What Race Are Ethiopians?

Some Ethiopians identify with the black race, while others prefer to only identify with their Ethiopian heritage. Typically, Ethiopians have dark skin, but race is a socially constructed idea that does not well-define individuals from Ethiopia.

Ethiopians are individuals that come from the African country of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is located in the northwest of Africa and it borders Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Kenya. The country consists of a variety of ethnic groups and languages, and the two most popular religions are Christian and Muslim. Within the country there are often rifts between the Muslim and Christian populations. Similarly, each ethnic group has its own culture and language, which has resulted in conflicts between ethnic groups. Unfortunately, Ethiopia has faced significant political strife and famine in recent years.

The largest diaspora community of Ethiopians is in the United States. Within the United States, many Ethiopians deal with racial identity issues, as they tend to have distinct features from dark-skinned individuals of West-African decent. Some Ethiopians in the United States embrace the African-American race, some consider themselves Arab, and most define themselves simply as an “Ethiopian” race. Many of the Ethiopian populations in the United States still hold on to their Ethiopian culture, and most immigrated much later than other African-Americans. This makes the Ethiopian immigrant culture distinct from other cultures in the United States.