How are Race, Ethnicity & Nationality Sometimes Conflated?

The population of our planet is developing so rapidly and so diverse that in order to understand the many processes taking place in modern society, it is necessary to understand the essence of a number of fundamental concepts and their connection with each other.

To begin, it is important to mention that race, ethnicity and nationality are sometimes conflated and this happens for many reasons. To explain, the concept of “race” should be understood in the widest context, including all ethnic groups that are called races in common speech in this definition. Race can also entail belonging to a particular social group by common origin, as well as race is sometimes superimposed on nationality as a protected characteristic. Observing the way of this conflation, it can be said that nationality is used firstly, to designate a person’s belonging to a certain ethnic community (the rubric in the passport indicates the ethnic identity itself), and in Western European countries it is used mainly to indicate the nationality of people (citizenship). For these purposes, the phrase “ethnic nationality” is often used. Secondly, the term “nationality” is used as a collective term when it replaces a list of various forms of socio-ethnic communities (nations, nationalities, ethnic groups, etc.).

Moreover, it should be also said that nationality is not tied to a country or geographic location. A person stays with own nationality no matter where he lives. A nationality cannot have a political or other orientation. This is a social, not a political concept. From this point of view, the biologization of the ethnos does not lead to the negation of social “factors” (Coates, 2004). Biological and social forms are positively and miraculously combined in this context, although the decisive factor is ultimately declared biological. In this case, it is significant that with any interpretation of the ethnic group it is absolutely impossible to ignore social factors. The presence of social factors in the ethnic group is obvious. Mentioning the process of resistance to existing conflation, it becomes obvious that ethnonational and race conflicts are a reality that has manifested itself with unprecedented force in many societies.

The problem with trying to categorize a person into a neat little racial box is still relevant because it is not about the fact that people are not able to perceive the differences between the faces of people belonging to another race. Rather, the reason is different: looking at the face of a person from another racial group, people often pay attention to the race (“this man is black,” etc.), and not to one’s individual traits. When people do not see in front of them a representative of their own race, they think less about one’s race and are more attentive to a person as an individual.

Work Cited

Coates, R. Race and Ethnicity: Across Time, Space, and Discipline. Brill, 2004.

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: July 2, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: July 2, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: July 2, 2020]