Ethnic and Racial Identity, Educational Implications

Ethnic and racial identity are closely related but distinct, socially constructed concepts. Ethnic identity is a sense of belonging to a particular ethnic group, in which one shares values, beliefs, traditions, language, and, in some cases, behaviors with others in the group. One's sense of belonging is influenced by interactions with ethnic in-group and out-group members. Racial identity is an aspect of one's self-definition, based on parentage and influenced by physical characteristics, such as skin color; shape of eyes, nose, and lips; and texture of hair. It is important to distinguish identification from categories or classification. Although there are many ethnic and racial classifications or categories into which individuals can be placed based on some outward manifestations, identity signals self-definition in the mind of an ...

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