Occasionally, people will ask me what race I am. This gets into the whole debate over the differences between race and ethnicity. But in causal conversation, it’s just easier to say, “I’m Hispanic.” In any case, I often reciprocate and ask about their background.

The oddest answer came from a friend of mine, years ago. It was obvious that he was white, but I’ve noticed that most people of this hue prefer to be a little more specific. You see, I expected my friend to say that his genetic makeup was German or English.

This raises a good question: does nationality suffice as an identifier of ethnicity, or is it just superfluous?

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