Ethnic gloss is the practice of inferring that all members of an ethnic group tend to share a common set of culture-related characteristics, including, for example, ethnic identification, acculturation to the dominant or host society (if applicable), political opinions, interpersonal style, language, and music and food preferences. Such an inference is implicit in analyses testing group membership as a predictor of psychological or other outcomes. Alternative approaches to the study of ethnicity include refocusing on conceptually relevant aspects of ethnic identity and specifying explanatory models for each ethnic group separately.

Social scientists often classify persons by ethnic group when reporting vital statistics and describing study samples and populations. This usage is widely accepted if there is no inference regarding characteristics shared by persons so classified. The ...

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