Nationality vs Ethnicity
The difference between nationality and ethnicity has a direct connection with a person’s ancestral line. The issue of ethnicity has been a topic of heated debate for a long time now. This is because of atrocities being committed against some sections of populations in certain countries. Ethnicity refers to one’s racial ancestry and is different from nationality, which is the place of origin of a person. So if you are born in UK, your nationality is not in doubt as you are always referred to as a national of UK, but it is your religion (if different from the majority community) that defines your ethnicity or racial origin. There are many more differences between ethnicity and nationality that will be harped upon in this article.
What is Ethnicity?
Ethnicity is a much broader term than race. Ethnicity refers to a group of people who are geographically as well as culturally together. Ethnicity is a relatively new term as it finds mention in a dictionary as late as 1972 (Oxford dictionary). It was, however, in vogue when people had to refer to minority populations in different countries. The word ethnic was a euphemism for Jews in Nazi Germany, and in Great Britain, it gradually became a word that replaced the word racial. In everyday language, the word ethnicity has connotations of minority groups and racial origins though the word never got any recognition from anthropologists. If anything, the words ethnicity has been used by anthropologists to describe groups of people in a particular society that have distinct cultural identities. However, race and racial affiliations have always been intricately associated with the word ethnicity. This is why the word has got a bad name for itself. However, ethnicity is broader than race, which only refers to a group of people who come from a common geographical area.
Ethnicity has been a ground for discrimination against populations in different parts of the world, and it is known as racism or communalism for convenience or justification purposes. No matter what the nationality of a group of people may be, it is their ethnic affiliations that become important. People tend to make stereotypes about people when they come to know of their ethnicity, despite their nationality. The nationality of an Indian born in South Africa may be South African, but he is always referred to as an Indian. This describes how deep rooted and strong the concept of racism or ethnicity in the minds of the people.
What is Nationality?
Nationality is a concept that describes the membership of a country or a nation. If you are born in a particular country or have become a citizen through naturalization, you have the nationality of that country irrespective of your ethnic origins. Nationality of a person grants him certain rights including citizenship. Even UN says that every individual in this world has a right to nationality and cannot be deprived of his nationality unless he expresses his desire to change his nationality. Though words citizenship and nationality are often confused, it is clear that nationality is a broader term that includes both citizens and non-citizens.
What is the difference between Nationality and Ethnicity?
• Ethnicity reveals your racial affiliations whereas nationality refers to the country of your origin or where you live presently.
• The population of a nation may be composed of many ethnic groups though all of them have the same nationality. For example, American in the nationality of all those who have the American citizenship. However, America is a mixture of Jews, Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian people.
• Ethnicity is a group of people with the same geographical and cultural heritage. They share the same cultural traditions such as the Jews. They originally come from the same area, and share the same traditions.
• Nationality is the country where you have got your citizenship. You may be born in that country or you may have immigrated to that country and earned the citizenship by respecting the rules of that particular country.
• At any given point of time, more wars and conflicts rage in the world over the issue of ethnicity than nationality.
As you can see ethnicity recognizes a smaller group of people while nationality includes a larger number of people as it is a broader term.
- Haredi Judaism follower by Alex Proimos (CC BY 2.0)
- Carol Moseley Braun, United States Senator from Illinois via Wikicommons (Public Domain)