Ethnic

DEFINITION

Relating to sizable social groups sharing a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic, or cultural heritage. "Ethnic" was once a term for Egyptian, African, Mesoamerican, and other non-Christian ("heathen") peoples, even though European cultures posess all the exoticism, inscrutability and "otherness" that "ethnic" implies. European, like ethnic arts, are the products of specific times and places, beliefs and taboos, produced to serve ritual ends, religious and social, confer prestige, and provide cultural self-affirmation. Also similarly, European art evokes complex, sometimes conflicting reactions, admiration, bafflement, amusement, and disdain. "Ethnic" (like "primitive") should therefore be used very cautiously. Considering how profoundly we have needed to reevaluate our uses of "ethnic" to designate non-European peoples, a contemporary use is likely to smack of negative stereotype and ethnocentrism.Also see Aboriginal art, American Indian art, anthropocentrism, Buddhist art, Chicano art / Chicana art, Chinese art, folk art, Harlem Renaissance, heritage, Hindu art, Islamic art, Jewish art, Mexican art, Russian art, tradition, xenophilia, and xenophobia.

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