Chapter 7: Ethnicity
The Cultural Landscape:
An Introduction to Human
Geography
Ethnicity

Ethnicity = from the Greek ethnikos,
meaning “national”
◦ Ethnicities share a cultural identity with people
from the same homeland
◦ Ethnicities have distinctive cultural traits
◦ Ethnicity is immutable; we may choose to
suppress it or deny it, but we can’t change it in
the same way we learn a new language, or
adopt a new faith
◦ No ethnicity is attempting global dominance, but
many ethnic groups are fighting with each other
to control certain areas of the globe

Race = people who share a biological
ancestor
Where Are Ethnicities Distributed?

Geographers are interested in where
ethnicities are distributed
◦ Ethnic groups are tied to a particular place
 Members of the group, or ancestors were born
there
◦ Particular traits are derived from conditions and practices
from the groups homeland
◦ Distinctive ethnic traits derive from the interplay of
connections with other groups and isolation from them

Clustering occurs on two scales:
◦ Particular regions of a country in a distinctive patterns of
distribution across the U.S.
◦ Particular neighborhoods in cities


Distribution of Hispanics in
the U.S.-15% of the
population
Clustered in the Southwest

Hispanic or Hispanic
American: term the U.S.
government chose to
apply to all people of
Spanish Speaking
countries

Some Americans of Latin
descent have adopted
Latino (male) or Latina
(female)
Most Hispanics identify
with a more specific
ethnic group:
 2/3 come from Mexico
(sometimes called
Chicanos or Chicanas)

Figure 7-1
Distribution of African Americans in the U.S.13% of the population/Clustered in the
Southeast
Figure 7-2
Distribution of Asian Americans in the U.S. 4% of the population: clustered in the West
Figure 7-3
Distribution of American Indians in the U.S. –
1% of the population: most numerous in the
Southwest and the Plain states
Figure 7-4
Where Are Ethnicities Distributed?

Concentration of ethnicities in U.S. cities
◦ 90 percent of African Americans and Hispanics
live in cities
 Distribution is distinctive at the state level for both
groups (be aware of individual states and ethnic
distribution)
◦ Remnants of twentieth-century European
migration = still evident on the landscape
 Example: clustering of restaurants in Little Italy,
Greektown
◦ Descendants of European immigrants moved out
of the cities in the early 20th C.
◦ Ethnic concentrations increasingly consist of
African Americans who’ve migrated for economic
reasons from the South to Northern Cities
Distribution of Ethnicities in Chicago and Los
Angeles
Figure 7-5
Figure 7-6
Where Are Ethnicities Distributed?
Clustering of ethnicities helps explain
patterns of Migration
 African American migration patterns have
been culturally distinctive and shaped
distribution

◦ Three major migration patterns
 Forced migration from Africa (eighteenth century)
◦ The triangular slave trade
 Immigration from the South to northern cities (first
half of the twentieth century)
◦ Identifiable paths of migration
 Immigration out of inner cities to other urban areas
(second half of the twentieth century to present)
◦ The ghetto
Where Are Ethnicities Distributed?

Slavery was practiced for many centuries by different cultures
 Europeans responsible for diffusion of Africans to the Americas
for the purpose of slavery
 British brought Africans to the Caribbean Islands for
 Portuguese brought Africans to Brazil
 Cheap labor: it was less expensive to keep slaves than pay
wages to European laborers
 Fewer than 5% of slaves ended up in the U.S.

Africans brought to American Colonies:
 Jamestown, Virginia on a Dutch ship in 1619
 During the 18th C. the British shipped 400,000 Africans to the 13
colonies
 In 1808 The U.S. banned the shipping of additional Africans as slaves
 Estimated 250,000 were illegally imported during the next half
century
 Triangle Slave Trade (See Map)

Civil War in the U.S. resulted in the abolishment of slavery
 Most freed slaves remained in the south working as share croppers
Triangular Slave Pattern
Figure 7-8
Where Are Ethnicities Distributed?

The rural South to northern cities
 Identifiable paths of migration in the 1st half of
the 20th Century

Jobs became scarce in the south
 With more machinery taking over production in
agricultural and rural areas, sharecropping
became less available as a means of earning a
living

Jobs became more plentiful in northern and
western cities
 Southern African Americans moved to
manufacturing centers in two waves:
 First in 1910s and 1920s (WWI)
 Second in 1940s and 1950s (WWII)
African American Migration in the U.S. (20 C.)
Figure 7-10
Where Are Ethnicities Distributed?

Immigration out of inner cities to other urban
areas
 The ghetto emerges in the 2nd half of 20th C



On arrival in northern cities African Americans
clustered in neighborhoods with those
immigrants who had come north earlier
Shortage of housing in ghettos forced people
to live together in apartments or in small
rooms that lacked basic amenities
With more African Americans migrating to the
cities, tight ghettos were expanded into
immediately adjacent neighborhoods in the
1950s and 1960s
Differentiating ethnicity and race

Race = traits that are shared genetically, however… biological
features within one racial group are highly variable
◦ The U.S. Bureau of the Census divides people for
classification every 10 years, but biological classification of
people into distinct racial groups is meaningless
◦ “Asian” as a race and “Asian American” as an ethnicity
◦
◦
◦
◦
encompass the same group of people; however Asian
American ethnicity refers to several disparate cultures from all
over Asia
“African American” and “Black” are two different groups, but
have been lumped together in the Census.
While most African Americans are descended from African
Slaves, not everyone hails from that gene pool.
“Black” merely refers to dark skin and carries an historical
connotation laced with judgment and prejudice
Hispanic or Latino is not considered a “race,” so people who
are culturally or ethnically Latino or Hispanic mark what ever
they choose on the Census form
Spatial effects of racism

“Separate but equal”


“White flight”


After the legal elimination of segregation requiring integration in
education and other public institutions, many whites fled to the suburbs
 White flight allowed for the expansion of black ghettos in American
Cities
Blockbusting


Discouragement of spatial interaction of the races in the U.S.
 Initially by legal means after the abolishment of slavery through
segregation, but more recently cultural preference or discrimination
Unscrupulous real estate practice
 White residents sold their homes at a depressed rate when living too
close to areas where African Americans lived
 Real estate agents sold the homes at an inflated rate to African
Americans
Apartheid in South Africa

The legal physical separation of racial groups into geographic areas


Recognized 4 groups: Black, White, Colored (mixed race or Indian), Asian
Each group had a separate legal status
Apartheid:
South Africa
Jim Crow:
United States
Figure 7-13
Transforming into Nationalities

Rise of nationalities
◦ Nationality = identity with a group of people who share a
common allegiance to a particular country
 Nationalism: shared values derived from civic duties and
identification (similar to ethnicity: shared traits of
religion, language, material cultural)
◦ Nation-state: a state (country) whose territory corresponds
to an ethnicity that has been transformed into a nationality
 Denmark: Strong sense of unity that derives from
shared traits and characteristics that extend back
more than 1000 years. Nearly all Danes speak
Danish, and most speakers of Danish live in Denmark
 Nation-states in Europe: Ethnicities transformed into
nationalities in the 19th Century (not all at once)
◦ Nationalism = loyalty and devotion to a nationality
◦ Once established, a nationality must hold the loyalty of its citizens to
survive
Nation-states in Europe
Figure 7-15
Transforming into Nationalities

Multinational states
◦ Multiethnic state: A state with multiple ethnic
groups, all of whom might contribute to a larger
national identity
◦ Example: the United States
◦ Multinational state: A state with multiple ethnic
groups who retain their own distinctive national
identity
◦ Example: the United Kingdom
◦ Example: Russia (the largest multinational state)

Revival of ethnic identity
 While the Soviet Union was in power it used
centripetal forces to discourage ethnicities from
expressing their cultural uniqueness, but with the fall
of the USSR, and dilution of Communism around the
world, ethnic identities though extinguished are
reemerging
 New/Old reorganized nations states are forming in
Eastern Europe
Ethnicities in Russia
Figure 7-18
Ethnicities Clash: Competition to dominate

People do not always find it easy to live together peacefully
◦ Ethnic competition in the Horn of Africa
 Ethiopia and Eritrea: Ethiopia was captured by Italy
in 1930s and regained its independence after WWII. Eritrea
defeated Ethiopia during a Civil War in 1991 and became an
independent nation.
 Sudan: Civil war has raged since 1981 as different ethnic
groups attempt to form themselves as separate from the ArabMuslim Dominated Government
 Somalia: While seemingly united ethnically, is divided into
clans seeking to control the government. Islamist militias have
fought for control of the government pulling Ethiopia and
Eritrea into the conflict. The U.S. has been involved off and on
in the conflict over the past decade.
◦ Religious and Ethnic competition in Lebanon:
 60% Muslim (Majority Shiite, minority Sunni), 39% Christian
◦ Christians traditionally controlled government and trade, but
as Muslims became more numerous, they demanded a
controlling interest.
Ethnic Diversity in Eastern Africa
Figure 7-21
Ethnicities in Lebanon
Figure 7-23
Why Do Ethnicities Clash?

Dividing ethnicities among more than one state
◦ South Asia
 India and Pakistan: When Britain ended their rule of the
Asian Subcontinent, they divided India and Pakistan according
to ethnicity: Hindu and Muslims.
◦ The division into two states resulted in massive migration
as people moved to be among others of their ethnicity
◦ Hindus and Muslims have had long fights for control of
territory, and cannot agree on the boundary between the
two states in the northern region of Kashmir
 Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka: Sinhalese comprise
the majority of the population of Sri Lanka, and are Buddhist.
Tamils, about 14% of the population, are Hindu. During Civil
war resulting from conflict that spanned 1000s of years, the
Tamils were defeated. They fear losing their rights and status
as Hindus.
Ethnic Division in South Asia
Figure 7-24
What Is Ethnic Cleansing?

Ethnic cleansing = process in which a more
powerful ethnic group forcibly removes a
less powerful group from their territory
◦ The purpose is not to subjugate, but to remove
◦ Today, most ethnic cleansing happens in Europe
and Africa
Ethnic cleansing in Europe
◦ Largest forced migration = 1939–1945
 Jews, gypsies, and others forcibly removed and deported to
concentration camps where they were exterminated by Nazis
◦ The Balkan Peninsula: Long a hot bed of ethnic unrest
◦ North controlled by the Austro-Hungary Empire in the 19th C. and the Ottoman
Empire in the South (Catholic in the North, Muslim in the south)
◦ In 1914 heir to the throne in Austro-Hungary was assassinated by a Serbian
nationalist, seeking independence for Bosnia (setting off WWI)
 Yugoslavia:
After WWI the organization of southern ethnic groups
into a new country
 Multiethnic Yugoslavia: After WWII
◦ “Yugoslavia has seven neighbors, six republics, five nationalities, four
languages, three religions, two alphabets, and one dinar.” (plus one
dictator, Josip Broz Tito)
 The breakup of Yugoslavia: After Tito’s death
◦ Struggle to create boundaries as the the country redefined itself
◦ Ethnic cleansing in Bosnia: Divisions between Muslim groups
attempting to control the Bosnia & Herzegovina
◦ Ethnic cleansing in Kosovo: Serbians took control of Kosovo
and attempted to wipe out the Albanian majority
◦ Balkanization: Originally described a country that failed to
organize into stable state. Now it refers to the breakdown of a state
through conflicts between its ethnicities
The Balkans in 1914
Figure 7-29
What Is Ethnic Cleansing?

Ethnic cleansing in central Africa
◦ Most boundaries in Africa do not correspond to
ethnic groups
◦ Conflict between Hutu and Tutsi destabilizes the
region
 Ethnic cleansing and genocide in Rwanda
 Refugees spill into neighboring countries
 Democratic Republic of Congo falls into civil war
Ethnicities in Africa
Figure 7-33
The End.
Up next: Political Geography
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