There are many different ways that human beings define themselves - gender, race, personal preferences, religion, even their jobs. Some people might see themselves as different from their neighbors who work in offices. One of the biggest categories that people place themselves - and that people place others in - as a means of defining who they are is ethnicity. But what is ethnicity? What ethnic groups are out there? What makes you a part of one group but not another? These are some of the questions we deal with in this article.

In common parlance, ethnicity is often confused with race, but there is a significant difference between the two concepts. While a person's race is determined by their physical makeup, such as skin and eye color, and geographic origins, ethnicity refers to a person's heritage and culture. People within an ethnic group will usually have the same heritage, language, beliefs, culinary practices, homeland, and may even share the same beliefs. That does not necessarily mean, however, that they must all be the same coloring and height. Let us take a moment to thank our sponsor for their support.

Many people are also under the impression that people who come from the same country to learn English must also be of the same ethnicity, but this isn't always the case. Many countries contain a variety of different ethnic groups. Sometimes they exist fairly harmoniously, but other times they may be prone to violent clashes over territory, power, or beliefs. Many long standing conflicts, such as the ones between Palestine and Israel and between Northern Ireland and Britain, can be traced to ethnic differences, as can almost all instances of genocide.

It is important to remember that while differences in ethnicity can provide the potential for conflict, it can also present a great learning experience for both parties. By becoming friendly with a person of a different ethnicity, you can learn new ways of thinking about the world, taking lessons that can provide you with new recipes for ethnic dishes, and celebrate some fascinating holidays you have perhaps never heard of before.

There are thousands of different ethnic groups in the world, and often you cannot tell which you belong to unless you ask. Some well known ethnic groups of the world include Arabs, the Han Chinese, and the Tamils, but cultures such as Cajun, Acadian, and Cossack are also considered ethnicities, as are all the different native groups.

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