Ethnicity is related to culture and characterizes all human groups. It refers to a sense of identity and group membership with a shared language, cultural traits including values, beliefs, customs, food habits, religion etc. and a sense of a common history. Such groups have differing degrees of feelings of superiority over other groups in relation to their norms and customs. Ethnic identity is acquired, learned a form of behavior, unrelated to biology, flexible and can be changed. Ethnocentrism is similarly transient and superficial (Wallenfeldt 2010). On the other hand, the race is a form of identity that is considered as innate and unalterable. The race is profound and is grounded in biological realities. While ethnocentrism believes in the superiority of one’s own culture, racism is based on the promotion of the racial worldview. Ethnocentrism considers skin color and other physical features to be irrelevant among members of the same culture; contrastingly the racial worldview holds that despite cultural similarities a member of an inferior race, who is considered to be so due to physical features, can never be accepted. While race is an “invented, fictional form of identity, ethnicity is based on the reality of cultural similarities and differences and the interests that they represent” (Wallenfeldt 2010: 90-91). However, according to Wilson (1976: 31), “racism represents one form of the more general phenomenon of ethnocentrism”. Social criteria play an important part in health assessment and health care delivery.
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