Ethnicity affects identity


This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Identity in sociological terms; is how people make sense of themselves as members of particular groups in society. However there many elements that refers to identity such as; gender, race, ethnicity, social class and many others. For example I identify myself by; name, date of birth, nationality, tribe, clan and religious belief. In biological terms I can be identified by my (D.N.A). In society I can be identified as a mother, wife and student. Sociologists say that a sense of self develops from an early stage, children under one year start responding to their names when called by other individuals and in society as children grow up they see themselves as separate individuals in their families.

Identity enables us to see ourselves as others see us, and as humans, we tend to imagine what it is like to be someone else, many television programmes show individuals trying to impersonate others by copying their voice and mannerism, so this clearly shows that the impersonator knows that they are different from the character they are impersonating. "Postmodernism has made identity an important concept by examining the way in which individuals get their sense of self by identifying with a great range of social groups based on for example; age, gender and ethnicity". {Harris S (2000) Sociology Study Guide, Pearson Education Limited}.

Ethnicity hugely affects our identity for it is considered to be natural. It identifies us from past generations. For example black ethnic groups are associated to Africa. By looking at individuals we can tell what their ethnicity is. In other words it is a constructed identity that is tied to a place. Speaking the same language from the countries of origin, sharing the same culture or religion also determines our ethnicity.

Sociologists say that people recognize themselves as part of ethnic groups and feel positively about others who share the same culture. For example; if a Ugandan meets another Ugandan in the streets of Britain, it brings a certain sense of assurance to both parties that their not alone regardless of being away from their own country of origin.

However, ethnicity affects our identity in so many areas of life. In Britain, ethnicity is mainly associated with minority groups from the former British colonies such as Africa. This kind of categorisation affects identity because it emphasizes on skin colour rather than common culture characteristics. The ability of ethnic minorities in Britain to shape their self identity is also limited by the way in which they are seen and treated by powerful groups. Prejudice and discrimination practiced by other ethnic groups, may make it difficult for others to express their cultural identity fully.

A television documentary about Jews, showed an example of how ethnic groups of Jewish origin went to Russia, in the 19th century, and found it very difficult to settle because of their identity. Individuals tried to: intermarry with other races, change their Jewish names, converting to other religions and learning the Russian language in order to conceal their own identity.

Recently sociologists have observed that intermarriages have risen considerably, "this affects the identity of individuals because self identity becomes an issue as a child born out of this kind of relationship finds it difficult to conform to both ethnic groups especially if the child is mixed race". (Moore S, Aiken D, Chapman S (2005) Sociology AS for QCR, Harper Collins Publishers Limited). Sociologist researchers Tizard and Phoenix (1993) found in their research at that time that sixty percent of the mixed- race children, were proud of their mixed parentage. Today mixed-race relationships are being tolerated by different ethnic groups though in some like Japanese ethnicity it is a practise that is not widely accepted. It has been predicted by some experts, that ethnic minorities would slowly become absorbed; groups are going to abandon their ethnic cultures in order to adopt others. This is being witnessed today in Britain, arranged marriages for people with Indian ethnicity is on the fall in Britain, Indian women are adopting to the dating culture before marriage, whereas in India it is still a tense subject for woman to marry a man of their choice.

Overall, previous generations had pride in their ethnic backgrounds, but because of immigration issues and intermarriages society today are choosing to settle and adapt to the diverse ethnic lifestyles around them.


  • Harris S (2000) Sociology Study Guide, Pearson Education Limited
  • Haralambos M & Langley P (2003) Causeway Press
  • Moore S, Aiken D, Chapman S (2005) Sociology AS for AQA Harper Collins Publishers Limited

Writing Services

Essay Writing

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.