The Link Between Ethnicity And Multiculturalism
A lot of times when you think of ethnicity, you may think of an application you may have to fill out or a form you are turning in because they ask. White, Asian, African American, Hispanic, etc. , not too many really think about what it really is. Although those mentioned above is correct on that part of the ethnic table, it also has a lot to do with culture and what sets them apart as humans.
Ethnicity, according to the textbook “SOCIETY the basics” by John J. Macionis, is a shared cultural heritage. Most of the time when someone puts themselves in a certain ethnic group, they are doing so based upon language, religion, or ancestry. Sometimes, however, they are put into the wrong ethnic group based on their race or language they primarily speak. On page 343 of the book, it talks about how the concept of ethnicity is constructed, only though, because that is the way of society. For example, many people from Spanish speaking families are considered Hispanic or Latino even though most people that speak the Spanish language is from Italy than they are from Spain.
Another important thing that we do not really hear as much about but has a lot to do with ethnicity, is multiculturalism. Without having different ethnics in the world, we would have just one language, culture, heritage, race, etc. Multiculturalism according to “SOCIETY the basics”, is a perspective recognizing the cultural diversity of the United States and promoting equal standing for all cultural traditions. Without multiculturalism the United States would be just like the world would be without different ethnicities. We would be just one race with one language, and most importantly one culture.
Now given the fact that the United States mostly speaks English, there is roughly about 21 percent of the U. S. population that speaks a second language, or in some cases a first language before English. Most of the time, we connect those who speak different languages with Spanish or French, but in smaller cases, there can be languages anywhere from German, Japanese, Chinese, and sometimes even Yiddish.
If you ever thought of when ethnicity and multiculturalism began in the United States, some may tell you it started when slaves were first introduced into the United States and began being brought over from their homes across the ocean. However, that is not true. If you looked back to the Native American times, way before immigration began, you would see that different tribes had different cultures as well. There were already over 200 different languages amongst the Native Americans. Another difference between the tribes would be what they lived in. While some made homes out of mud and clay, also known as a Hogan, others made homes from logs, also known as longhouses. Then along with those, there were some who lived in teepees, igloos if they lived in Alaska, or even lived in Wigwams and much, much more. Native Americans ate different things in different regions of the country, much like today in our multicultural lifestyles.
All in all, I believe that it is a very good thing to have different ethnicities and cultures in our lives. It is always good to learn about different ones from your own and vise versa. Multiculturalism and ethnicity have both been down played in their times, and some people just to fit in, drop their culture to join another one that might be more welcoming than others, but I believe that you should embrace your culture and be proud of what makes you, you. It would be very boring if we were all the same. We would just prove the sociologist Max Weber’s theory to be true. That the world would eventually cage the human spirit. How sad would that be?