Cultural vs Ethnic
Cultural and Ethnic are two words that are often confused since they are taken as words that give the same meaning when strictly speaking, there is some difference between the two words. Culture refers to the arts, customs, and other acceptances of a nation or a group of people. Based on our culture, our cultural identity is created. This influences our behavior, attitudes, and perception. The word cultural is used as an adjective as in the expressions ‘cultural show’ and ‘cultural exhibition.’ On the other hand, the word ethnic can be defined as relating to a group of people sharing a common origin. Just as a cultural identity, we also have an ethnic identity. This is specifically related to our ethnic group. The word ethnic is used as an adjective as in the expressions ‘ethnic problems’ and ‘ethnic issues.’ This is the main difference between the two words. Through this article let us examine the difference between the two words.
What does Cultural mean?
Cultural can be defined as belonging to a cultural group. This includes sharing traditions, customs, values, a common language, etc. However, within a single culture there can be various groups of people. The cultural identity of an individual is created through the socialization process within a particular culture. When a person is socialized into a culture, he begins to be familiar with those cultural practices. This influences his behavior and also attitudes. People who share a single cultural identity share commonalities.
However, it is important to know that the word cultural has several other meanings too such as ‘artistic’ and ‘civilizing’ as in the following sentences.
The cultural talent of the child was well exhibited in the show.
Angela has shown a lot of interest in cultural aspects of life.
In the first sentence, the word cultural is used in the sense of ‘artistic’ and hence, the sentence could be rewritten as ‘the artistic talent of the child was well exhibited in the show.’ In the second sentence, the word cultural is used in the sense of ‘civilizing’ and hence, the meaning of the sentence would be ‘Angela has shown a lot of interest in civilizing aspects of life.’
What does Ethnic mean?
Ethnic refers to relating to a group of people sharing a common origin. Within a single society, there can be people belonging to different ethnic groups. These people have different ethnic identities. A person, who belongs to a particular ethnic group, has an awareness of himself and others in the group. He sees himself as an independent individual and also as a part of a group. Such a person has a cultural identity as a part of the entire social community, and an ethnic identity that is confined to his group. Ethnic values, attitudes, and behaviors can also influence the individual just as cultural values.
This word can be used in the English language as follows.
The people lived in harmony amidst ethnic diversity.
The ethnic issues were solved amicably.
In both the sentences, the word ethnic is used in the sense of ‘group’ and hence, the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘the people lived in harmony amidst group diversity.’ The meaning of the second sentence would be ‘the issues that prevail among the groups were solved amicably.’ These highlights that cultural and ethnic refer to two different components of the society even though they are interrelated.
What is the difference between Cultural and Ethnic?
• Definitions of Cultural and Ethnic:
• Cultural can be defined as belonging to a cultural group.
• Ethnic refers to relating to a group of people sharing a common origin.
• Ethnic Identity and Cultural Identity:
• Cultural identity is much broader.
• Ethnic identity is confined to a group of people who share a common origin, values, etc.
• Within a single culture, there can be a variety of ethnic groups.
• Most cultural values of a society are shared.
• Ethnic values can differ from group to group.
• Cultural can also denote artistic.
• Ethnic does not denote artistic.
- Khon Show by Kinkku Ananas (CC BY 3.0)
- Ethnic groups in the United Kingdom by Neutrality (CC BY-SA 3.0)