Panethnicity

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Panethnicity is a political neologism[clarification needed] used in multicultural societies for the grouping together, and collective labeling, of various independently distinguishable, self-identified and self-sustained ethnicities into one all-encompassing group of people.

The term appears to have been coined in the United States in the 1990s to replace what used to be called race; for example, the Asian Americans can be described as "a panethnicity" of various unrelated peoples of Asia, which are nevertheless perceived as a distinguishable group within the larger multiracial North American society.

Often labels of panethnicity group together people of different nationalities and/or ethnicities that may in fact be very different from each other. The grouping is often done based on similar physical characteristics, sharing of a common language, common culture, or sharing of a common religion.[1]

Background[edit]

Panethnic labels are often, though not always, created and employed by outsiders of the group that is being defined panethnically. Mainstream institutions and political policies often play a big role in the labeling of panethnic groups. They often enact policies that deal with specific groups of people, and panethnic groups are one way to group large numbers of people. Public policy might dole out resources or make deals with multiple groups, viewing them all as one large entity.[2]

Groups that have similarities in background, language, and other characteristics in turn might form groups that come to be panethnic as a way to form group solidarity. Likewise, some groups choose to embrace the panethnic labels that have already been given to them by outsiders.

When racial or ethnic discrimination occurs, if outsiders have already panethnically labeled peoples as one group who will all be discriminated against, then in turn, the group often will accept the label of panethnicity as a way to unite and fight the discrimination and stereotyping.[1]

In the United States, with the Civil Rights Movement, the increase in collective action based on identity contributed to the formation of many panethnic groups.

Panethnic usage[edit]

Arabs[edit]

Arab, in its common modern definition, is also a widely employed example of panethnicity or pan-nationalism. Arabs are a grouping of people (some would say "peoples") of various ancestral origins, religious backgrounds and historic identities (much in the same way peoples merged though assimilation in other parts of the world, as in the case of, say, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, and others merging with indigenous British people to create an English ethnicity), whose members identify as such on one or more of the grounds of language, culture, or genealogy.[3] The idea that all Arabs are one nation and must unite as one state demonstrated much power in the past, with President Abd al-Nasir of Egypt emerging as a charismatic leader transcending boundaries. The rise of the Ba'th Party during the 1940s represented the same idea. This led to several attempts to establish a united Arab state (with the Italian and German unifications in the 19th century sometimes pointed to as precedents) and the actual establishment of a United Arab Republic (including Syria and Egypt) in 1958-1961. (Arab nationalists might object to the term "panethnicity" as applied to them and see themselves as one ethnic group on the basis of their common language.) While the movement soon lost its momentum, the idea of one Arab nation still exists but now tends to be undermined by religious and other identities. Those self-identifying as Arab, however, rarely deny the diversity of the Arabs. There are always multiple identities, with a more localized prioritized ethnic orientation, such as Egyptian, Lebanese, or Palestinian — in addition to further tribal, village,and/or religious identities.

Some Arabic-speakers, who would otherwise be labelled Arabs, sometimes reject the label as a self-designation or as an imposed one, whether by outsiders or by other self-identified Arabs who would include them as fellow Arabs. Such is the case with some Egyptians to varying degrees and some Lebanese (particularly some Maronites), who may identify solely as Egyptian or solely as Lebanese (or, as in the case of the Syrian Social National Party, identify the Fertile Crescent region as a pan-Syrian nation), with little or no additional identification as Arabs.

United States[edit]

To Americans the designation of white may be considered both a panethnicity and a social construct. The US government defines a "white" person as any person of European, Middle Eastern & North African origin, and this may include a number of cultural, linguistic, and religious groups. Thus, a person from Sweden and one from Poland likely would be classified as "white" on the basis of light skin coloring, but an Algerian for instance, almost without regard to his or her complexion, might get treated by prejudiced people as "non-white," largely on a cultural basis. In the United States, panethnicity is most often seen in the labeling of all Spanish-speakers from Latin America and Spain as Hispanics, or all Spanish-speakers and Portuguese-speakers from Latin America as Latinos. The "one-drop rule" usually is not applied in the United States to Hispanics with African roots, nor is it typically applied to individuals from areas such as the Middle East with some Subsaharan ancestry.

In both the case of "Hispanics" and "Latinos", the categorization into a panethnicity is applied irrespective of the country of origin (e.g. Mexican, Peruvian, Argentine, Dominican, Spaniard, etc.) or the racial origins (white, mestizo, mulatto, black, Amerindian, etc.) of those people grouped into the panethnicity.

Other U.S. examples include the labeling of all people from not only East Asia, but also South Asia, as Asian Americans, or (reflecting the so-called "one-drop rule") all people with any degree of sub-Saharan African descent (even if predominantely of European or other ancestries) as African American, and all indigenous American tribes as a collective Native American "ethnicity" with the implication that they represent one people with a single shared identity.

Slavs[edit]

The Slavs are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group living in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia, who speak the Indo-European Slavic languages, and share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds. From the early 6th century they spread to inhabit most of Central and Eastern Europe and Southeast Europe.[4] In addition to their main population centre in Europe, some East Slavs (Russians) also settled later in Siberia[5] and Central Asia. Part of all Slavic ethnicities emigrated to other parts of the world.[6][7] Over half of Europe's territory is inhabited by Slavic-speaking communities.[8] The worldwide population of people of Slavic descent is close to 350 million, making Slavs among the largest panethnicities in the world.

Uyghurs[edit]

The term "Uyghur" was derived from the earlier Uyghur Empire, a khaganate spanning modern day Mongolia, Russia, Northern and Western China, and Central Asia. The original inhabitants of Xinjiang were not called Uyghur before 1921/1934; Westerners called these Turkic speaking Muslims of the "Turki", and the Turkic Muslims in Ili were known as "Taranchi". The Russians and other foreigners used the names "Sart",[9] "Turk", or "Turki"[10][11] for them. These groups of peoples identified themselves by the oases they came from, not by an ethnic group.[12] Names such as Kashgarliq to mean Kashgari were used.[13] The Turkic people also just used "Musulman", which means "Muslim", to describe themselves.[14][15]

The meaning of the term Uyghur is unclear. However, most Uyghur linguists and historians regard the word as comimg from uyughur (uyushmaq in modern Uyghur language), literally meaning 'united' or 'people who tend to come together'. Chinese Tang dynasty annals refer to them by the ethnonyms Huí Hú or Huí Hé.[16] The etymology cannot be accurately determined, for historically the groups it denoted were not ethnically fixed, since it denoted a political rather than a tribal identity,[17] or was used originally to refer to just one group among several, the others calling themselves Toquz Oghuz.[18] According to Yin Weixian, the Turkic runic inscriptions record a word uyɣur, which was first transcribed into Chinese as Huí Hé (回紇), but later, in response to an Uyghur request, changed to Huí Hú (回鶻) in 788 or 809. The earliest record of an Uyghur tribe is from the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD). At that time the ethnonym Gaoche (in Uyghur: Qangqil, قاڭقىل) (Chinese: 高車; pinyin: Gāochē; literally "wheelwagon") to the Tura (Chinese: Tiele) tribes. Later, the term Tiele (Chinese: 鐵勒; pinyin: Tiělè; Turkic: Tele) itself was used.[19] The first use of Uyghur as a reference to a political nation occurred during the interim period between the First and Second Göktürk Khaganates (630-684 CE). In modern usage, Uyghur refers to settled Turkic urban dwellers and farmers of Kashgaria or Uyghurstan who follow traditional Central Asian sedentary practices, as distinguished from nomadic Turkic populations in Central Asia. The Bolsheviks reintroduced the term Uyghur to replace the previously used Turk or Turki.[20][21]

The modern usage of "Uyghur" reappeared after the Soviet Union took the ninth-century ethnonym, from the Uyghur Khaganate, and reapplied it to all non-nomadic Turkic Muslims of Xinjiang,[22] following a 19th-century proposal from Russian historians that modern-day Uyghurs were descended from the Turpan Kingdom and Kara-Khanid Khanate, which had formed after the dissolution of the Uyghur Khaganate.[23] Historians generally agree that the adoption of the term "Uyghur" is based on a decision from a 1921 conference in Tashkent, which was attended by Turkic Muslims from the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang).[22][24][25] There, "Uyghur" was chosen by them as the name of their own ethnic group, although the delegates noted that the modern groups referred to a "Uyghur" were distinct from the old Uyghur Khaganate.[26] According to Linda Benson, the Soviets and the Kuomintang intended to foster a Uyghur nationality in order to divide the Muslim population of Xinjiang, whereas the various Turkic Muslim peoples themselves preferred to identify as "Turki", "East Turkestani", or "Muslim".[9] According to Dru Gladney, the modern Uyghur nationality is indirectly descended from the old Uyghur Khaganate, in spite of the name.[27] The Chinese Communist Party under Mao Zedong continued the Soviet classification, using the term Uyghur to describe the modern ethnic group.[9]

Movements[edit]

As a unified group, many panethnic organizations have developed such as La Raza and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. Panethnic organizations can serve to help groups achieve goals based on common interests and also to pool their resources together.

Panethnicity has allowed for Asian Americans to unite based on similar historical relations with the U.S., such as U.S. military presence in their native country. The Asian American panethnic identity has evolved to become a means for immigrant groups such as Asian Americans to unite in order to gain political strength in numbers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Do Hispanic and Asian Adolescents Practice Panethnicity in Friendship Choices?", Grace Kao and Kara Joyner[citation needed]
  2. ^ "Institutional Panethnicity: Boundary Formation in Asian-American Organizing", Dina G. Okamoto[citation needed]
  3. ^ Deng, 1995, p. 405.
  4. ^ Geography and ethnic geography of the Balkans to 1500
  5. ^ Fiona Hill, Russia — Coming In From the Cold?, The Globalist, 23 February 2004
  6. ^ Terry Kirby, 750,000 and rising: how Polish workers have built a home in Britain, The Independent, 11 February 2006.
  7. ^ Poles in the United States, Catholic Encyclopedia
  8. ^ Barford 2001: 1
  9. ^ a b c Linda Benson, Ingvar Svanberg (1998). China's last Nomads: the history and culture of China's Kazaks (illustrated ed.). M.E. Sharpe. pp. 20–21. ISBN 1-56324-782-8. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  10. ^ The term "Turk" was a generic label used by members of many ethnic groups in Soviet Central Asia. Often the deciding factor for classifying individuals belonging to Turkic nationalities in the Soviet censuses was less what the people called themselves by nationality than what language they claimed as their native tongue. Thus, people who called themselves "Turk" but spoke Uzbek were classified in Soviet censuses as Uzbek by nationality. See Brian D. Silver, "The Ethnic and Language Dimensions in Russian and Soviet Censuses", in Ralph S. Clem, Ed., Research Guide to the Russian and Soviet Censuses (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1986): 70-97.
  11. ^ Ildikó Bellér-Hann (2008). Community matters in Xinjiang, 1880-1949: towards a historical anthropology of the Uyghur (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 50. ISBN 90-04-16675-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  12. ^ Justin Jon Rudelson (1997). Oasis identities: Uyghur nationalism along China's Silk Road (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10787-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  13. ^ Ho-dong Kim (2004). Holy war in China: the Muslim rebellion and state in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877 (illustrated ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-8047-4884-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  14. ^ Ho-dong Kim (2004). Holy war in China: the Muslim rebellion and state in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877 (illustrated ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-8047-4884-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  15. ^ Ho-dong Kim (2004). Holy war in China: the Muslim rebellion and state in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877 (illustrated ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-8047-4884-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  16. ^ Colin MacKerras, The Uighur Empire According to the T'ang Dynasty Histories, Australian National University, 1972, p. 224.
  17. ^ Hakan Özoğlu, p. 16.
  18. ^ Lilla Russell-Smith, Uygur patronage in Dunhuang: regional art centres on the northern Silk Road in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Brill, 2005, p. 32.
  19. ^ Hamilton, 1962.
  20. ^ The term Turk was a generic label used by members of many ethnic groups in Soviet Central Asia. Often the deciding factor for classifying individuals belonging to Turkic nationalities in the Soviet censuses was less what the people called themselves by nationality than what language they claimed as their native tongue. Thus, people who called themselves "Turk" but spoke Uzbek were classified in Soviet censuses as Uzbek by nationality. See Brian D. Silver, "The Ethnic and Language Dimensions in Russian and Soviet Censuses", in Ralph S. Clem, ed., Research Guide to the Russian and Soviet Censuses (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1986): 70-97.
  21. ^ Ramsey, S. Robert (1987). The Languages of China. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 185–6.
  22. ^ a b Ildikó Bellér-Hann (2007). Situating the Uyghurs between China and Central Asia. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 32. ISBN 0-7546-7041-4. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  23. ^ James A. Millward (2007). Eurasian crossroads: a history of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press. p. 208. ISBN 0-231-13924-1. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  24. ^ Arienne M. Dwyer, East-West Center Washington (2005). The Xinjiang conflict: Uyghur identity, language policy, and political discourse (illustrated ed.). East-West Center Washington. p. 75, note 26. ISBN 1-932728-28-7. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  25. ^ Edward Allworth (1990). The modern Uzbeks: from the fourteenth century to the present : a cultural history (illustrated ed.). Hoover Press. p. 206. ISBN 0-8179-8732-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  26. ^ Linda Benson (1990). The Ili Rebellion: the Moslem challenge to Chinese authority in Xinjiang, 1944-1949. M.E. Sharpe. p. 30. ISBN 0-87332-509-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  27. ^ Susan J. Henders (2006). Susan J. Henders, ed. Democratization and Identity: Regimes and Ethnicity in East and Southeast Asia. Lexington Books. p. 135. ISBN 0-7391-0767-4. Retrieved 2011-09-09.