Race, ethnicity, family and religion are important aspects in the lives of people. These define who the people are and what they value or appreciate. Furthermore, they determine the behaviour, which helps in differentiating people from others.
Even though these aspects are important, over the years they have elicited mixed reactions from different parties. They have been associated with the discrimination and sufferings that people have undergone. Therefore, their analysis is important in determining how they can be used in a positive way to enhance cohesion and diversity in the global scene.
According to Oh, race is referred to as a group of people who are related in terms of their hereditary mechanism or descent (1027). These people are united by common history, language and culture traits among other attributes. They may also share some physical characteristics such as skin color, eye shape or even facial forms.
Oh argues that the notion of race on physical trait is inconsistent with the historical understanding of the term that served as a basis of the Reconstruction Amendments (Oh 1028). Race in the framers of the reconstruction amendments was based on corporation that masked certain people in a certain manner.
In the past, race was used as a tool of discrimination. Even in current times, race is still an obstacle in reaching cohesion among many people as it serves as a discrimination tool. Perceptions that people form on other people because of their colour or place of origin has been the core cause of discrimination (Macionis 52).
This discrimination has led to crop up of affirmative actions and other human rights activism to protect those people or groups that are discriminated.
Further, ethnicity helps in defining the communities around their countries. Ethnicity is an identity with or membership in a given racial, cultural or national group and observance, and practice of the belief, customs and language of that particular group. An ethnic group is unified by their way of doing things, resemblance and common cases in various aspects that forms their identity in the entire community.
For instance, in America, many minority groups maintain a high level of ethnic identity especially in towns as immigrants get attracted to their ethnic communities that have established themselves in America. Therefore, ethnicity is a key role in enhancing unity as it acts as a sense of belonging.
Ethnicity refers to the selected cultural aspects and some time physical traits that are used in classifying people in various categories or groups, which are considered significantly different from others (Carter and Fenton 2).
For instance, in America, the most recognized ethnic groups include the Latinos, African Americas, American Indians, Europe Americans and many others. Some ethnic groups are subcultures of other ethnic with shared body of tradition and language, for example, the newly arriving immigrants in the USA.
Ethnicity enables people to feel themselves bound together by a number of common attributes including, geographical location, language, values, norms, behaviors and traditions. It helps to foster strong sense of identity among people and make them value people hood and unity. Ethnicity also serves as a function of circumstantiality by serving the economic and political interests of individuals.
Therefore, ethnicity is more of a convenience, especially in times of struggling for power and support. The political class uses the influence and the support from their various ethnic groups to raise to the leadership positions. It is also developed based on marginalizing or assimilation.
A minority ethnic group that is perceived to be an outsider by a dominant ethnic group may maintain a strong ethnic identity as a way of demonstrating unity and any form of retaliation or mistreatments that might be perpetrate by the dominant culture.
Ethnic groups can last for a very long or a short period and can merge or disappear due to assimilation and other related factors. Most of the groups that assimilate have weak or under developed ethnic identities and therefore they confide into those ethnic identity of the dominant cultures. The surrounding, culture and environment may contribute to this shift.
Therefore, ethnic self-identification in an ascribed ethnic group is important in that they help in controlling and /or enhancing opportunities for well being of the society. Ethnic identity also helps in the predicting of educational and professional outcomes, economic status, networking opportunities, partner selection, marital success and living conditions.
Family and religion are yet other important components that govern and guide people in their day-to-day lives. Family is a smallest unit of a society that constitutes the larger society. Therefore, family is important in maintaining generation. The moral values and traits that are indoctrinated in children at the family level transcends to the wider behaviors, values and beliefs of an entire, clan, ethnicity and nation.
Over the past decades, there have been drastic changes in configuration of family units, culture, and the social pressure in the family structures. Religion on the other hand, is important as it forms the basis of ideologies that a given people would ascribe to family. Hence, it is therefore a key role or an influential arm, which determine the religion affiliation of the entire community.
Religion and family have relations and they borrow from each other, for instance, the role of religion in the family varies from one context to another. Some societies value religion while others do not. The family unit ascribes to these orientations, which is mandate to instill and guide the children on the specific line of religions.
People observing or practicing certain religious ideologies have been introduced to such doctrines by their family unit. For instance, the history of people also dictated the type of religion they prophesy, which is passed down the generation by their parents. Take an example of African countries.
During their colonization, many western nations came and spread their religious doctrines making them to adapt and change to such. Since then, these religious ideologies have been passed onto the new generations.
According to Mark, religion is important in fostering or strengthening the family unity. For example, Jewish families’ observance to certain rituals such as celebration of Sabbath and lightening of candles helps in enhancing positive relationship between the family members. This demonstrates that religion can go greater miles in cementing good family foundation, which may transcend to the entire society (608).
Therefore, religious practices among families are important and beneficial to marriage and relationship between child-parent in many families and individuals. At the family level, it enhances positive relationship and promotes understanding. However, compulsory family worship may have negative effects. Parents should not compel their children or other people to worship, as this is a choice of an individual (Witte 87).
In the family set up, more women engage in religious practices often than men and are mostly likely to be religious as opposed to men. In most instances, men are influenced by religion than women.
Hence, these religious beliefs are important in influencing or promoting long term marriages to ensure marriage satisfaction and marital quality in those families that both partners believe in a religious practice. However, this may not be good to those families where one of the partners is non-religious (Mark 614).
Over the past, religion affiliations have contributed to formation of stereotypes among the society. There exists discrimination in terms of religion with some people calling other religions inferior. These differences in ideologies have seen terrorists’ attacks and conflicts ensuing among different people. This occurrence shows how religion is dear and important to the lives of people.
However, the conflicts that happen between people believing in these religion affiliations should not be tolerated but rather, leaders should use their positions to call for peace and respect of other religions. This will foster unity and togetherness among different people with different religious perspectives and ideologies.
In conclusion, it is apparent that race, ethnicity, family and religious are important aspects and factors that serve as our sense of identity and define who we are. They help in building unity, understanding and enhance a spirit of togetherness among people in a certain segment. However, it is apparent that some of these attributes have been used in a bad manner, for example in occasions like discriminating against some people.
Race and ethnicity have been used to discriminate against people perceived to be inferior and in possession of different attributes not exhibited by the major ethnic groups. On the other hand, family is an important unit in the entire society as it forms the basis of the larger community. Therefore, values, beliefs, norms that are passed onto the children from the family are important in defining their religious affiliation.
Some of the problems that emanate from racial discrimination should be handled by government and any other parties with vested interests to ensure that race and ethnicity serves positive function of creating unity and promoting the welfare and wellbeing of the entire society.
Carter, Bob, and Fenton Steve. Journal Not Thinking Ethnicity: A Critique of the Ethnicity Paradigm in an Over-Ethicized Sociology. For the Theory of Social Behaviour, 40.1 (2010): 1-18. Print.
Macionis, John. Society: The Basics. Pearson Education Canada, 2008. Print.
Mark, Loren. Religion and Family Relational Health: An Overview and Conceptual Model. Journal of Religion & Health, 45.4(2006):603-618. Print.
Oh, Reginald. On account of race or color: race as corporation and the original understanding of race. Albany Law Review, 72.4 (2009): 1027-1040. Print.
Witte, John. Exploring the frontiers of law, religion, and family life. Emory Law Journal, 58.2 (2008): 87-102. Print.