our belonging to one of the four racial groups in the world with the physical characteristics that are attendant to each.

Our “ethnicity” refers to our belonging to a social group which shares common cultural traditions — therefore there can be a diversity of racial representations within a given ethnic group.

The reason it is important to be precise in the use of language...(is because) the more ambiguity, the more difficult it becomes to find agreements and solve problems.

To be a racist and to be prejudiced against ethnic groups are two different things, and it is important that we separate the two if we are concerned with achieving greater understanding of, and greater capacity to solve the various social problems we face.

Ray Arnold