Diverse World Coaching

Bringing People Together


July 2015

Ethnicity vs Race

I often have people tell me that I should use the term ethnicity rather than race because “there is only one race, the human race”.

I decided to post this in response. This is an article I found that covers the subject well in my opinion.  It discusses each term and also their subjectivity. Enjoy

Ethnicity vs. Race

(these are excerpts from the article not the entire thing)

The traditional definition of race and ethnicity is related to biological and sociological factors respectively. Race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color. Ethnicity, however, refers to cultural factors, including nationality, regional culture, ancestry, and language. An example of race is brown, white, or black skin (all from various parts of the world), while an example of ethnicity is German or Spanish ancestry (regardless of race).


An ethnic group or ethnicity is a population group whose members identify with each other on the basis of common nationality or shared cultural traditions. The term race refers to the concept of dividing people into populations or groups on the basis of various sets of physical characteristics (which usually result from genetic ancestry).


Ethnicity connotes shared cultural traits and a shared group history. Some ethnic groups also share linguistic or religious traits, while others share a common group history but not a common language or religion. Race presumes shared biological or genetic traits, whether actual or asserted. In the early 19th century, racial differences were ascribed significance in areas of intelligence, health, and personality. There is no evidence validating these ideas.


Ethnicity is defined in terms of shared genealogy, whether actual or presumed. Typically, if people believe they descend from a particular group, and they want to be associated with that group, then they are in fact members of that group. Racial categories result from a shared genealogy due to geographical isolation. In the modern world this isolation has been broken down and racial groups have mixed.

Distinguishing Factors

Ethnic groups distinguish themselves differently from one time period to another. They typically seek to define themselves but also are defined by the stereotypes of dominant groups. Races are assumed to be distinguished by skin color, facial type, etc. However, the scientific basis of racial distinctions is very weak. Scientific studies show that racial genetic differences are weak except in skin color.


In 19th century, there was development of the political ideology of ethnic nationalism — creating nations based on a presumed shared ethnic origins (e.g. Germany, Italy, Sweden…) In 19th century, the concept of nationalism was often used to justify the domination of one race over another within a specific nation.

Legal System

In the last decades of the 20th century, in the U.S. and in most nations, the legal system as well as the official ideology prohibited ethnic-based discrimination. In the last decades of the 20th century, the legal system as well as the official ideology emphasized racial equality.


Often brutal conflicts between ethnic groups have existed throughout history and across the world. But most ethnic groups in fact get along peacefully within one another in most nations most of the time. Racial prejudice remains a continuing problem throughout the world. However, there are fewer race-based conflicts in the 21st century than in the past. (Not in agreement here)

Examples of conflict

Conflict between Tamil and Sinhalese populations in Sri Lanka. Conflict between white and African-American people in the U.S., especially during the civil rights movement.(I’d venture to say the conflict between whites and African-Americans in the US has consistently been an issue. I wouldn’t say it never went away; the only variance has been how much the media has covered in my opinion)

What is ethnicity?

Ethnicity is state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.[1] This is, by definition, a fluid concept; ethnic groups can be broadly or narrowly construed. For example, they can be as broad as “Native American” or as narrow as “Cherokee”. Another example is the Indian subcontinent — Indians may be considered one ethnic group but there are actually dozens of cultural traditions and subgroups like Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, and Tamil that are also bona fide ethnic groups. Yet another example is people in Great Britain — they may be considered British, or more precisely English, Scottish or Welsh.

What is race?
A race is a group of people with a common physical feature or features. While there are hundreds — if not thousands — of ethnicities, the number of races is far fewer.

Difference Between Race and Ethnicity

Take the Caucasian (a.k.a., Caucasoid) race. The physical characteristics of Caucasians were described by M. A. MacConaill, an Irish anatomy professor, as including “light skin and eyes, narrow noses, and thin lips. Their hair is usually straight or wavy.” Caucasians are said to have the lowest degree of projection in their alveolar bones that contain the teeth, a notable size prominence of the cranium and forehead region, and a projection of the midfacial region. A person whose appearance matches these characteristics is said to be a Caucasian.

Caucasians are found in many countries around the world. So while a Caucasian person in the United States may share certain racial characteristics with a Caucasian person from France, the two people have different ethnic backgrounds — one American, the other French. They will likely speak different languages most of the time, have different traditions, and may even have different beliefs that have been heavily influenced by their local cultures.

Multiracial vs. Multicultural

In most cases, race is unitary — i.e., a person belongs to one race — but may claim ethnic membership in multiple groups. For example, Barack Obama is racially black in spite of his mother being caucasian. On the other hand, a person can self-identify ethnically as Scottish and German if she has indeed lived in both ethic groups.
Self-identification and Choice

Another difference between race and ethnicity is related to the ability to self-identify. A person does not choose her race; it is assigned by society based upon her physical features. However, ethnicity is self-identified. An individual can learn a language, social norms and customs, and assimilate into a culture to belong to an ethnic group.


Ethnicity –

Racial –

A Mixed Girl’s Take 


By: Sevgi Fernandez

My mother is white, my father is black, and I’m right there in the middle. My parents divorced when I was 2 so I didn’t grow up with equal representation of both sides of my heritage. This would prove to be a catalyst for the years of racial identity confusion yet to come.

My father grew up very poor in Massachusetts.  To this day, he’s the only one on that side of my family to get his PhD. In fact, he graduated Magna Cum Laude at Harvard and went on to get his doctorate at UC Berkeley where he would meet my mother.  My father was a part of the Black Panther Party and has spent his life writing books and consulting on issues surrounding racism and sexism.

My mother is from an upper middle-class Quaker family. Her father Clark Kerr, was the President of the University of California from 1958-67. Her mother a Stanford graduate who was an amazing environmental activist.  My mom experienced what I think many white women who marry black men do, a lot of disapproval and hatred.  I’d venture to say she got it from both sides, black and white.

 I lived my first 14 years with mother and grandparents, only seeing may father 2-3 times a year. My Birth name, Sevgi, which means love in Turkish, was given to me by my father. Unfortunately, when my parents separated, my mother and her family changed my name to Carrie. (Not legally) So when I was with my mom I was “Carrie” for all intents and purposes a white girl, with caramel skin mind you.

When I would see my father, I was Sevgi, and identified as black. You can see how this might be confusing for a child. The result was that I was never comfortable in my skin and I never felt I belonged in either place completely.

It wasn’t until I was 18 or 19 that I began to go by the name Sevgi wherever I was. It was about that time being “mixed” became “in”.  Prior to that I was either to light or too dark; translation, never good enough.  I finally found myself and my place in this world in college. I discovered my anger and through that, I discovered my passion. bell hooks helped with both.  

I recently posted a link to my blog on an anti racism group’s site. The following was my introduction: 

My name is Sevgi Fernandez, I’m a biracial woman and have spent the better part of the last two decades working as a Coach and Consultant specializing in cross-cultural/interracial families, blended families and Corporate/Executive diversity training. I’d appreciate your adding your voices to the discussions on my new blog. I’m hoping to create a forum where everyone can speak on the issues of racism and racial bias. I hope to challenge people of ALL races, not only to examine the issues we are facing but also to examine themselves and what they individually are bringing to the table. Below is a link to my website and one of our first blogs/discussions. Please read and participate in the dialogue. Blessings

Now I’ll share the responses I received from two men who we will call WHITE HATER,(WH) and BLACK HATER,(BH) for lack of anything better, or maybe just because I choose to….


What the hell is “biracial”? Do u vacillate between different races? One day black. … the next white? This description of a persons skin colour or ethnicity is both ridiculous and funny at the same time. God in heaven. Political correctness gone crazy.You are a woman. Skin colour irrelevant. Ethnicity irrelevant.


It’s actually very relevant to me and many others who identify as biracial. Instead of judging and attacking maybe you could ask questions. You have not lived my experience so why choose to judge me and patronize me?

Moderator’s response:

Sevgi Fernandez,we understand what you are saying.Please proceed and know that the group in general respect your ideas,although there might be exceptions.


Thank you ! I think that for people of color, we don’t have the “choice” to not see COLOR. Unfortunately we don’t live in a colorblind world. For biracial and multiracial people, we often experience not fitting in anywhere. For example, I was often too white or too black, never having a place in a group. I think people often take racial identity for granted. There is a huge biracial community and being able to have just that, a community is important to us. We are no longer “other”. I’m keenly aware of the effects of racism from both sides. I hope that many of you participate in the discussions on my blogs. My hope is to challenge everyone to not only look within themselves but also to understand the experience of others. Through knowledge and compassion we can make a difference


Because you perpetuate racial stereotyping. Your first affirmation is that you are biracial. As if that alone defines you. My challenge to you is to be beyond any kind of profiling of yourself. Your comments perpetuate racial stereotyping


Tx Sevgi!I hope you find your place in the sun with us also.You already made an impact here,and we will be following your posts etc. with interest and expectation!

Eric-,let us give Sevgi a fair chance to express exactly what she want to communicate.Maybe we all learn something new!!?She is in an unique position to tell us how she is effected by diversity and I do not want to miss it!!!!


I appreciate that . Eric, why is it that my being biracial is all you got out of my post? I also listed what I’ve been working on for the past 20 years. Owning my racial identity does NOT perpetuate racism; I would venture to say that refusing to acknowledge race might…….


I own my Caucasianness too. Along with undoubted infusions in my ancestry of black, possibly Asian and any other mix you care to mention. I have the typical racial attributes of a white person but cannot possibly be classified as pure white. My family has been in africa for 300 plus years. Its inevitable I have the blood of other races in my veins. But I don’t preface any posts by clarifying my race. My race does not define who i am. Others may assume my being white must necessarily translate into some stereotype, which is usually informed by their upbringing and outlook on life. That’s their issue. So all I am saying is that prefacing your comment by racial classification to me only serves to perpetuate myths. Im on your side. I dont care if you are biracial. ..ghastly as that sounds… or white or asian or whatever.

For me it’s really hard to understand what Sevgi Fernandez wants reading from her comments. She appears like she’s saying please recognise us,divide your minds and hearts to identify my race so that I, as a coloured may ,benefit or be privileged from my race status or category. I’m black and still suffers from racism and this group is about eradication of racism. If we can fight racism based on privileging people based on their skin colour, where would that end. As a black person I don’t want to be recognised as black or as white but as a human being. That’s what the racial war is all about. It’s about Human beings being equal without stereotyping and demanding yo be what you are based on colour but based in the fact that you are human. Crying victim because no one wants to recognise you colour to me it’s shallow. If we would say you want to be recognised as one who was underprivileged during the time of apartheid and now you’re deprived or not benefiting where the race that was underprivileged then benefits now,then I may understand that. But still that may need to be dealt with in Court. We can have that anomalous act highlighted or help with our lawyer friends who may wish to challenge the government on those bases. However, the truth is we’re all human and can not want for anything more than being recognised as such.


First I don’t believe I was “crying victim” I was simply sharing my experience. Secondly, I don’t believe that owning my racial identity in any way perpetuates stereotypes. It is possible for us to recognize our differences Without negative connotations and stereotypes. Regardless of how I feel about your responses, I’m glad that a dialogue is coming out of this. I believe this offers us each a chance to try to understand the others point of view so, thank you for sharing.
As I’ve come to expect, there’s always a mixed bag of feelings and ideologies when it comes to race.  I’m so blessed to be a part of several social and politically active groups comprised entirely of mixed people. For most of us, being mixed had a special set of struggles that others don’t experience. Many people take their racial identity for granted. They take for granted always having a place they fit in. 

I get that many wonder why I would want to classify myself as mixed or biracial given I’m so against racial stereotyping and division. To this I say, I believe there’s a huge difference between owning one’s racial heritage and segregating one’s self because of it.  I’m grateful that my multiracial sons are growing up with a community, one they belong in, one that’s accepting them as they are.

So please, don’t assume without walking in my shoes. 

By: Mark Johnson


Blended in a society, that doesn’t even say hi to me. 

Trying constantly to keep my eyes wide open you see.

Sometimes talking too white, can turn into a fight. 

Acting too black is almost never allowed to be right.

So, I’ll just try to fit in, and not please anyone else but me.

No more feeling as if I’m too nice or too light. 

Looks like society is rapidly changing it’s complexion, yeah you damn right. 

Low Intelligence Linked to Racism

Frankly, those who give in to racism and prejudice may just simply be rather unintelligent. One study suggested that those who gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies were more inclined to form and hold racist and prejudice views, because the conservative ideologies stress hierarchy and “resistance to change.” But we all know that progress just for the sake of “progress” is equally meaningless.

It may be that those who hold deeply rooted prejudice, and racist views, may actually just not know any better, or are cognitively incapable of being free from bias. Several studies suggest that there is a strong correlation between intolerance, racism, and prejudice in general, with reduced cognitive ability, and lower integrative complexity (putting different, separate, ideas together). In an analysis of two large-scale data sets, it was found that lower intelligence in childhood predicted greater racism in adulthood. A secondary analysis of a U.S. Data set, also confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on anti-homosexual prejudice. People with lower cognitive abilities were found to interact less with individuals of other races.
Although valid, this data shouldn’t imply that all racists are of low intelligence: it is likely that some are merely manipulative psychopaths. But the findings could suggest that those children of lesser intelligence are more likely to establish and hold racist, homophobic and other small-minded and prejudice views.

In one study conducted in the United States, researchers Hodson and Busseri compared 254 people with the same amount of education, but who had varying levels of ability in abstract reasoning. They found that people who were poorer at abstract reasoning were more likely to exhibit prejudice against homosexuals. It doesn’t really come as a surprise that those who are less-tolerant would fall on the slightly close-minded side, because perhaps they lack the ability to abstract or think critically about information for themselves.

Understanding the roots of racism and bias could help eliminate them (prejudice). Anti-prejudice programs encourage participants to see things from another group’s point of view, but that mental exercise may be too taxing for people of low IQ, Hodson said.
Retired American statesman Dr. Ron Paul, has stated that the libertarian movement is the enemy of all racism:
“Racism is a collectivist idea, you put people in categories, you say blacks belong here, and whites here, and women here…but we don’t see people in forms [of groups, like] gays, you don’t have rights because you are gays or women, or minorities, you have rights because you are an individual. So we see people as strictly individuals and we get these individuals in the natural way, so its the exact opposite of all collectivism and its absolutely anti-racism because we don’t see it in those terms”
Although there is a constant movement towards individuals being accepted or who they are, except to some extent from the state, there remain those whowill always hold their passionate and hateful close-minded views toward others. And maybe some will just never know any better than to operate as such. For the rest of us, we see each individual as a sovereign being deserving of equal rights. And “race” as concrete catagories is socially constructed, to cleverly distract us from recognizing the universal truth that we are all simply human: we all bleed red. Sure there are cosmetic and external differences, but we each posses the same organs and same functioning human body. We do not need to place ourselves into sealed boxes, and decide to see others as being ‘lesser’ than us because, by blind chance, we were born into a different box. Contemporary views of race continue to reject the validity of any biological basis of race, and in the early twenty–first century it is most common to view race as being constructed from societal beliefs and actions.

posted by M Caulfield September 29, 2013

Sandra Bland, I’ve Been Thinking About You

Gringa of the Barrio

At the 13:55 mark in the video, Sandra, you are off camera. You’ve been knocked to the ground by the State Trooper and a female officer. You tell them, among other things… “You knock my head in the ground and I got epilepsy.” The trooper says, “Good, good.” Sandra, the medical examiner said you died because of asphyxiation. Sandra, from one epileptic to another, I know that when an epileptic has a grand mal seizure, that person stops breathing. Many die from asphyxiation. I have had grand mal seizures. I have managed to survive them because I have never been alone when it has happened. I have always had loved ones who have acted quickly to get me the emergency care I need.

As of yet, there is no video of when they booked you into jail, Sandra. Right now, I don’t know what happened to you. And you were so…

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‘They’re Murdering Our Kids And Getting Away With It’

MadD BlaKk News


Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri came as no shock to the hundreds of Americans of color who have lost loved ones in officer-involved shootings. Below, some of these people discuss their experiences and share their thoughts on the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Brown this summer.

Nicholas Heyward Jr.

Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr. was playing “cops and robbers” in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project in 1994 when NYPD Officer Brian George mistook the teen’s toy rifle for a real weapon. George fired one shot into Nicholas’ stomach, killing him.

Then-Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes declined to convene a grand jury in the case, or to directly press charges against George. The shooting was ruled a justifiable homicide.

Twenty years later, Nicholas’ father, Nicholas Heyward Sr., is still fighting to keep the memory of his son…

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Take the Blinders OFF

Do you have any biases you’re not aware of? There’s only one way to find out!!!


Selective Blindness 

Selective Blindness

I’m half black half white. I’m an activist. I blog and dialogue daily on the issues surrounding racism and white privilege. Why is it that the majority of whites (my family included) choose to be, and STAY blind to their white privilege? Is seeing who they are that scary? Is finding out that they might be racist or hold racial biases, that uncomfortable? YES IT IS. How then can they claim to be non-racist and without bias? How can one claim that if they can’t examine themselves and their internal agenda?

Image source:

Watch CNN Panelist Get Destroyed After He Blames Sandra Bland’s Arrogance For Her Death (VIDEO)

Who’s the arrogant one??

MadD BlaKk News

During a panel segment on CNN Tonight, the panel got into a fierce debate while analyzing the dash cam footage that shows the arrest of Sandra Bland. The video shows the police officer and Bland arguing, with the officer threatening to “light” Bland up with a taser.  This led to panelist and former NYPD detective Harry Houck claiming that is was Bland’s arrogant attitude is what led to her arrest and eventual death.

Houck, who could not even remember important facts about the arrest, serves an excellent reminder of the way that white people and law enforcement officers often hold people of color to a double standard when there is an incident of police violence or harassment.

Houck told CNN’s Don Lemon:

“An officer does have the choice to bring anyone out of the vehicle when he stops them for his own safety. The whole thing here is that…

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