Social identity theory suggests that group identity development is a cognitive process that uses social categories to define self and establish a relationship with a reference group. These categories may be based on nationality, skin color, common history of oppression, ancestry, and so forth. Social identities are based on the emotional significance and importance of group memberships for self-definition and their relevance to worldview. Racial/ethnic group identity is only one of several possible social identities.

Historically, researchers have operated using either a narrow or a broad definition of ethnicity. The narrow definition focuses on national origin and/or unique cultural patterns. The broad definition has focused on cultural notions such as language, traditions, history, and other issues and attributes unique to a particular group, as well as ...

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