ethnic group

ethnic group

[eth-nik]

An ethnic group is a group of individuals who share a common cultural identity or ethnic background. An ethnic group comprises a social sect of a larger society and is identified by common traits such a race, language or nationality. These groups of people are also referred to as tribes, clans, communities and societies.

The most important characteristic used to categorize people into ethnic groups is how they identify themselves culturally and ethnically. In order to relate to an ethnic group a person normally shares the same beliefs, customs, history, language and practices. It is possible for a person to belong to more than one ethnic group but the person's primary ethnic group is the group to which the person most closely relates.

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