Ethnicity versus Race

January 17, 2017

Dr. Kathryn Sobek, Filipodia Editor


Have you ever wondered if ethnicity and race mean the same thing? A quick Google search yields two similar definitions:


Ethnicity: the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.


Race: a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.


Ethnicity and race are also synonyms of one another! However, there is a distinction between the two. Ethnicity is associated with culture. Race is associated with biology.


In biology, the definition of race is ‘a population within a species that is distinct in some way, especially a subspecies.’ Examples of racial groups are Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, African, Native American, etc. When writing about different populations of people in your scientific or medical writing, remember that you are writing about race, not ethnicity.