Participants’ Definitions of Ethnic Ambiguity

“Similar I guess to racial ambiguity but with race, it’s more clear that there’s only a handful of races versus ethnicities, you can be lots of different things.”

“It’s a little bit special to the U.S. I don’t think a lot of other countries would have the same immigrant culture. I’ve seen a tradition of having a lot of people from different countries. So, ethnic ambiguity in the context of the U.S. is like you don’t look typically American. You’re not like an American poster child; like blonde hair, blue eyes, eating apple pie with that beautiful picture and I can’t pinpoint where your parents came from or where you came from.”

“Ethnically, it’s broken down more than race is. Race is – we tend to classify very broadly but I think ethnically people refer to tribes and smaller groups of people. For me to say I’m Latino or something would be a race or Hispanic would be a race but to say ethnically I’m Mexican would be different. Just breaking it down more.”

Ethnicity often sometimes implies having – we talk about religion as ethnicity, as well sometimes depending on the religion. I would say someone using ethnic ambiguity, it would be the same; someone people find difficult to categorize in what their ethnicity is, maybe including religion.”

“That’s another one – it’s depending on how you – what customs from other – I mean from your own culture and that surrounding you that you choose to adopt.”

“[It] can relate to a person’s exposure to culture, a person’s exposure to values. It’s going to be not from one source. It’s not going to be racially defined. It’s not going to be characteristics that are physical but you can notice. It’s going to be what the person holds on an intimate level, what they’re exposed to growing up. And you have to set ideas of what that is in the world around you. At times, you can be presented with the individual who may, at times, not present what you think towards specific groups and what they are going to express on X and Y issues.”

“It would mean that it’s hard for people to identify your ethnic backgrounds.”

“It would be the same thing as the racial ambiguity but it would be for a certain ethnicity or culture. Specific cultures.”

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